Disclaimer: not mine, not mine, just playing in the sandbox
Summary: Elizabeth's taken it into her head to hold a Valentine's Dance in the gateroom, and insists that all her staff attend. ~1100 words
A/N: I tried something different with this – rather than a remix of an entire story, this is just one scene from thisissirius's The One With All The Pink fleshed out in greater detail. Hope you enjoy, thisissirius! Thanks, as ever, to dogeared for the delicious beta.
Rodney hates dancing – always has. There's no act quite like it for hammering home the vast, yawning chasm between the soaring grace of his thoughts and the earth-bound limitations of his body, and while he's not the pitiful sort of man who searches for rhythm and never finds it, dancing makes him far too aware of his limitations, frustrated and angry at the prosaic shift of his feet, only too able to imagine how stupid he must look from a distance, shuffling side to side in a spectacle of discomfort that announces to the world that he doesn't fit in.
He doesn't need to fit in when he's working – it's a mercy he doesn't, that his brain is unique, that his mind works quickly, snags art from integers and negative space; crafts something like music from dark matter's mystery. When he sleeps he dreams of wheeling stars and the vibration of quarks (no one really touches anyone), fractal symphonies, the cadence of bracketed equations hovering in his memory as he opens his eyes to another Atlantis dawn.
But dancing – horrible, primitive, plebian dancing, inelegant even when enjoyed, and from his position on the sidelines of Elizabeth's ridiculous Valentine's day party, it's all he can do not to wince at the tangle of arms and legs that passes for dancing, for fun in this place (botanists lock-step with marines, gate techs gyrating with medical staff – madness, all of it, baffling madness). He knocks back a drink, wincing as it burns, and it's surely the MD 20/20 quality of the stuff that temporarily disables his instinct for self-preservation, finds him dragged out to the blush-colored, vomitous, gate-room-cum-dance-floor, John Sheppard's hands on Rodney's hips while the whole of Atlantis looks on.
"Just follow me," John whispers, and he's wearing that smirk - the one that means danger and devilment and jerk-off material of the very first water, and it's so unfair, beginning to end, that Elizabeth wanted a party, considered Pepto Bismol a appropriate decorating theme, that John insisted he come to the thing, insist he come with John, that Rodney's brain played with that twist of words for several nights, his cock in his hand while he thought of forearms and collarbones and thighs, and now he's dancing with Sheppard and Einstein deliver me, if he could only die it would help, help a lot, but of course he's too vital to the mission to expire from shame, has to endure it, the pink and the smirk, the smirk and the pink.
And yet – when his brain clears and panic recedes and he's stopped imagining an obituary in which this incident is cataloged in glorious detail from the point of view of every member of the expedition team – he realizes . . . he's dancing. He's doing what Sheppard asked, following his lead (no different from a trip through the gate, he rationalizes: life in Sheppard's hands, everyday thing) and they're moving with something like comfort, trust, swaying and shifting without anyone stepping on anyone's toes, and John looks pleased, smirking and pleased, and if that doesn't confound all hypotheses to hell and back . . .
Because, truth be told, it's not nearly so bad to dance with Sheppard as it was to dance with cousin Doreen at Aunt Melanie's wedding, or Cindy Shackleton at prom that one time, and perhaps the problem's been gender all along, the gravitational pull of breasts and the swell of a female hip beneath Rodney's hand, and he needed a partner with broad shoulders and capable arms, could that be it? He should run more tests, dance with Radek or Lorne, experiment, find variables, graph the incidence of bruised toes and knocked knees, take Teyla out for a spin, see if –
John tilts his head.
Or not. He could stay right here where John's body's warm beneath his palms, smelling slightly of gun oil and a faint trace of mint (toothpaste, probably, or the salve they picked up on M4Y-898, good for bruises and for headaches if you rub it on your temples) and smirking still, the skin beside his eyes crinkling with mirth, and his jaw's dark with stubble even though he must have shaved before he came, and Rodney's seized with the urge to lean in, press his nose there, draw in the scent of skin and sweat and let this stupid dance become something else, the stuff of fantasy made solid and real with everyone looking on (does he have a thing for public sex? That's a new thought, he'll have to – )
John leans in.
Oh god, oh god – Rodney's mind whirs frantically like a mouse on a wheel (the mice come from earth, but the wheels are manufactured in Pegasus by scientists who, it ends up, have a soft spot for tiny creatures likely to meet some gruesome death so that the rest of them don't get trapped inside Wraith darts or mutate into bugs) – Sheppard's leaning in and his lips are wet (did he lick them? He's always licking them, perhaps he needs chapstick, they could requisition some on the next Daedulus run, the SPF-30 kind so that no one's lips burn) and –
He can't help but think, it's what he does, default setting, but his thoughts slow down and graze past each other lazily as John's mouth touches his own. The gateroom drops away, ceases to be important; the pink fades from memory and the whole world shrinks to the taste of John, so warm, the scrape of his stubble, the first languid touch of his tongue. Rodney's fingers fist stubbornly in the sleeves of John's shirt and he opens his mouth, hitches a sigh, breathes uncertain want over John's clever lips and oh – oh god – he's kissing Sheppard and Sheppard's kissing him and John shifts, tilts his head to a different angle, and his nose presses blunt into the curve of Rodney's cheek and it's not exactly perfect, trying to fit, biting and nipping, savoring each other's mouths, but it's right and soft and 3.14159% more dangerous than he ever imagined and the probability that this is going somewhere naked is high, high, high.
The kiss breaks, and Rodney stares – he can feel the grin on his face, feel the blood hammering joyfully between the bones in his wrist, and he opens his mouth to say something profound like "wanna get laid?" but what comes out is – "So this Valentine's day didn't suck so much."
John quirks an eyebrow and kisses him again.
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