, because at one point, long ago, she asked for fic where Rodney gay-bashes John. I actually do like Rodney, you know.
It wasn’t the fact that Rodney was physically abusing him that upset John so much; it was the fact that John was being forced to think about his feelings.
“You are such a girl,” said Rodney crabbily, pulling his pants back on quickly. "Thank god you're in the military or you'd probably want to hold hands or something. Or spend ever waking minute with me because we just can’t bear to part."
John thought of the lunches, the meandering walks down to staff meetings, the computer games, the just-the-two-of-them movie nights.
"You're just so gay," Rodney continued. "I mean, I'm just in it for the fucking -"
John rolled his eyes. "I know, I know, as soon as you find a woman who will peg you -"
"Hey," Rodney said, mouth going tight. "I don't like that stuff. You're the gay in this homo relationship."
"And that's why you were sucking my cock ten minutes ago," John said sarcastically, covering up his hurt with raised eyebrows.
"Everybody on Atlantis knows about my oral fixation," Rodney said, peeved. "It's either that or smoking, which is bad for my health."
"Sure, buddy," John said, as Rodney shoved his past him on the way to the door.
"Don't call me that," Rodney said. "People will suspect something."
”See you tomorrow?”
Rodney whirled around. “I’m not going to date you, Colonel. I thought we’ve made this clear – gay sex doesn’t count when you’re in the military. I’m not going to go pick out matching engagement rings with you tomorrow.”
“I meant for the team meditation Teyla’s insisting on.”
“Oh,” Rodney said, wilting a little. “Well I guess I will then. I would love the opportunity to stare at Teyla’s breasts for an hour.”
“Sure,” John said, rolling his eyes again. Rodney had stared at Teyla’s breasts once, had gotten caught, and had had to suffer through a two day Athosian women’s retreat. He’d never done it since. “Sure.”
Rodney stomped off to his labs as soon as Teyla was satisfied that they had at least made an effort to gain inner serenity and knowledge of one’s self.
John wandered off to the mess hall to show the men that he was a man of the people, and could be trusted with their innermost secrets, as long as they weren’t feelings of any kind. That was why Lorne had office hours.
They were serving those popsicles made out of Klurmiqut urine (John tried really hard not to think about it – the popsicles were really awesome) so John grabbed one up and sucked on it as he wandered towards the gym.
Rodney barreled around the corner, arguing into his radio with Zelenka about how best to boost power to the shield without overloading the naqadah generators. John licked his popsicle thoughtfully; he had had a few ideas about using the jumpers to boost power relays to the shield, and so he wasn’t really paying attention to the expression on Rodney’s face as he noticed John.
“Hey bud- Rodney,” John started, because he’d noticed that Rodney had stopped talking to Zelenka.
“What the hell are you doing?” Rodney demanded. “Slutting around the hallways with that – that thing in your mouth. Do you want people to know you’re a cocksucker?”
John pushed the popsicle as far into his mouth as it would go, and then hollowed his cheeks, pulling the popsicle out of his mouth with an obscene pop.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” John drawled. “I mean, you see me like this often enough- “
And whatever else John might have said was cut off when Rodney manhandled him into a storage closet labeled ‘Unknown Artifacts – To Be Studied.’
“Look, Sheppard,” Rodney said angrily. “You might be out and proud and all of that, but I don’t want everyone thinking that I’m gay.”
“Wouldn’t want that, now would we?” John said dryly.
“You might,” Rodney said belligerently. “With that hair and the…the things that you do. God, don’t you have any self-respect?”
John took a deep breath, stung. He shoved his hand into his pocket so he wouldn’t unconsciously touch his hair – it wasn’t his fault he was out of gel.
“Oh come on Rodney,” he said sarcastically, trying to keep the hurt out of his voice. He gestured at the shelves on the walls around them. “Don’t you think it’s time to come out of the closet?”
Rodney made a disgusted noise and pushed past him to open the door. John turned to follow him, but Rodney slammed the door in his face hard enough that John rocked backwards and had to reach out to grab on to a shelf to steady himself.
He barely had time to throw his hands in front of his face before a piece of tech on the shelf exploded.
“Almost done, Colonel,” Keller said as she finished stitching up the gash above John’s left eyebrow. “What happened to you, anyways?”
“Touched something I shouldn’t have,” John said. “It happens more than I’d like it to.”
“You should be more careful,” Keller tutted. “Don’t touch anything without having Rodney give it the okay first.”
John snorted, and considered telling Keller the joke, but then reconsidered, as Keller would probably try to console him, or something.
“At least we didn’t have to shave you head this time.”
John reached up to cover his hair protectively, making an embarrassingly distressed noise.
“You can’t,” John said, sounding panicky enough that Keller started to look suspicious. “I’ve used up all my hair products. I won’t be able to cover it up with a combover.”
Keller frowned and moved to check out the back of John’s head. His hand flew up to cover the bleeding cut just above his hairline. It would heal, damnit.
“Theoretically,” John said, striving for casual. “I’m absolutely fine.”
“Okay,” Keller pursed her mouth doubtfully. “I have some gel, if you want it?”
“What?” John’s head snapped up. Even with regular Daedelus runs, personal amenities were scarce. They’d run out of deodorant last quarter and it made training with the Marines…unpleasant. “And I could have– I mean, you’d be willing to trade?”
“I don’t ever use it,” Keller said, walking over to the medicine cabinet and pulling out some disinfectant. “Rodney gave it to me.”
“Why,” John whined manfully, knowing full well that McKay knew his gel stash was running low. “Would McKay give you hair gel if you didn’t use it?”
“Oh, he wanted me to use it,” Keller continued. “He kept asking me to spike up my hair in the front and to cut it short.”
“Huh,” John said. “Like Carter?”
“No, not really,” Keller said thoughtfully. “Really short, and he always kept messing my hair up whenever he’d see me.”
“Huh.” John said. “McKay never seems to like my hair.”
“I like your hair,” Keller said sympathetically. “Rodney’s just kinda weird about that stuff.”
“I – “ John cut himself off before he could say ‘know.’ He settled for raising his eyebrows.
“I mean, I talked to Katie Brown,” Keller said, warming to the topic. “Did you know that he proposed to her and then took it back? And I never got that far with him, but – “
She cut herself off suddenly, pursing her mouth.
“I really shouldn’t say…”
John pasted on his ‘charming the natives out of their zpm smile’ and leaned forward.
“Well,” Keller wavered and then smiled suddenly and leaned forward so that her nose was almost touching John’s. “I never went that far with Rodney, but Katie did, and apparently he kept trying to sleep with her in the puddle jumpers, and you know how much she hates flying.”
John had in fact, not known, but he nodded in agreement anyways.
“And she spent ages trying to find a tac vest, because he kept insisting that she wear one and the thigh holster she traded for gave her a rash, and he wouldn’t let her take it off.”
“Wow,” John said.
“I know,” Keller said gleefully. “He was so into role-playing; they did it almost every time. Who would have thought that about McKay?”
“Heh,” said John, considering. “I never would have guessed.”
“Oh, we would be happy to,” the pretty native girl of M2X-894 giggled and put her hands on her hips suggestively, “trade with such visitors as yourselves.”
John readjusted his aviators and smiled, cocking his hip out a bit.
“Well we’d be happy to trade with such nice people as yourselves,” John said. “Especially for all the, uh, bountiful assets you have, uh, here.”
McKay snorted in the background.
The pretty native girl giggled again. This was going to be an easy mission, John just knew it.
Rodney’s mouth was tight when he came into John’s room that night, armed with two life signs detectors and holding four empty manila folders labeled ‘military’ as cover.
“How’s that naqadah working out?” John asked as Rodney dumped his jacket on the chair and his folder on the desk.
“Fine,” Rodney said sourly as he bent down to untie his boots “Everybody’s thrilled.”
“Those nuts we got were pretty amazing,” John said with a gum baring smile. “Almost as amazing as my negotiation skills.”
Rodney motioned for John to start undressing himself. John kicked off his boots and started unbuttoning his shirt slowly for a bit of a show. Yah, he was just that good.
“Why do you do that?” Rodney burst out, staring at John’s emerging chest. “Why did you flirt with her if you only like it up the ass?”
John looked at Rodney without speaking, buttoning his shirt back up again slowly. He felt a rushing in his ears that made even his own voice sound muted and tinny. He couldn’t deal with this anymore. He was that good, damnit
“Me? How about you taking it up the ass, sucking cock, watching my ass during meditation. You’re obviously one of the gays in this room no matter what you say or who else you date!”
“Don’t say that,” Rodney said lowly, balling his fists at his sides. “I’m not.”
“I know about the hair gel,” John’s voice went quiet, and he could hear the bitterness in every word. “And the thigh holster and the sex in the puddle jumpers when I know lying on the floor gives you back pain.”
"No," Rodney said, stepping forward, face bright red. "You, don't know. Stop calling -"
“A queer? A fairy?” John said. “Because that’s what you -“
And Rodney shoved him, hard. If the damn golf club hadn’t been in the way, he could have righted himself, but as it was he was falling and pain was blooming on his face where he hit his eye on the bedpost before he found himself sprawled on the floor.
“Oh,” said Rodney, like he had been the one gay-bashed by his best friend.
John raised a hand to his eye, hissing as he checked for tenderness. He looked up at Rodney accusingly.
Rodney’s face was paper white and his eyes were huge in his face. As soon as John made eye contact he turned and rushed out of the room without saying a word.
“Huh,” said John to the empty room. “I guess that’s over.”
A little voice in his head that sounded a little bit like Valerie Bertinelli told him that it didn’t have to be over, that he could brush it off and apologize and have angry make-up sex where Rodney would pull at his hair until John was sure it was going to rip out of his scalp.
But then he stood up, straightened his shoulders and looked at himself in the mirror – the beginnings of a black eye, stitches on his forehead cutting a line down sad eyebrows. He looked like the star in the middle of a gay Lifetime movie.
“No.” John said to himself, finger gunning his reflection in the mirror. “I choose me. I’ve made my choice, and I choose me.”
“Hey there…buddy,” Rodney said to him the next day as John passed him in the hallway, twisting his hands nervously.
John just looked at him, not even bothering to move his eyebrows into the appropriate responsive position.
“Where are you going?”
“To play video golf,” John said flatly. “With Zelenka.” And he may have swaggered a bit as he walked past Rodney and down the hall.
Rodney disappeared for three days.
Well, everyone saw from the life signs detectors that he was in his room, and Sadie from Marine Biology swore that she had seen him coming out of the new psychologist Dr. Chandi's office.
But he didn't go into the labs, or the mess and he even missed the August birthday celebrations where there had been real chocolate cake.
Not that John cared. He ate the piece that had been put aside for Rodney. And it tasted really good.
dAtlantis told him that Rodney was trying to enter, but John just rolled over in bed, keeping his eyes trained on reading the latest mission reports. Let him break in if he wanted to see him so badly.
The door opened with a screech.
“Hey,” Rodney said softly from the doorway. “John?”
John rolled over and sat up. Rodney was standing in the doorway, looking nervous, wearing casual clothes and holding a book called ‘So You’re a Homo and a Phobe.’
“Look,” John said flatly at Rodney’s questioning look. “Since you been gone, I can breathe for the first time.”
“Is that a Kelly Clarkson quote?” Rodney said disbelievingly. “God, how gay are-“
John looked at him.
“I mean,” Rodney said, taking a deep breath. “I also enjoy Kelly Clarkson. Also Kylie Minogue.”
John looked at him with raised eyebrows. Rodney gulped and sat down in John’s desk chair.
“Because I am a homosexual,” Rodney said. “I am a homosexual and I am fine with it. It is a perfectly acceptable sexual orientation.”
“That’s been pretty obvious for a while now,” John said, crossing his arms.
“I know,” Rodney said, taking a deep breath and then speaking quickly. “And I know I’ve been horrible to you, and that I don’t deserve for you to forgive me, but I really, really, really like you, and I’ll never treat you like that again, and I’ve realized why I’ve been so hateful towards my inner gay –“
“So,” John interrupted. “Do you hate my inner gay too?”
“No!” Rodney said, sounding shocked. “I lov- enjoy your inner gay, I just didn’t like my inner gay.”
“Well, that’s not really what it sounded like,” John said crossly, but felt himself softening a little bit.
“I know,” Rodney mumbled. “I’m so sorry….John. I just didn’t want me to be gay.”
“It’s just that –just that” Rodney took a deep breath. “Remember I told you about the piano teacher I told you about? Who told me that I had no soul?”
“Well, he was gay.” Rodney looked at him expectantly. John blinked. “He wore velvet purple pants.”
“So you hate gays because once one was mean to you?” John probably shouldn’t have been close to laughter at Rodney’s heartfelt confession.
“Also, because he obviously had soul, and was gay, and since I had to creative talent whatsoever, obviously I could not be a homosexual.”
“Nope,” John burst out laughing. “You used up that excuse six months ago when you blamed the piano teacher for your inability to run a six minute mile.”
“Oh.” Rodney frowned. “When I was in high school, the other kids called me queer? Like it was a bad thing?”
John rolled his eyes.
“And…” Rodney paused and looked shiftily around the room. “I was worried you wouldn’t like me if you knew I was gay?”
John knew his laugh sounded stupid, but at times like these, he just couldn’t help it.
“American Military!” Rodney burst out, mouth twitching up on one side. “I can’t be gay; I work for the American Military!”
“You’re Canadian,” John wheezed out. “And when I was in Afghanistan, two guys in the Canadian platoon got married in a beautiful military ceremony in the desert.”
“Uh,” Rodney’s shoulders were shaking with suppressed laughter.
“Face it,” John said, feeling suddenly serious. “You’re just a dick.”
“Yah,” Rodney said, putting his hand over John’s and stroking his palm softly. “But a dick who likes dick.”
“Well as long as you admit it,” John snorted, gesturing at his crotch, “You can start making it up to this dick.”
And they lived happily ever after, and it was John who got cold feet ten minutes before their wedding on the pier and had to be dragged out of the armory kicking and screaming by three lieutenants and Ronon.
But it was all worth it, in the end.
Uh, no beta, so if you see anything, pls help a fangirl out and let me know. Title from a Moffats' song. WHAT.
Also, go comment, so I know that I'm hallucinating that I'm posting this fic.