Title: Happiness is...
Word Count: 865
Notes: A ficlet inspired by a couple of fics I've read recently which end on the shmoopy note of 'I love you'. McKay has never struck me as a man who could just leave it there... :)
John said, ‘I love you’ and then he sucked on Rodney’s bottom lip. He smelled of musk and gun oil and the ocean, and his hands were hot as they worked their way under Rodney’s shirt.
“Oh, thank god,” said Rodney, his heart pounding so hard in his chest he thought he might pass out.
Later, pleasure dried into stickiness, with John’s head sprawled on his chest in sleep, ridiculous cowlicks tickling him, and his back bent into the most pleasant of pretzels, Rodney thought, this is perfect. Just perfect.
And he knew he was completely happy.
For approximately 3.6 seconds.
“But what precisely do you love about me?” Rodney asked, later still.
John looked up, his green eyes dark and hazy with sleep.
“Obviously there’s the brilliant mind – and who couldn’t love that – and the commanding personality, that’s a given. But I need to know, Colonel – what do you specifically love about me?”
Instead, John dragged a protesting mouth to his own and silenced him, because that was what John did.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, it didn’t stop Rodney thinking.
“What was the first thing that you loved me for?” continued Rodney, as they sat in the jumper and watched the ashes of yet another long dead civilization twist and turn in the void.
John raised an eyebrow.
“Please, I really want to know,” Rodney insisted, “Because it may surprise you to learn that not everyone I’ve ever loved has felt the same way.”
He took a deep breath.
“I could really do with knowing what it was, so just humour me, Colonel, all right?”
So John did. After all, he was good at humouring Rodney.
“Did you really fall in love with my mouth? That doesn’t make any sense,” Rodney suggested another day, as he fired wildly over the heads of the suddenly retreating villagers.
“Scientifically speaking, I know people choose their mates based on symmetry of feature, and smoothness of skin tone, all indicating a basic healthiness and ability to breed. Although obviously in our case those criterion are wasted and ridiculous, nevertheless all the voodoo and soft squishy sciences I’ve ever indifferently glanced at indicates that…”
John took Rodney’s emptied handgun and carefully replaced the expended clip, whilst keeping an eye out for further hostiles. The woods were quiet, except for Rodney.
“Falling in love with a crooked mouth, makes no sense, Colonel. No sense at all.”
“Oh, please. You can’t really love me, Colonel. It’s ridiculous.”
Rodney stood with his hands on his hips and glared at John. After all, that was what he was good at.
John rolled his eyes.
“After all, there are scales for this sort of thing, and it’s a demonstrable fact that As tend to pair with As and Bs with Bs. Despite my clearly superior intelligence and genius, I am still willing to admit – in an extremely limited way, mind you, and in private only – that I might, possibly, remotely, not be an A. But you are, clearly. An A that is. You shouldn’t even be with me. Don’t try to deny it.”
John picked up his sports bag, and threw his towel around his shoulders, before heading off to the showers.
“Oh, oh – don’t even bother to deny it then. You see, I am a genius – I knew I was right,” said Rodney, in triumph.
Though he wasn’t entirely sure what it was that he’d won.
Rodney stuck his chin out defiantly. “I know you don’t love me, Colonel.”
John looked confused, and Rodney rushed on before it was too late.
“I know you might think you do, but you see, it’s scientifically impossible. All empirical evidence suggests that anyone as ridiculously gorgeous and bright and desired as you, couldn’t possibly end up with someone like me, so that you had to come up with a reasonable suggestion that I might believe to explain it, something that would present a reasonable hypothesis – like love – something that you hoped I wouldn’t question and see through for the fallacy that it is.”
John looked at Rodney in the light of the setting sun, high above Atlantis, on their favourite balcony. Rodney found his hands wouldn’t stay still, and that he was having trouble meeting John’s eye. Which was ridiculous.
John shook his head and then left the balcony.
Rodney had the satisfaction of knowing he was a genius.
“Umm. I know this is… Well, what I mean to say… I’ll try not to let any incipient awkwardness interfere with our working relationship,” said Rodney, latest of all.
Until John dragged him out of the mess hall, down the corridor, and into their favourite closet. And then he kissed him.
Rodney actually let him, he was so surprised.
“All right,” John growled against his skin, “I don’t love you. Is that better? Is that what you wanted? Will you just quit it now? If you like, I’ll spend the rest of my life not loving you – in fact I’ll prove to you how much I don’t love you, every single day.”
“Oh, thank god,” said Rodney, the weight lifting from his chest at last.
He never had coped very well with happiness.