Rating: PG, for swears
Warnings/Spoilers: None, really
Pairing: McKay/Sheppard, reference to McKay/Keller
Length: 800 words
Summary: For the mcsheplets Challenge #57: Just In Time
John couldn't say "Go get the girl" again….
It's Katie all over again. Rodney waving a small velvet box around, babbling something John doesn't hear over the blood rushing in his ears.
"You gonna…." John points to the box.
Rodney looks earnest and smiles. But it's not quite the happy Rodney-smile that John thought it should have been.
"Well, I'm going to…" Rodney points to the door. "Go."
As the door slides closed behind Rodney, John's brain stops. Rodney's going to propose to Keller. He didn't think it had gotten that far, he should have been paying more attention.
Not giving himself time to think, John moves. A hall, a transporter, breaking into a run and he's seeing Rodney reach to knock on Keller's door.
"Don't do it," John's mouth calls, as his brain echoes, What the fuck are you doing, Sheppard? John's momentum carries him closer before he stops.
Rodney hesitates and looks at him. "John?"
"I….." The words won't come out. He looks down at his feet.
"Why shouldn't I do it?" Rodney asks softly. He moves close enough for John to feel the heat radiating from Rodney's body.
"I… I don't want you to," John blurts out.
Rodney looks at him, incredulous. "Now? You do this now? As I'm about to propose?" Rodney all but shouts.
John winces but nods.
The silence goes on for what feels like an eternity. John sighs and looks down at his feet again, he can't look any longer at Rodney's stricken face, knowing he's made a mistake.
"I'm… sorry," he mumbles to his feet. "I didn't mean to…." Another deep breath. "Sorry."
John turns and walks away. He keeps on walking, not paying attention to where he's going. Intellectually, he knows better than to stray off the known paths but today he doesn't care. He finds a sheltered balcony not too far above the water line and sits and stares at the ocean.
It's Ronon who comes looking for him some time after dark.
"You missed dinner," Ronon informs him. "And Lorne is looking for you." He tosses John a communicator.
"Anything wrong?" John asks sharply.
"Nah," Ronon answers. "You were supposed to be in a meeting or something."
Right. He and Lorne were looking to see how they were going to shuffle a couple of gate teams since one of the new recruits they had put on SGA-8 had broken an ankle on his first mission and a scientist on SGA-12 had come down with something resembling the chicken pox and Keller'd… Keller. John drops his head to his knees and breathes deliberately.
"You okay?" Ronon asks.
I suspect not. "Yeah," John grits out. He climbs to his feet and stretches to work out the kinks that had developed. "Time to get back."
They walk back in silence. Ronon goes off to his room and John swings by the mess hall and picks up coffee and a couple of sandwiches. He's not really hungry but knows he needs to have some distraction before he goes to bed and tries to sleep.
Only, when he opens his door, Rodney is there. In his room.
"Where have you been?" Rodney demands. "You can't just say and… and then go off and…." He waves his hands pointing at John. "You!"
Wearily, John drops the sandwiches and coffee on the desk and moves to the bathroom. He stands in the doorway for a moment and says softly, "I'm sorry."
John takes his time, hoping that Rodney will leave, but really, he knows better. Rodney looks up as he steps out of the bathroom.
"I think, maybe, we need to sit for this," Rodney suggests tentatively from his perch on the edge of the bed.
John sits in the chair for the desk, opposite Rodney. "I am sorry," John offers.
"Yeah, figured that out," Rodney grumbles. "Honestly, that was like… the best or the worst timing of… whatever…. that I've ever seen." He kind of crumples into himself. "I went in there and…." He glances at John and then away, "I was still going to do it. But the words wouldn't come out." Rodney rubs a hand over his eyes, "I'm pretty sure I broke up with her."
"Jeez, Rodney," John doesn't know what else to say at this point.
A small laugh. "You know, this is the first time I got to give the it's not you, it's me speech. I'm usually on the receiving end of that," Rodney recounts.
John lets out a breath he didn't know he was holding. "So, now what?"
"Well, that's my question," Rodney tosses it back to him. "This is your fault, so you have to make it better."
The knot in his stomach loosens, "Well, I have…." John gets up and looks in his mini-fridge. "Two sandwiches, a cup of cold coffee, four beers and half a package of oreos. Dinner?"
"You asking me on a date now, Sheppard?" Rodney asks cautiously.
John freezes for a nano-second and then his mouth, acting independently of his brain again, says, "Yeah."
Rodney smiles that really-happy smile John knew was looking for before. "Oh, okay then."
"Love is the hardest habit to break, and the most difficult to satisfy." - Drew Barrymore