.man of action (the bite the bullet remix)
[mckay/sheppard. pg. 1402 Words. post-Sunday (with major hints for trinity.]
Rodney McKay has never seen the need for divulging feelings by words.
Rodney McKay has never seen the need for divulging feelings by words. He’s never seen the need for divulging feelings, period, but especially by mouth. It’s not that he’s not good at using his mouth. He’s ripped people to shreds just by screaming in their faces and he has a list tacked to his wall of the names of people he’s made cry just by talking to them. Still, he doesn’t understand why he has to tell people how he feels, anymore than he has to show them.
John Sheppard, however, is someone that makes Rodney want to scream his feelings from the rooftops. It's irrational, stupid and ridiculous to feel that way but it didn’t change the fact that he wanted to.
He settled for the intermediate, knowing Sheppard felt by actions rather than words.
When they had first brought Atlantis awake with every footstep, Rodney didn’t know John beyond stupid hair, acerbic remarks via helicopter flight and lighting up the Antarctica base with Ancient Technology. He had no desire to get to know Sheppard, either, knowing that they were as different as night and day and he’d suffered at the expense of people like Sheppard.
Still, that didn’t stop them forming a friendship as strong as though they’d been friends for years.
When he left the infirmary after receiving the ATA gene, the first person he went to was Sheppard. It didn’t even cross his mind to go to anybody else, because if someone was going to know how awesome this thing was, it would be Sheppard.
“Shoot me,” Rodney said, the moment he was in the door to John’s office.
John was doing paperwork, something so totally un-Sheppard, that Rodney was glad he had interrupted. This was so much more interesting. "What?” The look on Sheppard’s face only amused Rodney more. “Are you crazy?”
“Look, if I’m right, I’ll be fine,” he grinned. “Just, look, just shoot me.”
John shrugged and stood. Rodney was afraid for a moment that Sheppard didn’t trust him and was about to re-think the idea, when Sheppard pulled out his nine mil, aiming for Rodney’s leg. “You sure?”
With a nod, Rodney sucked in a breath as John pulled the trigger. The bullet ricocheted off of something, just as Rodney predicted, and they both ducked as the bullet whizzed past and embedded in the wall. Rodney let out a whoop. “That was-“
“Cool,” Sheppard interrupted and he grinned.
Rodney was elated and he clapped his hands together, eager to try something better. “Care to try something else?”
John was already following him out of the door, almost bouncing with mischief. Rodney already knew that having John push him off a balcony was the best way to show Sheppard that he appreciated this, this thing Sheppard was doing for him.
When Rodney had first started going through the many gadgets and devices the Ancients had left behind, he’d frequently called on Beckett and Kusanagi, and later, after the siege, he’d even brought Lorne in to help. Still, Rodney preferred to call Sheppard.
Maybe it was because he liked the way Sheppard would stare at him, waiting for the next device. The way he’d grin and joke and even play Prime/Not Prime with a fervour even Radek couldn’t match.
“Colonel Sheppard, can you come down to the labs?”
He didn’t bother saying please and when Sheppard replied, he made no outward sign that he’d expected it. “Now?”
“Yes, yes now.”
It never took more than five minutes for Sheppard to arrive, all lean and slacking and the smirk that never left his face, even when Rodney saw the flash of irritation in his eyes. Rodney always wondered why John hung around, why he agreed, when he really didn’t want to.
To show that Rodney appreciated John coming down when he called, he always saved the best and brightest devices for him.
Rodney would never admit it to anybody else, but when Sheppard first asked him to be on the team, had little interest in being part of the team beyond being their scientist and occasionally running for his life. After time, though, and after Ford, he went out of his way to be a better team-mate. Out of regret, or out of this feeling that was growing between them. He trained with Teyla, Ronon and Lorne and if they never told Sheppard, if he never told Sheppard, it was only because he wanted toshow Sheppard that he could do this, that he could be someone Sheppard could be proud of.
When it came to saving Sheppard’s life, Rodney was only too glad to do so. He needed Sheppard around. He was the only person who didn’t exasperate Rodney so much he wanted to kill him. Well, only sometimes and it was far less than anybody else. Still, they claimed they took turns, but Rodney knew Sheppard was far, far ahead and even if he continued to save Sheppard’s life for the next twenty years, he would probably never match up.
It would be enough, he realised, if Sheppard continued to look at him like that when he came out of the infirmary.
Then Rodney blew up five sixths of a solar system.
This time, his actions had done the complete opposite of showing Sheppard how he felt. After weeks of avoidance and clipped tones, Rodney realised that maybe it didn’t matter anymore, all this work he’d put in, and the plan he’d devised. Sheppard wanted nothing more to do with him and had made it more than clear.
He wondered if it would ever be possible to earn Sheppard’s trust back.
After Sheppard’s transformation into a bug, after thinking he was going to lose him, that Sheppard was going to die, Rodney knew that the plan was the only thing he had – the only way he could show Sheppard he’d do whatever it took.
After the machine that had Rodney almost die, and Sheppard trying to help him ascend, Rodney couldn’t think of any way to show Sheppard how he felt better than asking him to read his eulogy.
Sheppard was the only one he trusted not to be unkind, to be truthful.
When Carson died, in such a stupid, stupid way, Rodney realised that actions could only go so far. Sometimes, he reasoned, sometimes you just had to say something.
When he looked at Sheppard across Carson’s coffin – god, Carson - he saw the look on his face and ducked his head. There was nothing he could say that would tell Sheppard what he wanted, what he needed and he started straight ahead, still feeling the burn of Sheppard’s look on his face even when he himself had turned away.
After the funeral, after the masses of Carson’s family had thanked him for things he didn’t understand, he retreated to his hotel room, unable to handle the sympathy and the regret on their faces. Rodney pressed his face to the window of his room, cursing the fact that tears were blotting his eyes, running down his cheeks.
He should have known, really, that John would notice.
“Open up, buddy.”
Shaking his head, Rodney moved to open the door and let him in. He just stared at Sheppard – John – and opened his mouth to say something, anything, when John, unexpectedly, pulled him into a hug. Rodney stiffened on instinct. John hadn’t touched him – not really – since Duranda and he didn’t dare hope –
John’s grip didn’t loosen and Rodney lost the little control he had, relaxing in John’s arms and pressing his face into John’s neck. He was shaking, he knew that, and twisted a hand around the back of John’s jacket. Rodney felt himself being steered to the bed and followed willingly. Still he did not cry. Tears blurred his vision, but they didn’t fall and he just stayed there, feeling the thump thump of John’s heartbeat.
I’m alive, it said. Rodney breathed out, slow and steady. I’m alive. I’m alive.
John was always there, to put him back together and Rodney pulled away, searching John’s face. He wanted to say something, now, something that John couldn’t refute, couldn’t deny and he realised what it was he could say.
Rodney pressed forward and kissed him.
I’m alive, too. He said. I’m alive too and I want you and I’m sorry.
For everything, or nothing, it didn’t really matter. John understood, he always had, what Rodney wanted to say.