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[ tomorrow might be a good day ]
Listen to it in podfic form, as read by me, here!
Hm,’ Rodney said from somewhere to the right of him. If he opened his eyes he could probably tell exactly where he was and what he was doing but he was enjoying the slight swaying of the breeze on his face and the feeling of floating.
Why are you here?’
Here in the garden getting drunk with you, here for the wedding, or just in general, here in existence?’
John smirked, resting his hands on his belly. Here, in the garden, getting drunk with me.’
Because parties have never been my forte, I´m a notorious loudmouth anyway, and your bride´s mother was already giving me the evil eye on my second drink.’
John tries to squash the vague disappointment and opens his eyes, sitting up on his elbows. Well. The garden´s as good a place as any to hide, I suppose.’
Hm,’ Rodney hums, and it turns out he´s sitting right next to John, his knee bumping into his hip as he turns to face him. Which would explain why this is where I found you, wouldn´t it?’
John arches an eyebrow. You were looking, were you?’
Yes I was looking, were I,’ Rodney parroted back, lifting the bottle of hooch up to his lips and knocking back a good two gulps before handing it back to John.
Well, Professor,’ John said, taking it and relishing in the whole two seconds of electricity that passed through him as his fingers touched Rodney´s. You´ve found me.’
Stop calling me professor, if you insist on giving me a title let it be doctor,’ Rodney mumbles, staring off over the pond, the moonlight lighting up his face just enough for John to see the blue of his eyes. So why are you hiding?’
Parties aren´t my forte either,’ John answered, smirking. Or. Perhaps they´re a little too my forte.’
Ah, a sloppy, grabby drunk does not a socialite make, I see,’ Rodney said, smirking back at him.
Grabby,’ John yelped, eyes widening. I´m not grabby!’
Oh, that´s right, that´s Elizabeth,’ Rodney said, nodding, looking at John out of the corner of his eye. That was your ass she was pinching, was it not? Or was there lint I couldn´t see?’
John felt his face flush. The question seems to be, why were you looking so closely at my ass that you could, or could not as the case may be, see lint?’
Rodney snorted. Well, when the long red painted talons of one Dr. Weir trailed down your back to play a little grab ass, my eyes did perhaps wander.’
John laughed, looking up at the sky. She only did it because I wasn´t paying attention to what Caldwell was saying.’
That blowhard,’ Rodney said derisively, another snort making John´s grin widen. No amount of pinching could force me to listen to him.’
John shrugged. He´s not that bad. He´s a Company Man, but he doesn´t believe all his press. Mostly he´s just saying what he knows is expected of him.’
She´s trying to get you back in the service,’ Rodney asked, voice dipping low and secretive, seductive in a way that almost made John not notice what he´d said. Almost.
John looked at him. Excuse me? How do you know that?’
I know everything.’ Rodney rolled his eyes. Okay, look, I suck at this. I´m not stealth. I´m not covert. They should have sent Zelenka.’
John´s eyebrows raised. Again excuse me?’
I´m not here as a friend of Kavanaugh´s,’ Rodney said, leaning forward, his tone now confessional, and it made John lean in that much closer. I can´t stand the man. If ever there was an amoeba of a man--’
I thought you guys had a really weird definition of friendship,’ John said suddenly, pointing at him. What with the constant arguing and sneering and glaring.’
Rodney studied him for a moment and then nodded, seeming to come to a decision. Okay. Here´s the deal. I´m here to recruit Elizabeth. I´m not at liberty to divulge any of the details, but she is aware of them and she has flat out refused to return either General O´Neill´s or Colonel Carter´s phone calls, and we simply must have her. So. I was sent.’
As a what,’ John asked, frowning. Spy?’
Rodney shrugged. As it were.’
John nearly choked on his sip of alcohol. Wow. You´re the best they could do?’
Rodney´s eyebrows shot up, expression offended. I´ll have you know I am one of the most brilliant minds currently in existence and--’
I just meant,’ John said, raising a hand to halt Rodney´s babbling, that you really suck at the whole spying thing. You´ve alienated half her staff, you called her an elitist snob to her face, and--’
Did I not say I sucked at this?!’
John laughed. You did.’
And obviously I was mistaken, Elizabeth is not an elitist snob, and as soon as I realized my mistake I apologized.’
John grinned. She told me. She thought it was pretty charming actually, the way you groveled.’
I did not grovel,’ Rodney squawked. Rodney McKay does not grovel.’
I´ll be sure to have that put on your tombstone, McKay,’ John said, biting the side of his cheek. Right along with Worst Spy Ever.’
Rodney waved his hand and rolled his eyes again. Whatever. I´m just saying. This is me coming clean.’
John nodded, sitting back. If you´re trying to recruit me to your cause-- You should know that no one can make up Elizabeth´s mind but Elizabeth herself.’
No,’ Rodney said, looking at him with a bewildered expression. What gave you the impression I was trying to recruit you?’
John shrugged. Why else would you tell me this?’
Rodney looked at him again and then promptly looked away. You´re a nice guy, Sheppard. And you´re smart, and you´ve been very forgiving of my blunders, my faux pas and whatnot, myriad they have been. And. I guess I just don´t like lying to you.’
John felt his whole body flush and he covered it with a cough. That´s actually kind of sweet McKay.’
Rodney took a deep breath and John felt him leaning close again but carefully didn´t turn his head to see how close. It kind of makes me ill. Lying,’ he said, the hand gestures so wild that John can see them in his peripheral. To you. Specifically.’
John looked at him then, feeling floored at the open honesty in Rodney´s eyes. He´d known on first sight that those eyes would gut him. I don´t quite know what to say.’
Why are you marrying her?’
John blinked. Why what?’
Elizabeth,’ Rodney said, exasperated. Don´t get me wrong, she´s a wonderful, brilliant person, and she´s really something, I´ll give you that, but. Why are you marrying her?’
John blinked again, shaking his head. I don´t--’
I thought at first it was perhaps for the money, but you don´t seem the type,’ Rodney said, waving his hand. And then I thought perhaps it was for companionship, but you also don´t strike me as the type that´s lacking in that department either.’
John stared at him. I´m marrying Elizabeth because I love her.’
Rodney rolled his eyes. Right.’
John felt anger surge up in him. Okay, excuse me, what the hell gives you the right to--’
You´re miserable,’ Rodney shouted, yanking the bottle out of John´s hands and tossing it the short distance to the pond. John briefly wondered if it killed any of the Koi but was promptly distracted by Rodney´s face looming right in front of his. You´re very good at stoicism, I mean, your face is the very epitome of poker face, but your eyes. You´re miserable here, Sheppard.’
John chewed on his lip and looked away. Nobody had ever found him transparent before but apparently Rodney was his kryptonite. You don´t know what you´re talking about.’
You´re hiding in the garden, alone, getting drunk, on the night of your rehearsal dinner,’ Rodney said softly and not unkindly. Which was odd for Rodney, because prior to now John had thought a sympathetic tone wasn´t in Rodney´s vocal repertoire. That´s not exactly the behavior of a man who´s excited about getting married.’
I´m thinking,’ John said, twisting his head even more to avoid catching Rodney´s eyes.
You´re an idiot,’ Rodney said, harsh and cold, and that made John look at him.
Well thank you, Doctor,’ John said, twisting his words savagely, starting to push up off of the ground. If you don´t mind, this idiot is getting a little tired of being told what he feels and would like to go to bed--’
You can´t marry her,’ Rodney said suddenly, reaching up and grabbing John´s arm, eyes pleading as he looked up at him. You can´t. You´re both better than that.’
John swallowed past the lump in his throat. You don´t have any idea what you´re talking about.’
No, you don´t,’ he said, standing up without letting go of John´s arm, right into John´s personal space. You can´t marry her.’
That´s funny,’ John said, refusing to step back and give an inch to Rodney. Because I am. Tomorrow. At noon. You´re welcome to stay. The champagne is free, and I hear the flan is exquisite.’
Yes, good,’ Rodney said, sneering, and it truly was an ugly look on him. John was thankful for that, it made walking away a lot easier. Because the flan will take the bad taste out of my mouth from having watched you walk down the isle into a loveless, miserable marriage.’
It is not loveless,’ John said, poking Rodney hard in the chest. I love Liz more than anyone else that I´ve known maybe in my life, and she loves me!’
But not that way, right,’ Rodney said, stepping closer. Not in the heart-stopping, want to grow old with you, can´t imagine being with anyone else, love you so much it tingles in my toes kind of way. Right, John?’
John did take a step back then, fighting the urge to rear back and hit Rodney right in his smug little face. Yeah, well, maybe that love only exists in the Princess Bride, Rodney. Maybe I´m old enough to know that movies and books are a pack of lies.’
It does exist,’ Rodney said, tone changing yet again, this one sad and full of regret, and just a little bit pleading. It exists, I´ve felt it. You deserve more than this.’
John bit his tongue on the urge to ask with whom. Maybe I don´t, Rodney. Ever stop to think that?’
Rodney smiled at that, a small, incredibly charming kind of smile that John almost has to smile back at, and stepped closer. I figured as much. Which is why I said you´re an idiot.’
John glared at him and tried to figure out why the hell that sounded like a compliment coming from him. Right. Like I said. Want to go to bed. Night, Doc.’
John´s three steps away when Rodney speaks again. I´ve seen the way you look at me, John. I might be kind of oblivious sometimes, and I must say it´s taken me an embarrassingly long time to figure it out, but I have.’
John closed his eyes and found himself unable to move even one step towards the door. Don´t.’
I´ve spent all week lamenting the fact that you were straight and that I was going to be this fool who fell for the straight man, yet again. The whole week, sitting next to you, eating with you, watching Star Trek and Star Wars with you, thinking I was an idiot. I was a fucking idiot, letting myself fall for you this hard, this fast.’
John whirled around, shell shocked. What?’
Rodney was right on top of him in two seconds flat. But even as self-absorbed as I can be, I could tell you weren´t happy. You were getting married in a week, and you were spending all of your time entertaining the guest that nobody would wish on their worst enemy.’
John looked away, grimacing. You´re not that bad.’
I really am,’ Rodney said, laughing softly. But then it hit me like a ton of bricks. The way that I´ve never seen you and Elizabeth actually kiss. How she looks at you more like a brother than a lover. The fact that you always gave me your fries.’ He stepped closer and his voice dipped. The way you look at me.’
Once John looked at him he found himself unable to rip his eyes away. McKay.’
It didn´t fully click until I looked up your file last night and saw what they weren´t saying on your dismissal from the Air Force,’ Rodney said, reaching forward and running his hand down John´s shirt, tugging out the wrinkles and then tugging John forward. The holes. How it just didn´t add up to a discharge without something else behind it.’
I´m not marrying her just to get back in,’ John said, shaking his head.
No, you´re not,’ Rodney answered. You´re marrying her because you´re lonely. And it´s convenient to you both.’
John swallowed, looking away. Why the hell did you have to come here? Everything was fine before you came here. I didn´t have any doubts.’
Is being gay really so much more horrible than living your life as a lie,’ Rodney asked, stepping even closer, so close John could feel his breath in his face, could practically feel the way Rodney´s heart was beating in his chest. Or maybe that was just his own.
John met his eyes. Yes?’
Rodney´s fingers tightened in John´s shirt and pulled him up against him, his thigh brushing against John´s. Look me in the eye and tell me you don´t want to kiss me, that you haven´t wanted to kiss me at any point in time this entire week, and I´ll walk away right now and you´ll never have to see me again.’
John swallowed. I can´t.’
You can´t because you haven´t, or because you´re scared,’ Rodney asked.
John shook his head. I just. Can´t.’
Rodney nodded and took a step back. Fine,’ he said, sounding sad yet resigned as he lifted his hand in a peace offering. Then goodbye, John Sheppard. I hope I´m wrong and that your life is full and happy.’
John didn´t lift his hand to grip Rodney´s because he couldn´t move a muscle, could only stare at Rodney´s eyes and feel like he was falling. Rodney.’
Rodney dropped his hand to his side and took another step back. Live your life or don´t, but I know your secret,’ he said, and then he turned around and started to walk away.
It was like slow motion, and all John knew was that he couldn´t, physically couldn´t, let Rodney walk out of his life. His feet moved without his knowledge and his hand clasped onto Rodney´s shoulder like it had a mind of its own. Everything in him was screaming at him to run away except for the tiny part that knew if Rodney left, he´d never be able to look into those eyes again and know that someone else out there got him, got him in a way that no one else ever had.
I hate you,’ John said, and then his lips were on Rodney´s and his hands were cupping Rodney´s face, and he felt like he was flying, and god, he´d missed that, missed that weighlessness, the recklessness, the danger of knowing that at any second, without warning, he could come crashing back down, but this. This second, this moment, this was worth it.
I knew it,’ Rodney said against his mouth, fingers gripping into John´s hips and digging in like he wasn´t ever letting go. I knew I could call your bluff.’
Rodney just shut up and kiss me before I start thinking again,’ John moaned, threading his fingers through Rodney´s hair and yanking his mouth back to his, opening his mouth for Rodney´s tongue, and there it was, right there, and it was perfect. Perfect, like nothing had been for years, like the missing piece that he´d always been too afraid to acknowledge.
He worried for exactly one second that this would hurt Elizabeth, but then he knew.
Elizabeth would understand. If anybody ever would, it would be her.
And, apparently, Rodney.
Notes: This is a little more flowery shall we say, than my normal writing. That is because this movie brings out the huge romantic sap that´s buried deep in my semi-jaded soul. It´s also because this movie has a complexity of language and beauty that is not found much in today´s cinema or television and it brought out the original Sorkinite in me. I do apologize if the prose and dialogue felt off’ a bit to you, using words and sentence structures that´s not immediately recognizable in the SGA universe, but it IS how the movie was written.
That was specifically a speaking pattern of Jimmy Stewart´s in the movie once he was drunk. It may have been written that way or perhaps that was Stewart´s own addition, but it was quite charming and funny, and I threw a tiny bit in there. As was the professor/doctor’ thing. In the movie, it was professor.
I hope it didn´t take you out of it. Other than that, I tried very hard to stay true to the characters.