Title: Too Late
Fandom: Stargate: Atlantis
Genre: Team friendship;
Relationship(s): Rodney McKay/Ronon Dex
Content Rating: PG
Word Count: 1520
Summary: Ronon knows Rodney better than he thinks he does.
“So, Katie Brown?” John asked as he wandered around Rodney’s favorite lab, picking up various Ancient gadgets.
“What about her?” Rodney asked snatching a device out of John’s hands.
“You still seeing her?”
“No.” Rodney answered, frowning. “We, uh, it didn’t work out.” He looked up at his friend. “I think she’s seeing Dr. Vlaadir in the Biology department.
John looked across the lab table at his closest friend, surprised. He didn’t remember Rodney mentioning that they had broken up. Though he had to admit he was a little relieved. He’d seen Dr. Brown in the mess that morning with a dark-haired doctor, whom John only vaguely recalled, and the two looked sort of…flirty, which was why John had brought her up, to begin with.
“When did that happen?” Sheppard asked, picking up something that looked a little like the Ancient version of the magic 8 ball.
“Katie and Vlaadir? How the hell should I know? I don’t exactly keep tabs on who is sleeping with whom around here, I do have more important work, you know.”
Sheppard sighed. “I meant, when did you two break up?”
“A few weeks ago.” Rodney answered taking the magic 8 ball away. “She said that she didn’t think we were right for one another, and she had been getting a vibe from Vlaadir, and what exactly does that mean? Getting a vibe? Anyway, that was pretty much it.”
John stared at Rodney incredulously. He thought that his friend had really liked Katie. “And this didn’t bother you?”
Rodney stopped taking his readings and set the device he was working on down. “What is your problem? We split up, we’re still friends, let’s move on. Besides, I admitted, I might have been…looking….elsewhere, too.”
“Wait, so you broke up with your girlfriend, and got another one and I haven’t heard about any of it?” John asked, outraged.
Rodney stared at the Colonel. “What are we in middle school now? I have to go running to my very bestest best friend and share all my secrets? Fine. Katie Brown and I are no longer dating. She’s happily entrenched in some drama of a romantic nature with Nicholai Vlaadir, and I am lusting after the large former Runner you like to sic on all your minions. Happy now?”
“Yes, I’m happy, and I don’t have minions, that’s you. I have marines.” John said immediately before he really analyzed what Rodney had said. “Did you just say you’re in love with Ronon?
Rodney sighed. “No, I said I was lusting after Ronon.”
“Wow, Ronon? Really?” John Sheppard asked, looking askance at his best friend. “But he’s…” He trailed off.
“He’s what?” Rodney snapped. “A man? I’ll have you know not everyone comes from a country with backward rules!”
“What? No! That’s not what I… Jeez, Rodney, give me some credit. I just meant, he’s…he doesn’t really seem like your type. What with the…” He moved his arm around, as if to illustrate some point.
Rodney scowled. “Colonel, what exactly are you trying to say?”
“Nothing, I guess.” John shrugged. “You like to argue.” He finally said as if that was explanation enough.
Rodney wasn’t sure whether to be irritated by that assumption or pleased that John knew him as well as he did. “And?” He asked instead.
“Well, Ronon, doesn’t really…argue.”
“That’s what you think.” Rodney answered with a strange little smile.
Before John could ask exactly what that was supposed to mean, Radek Zelenka came in, eyes glued to a data-pad, asking Rodney a question about the latest test results on one of the power generators.
John left the lab quietly, pondering what he had just learned and wondering if Rodney was going to get hurt. How likely was it that Ronon would want Rodney? Rodney was attractive in his own way, and he could be amusing, but would Ronon think so? And if not, how would that affect their team dynamic? How would a rejection affect Rodney? He was a lot more vulnerable that one would think.
“John, you seem troubled.” Teyla asked as she stepped away from the colonel, sticks in hand.
Sheppard smiled wryly and stood up, wiping a bit of sweat off his brow. “It’s nothing.”
Teyla arched her brow in that way she had. “It is something if you are distracted.”
John sighed. “What do you know about Ronon? About his…interests?”
“He likes weapons.” Teyla answered immediately. She frowned. “Are you interested in pursuing Ronon? I do not believe he views you in such a way.”
John blinked. “Me? No, uh…it’s Rodney.” He paused, not sure how to word his concern. “He’s very…vulnerable, and Ronon might, I don’t know. I just don’t want his rejection to hurt Rodney, too much. He won’t, be offended, if Rodney says something…”
“Offensive?” Teyla asked with a smile, knowing that offensive was generally Rodney’s default setting. “You should not concern yourself. I believe Ronon has much…affinity for Doctor McKay. I have had occasion to see Ronon leaving the labs after Dr McKay has made some sort of adjustment to his weapon. He seemed…pleased.”
“How could you tell?” John asked seriously. “Affinity?” He asked, repeating her earlier word. “Does that mean that he…”
“I believe so, yes.” Teyla nodded. She placed her hand on John’s shoulder. “You are a good friend to worry for him, but I do not believe it is necessary.”
“Okay.” Sheppard shrugged, feeling out of his depth, and just wishing he had never brought the subject up.
“Come, I believe they have made sandwiches out of meat from that bird my people found on the Mainland.” Teyla said as she moved to out her sticks away. Clearly there would be no more sparring for the moment.
“You mean the one that tastes like turkey?” John asked, lighting up and momentarily forgetting about his concerns for Rodney.
Ronon Dex loomed heavily in the doorway to one of the labs in the lower levels of the city. Rodney was rolling around inside, moving from one laptop to another, scrolling through information at what one time seemed an alarming rate. Now it was just typical Rodney behavior.
“Are you going to just loom there, or what?” Rodney snapped not looking away from his screens.
Ronon smiled slightly as he moved inside the room. He had learned a lot about the people of Earth in the past two years, but nothing was at once as predictable and as contrary as Rodney McKay.
“Did you need something specific, or are you just looming because you can?” Rodney asked, finally looking towards the Satedan.
“Dinner.” Ronon said.
“Not now.” Rodney said, turning back to his calculations. “Go away.”
Ronon turned around and walked out.
Rodney sighed and turned towards the door, not sure if he was relieved or disappointed. He was hungry, and would have gone with Ronon even if he wasn’t, but ever since he’d talked to John that morning he wasn’t sure whether or not this thing with Ronon was really a good idea.
It’s not like they had actually slept together. It wasn’t too late to change his mind. It wasn’t too late to act like he wasn’t interested, even though he was still very, very interested. But what if John was right, what if they didn’t really click? Not that that had ever really happened before with anyone. People didn’t usually understand Rodney. In fact most of them didn’t even bother to try.
Not understanding him was not usually a deterrent for sleeping with them. However, if he slept with Ronon and things went south, as they were bound to, then things would be weird with the team. Maybe it wasn’t worth it.
Maybe Ronon wasn’t even interested. They hadn’t actually discussed it. Maybe it was nothing, and he could go to his quarters and pretend like this day had never happened.
He was about to do just that when the lab door opened, and Ronon stepped inside, this time loaded down with two trays full of food and a couple of glasses of Athosian fruit juice that Rodney had decided was the best thing ever, once he was assured it contained no citrus of any kind.
“You’re back.” Rodney said dumbly as the Satedan placed the trays on an empty lab table and handed one of the glasses of juice to Rodney.
“You need to eat.” Ronon said. “When you’re done, we can go back to your quarters and you can tell me all the reasons you’ve been making up to convince yourself this is a bad idea.”
Rodney stared at the larger man, eyes wide. He was wrong, oh so very wrong. It was too late. Too late to pretend he wasn’t interested, too late to tell himself why this was a bad idea, and most definitely too late to keep believing this was about lust.
Because clearly, Ronon had done the one thing no one else seemed capable of doing. He got Rodney. He understood him and how he thought and apparently wanted him anyway.
“Yeah, okay.” Rodney said, still slightly shell-shocked as he sat down and began to eat.