Title: Bound 1/2
Author: Aegis, translation by Ptitprince
Fandom: Stargate Atlantis
Word count: 6263
Spoilers: Season 2 through "the Hive"
Notes: Written originally for 30_baisers (theme #13: links), and then translated in english. Not beta-readed so there may be some mistakes
It had, of course,
A new lab, found in the decidedly surprising city that was Atlantis, a new technological discovery. These simple facts had almost become a part of everyday routine for the explorers who had come from Earth.
The grunt didn’t even surprise the scientist, who carried on analyzing the various mechanisms from the extraterrestrial machinery he had started studying that very morning.
“I don’t know what happened!” he shouted, almost beside himself that the blame might rest on his shoulders.
“What happened? We’re tied to each other, that’s what happened!” retorted Sheppard, whose tone seemed even more bitter than it had been just a few seconds before.
“Bound” McKay couldn’t help correcting him. The puzzled colonel looked at him.
“Technically, we’re not tied together so much as bound.” He elaborated. He’d have done better to shut up if the soldier’s furious glare was anything to go by.
“McKay …” he went on in an overly sweet voice “Believe me when I say you don’t want to get technical on words right now.” His eyes glowed with the sadistic tint the scientist had long since learned to be wary of. He took a deep breath and stopped fidgeting with his notes for a moment.
“Okay … At least now we know one of this machine’s
- To bind two people together against their will?” answered the Colonel, with particular emphasis on the word “bind”.
“Quite possibly, yes. Now if you’d just let me work
in peace …
- Just pretend I’m not here.” retorted the officer, calmly sitting down beside him, legs stretched out in front of him and arms crossed behind his head. Trust Sheppard to treat an extraterrestrial artefact like a deck chair …
Rodney said nothing, but his face clearly reflected his thoughts. He averted his gaze after a few seconds trying to regain his calm, and once more shifted his attention to the machine in front of him. The alien bracelet was still flashing on his wrist, obvious sign that it was active and twinned to the bracelet Sheppard was wearing himself.
McKay turned to the newcomer at once. He was a small scientist with round glasses and a dodgy haircut. Radek Zelenka had run to help as fast as he could as soon as he had heard McKay’s call on their radio network, and was now catching his breath.
“What happened?” he asked, staring to and fro at his supervisor (as McKay was keen on reminding him) and the highest graded officer in their mission.
“We’re stuck” admitted Sheppard without changing his position in the slightest.
“What Colonel Sheppard is trying to say, is that the Ancients obviously designed this machine to bind two people together using … this.” McKay answered while pointing at the silver bracelet.
“You are bound?” asked Zelenka, nonplussed, but something in his voice suggested he might not have understood the word in the right sense. Sheppard seemed to lean against the machine even more.
“I told you it wasn’t a good name for it.”
“Because being “stuck” is better, how?” McKay grumbled before answering. “We’re bound by some kind of magnetic field that exists between the two bracelets and prevents us from moving away from each other more than a few meters…”
“… Which of course would never have happened if our expert here hadn’t asked me to test this ‘fascinating interface’ ” Sheppard added with that ironic smirk Rodney hated above anything else.
Zelenka stared in disbelief at the both of them for a few seconds. “You mean you tested this machine on yourselves while no other engineers were present?”
McKay leapt up to face his colleague.
“I’m still head scientist in charge of all the technology gathered here, thank you very much. I’m perfectly capable of managing the situation!” and before Sheppard had time to say anything, McKay had turned to him and given him a dark glare. The colonel just raised his eyebrows and carried on with doing what he had been doing, namely nothing at all.
“You shouldn’t have done that, Rodney, we’re not finished with …” and staring at the other scientist’s furious expression, Zelenka crossed his arms and even raised his voice.
“You know perfectly well that I am right! The preliminary tests and translations we did might suggest that it’s not a dangerous machine, but we haven’t discovered yet what it does, or how it works… I don’t understand you! You of all people should know what effects ancient technology can have if we use it without having studied all its aspects beforehand! “
Rodney shut his mouth, recollecting the incident that had occurred shortly after their arrival, and which involved the ‘personal shield’. The artefact had indeed granted him invulnerability as he had expected, but acted also as a second layer of skin which prevented him from eating or drinking…
“Yeah, well … As we all know the Ancients were an extremely advanced race, and up to now they always thought of adding a stop mechanism to their artefacts. It’s just a matter of discovering what it is …”
Zelenka walked towards the artefact and studied it attentively.
“Very well … I suppose all you need to do is to remember the last thing you did, and, er … Could you at least try to move away from this machine ?” he asked, mildly worried.
McKay and Sheppard looked at each other. To tell the truth, since they had noticed the bond, they had stayed close to the command console – for want of a better word – and hadn’t even considered that the effects might be limited by distance. They therefore both agreed to go to the other end of the room.
“Okay, let’s try…” Sheppard said, slightly worried that this might lead to yet another failure.
“Well at least we know we’re only bound to each other, not to this machine …” whispered McKay who, for once, was the optimistic one.
“Yeah, that’s a start.” Sheppard took one step to the side, and another, then went on to a real walk.
He hadn’t even walked more than ten feet when the bracelets lighted up, dragging the scientist towards Sheppard with an invisible bond.
“Well, that didn’t do anything” he shouted, once he had recovered his balance at last. Zelenka seemed to study them with a purely scientific curiosity.
“Very interesting …” he finally said, his Czech accent heavier than usual.
McKay tried to turn back to study the artefact but couldn’t walk more than two paces.
“Colonel, please? Could do with a hand right here!”
He was uselessly trying to walk forward as an invisible force seemed to drag
The whole scene was almost comical, but neither of the two other men dared to laugh at it. Sheppard finally made his mind up and moved forward, allowing the scientist to resume his investigation.
“How come I can walk wherever I want and you can’t?” he asked after awhile. The two engineers, busily translating all the inscriptions on the artefact, raised their heads.
“Sorry?” McKay asked. Right now his brain seemed to forget about the analysis to ponder all the implications of that last statement.
“Well, yeah, back there I could walk. You were the one who was forced to follow me… But when you tried to walk too, you couldn’t.”
Zelenka propped his glasses on the bridge of his nose.
“That means Colonel Sheppard is the one directing your movements ...”
“I know what that means!” said McKay, whose voice seemed to have turned into a furious bark. He then stared suspiciously at the colonel.
“What I’d like to know is why he’s the one who controls our movements.” He added, though gritted teeth.
Sheppard was smiling broadly. He simply shrugged it off.
“Noooooooooo… This can’t be happening.” muttered McKay, in a voice already brimming with panic.
“It’s okay, I promise not to take advantage of the situation.” The officer reassured him, with a confident smirk.
“We’ve got to find a way to shut down this system!”
McKay was circling the apparatus, jotting notes onto his booklet, which was already black with equations and drawings. He was definitely annoyed.
“Okay, according to our early conclusions the machine works when both bracelets are activated at the same time.” He said with a great many gestures, returning to where he had been standing before the incident.
“I followed the instructions and placed my hand so as to partially activate the system, but I don’t understand why everything turned itself on so suddenly…”
“And that doesn’t explain either why Colonel Sheppard ended up with a bracelet round his wrist as well …” Zelenka added.
Both scientists raised their eyes to the colonel, who suddenly took the most innocent look he could manage.
“What? I just rested my hand in it, that’s all …”
To say McKay looked furious at that moment would be a gross understatement.
“And when might I have asked you to do anything like that, colonel?” he growled, his teeth clamped shut.
“You told me you needed to activate the machine so you could carry on studying it so I did!”
Rodney loomed dangerously near the officer, who simply bore
his scornful stare.
Zelenka knew very well that Sheppard would never be scared, or even concerned, with the head scientist’s mood swings. And for good reason, since Rodney’s bark was worse than his bite. But at that very moment the Czech scientist had his doubts as to the colonel’s survival instinct.
The astrophysicist now stood with his nose almost pressed against Sheppard’s, bearing the evil stare of someone who, at great personal cost, is attempting to control himself.
“I asked you to stay on the other side of the machine to check if anything was changing … and that once I knew more about the setup, then you could activate it!” The scientist started off with a slow and measured voice, picked up speed and ended the sentence in an almost animal-like roar.
Sheppard opened his mouth to defend himself, but he hadn’t taken McKay’s quick-wordedness into account.
“To think you accused me of causing this … this odious bondage! And worse, you’re the one who’s free to move around where you please!” the scientist went on; he seemed ready to grab the army man by the collar. Sheppard seemed to have forgotten the last detail McKay had alluded to, since he suddenly closed his mouth.
“Listen, I think we all agree that the most important thing right now is to untie you both.” Zelenka cut them off, thanking all the gods from all the galaxies that he wasn’t in the officer’s shoes right now. “But before anything we ought to mention this to Doctor Weir…”
The silence that greeted him spoke volumes.
“You did what?”
Sitting beside the head of their mission, Zelenka almost pitied the two men who were facing her. Neither of them, obviously, was in any hurry to answer that question. At last, McKay decided to go ahead, glaring discontentedly at his neighbour.
“I asked Colonel Sheppard to help me to activate the ancient artefact we discovered in lab #A132. I managed to turn the console on, but was unable to access the machine’s, let’s say … internal instructions. Apparently only a natural gene could make the machine work to such a level.”
Weir was patiently listening to him but it seemed obvious she couldn’t care less about that kind of detail. McKay might have noticed this too, as he went on:
“Well … I was finally able to enter the computer’s data storage when I activated one of the machine’s two sides, and everything would have been fine if Colonel Sheppard… ”. He looked at him from the corner of his eye “hadn’t had the brilliant idea to activate the other side of the machine at the very same moment… Since then, we’ve been bound by those two charming bracelets here.” He finished, showing the young woman the metallic object circling his wrist.
“I said I was sorry, okay?” the culprit muttered, leaning further back into his chair and looking the diplomat in the eye for the first time since the interview had started. Weir said nothing but her stare was at once surprised and inquisitive.
“It was a misunderstanding!” he cried out as his only excuse.
The diplomat, whose skills were definitely being sorely tested, rose suddenly and spoke to them both.
“Very well. Since I don’t think we’ll achieve anything by talking on and on, I suppose the best course of action is to let Doctor McKay carry on studying this machine?” The scientist nodded, rising too. There was work to be done.
In the end, the meeting with Weir had gone better than he had expected…
“I am, of course, counting on you both to behave in a perfectly gentlemanlike way to each other in spite of the situation” he heard as they were leaving the room…
… Which didn’t surprise him in the slightest.
And so McKay was once more working on the ancient interface
with greater drive than ever before: his interest was both scientific and personal.
Obviously, he had forgotten that this work had to be performed attended by all the scientists and engineers in the city, who knew about his unfortunate situation thanks to the head of the mission, and even moreso thanks to colonel John - I am a real pain in the ass - Sheppard.
“Colonel, how do you expect me to work if you’re constantly fluttering around?” shouted the exhausted scientist after having bumped into the army man for the third time in the past five minutes.
“It’s not as if I could go anywhere else, is it?” he said, mortified. “I’ve got work too, you know. And instead of doing it, here I am… stuck …”
McKay’s furious glare shut his mouth on the spot. Before the scientist could bark out a particularly graphic insult, he was interrupted by one of his coworkers. The colonel tried his best to understand what was being said, but gave up when they started talking about ‘neutronic activation’ and ‘inbound magnetic flux’ or something like that. He just didn’t understand how scientists managed to keep up with all those different expressions …
In the end, after many hours of sadly unsuccessful research and a copious dinner – copious, of course, as far as McKay was concerned; he had obviously mentioned latent hypoglycaemia – tiredness reared its ugly head and everyone knew it was past their bedtime…
Which of course led to another major problem.
“I should warn you I absolutely must sleep in my room, I have an orthopaedic mattress for my back. Besides, I’m not spending the night in a room where you can always find a pile of dirty laundry lying around.” That was how McKay began, once the conversation finally started with definite disgust on both parts.
“Pile of dirty laundry? My room’s always impeccably tidy, and it’s also bigger than yours! It would only be logical that we use that one until we… until we find a solution for this!”
Both men looked each other in the eye until Teyla, who was also
at their table, spoke up.
“Why don’t you move Doctor McKay’s mattress to the colonel’s bedroom? I think you’d find it difficult to fit both in the same bed anyway…”
Both men stopped staring at each other immediately and gave the Athosian a mortified look.
“What! We won’t … What?!” stammered McKay, shocked by the very idea.
“We certainly don’t intend to sleep in the same bed” said Sheppard, who was capable of forming a full sentence. His eagerness to answer, however, made the alien raise her eyebrow.
“Isn’t that what you do usually?”
McKay, who had just started drinking a particularly colourful soda, spat its contents right out.
“I beg your pardon?” he shouted, wiping off his face the numerous blue droplets that had appeared there.
Teyla and both of the men stared at each other in a circle.
“Well … When we depart on exploratory missions, you share the same tent. How it that any different?” she asked, obviously baffled at her two friends’ reaction.
“Yeah, well …” John started, but soon realized that the alien had a point.
“Okay, I’ll go to your room, but you carry the mattress! And I’m sleeping in the bed, there’s no way I’ll lie on the floor with all that dust …” McKay decided to cut the conversation short before any other embarrassing innuendoes cropped up. He got up and started towards the exit before realizing he was walking on the spot.
Sheppard’s room was quite tidy after all, but it was more than could be expected from McKay to admit it. He simply looked at the place with an unforgiving eye before sitting heavily down onto the bed.
“I could have sworn your mattress would be as hard as blocks of wood. Thank God we took mine…” he said, prodding the bed in various places.
Still holding the orthopaedic mattress under one arm, John gave him a nasty look. He wasn’t sure, however, about hurler the said mattress onto the physicist.
“McKay, I’ve got stuff to do so if you’d just like to get up and help me out, so we can go to bed already.” He said in a tired voice.
Preparation for the night was soon over and done with, and both men silently thanked the ancients for designing small bathrooms, which saved them the embarrassment of having to go both inside at one time. McKay, of course, was allowed to sleep on the bed, which meant John was now getting to know the backs of dust down below.
Minutes passed, and the colonel still couldn’t find sleep. The day’s events were rushing about it his head, starting with the colossal blunder he had made, right down to their current situation. Situation, funnily enough, which implied him sleeping on the floor while Rodney was in his bed which, despite the scientist’s remarks, was really comfy.
Of course, things could have been a lot worse. And it wasn’t the first time they had had problems with ancient technology. And up until no, things had always turned out well. Proof in point, that infamous incident with the personal shield Rodney had activated a few months back. Even though the artefact had given them a few scares, it had proven particularly useful when it came down to fighting that energy being who fancied playing Pacman with the Atlanteans. At the time, they had only just settled in the city and it was the first time he had noticed how brave the head scientist really was. That courage, though it only cropped up in extreme situations, had saved their lives time and time again.
A slight smile appeared on the colonel’s lips as he recalled all these events which had occurred in their lives over the past year. Some were funny, others tragic, but all had, in the end, allowed them to grow closer together.
He stifled a laugh.
As far as closeness was concerned, their latest adventure was the closest you could get. He did wonder, however, how long it would take Rodney to figure out how the artefact worked. He would have thought he would hate this predicament. And even though he didn’t particularly enjoy listening to Rodney gripe day in day out, he had to admit things weren’t so bad after all. In fact, it was an opportunity to bind with his friend in circumstances other than a Wraith attack or any other major catastrophe. Without him even noticing, his eyes closed themselves and he was asleep in a moment.
McKay woke with the impression of being dragged out of bed. His mind still clouded with sleep, he was wondering what the devil was going on … And eventually was catapulted out of bed. Fortunately, Sheppard’s mattress provided a soft landing. Sheppard himself seemed to be sound asleep, if his loud snores were anything to go by. The scientist waited a while for his vision to adapt to the surrounding darkness and stared at his roommate’s face. Sheppard must have moved in his sleep, forcing McKay to follow him despite himself.
Anyway, he now had enough space, technically, to go back to bed without activating the leash. Why, then, was he unable to move, and why was he instead more and more attracted to the colonel?
Attracted, of course, in a strictly physical sense.
Oh, how was it that all the words that came to his mind since that accident had double meanings!?
John looked longingly at the huge chocolate cake which was literally exhibited on the conference table, barely resisting the urge to lick his lips.
“Happy birthday, John.” Elizabeth said with a great big smile, mirroring Carson’s who was standing by her side.
“So, how old does that make you, sir?” asked Ford with a cheeky grin.
Sheppard looked at the young man in undisguised puzzlement. What was the lieutenant doing here? Plus, his body bore no marks of being infected with the Wraith enzyme.
“John, is everything all right?”
The colonel slowly turned towards her.
“Where’s Rodney?” he said, his eyes circling the room, recognizing the various members of the mission he was closest to, but failing to pick out the scientist.
“John … What’s the matter?” the young woman said, slowly walking towards him.
“Rodney … Where is he?” he repeated with more conviction, and even a hint of annoyance.
“Colonel, you know he isn’t here…” Beckett calmly answered. And was it pity he could see in the doctor’s eyes?
“Where is he?” he shouted, eyes still frantically looking for the astrophysicist, despite what the Scotsman had just said.
“Calm down, colonel. I think you’d better come with me to the infirmary” he added compassionately. The doctor’s words and attitude made him seethe with rage.
“Where’s Rodney?’ he shouted.
He turned to Teyla who laid her hands on his shaking frame.
“Rodney died trying to escape the planet where we had been captured by Lieutenant Ford and his men… He tried to inject himself with a massive dose of enzyme to fight them off, but it was too much for him …” she said calmly.
His voice was barely more than a whisper. None of this made any sense, Rodney couldn’t have died. He had gotten away! He had taken the enzyme and made it out, even saving their lives once again in the process!
“That’s impossible …” he said so softly he could barely hear his own words.
“I’m sorry, Sir. I never would have thought he would try to escape.”
The lieutenant looked at him with a genuinely sorry expression,
and the poison that ran in his veins was an insult to the colonel’s doubts.
Rodney was dead?
Impossible. Beckett had taken care of him after he had injected himself with the drug.
Rodney was dead?
That was impossible!
The lieutenant right eye dampened, as if he truly regretted something that could never have happened. And yet … He looked at the young man with greater attention, forgetting for one moment about the crowd that surrounded them. Ford’s lips soon curved into a sadistic smile as his blackened eye seemed to glimmer with malice.
“Anyway, he was just a dead weight on a mission. We’re way better off without him.”
John stepped back, crushed by his amazement.
“Please, colonel … You were the first to admit it. Didn’t he blow up most of a galaxy? Didn’t you use to complain about his constant complaining, his cowardliness and above all his extraordinary arrogance?
“Shut up!” Sheppard yelled, striking the young man to the face, knocking him hard down to the ground.
Ford raised his head and simply dabbed his fingers on his gashed, bloody lip. He burst out laughing.
“McKay saved Atlantis!” the colonel went on. “He saved us all!” He resisted the overpowering urge to grab his second in command and hit him again. But Ford’s attitude was only more insulting.
“Yeah, you tell him that …” he said sarcastically.
« Colonel! »
John bit his lip, feeling rage course through his temples. He tried to take a step towards Ford but his limbs went numb; he was completely paralyzed.
He opened his eyes.
“About time …” mumbled McKay once the colonel was awake. “I thought I’d never make it… Aren’t you military types supposed to sleep lightly? What would happen if we were to be attacked in the night during a mission, huh? You’d just carry on sleeping while we all got slaughtered?
- Yes, I know, now’s not the time. But believe it or not the bond tightened up while you were off in slumberland, and I can’t get back into bed … What?”
John was looking at him with an uncommonly intense stare, at least uncommon when they weren’t about to die in horrible pain. Logically, the scientist was, therefore, scared.
“Nothing … Just a slightly troubling dream.” said the army man, turning away.
McKay eyed him suspiciously.
“Nothing sexual!” said Sheppard, when he saw the scientist’s expression had remained identical for several seconds.
“Good!” said McKay, relieved. “Now if you’d just come closer to the bed, so I can get back up there…”
Despite all their efforts, it seemed the height of the bed itself was too great a distance for the bond, and even though Sheppard was literally glued to the furniture there was no way Rodney could lie on it.
“How can that be right?” the scientist protested once they had given up. “Is the bond going to tighten over time? If that’s the case I’m wondering where we’ll end up tomorrow night … We won’t even be able to move, or sleep, or maybe even eat!”
Sheppard gave a slight smile but seemed just as baffled by the phenomenon. “I’m sure we’ll find a way out of this tomorrow, especially if the resident genius in Atlantis gets a good night’s sleep…”
Rodney gave out a heavy sigh and Sheppard grabbed him by the shirt to lay him down on the mattress. “Sleep!” he ordered, laying himself down on the bed as well. McKay settled down as best he could, but Sheppard’s closeness made him feel particularly ill at ease. Why did that bloody mattress have to be so narrow?
In the end the army man turned to his side, facing the scientist, and brought the covers over them both.
“How’s that?” he asked softly once they had finished moving around.
Rodney simply answered with a grunt, half stifled by the pillow, and the officer closed his eyes once again.
“Except your mattress really is too hard …” McKay mumbled after awhile, before going back to sleep.
Sheppard couldn’t resist an indignant grunt when the doorbell rang, waking him up the next morning.
“Whassat?” He garbled, bringing the covers over his head in hope of shutting off the piercing noise.
“Colonel?” he heard on the other side of the door.
“Mmmmm …” his eyes were closing of their own will. It felt so good … Warm under the covers, his head comfortably propped against the softest of pillows …
Grrrrr … Someone had something against him, that was for sure. The pillow started to move once more, and he stifled a groan. Why was everything going against him today?
“S’open!” he yelled theatrically, intending to clearly tell his visitor he was in no mood for small talk. He vaguely heard the characteristic noise of the door, followed by approaching footsteps. Sheppard breathed in deeply, appreciating the undeniably masculine fragrance that came to his nostrils, and woke up completely.
It was, however, already too late.
“Colonel, Doctor Zelenka wanted me to tell you that …”
Sheppard had leapt up with a start, just in time to see the young alien raise an inquisitive eyebrow to the scene she now beheld. By his side, the extremely comfortable pillow, which was in fact a slightly disgruntled McKay, was still rubbing his sleepy eyes.
“Teyla? What’s up?” he asked her in a barely comprehensible voice. He seemed ready to go back to sleep at any moment … At least for the few seconds it took him to realize his current situation.
“Teyla!” he finally cried out, jumping up and staring, in terrified stupor, at the picture he and the colonel were parts of. Both of them had their hair in a mess, unbelievably creased T-shirts and, above all, their closely entwined legs were visible from beneath the covers. Yes indeed, it was worse than what he could ever have imagined.
“I thought you didn’t want to sleep in the same bed?” the alien asked in a calm voice, oblivious to the fact that McKay was about to go into hysterics.
“I can explain everything!” was the only stupid answer Sheppard could come up with.
Sometimes he just wanted to slap himself hard.
It turned out the young woman had come to tell them about an idea Zelenka had come up with during the night. The said idea was, according to McKay, hopelessly stupid. The head scientist went to town and destroyed the Czech theory with most proficient use of gestures and technical jargon. Sheppard hadn’t understood anything out of the whole exchange, save the fact they were back to square one. Thankfully the bond had loosened during the night, and they were able once again to move around with virtually no mutual interference. The reason for this change, however, remained unknown.
The day began along the same lines as had the day before, until the city’s alarm warned them of the gate being activated. John ran towards the nearest transporter, thereby forcing McKay to let go of the portable screen he was using to solve a particularly difficult equation.
“Colonel, you could have at least given me warning…” the scientist grumbled once they were nearing the gate room. The first half of their trip there had only been marked by McKay’s repeated screams, but the officer was already heading towards Elizabeth, who was talking to the newest person in charge of the gate.
“What’s happening?” he asked once she had turned towards them.
“As incredible as it might seem” she explained with some restraint, “it appears to be a message from Lieutenant Ford.”
“Ford?” Rodney smiled, pleased to know that he was still alive.
“He sent us a gate address and would like you to make your way there.”
Sheppard looked attentively to his supervisor. “When can we leave?” he asked.
Elizabeth gave him a surprised look.
“Colonel, you know full well I can’t let you leave as long as you and Doctor McKay are still bound by this machine. It would just be too dangerous.”
“I mean, after all maybe he just wants to talk. And if ever he wants to attempt another suicidal scouting mission against the Wraith we’ll just say no. We saw what happened last time.”
“Perhaps. But for the time being I’m sending Major Lorne and his team. And …” she added as Sheppard was opening his mouth to counter her “I suggest you and Doctor McKay resume your studies on this artefact, it might come in useful someday.”
With those words, she turned her back to them to initiate radio contact with a very frustrated Sheppard’s second-in-command.
“I’ve had enough! We’re not getting anywhere!”
John Sheppard was in a particularly foul mood since Doctor Weir had decided Lorne would go on the mission while he, head of the city’s military personnel, was stuck in a lab with a bunch of scientists.
“Colonel, we’re doing all we can!” retorted McKay.
In truth, he was also reaching the limits of his own patience.
But on base, he was the person most likely to figure out how the artefact worked,
and he intended to do it. Anyway, there was no other choice. No way was he going
to spend the rest of his life glued to the colonel!
To be completely honest, he didn’t fancy either going on a mission god know where to join a bunch of enzyme-addicted warriors.
Sheppard himself was fighting the urge to walk up and down the lab. He should have taken ‘War and Peace’ after all, it would have helped him while away the time.
“Fair enough”, McKay said. I suppose we can take a break.
John was standing up even before the scientist had finished his sentence.
“When I mentioned a break, what I had in mind was more like a quiet meal at the mess or a nice walk…” McKay whimpered with an imploring stare to the military man.
“Aw, c’mon, McKay, we need to lighten up! And I’ll have you know that as a member of an exploration team you ought to keep yourself fit and know how to put up a fight!” Sheppard said, jumping impatiently up and down on the carpet that covered the sports room.
Rodney, wearing sports overalls like John, seemed much less keen on taking a self-defence course.
“You’ve already taught me several techniques,” he mumbled, although he knew there was no way on Earth to make the military man change his mind now.
“You can always improve your skills!” Sheppard asserted while starting a quick warm-up. “Besides, I always fancy a little training with skilled fighters.”
“Yes, that must be why you’re always so keen to train with Ronon…” answered McKay in an ironic tone.
A grunt was the only answer he got, and he briefly thought that joking around with Sheppard in such circumstances might be a very bad idea, before Sheppard hurtled towards him. McKay stepped instinctively to the side, dodging in the nick of time to hold Sheppard was attempting on him.
“Not bad” John admitted with a smile. “But I told you before not to stand still like that, you’re too easy a target.”
“That’s not fair, Colonel … You can move around anywhere, whereas I’m stuck because of the bond!” said the scientist, though heeding the officer’s advice.
John’s amused smile widened a little and he stopped jumping about.
“Fair enough, in that case I’ll teach you a few holds…” he said, moving so close to his friend that the scientist could smell his aftershave.
“Just another excuse to send me to the ground…” stammered McKay, his eyes lowered. The colonel had this embarrassing knack for making McKay feel ill at ease when he was close, and already he could feel his cheeks redden.
“Come on, Rodney … Just follow my advice and you’ll be the one wiping the carpet with my face.” John was whispering, and the scientist could almost have thought he was flirting with him.
“You grab a hold of my shirt... There. Next you try to grapple my leg with your right foot. It’s a really simple hold, the great thing is it can be improved on with practice.” The military man explained, going through the motions.
“There, now you tuck your shoulder in so as not to hurt yourself when your adversary will be off balance... You there?”
Rodney obliged with great concentration, but as soon as the colonel started falling to the ground he was himself attracted by his fall and landed heavily onto his opponent’s body. Their lips collided softly in an unpredictable kiss, and the scientist felt himself redden violently. John looked at him with surprising intensity. His parted lips seemed to urge him to kiss him once more, and Rodney was attracted by this vision, so unreal and yet so desirable.
If the colonel was unwilling to repeat the act, he was hiding it very well. His hazel-green eyes, pupils dilated, locked onto McKay’s and his breathing accelerated discreetly as McKay, after a moment’s hesitation, brought his face close to the officer’s.
Rodney literally jumped to his feet as John half-heartedly activated his intercom.
“Doctor Weir…”he answered with some impatience in his voice.
“Could you please come to the gate room?” the young woman answered through the city’s radio network. John looked at the scientist, who was now totally absorbed in the task of staring at the wall-to-wall carpet. He replied absently.
“We’ll be there in a minute.”
The trip back to the gate room was made in an uncomfortable silence and both men seemed to be very cautious not meeting the other’s eyes. By chance, they were relatively close to the place and were soon welcomed by the city’s governor.
“Colonel Sheppard, Doctor McKay.”
The young woman walked towards them with a smile, but something in her behaviour indicated that she had contacted them because of a new problem.
Behind her, major Lorne and his men wore similar expressions.
« What’s going on? » Sheppard instantly asked who now seemed to have completely forgotten the discomfort he was feeling only seconds before.
“Major Lorne just came back from the planet Lieutenant Ford indicated. It looks like our prodigal son refused to treat with him…”
Sheppard closed his eyes. Ford was without a doubt the most stubborn kid he had ever met, and he was sure the young man would never change his mind.
“We thought about stopping all negotiations…” Weir went on while taking a look at the exploration team which had just came back, “but he said he knew where a ZPM could be found, and only wants to talk to you…”
- End of part one -