Bright Ideas by alyse [ - ]
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Category: Stargate: Atlantis > Slash
Characters: John Sheppard, Rodney McKay
Rating: PG-13
Genres: Humour
Warnings: None

Summary: Most days he can trade the man snark for snark without breaking a sweat, and he has to admit that there's a twisted kind of fun in it.

Author's Notes: Response to the first line challenge meme on livejournal. This is a response to a first line of one of helsinkibaby's stories.


"Whose bright idea was this?"

And, just like that, McKay's off again. John hunches his shoulders and surges ahead, hoping that even if he can't shut the man up, at least he can put some distance between them before McKay starts on another little tirade. And there will be another one - there's always another one.

Most days he can cope with McKay's slightly nasal whine; he's grown used to it, like he's grown used to most things since he fell through the rabbit hole, right into his own little looking-glass world. Hell, most days he can trade the man snark for snark without breaking a sweat, and he has to admit that there's a twisted kind of fun in it.

Today, that's not all that's twisted. His ankle gave out when McKay slid down a wet bank and landed on top of him, and the man isn't light. It throbs with every step, while he's forced to put on a stoic face and pretend that he's not listening to McKay's breathless running commentary on just how screwed they are.

In fact, the whole of today has been twisted - they've run and slithered and hidden from natives who are too damned close to waving pitchforks and flaming torches for John's liking, and for the life of him he can't figure out why. He'd like to blame McKay for it, but he has a strong suspicion that the foot that got put into it may have been his own, twisted or not. His record at opening his mouth at the wrong time isn't that much better than McKay's, but this time he has no idea what the hell either of them could have said to provoke this reaction.

He knows damned well that the Chief's daughter wasn't that pretty, so he couldn't have been staring that much, right? Besides, that would be McKay's fault. She was a damned sight easier on the eyes than McKay, and he'd been bored, and that was the only reason he'd been looking at all.


Teyla might have known what they'd done, but Teyla and Ford are off in the other direction, safe but too far away to put between himself and McKay. Or even between he and McKay, and someone else. No, they're safe and dry and probably laughing their asses off while he and McKay trudge through mud and rain and try to avoid some half-assed local yokels with bad hair, bad teeth and a very bad attitude.

All in all, it's not been one of his better days. Particularly not now the rain is running down the back of his neck.

"I said -"

"I heard you the first time, McKay."

He thought he'd made it perfectly clear from his tone that that was the end of the matter, but apparently McKay wasn't listening. McKay never listens. It's one of his less endearing traits, and the man has quite a few. Like the way he waves his hands around when he talks, which makes watching them irresistible and leaves John wondering if McKay is as enthusiastically tactile in every situation that gets him excited. Or the way that McKay's mouth quirks downwards when he's working himself up into a fine state of pissyness, which has the unfortunate effect of making him look like the monkey mascot John had for college football. A then girlfriend had given it to him because she thought it was cute, and he'd kind of grown used to having it around, carting it all over the world for the next several years as a sort of good luck charm, right up until his luck ran out.

Or the way that McKay keeps pulling surprises out of his ass just when John thought he had him pegged down, doing something stupidly heroic or self-sacrificing or outrageously brilliant. And while he gets that McKay is brilliant - like he'd be allowed to forget - he kind of thought that he filled the 'stupidly heroic' niche. Well, he or Ford, and most of the time Ford is way too smart to be that stupid.

He hopes so anyway, because he hates to think that he's rubbing off on Ford to that extent.

"And yet, amazingly, you're not listening!"

Nope. McKay is definitely not picking up on the 'I'm tired, wet, cold and fucking miserable, so don't want to hear it' vibe that he's sending out. He wonders if it's some kind of emotional dyslexia, so that when McKay listens to what people are saying he actually hears something completely different. Instead of 'please shut the fuck up, now', he hears some random jumble of words that mean something like 'please feel free to bitch, moan and complain at me some more.'

"That's because, amazingly, you're still talking!"

McKay waves his arms around again at that, looking like a strangely energised scarecrow; wet, muddy and very, very pissed. "Yes, strangely enough, Major, that's one of the primary methods of communication in our species. Talking. Vocalising. Actually saying words to another person, and expecting them to listen."

He's getting a headache. He's wet and cold and miserable and just when he's about to open his mouth and tell McKay that, the skies open and he's suddenly even more wet and cold and miserable than before. And McKay... McKay's just staring upwards with this stunned expression on his face as the torrential downpour continues, and then he looks back at John, and this time his expression says that somehow this is All His Fault.

On the plus side, at least he won't have to listen to McKay any longer. If the rain doesn't actually drown them, at least the sound of it will drown McKay out.



"Oh, this is just peachy!" McKay bellows. Peachy? Who the hell says 'peachy'? Is 'peachy' even a word? The hands are flashing around faster now, and while part of John - the part that stays quiet and watches everything - registers that as a potential threat, the rest of him is torn between being really, really pissed and being amused at the fact that there's this filthy scarecrow guy in front of him doing the 'I'm so mad I've got ants in my pants' dance.

It's so surreal, and he's so mad and sore and goddamned tired, that it's skirting close to funny.

"I'm wet, I'm cold, my ass hurts!" Since McKay's ass landed on John's stomach, he's not too sympathetic about that one. "I've been chased over half the country by people who should be out screwing their sheep or something..." Okay. Maybe that's a Canadian thing. "And I'm stuck out here, trailing around after a gung-ho asshole who won't even admit that he's lost!"

"I am not lost!"

The rebuttal is automatic, but it doesn't stop McKay, who moves closer, his hands still flashing. "And we can't even stop and ask directions - not that you would, of course - because you had to make goo-goo eyes at yet another underage bimbette! Do you ever keep it in your pants, Sheppard?"

Now, that's just patently unfair. He can't remember the last time he had it out of his pants, at least not when he had company. It doesn't help that at that moment lightening flashes overhead, which does nothing for his looming headache and frankly reminds him a mite too much of all the bad horror movies he watched as a teenager, particularly as it lights up the planes of McKay's face in a way that screams 'creepy axe murderer'. But, again on the plus side, the accompanying thunder drowns out what McKay says next. He doesn't need to hear it anyway. All he needs is to see McKay's mouth opening and closing, and feel McKay's breath puff against his face as the man leans in closer, still yelling about something.

All it takes is for McKay's eyes to flash a little more wildly, lit up by the storm overhead and then reaching out to grab hold of McKay's jacket to pull him closer is also automatic. The noise abates just enough for him to hear what McKay says next.

"Oh, that's just great! What are you going to do now, Sheppard? Lay one on me?"

He considers this for a moment. Well, McKay is always insisting that he's always right, and far be it from John to prove him wrong this time. That would just be cruel.

So he lays one on him. As requested.

McKay's mouth is wet, like the jaw line that slides beneath John's fingers. He tastes vaguely of rain water, flavoured with a hint of mud but, unlike McKay's soaked skin, his mouth isn't cold. It's hot. Amazingly hot. Hot and wet and soft, and McKay makes some sound, deep in the back of his throat, which, strangely, John can hear over the sound of the rain. In fact, John hears everything as his tongue slides in deeper, just to see if he can get McKay to make that sound again; feels every whimper that McKay lets out deep in his chest. Swallows them down as McKay's fingers curl against the damp, heavy fabric of John's jacket and John tastes something more than the weather. Something like McKay; as sharp and bitter and complex as the man himself.

If this was a movie, the rain would have stopped by the time John finally pulls back and stares down at McKay's stunned face. The rain would have stopped and the sun would have come out and there would probably be some birds too, some symbolism or metaphor for the storm having passed; but it's not a movie and it stays dark, cold and miserable. His ankle still hurts, his clothes still cling, cold and clammy, to his skin, and the water is still running down the back of his neck, making him twitch and long for the basic comforts of the 'jumper.

Blessedly, McKay stays quiet the whole way back, just stumbles along in John's wake as he limps towards the 'Gate, stoicism be damned. McKay's expression is still dazed, and more than once John has to grab him by the arm and pull him in the right direction to stop him from falling down another bank, into another newly formed stream. And if John's hand lingers a little longer than needed, well, McKay doesn't object. In fact McKay doesn't do much of anything at all, except blink occasionally and lick his lips every now and then in a way that makes John smirk in spite of the rain and the cold and the fact that his ankle is killing him.

There's something telling in that silence, although what it's saying John isn't quite sure of yet.

But on the plus side...

On the plus side, he may actually have found a way to shut the man up.

The End