blue flamingos

Friday Night

Fandom: Stargate Atlantis

Category/Rated: Slash, PG-13

Year/Length: 2007/ ~5000 words

Pairing: John/Rodney (Teyla/Ronon)

Disclaimer: No, I don't own them, for which I should think they're profoundly grateful.

Summary: Boy meets boy, boy dates boy... eventually.

Author's Notes: SGA flashfic Dating challenge.

Feedback: Yes please. Even if it's bad. Especially if it's bad.

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"I know you're there," John tells Teyla's voicemail. "But fine, record this for posterity: stop setting me up on dates. Your taste in men sucks. That probably explains Ronon. I'm not looking for a guy who can hide knives in his hair." Actually, that bit isn't really true; John thinks that could almost make having dreadlocks worth it. Might in fact be the only thing that does.

"John, you should not speak of Ronon in that way," Teyla's voice says suddenly.

"I knew you were there," John says triumphantly. He's always right about these things. "Ronon knows I don't really mean it."

There's a pause where John imagines Teyla looking at Ronon, then she says, "I will hide the knives next time you visit," sounding like she's laughing at him, on the inside so he can't call her on it.

"That won't help me," he feels compelled to point out. "Your boyfriend keeps knives *in his hair*." Her boyfriend also mostly likes John, now he's realized John's not interested in Teyla as anything but a friend, so John's not too worried. It probably helps that John got him an interview for a personal security job with one of the companies he flies for, and that Ronon's now in charge of security for the director of the company.

"Your date was not a success?" Teyla asks.

"Not really." John sighs, and leans back against the railing outside the restaurant. "What made you think we'd get on?"

"Evan is also a pilot. I believed that would be enough in common for a first date." Teyla sounds as serene as ever, but John's eighty percent convinced she set this whole thing up so she could laugh at him when it inevitably crashed and burned.

"He's an *Air Force* pilot," John says, mostly keeping the indignation out of his voice – its still early, after all, and he doesn't need any more odd looks than he's already getting. "Ever heard of Don't Ask Don't Tell?"

"You may have mentioned it," Teyla says. More than once, John adds silently; it's not like the policy got him kicked out of the Air Force two weeks after he finished basic training or anything. "I apologize, John, I felt quite sure that you and Evan would get along. He has always been most pleasant in class."

Considering she's about half the size of most men, and that she's never, with the possible exception of Ronon, met anyone she couldn't defeat, Teyla gets a surprisingly, to John, high number of men coming to her martial arts school. He'd think it was something to do with the fitted top and thigh-high split skirt she wears for classes, except that she's set him up with around half of them, and only one of the dates ended with the guy storming out and declaring loudly that he was straight and also engaged.

John's mostly over the humiliation, there.

"Yeah, well, thanks for trying," he says. "Maybe I'm just not the date and relationship having type."

"That is not true," Teyla says firmly, just like she did six months after John walked into one of her bantos fighting classes, when she finally got him to admit that he was single, like her. "I am quite sure the right man is out there for you. As he was for me."

That low voice is definitely John's cue to get off the phone. "Thanks, Teyla. See you on Tuesday?"

"Of course. Good night, John."

"Night."

John closes his cell and looks down the street. He was hoping this one would actually go somewhere, but Evan left before they even got to dinner, citing the fact that he was in the Air Force, and Teyla's failure to explain that this was a date, not dinner with a friend of hers who was a pilot, even if it was flying a private jet, and therefore barely counted with a guy who flew fighter planes for a living.

So, no dinner, definitely no sex, though he thinks that might have happened if he and Evan didn't both have a little too much pride to ask, and he's standing on the street by himself at half past seven on a Friday night, with nowhere to go because right now his best friend is in bed with her boyfriend and John values his life too much to even think about interrupting. Plus, he did that by accident once, and as much as he loves Teyla, he's not sure he wanted to see *quite* that much of her.

He's contemplating a movie when the door to the restaurant flies open and someone walks straight into him. "Sorry," John says automatically, putting his hand up to steady the other man, who obviously hasn't noticed him.

"Yes, well, what do you expect standing right in people's paths?" the man asks. John thinks about pointing out that he's actually well out of anyone's path, but the guy barrels on before he has chance. "I bruise very easily, you know, I shall blame you entirely when my staff start making poor taste jokes about my after hours activity, and you should really feel free to let go of my arm any time now."

John has, he realizes, still got his hand on the guy's elbow, too stunned by the stream of words to notice before, but it's not like the guy's really making much of an effort to get him to let go. Is actually pretty much just staring at John and now he's not talking a mile a minute, he's kind of good looking, blue eyes and sandy hair, and John tries out a grin. When the guy grins back, he decides the evening may not be a total wash after all, and holds out his hand.

"John Sheppard."

"Oh." He looks at John's hand for a moment, then shakes it firmly. "Yes. Rodney Mckay. Dr Rodney McKay."

"Nice to meet you, Dr McKay," John says pleasantly. He really hopes the guy's bedside manner is better than his casual conversation. "You in a rush to get back to work?"

"Work?" McKay asks.

"The hospital?" John suggests. "You shot out of there pretty fast, I thought you must have been paged."

"Oh," McKay says, and laughs. It's a nice sound. "No, God, I'm not a medical doctor, please. PhD in Astrophysics. I thought I saw... well, it doesn't matter now, because obviously if I did, she isn't here now, or I've missed her, which shouldn't exactly come as a surprise." He pauses for breath and seems to deflate a little. "Well, better luck next time."

A woman, John realizes, at the same moment that he notices they're still clasping each other's hands, even though they stopped shaking a while ago. McKay notices as well, and lets go. He doesn't seem particularly bothered that he was basically holding hands with a guy in the middle of the street.

"So," he says, not quite looking at John. "Are you out here for the pleasure of breathing in toxic fumes and being jostled by drunken teenagers, or were you intending to eat at some point this evening?"

Being jostled by you was kind of a pleasure, John thinks, feeling McKay's hand in his again, but even he knows this is a truly awful line. "I could eat," he says instead. "Unless you're waiting for your date?"

"It wasn't a date," McKay says quickly, but he's obviously lying, looking away and fidgeting. "More of a casual arrangement between – well, I wouldn't say friends, but colleagues. Of a sort."

Right then. "Do you want to maybe have dinner with me?" John suggests. He's pretty sure McKay's at least bi, and John hasn't managed to go shopping this week.

McKay looks at him, blinks, then nods firmly. "Absolutely."

hr

It's kind of a weird first date, made more so by the fact that John doesn't think either of them actually know if it *is* a date or not. McKay talks, a lot, about his work, which appears to be mostly classified and thus comprised mainly of, 'actually, never mind, if I tell you about that, you'll want to know about what happened next and, well, let's just say I know people who'd have to kill you in your sleep if I told you.'

John's fairly sure he isn't making this part up, but McKay sounds genuinely regretful that he can't tell him, so John's not too concerned.

McKay orders a slice of chocolate cake for dessert, and glares impatiently at John until he asks for tiramisu, even though Teyla will know and use it as en excuse to be even harder on him in class. He's never met anyone with less of a sweet tooth than her.

When their waiter's written down their coffee orders and left, McKay turns his wine glass once by the stem and asks, "So what do you do? For a living?"

John's tempted to ask what the question could have meant other than for a living, but he's a little worried the answer might be 'in bed' and he's not sure he wants to go there, not yet, which would just have been awkward, and unlikely to lead to McKay agreeing to the second date John's decided he wants. "I'm a pilot. Mostly flying businessmen around the world."

"Ah." McKay turns his wine glass again, the half inch of liquid in the bottom sloshing up the sides. "How did you get into that?"

This is McKay doing small talk, John realizes, and it's almost painful. Plus, he really doesn't want to talk about it, if he can avoid it. "I like flying," he says, and shrugs.

He's saved by the waiter arriving with their desserts, though the way McKay moans in pleasure at his doesn't feel exactly like salvation.

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"So," John says, when they've split the bill and are standing on the street. He still doesn't know what McKay thinks this was. "They're showing Back to the Future II at the Odeon next week..." He trails off at the look of disgust on McKay's face. It's been a while since he read a situation this wrong.

"Tell me you don't like that movie," McKay says. "The things they do in the name of physics."

He shakes his head and John grins, relieved. "It has a DeLorean that travels through time," he says. "Come on, McKay, even brilliant astrophysicists have to get out sometimes."

"I'm out now, aren't I?"

"Yes, but next Friday's a week away, and I don't think going out once a week is going to be a major disruption to the development of science." John can't remember the last time he put this much effort into getting another date; can't remember the last time he wanted another date quite this badly, but under the self-aggrandizing chatter, McKay's actually pretty funny, and John suspects he really is as smart as he says he is, which makes it a lot more tolerable. "I'll buy you dinner after and you can tell me all the things that were wrong with it."

"Fine," McKay says, but he's almost smiling when he does, and he hands over his card before John can ask for it.

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"You are distracted," Teyla informs John in their private session Thursday evening, with one foot on his chest and her sticks pressed to his throat.

"You'd have got me anyway in the end," John says, but he knows it didn't help that he tripped over his own feet backing away. Teyla increases the pressure on his chest, just a little, and gives him her most level inscrutable look until he cracks. "Fine. I've got a date tomorrow, happy?"

Teyla loosens her grip enough for John to push himself onto his knees, his sticks on the ground next to him. They've only got five more minutes and even Teyla sometimes prefers gossip to fighting, particularly when the gossip's about John. "I'm happy to hear that," she says, sinking down cross legged in front of him. "I was under the impression you and Evan did not hit it off."

"No, we didn't." He's actually mostly forgotten about Evan already. "I met a guy outside the restaurant, we ended up having dinner together."

"And now you have a date?" Teyla prompts. When John looks up at her, she's smiling, just a bit, and he remembers again why she's his best friend, because that tiny smile means she's happy for him without knowing anything else. It means she trusts that he's made the right decision, and he's never had many people in his life who thought that.

"Yeah, to the movies." John can feel his ears getting hot, but it's such a teenage thing to do Next thing he knows, he'll be suggesting they go park somewhere and make out. Actually – his brain supplies a helpful image or two – that might not be such a bad idea. Teyla's smile turns decidedly knowing. "Stop that!" John says. "You read my mind, sometimes you get sexy pictures."

"I was not complaining about this," Teyla says, and stands in one smooth movement.

hr

It takes John half an hour to decide what to wear, which is no mean feat considering almost all of his clothes are black, and nearly as long again to get his hair looking – well, right is pretty much a pipe dream, but at least less like he just fell out of bed.

Even with all of this, he's still early to meet McKay, so he ends up standing outside the theatre, shifting from one foot to the other and obsessively checking his cell, in case McKay has changed his mind, or had an offer from the woman he was supposed to be on a date with when they met. Like John needs any more time to think, because he likes McKay but he's a pretty strong believer in monogamy and fidelity, and he's not about to start something with someone who's fixated on someone else. There's just no subtle way of finding out if this applies to McKay, and while McKay seems like the kind of guy who'd just up and ask, John's definitely not.

McKay turns up five minutes before the movie's due to start, right as John's thinking about giving up and going home. "Sorry I'm late," he says, smoothing his hand down his jacket. "Crisis at work, and of course no-one but me could resolve it..." He drifts off, frowning, and John wonders exactly what kind of crises independent scientific military contractors have to deal with. "Anyway. I suppose it would be too much to ask for you to have changed your mind about this?"

"Yep," John says cheerfully, steering McKay towards the theatre with a hand on his elbow. "You might enjoy it."

There's a long pause before McKay says, "I seriously doubt that," softly and without a lot of conviction.

Oh yeah, this is definitely a date.

hr

John's seen all three Back to the Future movies more times than he can count, which is no bad thing, since he's hopelessly distracted through most of the showing by McKay nudging him and whispering in his ear about the physics, and how can anyone say that with a straight face, and by the way, it would never work like that even if it did work.

John's just glad it's too dark for anyone to notice the effect McKay's breath on his neck is having on the rest of him.

He stops by the men's room on their way out of the theatre, and when he comes out, McKay's on his cell, looking annoyed. "No. No! You've got Colonel Carter, Zelenka and Bratnovich. I realize I'm the smartest person on your payroll but surely between the three of them they can -." He catches sight of John and shakes his head. "You can send all the cars you want, I'm not home... Yes, I'm out, it's a Friday night, people traditionally do go out on weekend evenings."

John leans against the wall next to him and grins, even though he already knows where this is going.

"Not that it's any of your business, but yes, on a date. Which was going noticeably better before you rang, I might add." He glances at John from the corner of his eye when he says this and John nods. It is a date, and it was going well. Might still go well if whoever McKay's talking to gives up. "Oh please, this is not even close to being necessary to save the world... Well, since I'm the one you're trying to drag in to fix it, I think I have a pretty good idea of how important it is! And yes, of course he understands that was a joke. Do you think I'm dating a moron?"

John's not sure calculating a ten percent tip in his head is exactly evidence of genius, but since he really isn't a moron, he's not going to argue. Plus, he figures it can't hurt his chances of getting laid at some point in the fairly foreseeable future.

"No. No. Are you listening to me, or do you need me to say it in another language? No." McKay's silent for a long moment, and John can see the exact moment he gives in. "Fine. Send a car. But next time I have plans, you can just fix your problems yourself."

"Have to go save the world?" John asks when he closes his phone, and McKay makes an unhappy face.

"Not literally, obviously."

"Obviously," John agrees. "No dinner then?"

"Doesn't look like it," McKay says. "Though, actually, I should have asked them to give us time for dinner, I haven't eaten in ten hours, this wouldn't be a good time for a hypoglaecemic attack."

"I guess not," John says, and buys him a bag of M&Ms at the concession stand.

hr

They arrange to try for dinner again the next Friday, but McKay calls Thursday afternoon to cancel because of work.

They re-arrange for the next Friday, but John gets trapped in Chicago by bad weather, and ends up spending the weekend in a hotel room, explaining every so often to his two passengers that they can offer him all the money they've got and a flying pony, he still won't be able to fly them home through a snowstorm.

The next Friday, John's phone rings as he's got his hand on it to call McKay: McKay's got to visit his niece for her birthday, which he says he forgot until his sister reminded him, something John can easily believe; John's been persuaded to fill in for a pilot whose mother just died.

Tuesday evening, John sinks into his sofa, wincing at the bruises Teyla inflicted in group class and reaches for his phone. "So," he says, when McKay answers on his work line. "I think Friday's are jinxed for us."

"Hmm." McKay's voice is low and distracted, but John still feels it down his spine. He hasn't seen McKay in nearly a month, and he's getting more and more like a horny teenager every time they speak, turned on by the sound of the guy's voice and his laugh. It's pretty hopeless, though Teyla just patted him on the shoulder when he told her, which means she thinks it's cute but won't say so. "And I presume you have a plan to combat this jinx?"

"What are you doing on Saturday?" John asks immediately.

"Well, usually I'd go into work, but it sounds like you have a better idea." McKay's voice drops again on the last few words, clearly interested. It makes John feel better to know that he's not the only one feeling like this.

"I was thinking, I still owe you dinner, and I have a nice kitchen." He's not holding his breath, because he's not that pathetic, not yet.

"Really?" McKay asks. "Well, how can I resist an offer to see your, er, kitchen?"

"That's what I figured," John says. He knows he's grinning like an idiot, but there's no-one to see him. "Eight o'clock?"

"Absolutely."

hr

Most people are surprised when they find out, but John thinks he's actually a pretty good cook. He's been doing it almost every day for the last twenty years, so he doesn't know why it surprises people that he's picked up a few things along the way.

He buys the ingredients for three different meals on Saturday morning, beer, wine, juice, but not orange because McKay lectured the waiter at length about his deadly citrus allergy. Apple pie that he decides isn't right before he's even home, and reminds himself to give to Teyla on Tuesday, strawberries and white chocolate mousse.

At half past six, he rings Teyla and Ronon answers.

"Oh hi, Ronon, it's John." He rubs one hand down the leg of his jeans and tries to relax.

"I know," Ronon says.

"Right. Actually, you'll probably be more help than Teyla."

"OK."

John figures Teyla's probably told him about John's date, so he doesn't bother with the details. "If you were going to dinner with a guy you'd had two moderately successful dates with, would you want fish risotto, paella or beef in a mushroom sauce?"

"I'd want to be having dinner with Teyla," Ronon says, deadpan.

"OK, if you were having dinner with Teyla," John says. He knows Ronon's just trying to wind him up, but unfortunately, he's kind of nervous, so it's working. "Just – help me out here."

"All right." Ronon's silent for a minute. "The guy with the food allergies, right?"

"Yeah, citrus. I don't think anything else."

"Hmm. Well, you don't want to give him an allergic reaction, so maybe nothing with seafood, just in case?"

"Good point." And, given how well their dates have gone so far, definitely better to err on the side of caution. "So beef in mushroom sauce, you think?"

"Sounds good to me," Ronon agrees, which John already knew. Ronon's actually a much better cook than John is, making these amazing dishes with ingredients John's never even heard of, let alone tried cooking with. "With potatoes?"

"Yeah, and..." John leans back so he can see his vegetable drawers. "I dunno, spinach? Green beans?"

"Not green beans," Ronon says firmly. "Too, you know, healthy. And not enough colors."

"Yeah, fine." John's pretty sure he's got acorn squash somewhere, they're a nice yellow. He rolls his eyes at himself, thinking of how to make his meal look pretty, like he really wants McKay to be looking at his *plate*.

"You want me to come cook it for you as well?" Ronon asks, sounding like he's grinning, and John hangs up on him.

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Rodney rings the bell at exactly one minute past eight, which makes John think he waited somewhere nearby until he wouldn't be early. It's a reassuring thought.

"I brought wine," he says, holding out the bottle. "I wasn't sure what we were going to eat, but I thought you could drink it another time if it's not suitable."

"Thanks." John takes the bottle and ushers Rodney in. "Take your coat?"

John's in his usual all-black date ensemble, since he doesn't think Rodney got to properly appreciate it in the dark theatre, and Rodney's obviously dressed up as well in black slacks and a vibrant blue shirt. He hands over his coat and drifts into the kitchen while John hangs it in the hall cupboard.

"Drink?" John offers from the doorway. He's never noticed before how small his kitchen is.

"Oh, yes, thank you."

John waits for him to ask for something specific, but he keeps running his fingers over John's recipe books, so John figures he certainly needs some alcohol to relax, even if Rodney doesn't, and opens his own bottle of wine.

Rodney wanders back over after a while, to lean against the counter and watch John chop squash, and John has to force himself to concentrate on the sharp knife in his hand and not get distracted by how close Rodney is. He's pretty sure a severed finger wouldn't do a lot for his chances of getting laid tonight, or getting another date, and he kind of wants both.

"What are we having?" Rodney asks.

John tells him, leaving out Ronon's contribution to the proceedings, and gets appreciative noises.

"You know, I'm not sure I remember the last time I had a meal that someone cooked for me," Rodney says, stealing one of the mushroom slices from john's chopping board. "I mean, that wasn't cooked in a restaurant."

"I know what you meant," John assures him. "You don't cook?"

"Oh, no, I'm not – well, I'm sure I could if I wanted to, but it's much easier to order something. There's a very nice Chinese near my apartment."

"Uh-huh." John's eaten real Chinese, in China, and he's never been able to go back to the American version. His own attempts have been equally disappointing. "Well, I hope this lives up to expectations."

"Oh, I'm sure it will," Rodney says, his breath ghosting over the bare skin at the edge of John's shirt as he leans in to steal another mushroom slice, and John thinks about suggesting they postpone dinner and have dessert first.

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It's worth the self-control he exerts the whole time he's cooking, when they sit down to dinner and Rodney closes his eyes to savor the first bite. "It's good?" John asks.

"Mm, yeah. Very." He takes another bite.

John wipes both hands on his pants, his palms suddenly sweaty, and clears his throat. "Glad you like it."

"I do." Rodney grins at him. "I suppose if I were a better cook, I'd be asking for the recipe."

"You watched me make it, you can probably figure it out for yourself. Being a genius and all," John adds, smiling back. "It wasn't that complicated."

"No, I suppose not. Or maybe I'll just keep coming here so you can cook it for me."

If he thought he was pathetic before, John reflects, it has nothing on this. They're talking about cooking, for God's sake, which isn't exactly the most erotic topic he's ever come upon, and he's shifting in his chair, trying to get comfortable. "I'm sure that can be arranged."

"Glad to hear it," Rodney says, and his smile this time is completely different, smoldering and slow.

Fuck it, John decides. "You know, this wouldn't hurt any being reheated." Apart from possibly the vegetables, but they can drink some of the juice, make up their vitamin C quotient for the day.

"Something's come up?" Rodney asks, his expression twitching like he's maybe trying not to laugh.

"You could say that," John agrees, and leans over the table to kiss him.

Rodney tastes of mushroom sauce, and red wine, and he stands up a little into the kiss, his hands on John's shoulders so John doesn't fall headfirst into dinner, and when John licks into his mouth, he groans.

And pulls back, leaving John scrambling to catch his balance.

"Sam," Rodney says abruptly. He drops back into his chair.

"Sam," John repeats, feeling dazed and a little confused. "You know, saying some other guy's name when I kiss you isn't exactly a great start."

"Not a guy," Rodney says, and John thinks about the night they met, the woman Rodney rushed out of the restaurant to catch. He's mostly put it out of his mind lately, but now he thinks, fuck, annoyed at himself.

"At the restaurant," he says, just in case he's wrong, but of course he's not and Rodney nods. "She's your... what?"

Colleagues, Rodney said then, and he happily told his work he was out with a guy when they rang, so he's probably not seeing her. Just pining after her, maybe.

"I work with her. She's an Air Force Lieutenant Colonel."

"Not really what I was asking," John says, a little more sharply than he meant to, and Rodney shifts awkwardly in his chair.

"Sorry. It's just – I don't usually have to do this."

John's not given to dramatic gestures, and it's his apartment anyway, but he kind of wants to get up and walk out. "Rodney. I kissed you and the first thing you said was her name. What's going on?"

"She's sort of my ex," Rodney says, looking down at his plate. "We... well, she had a difficult few months, and I always found her attractive, so when she offered..." He looks more awkward than sad about it. "We broke up a few days before I met you – that is, I broke it off with her, it clearly wasn't working."

"You always go on dinner dates with your ex's?" John asks. When Rodney looks up, he smiles a little. Ex-girlfriends, he can handle. Mostly.

"No, that really was as friends," Rodney says impatiently. "I told you that. It's just – I didn't think it was fair to be kissing you when you didn't – well, when you weren't in full possession of all the facts, I suppose."

"That's very considerate of you," John says. "You're not still involved with her?"

"Were you listening to anything I just said?" Rodney asks. "No longer involved. Not going to be involved."

"Good," John says, and kisses him again.

hr

They're eating strawberries for breakfast, because John was so busy worrying about dinner that he didn't think to buy breakfast food, when his phone rings. He leans backwards over the back of the sofa to pick it up, and Rodney's eyes fall to the skin he's showing, then track slowly back to his face.

"Good morning, John," Teyla says warmly.

"Hey Teyla." He dips a strawberry in the pot of cream between them and holds it up for Rodney, then regrets it when Rodney licks strawberry juice from his fingers and he misses what Teyla says. "Sorry, say that again."

"Have I called at a bad time?" Teyla asks, definitely laughing at him.

"It's, er..." Rodney sucks one of John's fingers into his mouth and does the same thing he did with his tongue the night before. "I'm kind of busy, yeah."

"I see. I trust your dinner was a success?"

"Yeah." John swallows the moan building in his throat and glares at Rodney. It doesn't have much effect.

"I'm very glad," Teyla says. "I won't keep you. I wanted to remind you of our plans for another training session this evening, but perhaps it would be better to postpone this?"

"Yeah. That'd be great." Rodney sucks on another of John's fingers. "Sorry to be rude Teyla, but I gotta go."

"I understand. I will see you on Tuesday."

Teyla hangs up the phone with a soft click and John drops his behind the sofa. "That's kind of distracting," he tells Rodney.

"Good," Rodney says, and leans forward to kiss him hard.

All things considered, it's one of the better dates John's had.


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