Written for skitz_phenom in the 2010 SGA Santa.
John loved the holidays, always had -- turkey, football,
presents; who doesn't love presents? - but it occurred to him that there
might be such a thing as taking the spirit a little too far.
The city was trussed up like a Vegas stripper, adorned from top to bottom
with glittery, dangly things. They'd come up with a tree and had stationed
it in the corner of the mess, strung it with all kinds of stock clip-art
ornaments and topped it off with something that John figured was supposed
to be garland, but looked suspiciously like a feather boa. And in the
center of it all, someone had hung a not-quite-mistletoe on the frame
above the door.
That thing that was creeping John out. First of all, it didn't even
look like a mistletoe - it was pink, and kind of sparkly, and rumor had it
that sometimes, without warning, it started to glow.
It didn't take long before he discovered the truth of that for himself,
almost colliding with McKay at the door to the mess as he was heading to
lunch. Rodney was coming out with a slab of what looked like roast beef in
one hand and a mug in the other, his cheeks swollen with food, and he
nodded in greeting, offering a short, muffled "Colonel" as he passed by.
John winced a half-hearted smile back at him, but instead of the familiar
combination of amusement and mild disgust he usually experienced when he
saw McKay eat, suddenly nothing felt familiar at all. Because John was,
presumably, still walking - but suddenly he wasn't moving anymore.
He struggled, purely out of instinct, but the invisible obstruction was
solid and strong and surrounding him in all directions. John could tell
the moment Rodney realized this too, because suddenly Rodney was looking
directly at him, cheeks still puffed with food but his jaw no longer
moving, as together they glanced around for some indication of what the
hell was going on.
Looking up, John noticed the fake mistletoe -- now glowing a cheerful,
radiant red -- at the same time Rodney did.
Ten minutes later, after they'd both done their best mime-in-a-box
impressions - the only thing left they could think of to try, since their
radios didn't seem to be working and nobody seemed to notice them just
standing there - Rodney suddenly shrugged, leaned forward, and kissed
John right on the mouth. A moment later the force field was gone, as
quickly and abruptly as it had appeared, and he and Rodney were once again
free to move.
"What the hell was that?" John sputtered, gaping at Rodney.
"Um," Rodney said, looking as stunned as John felt. "No idea? Some kind of
force field, I suppose-"
"And you thought you'd just kiss me and break the spell? Do I look
like a Disney princess to you, McKay?"
Rodney crossed his arms over his chest defensively. "It worked, didn't
"Yeah, it worked, but I would have thought you'd try something a little
Rodney rolled his eyes. "It's a mistletoe." He pointed up at the
device. "To the lab?"
Theoretically, bringing the device to the lab should have been the best
course of action, but things got complicated by the fact that every time
John and Rodney got near the device, it re-activated. John was generally
fine with the idea of taking one for the team now and then, but after the
fourth formation of the force field - and, subsequently, the fourth kiss
required to shut the damn thing off - he was starting to feel a little
ridiculous, not to mention a little used. Rodney kissed like a total slut,
and John was pretty sure there'd been tongue involved in that last one.
"Hm. Maybe we should ask someone else to get it down for us," Rodney
John scowled. "Gee, you think?"
"There's really no need to be churlish, Colonel," Rodney said. "After all,
I'm not the one who suggested that we take an as-yet-unknown Ancient
technological device and hang it from the ceiling."
John tapped his radio, while Rodney, perhaps wisely, moved off to the
side. "Zelenka, I need you in the mess. Now."
"Huh," Rodney said thoughtfully, as a trio of Marines walked by.
John turned back to him. "What?"
"It's just that - correct me if I'm wrong," Rodney said, "but this
situation doesn't seem to be affecting anyone else."
"How do you -" John glanced back at the doorway, watching for a moment as
several more people walked through the doorway undisturbed. "Wait, what
exactly does that mean, McKay?"
"I can't be entirely sure," Rodney said vaguely, "but I do have at least
three working hypotheses, so would you mind going away now?"
John glared at him, then glared up at the thing hanging in the doorway,
and then glared back at Rodney again. Rodney was rocking back and forth on
the balls of his feet, muttering something about the possible
ramifications -- not to mention the practical applications! -- of an
utterly undetectable method of suspending space and time, but John pretty
much tuned him out because none of the words sounded anything like
"Eureka! I know just what to do!"
"Fine," John said, sighing. Another day in the freaking Pegasus Galaxy.
"But find a way to get that thing down, would you? And then get it to the
lab and figure out what the hell it is."
Later that night John was lying in bed, steadfastly not thinking
about Rodney's mouth, when someone knocked on the door to his quarters.
John thought the door open and Rodney strode in already talking, as if
they'd been in the middle of a conversation.
"So it seems that not only is the force-field invisible, but anything that
occurs inside it is also invisible."
John didn't even bother asking how McKay had gotten the mistletoe down. He
was reasonably sure he didn't want to know. "Which means - what, exactly?"
"It means," Rodney said, "that no one outside the field can see what's
happening inside the field. In fact, there's absolutely no external
indication whatsoever that the anomaly even exists."
"Great," John drawled, without enthusiasm. "So, it's just a really good
place to hide."
"No, no, you're not getting it," Rodney said. "Look, from outside, it
appears that everyone is walking directly through the doorway, without
hesitation, no matter how long they get trapped in the field." He looked
at John expectantly, excitement flushing his cheeks. It was, John admitted
uncomfortably, a really, really good look for him. "In other words, it
seems that the field is completely independent of all normal space-time
"So the ten minutes we spent inside that thing-"
"... was ten minutes to us, yes, but in real time, it was no more
than the few seconds it normally takes to cross the threshold," Rodney
John ran a hand through his hair and blew out a breath. "Whoa."
"Yes, exactly. Whoa!"
"And - what, it just randomly selects people to trap in there together?"
"I -- no, I don't believe it's entirely random," Rodney said. "In fact, I
had Radek run trials all evening, and out of the twenty-four pairs who
walked through the doorway, only five reported getting trapped by the
field. Three of those admitted to having a mutual - shall we say, elevated
level of affection?, while the other two pairings were as surprised by the
device's response as you and I were." He paused, looking thoughtful. "I
admit, it's nowhere near my usual level of scientific experimentation, but
one does what one can with what's available, and -- but wait, I haven't
even told you the most interesting part."
John still wasn't sure where all this was headed, but he had the sinking
feeling that there was something Rodney wasn't telling him. Something he
really, really ought to know. "Which is...?"
"As I suspected, the device doesn't respond at all to purely one-sided
affections. It seems to be activated only by pairings where both users
have...ah, more amorous feelings. Toward each other, that is. Whether they
know it or not."
John's jaw went slack. "It's a matchmaker?"
"No, no," Rodney said, with a dismissive wave. "Well, sort of? To be
accurate, it's more of a... a mutual-wish-fulfillment-generation device."
John took a deep breath and released it slowly. "McKay, are you trying to
say that you and I -" He would not complete that sentence. He would
"It would appear so, yes," Rodney said with a grimace. "But if it's any
consolation, Colonel, I'm really as surprised by this as you are. I mean,
granted, you're not entirely unattractive, despite those unfortunate ears,
and of course the hair, but I'm sure my preference for blondes hasn't gone
unnoticed, and I really do like my lovers to have br--"
"Rodney," John said warningly.
"Right. Yes. Well, I should be going - can't let something like this get
into the wrong hands, especially with all you repressed American soldiers
wandering around." Rodney turned to leave, but turned back at the door,
eyeing John curiously. "You know, just to put it out there, I wouldn't be
completely averse to--"
"Out," John snapped, nudging Rodney out the door, and locking it
behind him as loudly as he could manage.
The following morning, at breakfast, John knew right away that something
was different. It was nothing he could put his finger on, exactly; just a
few distractions he was sure had never been there before -- like the way
Cadman and Beckett were smiling at each other, or the way Elizabeth kept
glancing nervously at Zelenka. Shaking his head, he filled his tray and
headed toward his team, plunking his tray on the table in his usual space
next to Rodney. Thankfully, Rodney still seemed to be normal-Rodney, and
while John couldn't really imagine any other time when he'd be relieved
that was the case, right now it was definitely better than any of the
In fact, it turned out that Rodney was acting so completely normal that
John was starting to think maybe he should feel a little insulted. After
all, they'd practically been making out only hours before, and even if
John absolutely didn't want either one of them to ever acknowledge that
fact in any way, the truth was, he wasn't used to being so easily
dismissed by someone he'd been kissing only hours before. But Rodney was
talking and eating and acting as if nothing had occurred between them at
all, and by the time John finished his meal, he was feeling more than a
"The lights are certainly beautiful," Teyla was saying, gesturing toward
the dozens of brightly-lit sconces that had been hung on the wall around
the room. "Where did they find them?"
"Would you believe they once asked me to build some?" Rodney said, through
a mouthful of food. "Like I don't have anything more important to do."
"Guess they figured it out without you," John said.
"Yes, and it's a miracle they didn't kill someone in the process," Rodney
countered. "First they tried to devise a device powered by a control
crystal, which obviously was never going to work. Then they tried to
re-route the electrical pulse from a taser, and almost destroyed half my
lab. Then they asked Radek to try and reverse-engineer a controlled energy
burst from Ronon's stun-gun." He snorted. "As if that's even possible."
Ronon grinned at him. "Tried it already, huh?"
"Six months ago," Rodney admitted, sounding glum.
"Could they not have used torches?" asked Teyla.
"Please," Rodney said. "Open flames? Someone could get seriously hurt. And
by someone, I mean me."
John leaned back in his chair and nudged Rodney's knee with his own. "I
would have suggested capturing some of those glowy space bugs."
Rodney rolled his eyes at him. "Yes, you would, wouldn't you."
"Come on, Rodney. You have to admit they were pretty cool."
"Actually I don't, but I'm not at all surprised you think so," Rodney said
curtly, but he smiled before ducking his head and returning his focus to
shoveling mass quantities of potatoes into his mouth, and inexplicably,
John felt his irritation slip away.
It was wrong, John told himself later, lying awake in his bed long
after he should have fallen asleep. No matter what some Ancient device
thought it knew, the idea of kissing Rodney McKay hadn't ever occurred to
John before. In fact, John thought it pretty safe to say that kissing
Rodney McKay had consistently been the furthest possible thing from John's
Well, except maybe that once -- but only that once, and that was just
gratitude. Mostly. Probably. John was pretty sure.
And okay, there was also that other time, but that was because Rodney had
helped John kill that mostly-invincible Wraith, and damn it, they'd both
had a really rough day.
He turned onto his back and stared up at the shadowed ceiling. Okay, so
maybe he did have some kind of thing for McKay. It wasn't all that
surprising, really - McKay was damn smart, which was always a turn-on, and
funny when he let himself go a little, and really, he was a stand-up guy
when it came down to the really important things. And there was no point
in denying that he was actually kind of cute, in a weird,
really-not-cute-at-all kind of way, at least sometimes, like when he was
red-faced and practically apoplectic. John smiled. Yeah, especially then.
Groaning inwardly, he rolled onto his stomach and pulled the pillow over
his head. It's a crush, he told himself; a stupid crush, that was all, it
was nothing to panic about, and he would just ignore it until it went
away. Which it would. Eventually. Wouldn't be a problem at all.
And it wasn't -- not until two days later, when John walked into Rodney's
lab and found him playing with some other new ancient tech they'd just
found; holding it, stroking it, his face flushed with excitement again,
and John had to turn around and head right back out of the lab before
somebody saw the hard-on tenting his BDU's.
Or the day after that during a routine staff meeting, when John was
supposed to be briefing Elizabeth on upcoming off-world missions but
instead found himself staring helplessly as Rodney lifted a coffee mug to
his lips with one hand and typed notes on his tablet with the other -- and
suddenly John couldn't think about anything except getting his mouth on
Or once again two days after that, when they discovered not one but
two fully-charged ZPMs hidden away on a planet that was otherwise empty
and long-abandoned. The whole way back to Atlantis, Rodney had held the
ZPMs on his lap, cooing and purring and smiling dreamily as he caressed
them, while John palmed the jumper's controls and nursed a completely
irrational anger toward mistletoe, the Ancients, and the Pegasus galaxy in
general - not to mention his own cock, which had always been so friendly
and predictable before, but now seemed to think that Rodney McKay was the
greatest fucking discovery of all time.
As was bound to happen, it came to a head that very same night. John had
been steadfastly ignoring Rodney all evening, avoiding eye contact and
evading all of Rodney's attempts to draw him into a conversation about his
precious ZPMs. He had every intention of excusing himself as early as
possible without seeming obvious, and retreating into his quarters to find
a way to get his head back on straight. So to speak.
Rodney, however, was having none of it. "Look," he said, following John
into his quarters before John had a chance to lock the door against him.
"I get that you're a little freaked out by this. Seriously, I do."
"I don't know what you're talking about."
Rodney ignored that. "But I've been thinking about this quite a bit, and
it's my opinion that we might as well make the best of it. I mean, you've
obviously been lusting secretly after my body for quite some time, and
I... well, let's just say I wouldn't throw you out of my bed-"
"Rodney," John said warningly, "I am not having this conversation."
"Yes. Yes, you're right," Rodney said, nodding. "You're absolutely right -
we shouldn't talk about this anymore. No more talking." And with that, he
walked right up to John and kissed him on the mouth.
It wasn't much of a kiss at first; hesitant, chaste, a mere brushing of
Rodney's lips against his, but then John's mouth fell open in surprise and
Rodney took advantage of that, and all of John's denials flew the
proverbial coop the moment Rodney's tongue entered his mouth. For a
moment, he was too surprised to do anything but stand there, but then he
leaned in toward Rodney and the kiss slanted into something hungrier, as
if Rodney had been waiting for John to push him away and had finally
realized that he wasn't going to. By the time they finally broke apart for
air, they were both panting hard.
"Listen," Rodney said breathlessly. "I just want you to know that I didn't
- I mean, if I had, I wouldn't have - really, I had no idea."
"Me neither," John said, staring at Rodney's mouth. "But now-"
Rodney nodded. "Yeah. God, yeah, me too."
"Good," John whispered. He swallowed, hard. "Good." And then they were
kissing again, Rodney's hands solid on John's chest, pushing him backwards
toward the bed.
Rodney McKay, John thought wildly. Who knew? Then again,
he'd seen wormholes and stargates and a thousand unimaginable things in
the Pegasus Galaxy, so he closed his eyes and went with it, figuring that
kissing McKay was actually not very shocking at all.