Pairing: Carson Beckett/Rodney McKay
Recipient: Pinch Hit for pushkin666
Spoilers: The latter half of third season through Sunday.
Summary: They're the worst-kept secret relationship on or off Atlantis.
Author's Note: This story goes slightly AU toward the end of Sunday. amitee and angelqueen04 betaread. Thanks, guys!
"So what do you think they're doing up there?" Rodney peered out from the back seat of Sheppard's car and stared worriedly at what he thought might be the window of Elizabeth's apartment. That was Elizabeth's apartment, right? She was never home when he stopped by. Or at least she always pretended not to be. "He said he'd only be five minutes. It's been more than five minutes."
"Do you even know what patience is, Rodney?" asked Carson. "Or did you miss out on learning that through your entire life before now?"
"Patience is the way people who don't know how to get what they want deal with not having it," said Rodney.
Rodney pretended not to notice Carson glancing at his watch. See? He could be nice. "It sounds like you're just overcompensating for being an ass, you know."
"You've been hanging out with Kate again, haven't you?" asked Rodney, frowning. "You know you start spouting psychobabble after spending more than half an hour with her."
"Hush. You know you miss her. Are they still trying to make you see that psychiatrist at Area 51?" asked Carson.
He looked too concerned for Rodney to do anything but sigh tiredly and admit the truth. "They keep telling me that Dr. Sanchez is really good at what she does," said Rodney. He sagged against the seat. "And I'm sure she is! But she's not Kate. Dr. Sanchez just tells me I'm experiencing culture shock and says I'll get re-acclimated to Earth if I just give it time."
"That's exactly what Kate says to you, isn't it?" asked Carson, looking confused. "That's what you told me the last time you were at the SGC."
"Well, yes, of course that's what Kate tells me," said Rodney. He shifted to lean his back against the door and propped his legs in Carson's lap, ignoring the dirty look that Carson was giving him. "The difference between Kate and Dr. Sanchez is that Kate's in the same boat as the rest of us. Also, she's known me for several years and has been treating me for almost the same amount of time. I've known Sanchez for six weeks."
"Aye, that does make a difference." Carson settled one hand on Rodney's ankle started stroking his thumb along the skin under the cuff of his pants. Rodney's back was going to kill him later for leaning against the door without the proper ergonomic support, but this was worth it.
"How do you think Kate's doing?" asked Rodney. He craned his neck just a little bit to take a look at Elizabeth's window again. Was the living room light out? "She's always so stoic when I can sneak an appointment with her."
"The lass misses Teyla something fierce," said Carson. He looked sad. "I think we all miss Teyla and Ronon. Not to mention Atlantis."
"Yeah." Rodney tried not to glare. Since the IOA wasn't here, glaring was pointless anyway. "Think they'll let us go back soon?"
"I think if the IOA has their way," said Carson sadly, "then none of us will be going back at all."
"I don't see why I had to pilot this bloody thing," said Carson. If he were the type of man to pout, he'd have pouted at Rodney over this. "You're the one who usually does it."
"Because I'm very tired after an exhaustive night spent yelling at my science team," said Rodney. He propped his legs up on the dashboard of the puddlejumper and leaned back, pillowing his head on his interlaced hands. "Besides, you could use the practice."
The man looked entirely too smug for his own good. "You just say that because you couldn't get out of going fishing with me." Carson pressed a panel and started studying the 'jumper's oceanographic readouts. "Dr. Moore tells me that we can use this to find out where the fish are biting today."
"Lucky us," said Rodney dryly. "I can't believe you actually want to fish."
Carson glances over at Rodney. "What, did you think I planned this whole day to get you alone on the mainland so we could make you, Rodney?"
"What?" Rodney sputtered and sat up. "No! I mean, well, it would be very nice, yes, but I thought you really did want to--"
"Oh, relax," said Carson. He chuckled. "There'll be plenty of time for that while we're waiting for the fish to bite."
"Right, then," said Rodney. He drew himself up in that trying to look dignified way that Carson found endearing. "That settles it."
"Aye," said Carson, and he didn't think he could stop himself from grinning like a loon. "That it does."
Carson shifted in his hospital bed and groaned. Rodney bolted upright and took three steps to Carson's side. "Keller! Get in here, he's waking up!"
Rodney thought he heard Carson mumble something about how he didn't have much of a choice about waking up, what with Rodney yelling so loudly, but he was too busy grabbing for Carson's hand and babbling at Keller as she rushed in that he couldn't hear anything Carson was saying.
"Ow! Rodney, let go of my bloody hand so I can talk to Jennifer for a minute!" said Carson, swatting at Rodney with his free hind.
Oh. Except that. He could definitely hear that. Rodney collapsed back into his chair in relief, and not because Keller was pushing him gently aside. "How're you feeling, Carson?" she asked him as she did arcane medical voodoo and checked Carson over.
"My head's throbbing, my vision's a little blurry, and I think I bit the inside of my cheek when we landed in the jumper bay," said Carson. "What happened, Jennifer? We heard the first explosion from the mainland. I didn't expect a second one just as we were touching down."
"Exploding tumors," said Rodney, and if he hunched in on himself because, yet again, people he was responsible for had gone off and gotten themselves killed, that was his own business. "Don't ask."
Carson pushed himself up so he could lean against the headboard, then groaned again as Keller tried to stop him. "I don't think I could handle it right now."
"That's right, you can't," said Keller, giving him a stern look. "Dr. Weir and Colonel Sheppard are on their way right now. Teyla and Ronon have been hovering outside for the past few hours. I don't think I can keep them out for much longer."
"So why'd you let Rodney in here?" asked Carson.
"Because you two are the worst kept secret relationship on Atlantis," said Keller, grinning at him. "Lay back down, Carson. If you behave, I'll even let you have visitors."
"Tyrant," grumbled Carson, laying back down and letting his head rest very carefully on the pillow. Rodney watched as he tried not to grin. "Why'd I recruit you for my staff again?"
"Just listen to this guy," said Keller, as she checked the IV line inserted into Carson's arm. "Next thing you know, he'll be trying to get up and take over the infirmary like he runs the place."
"Which I do," said Carson quellingly. "When every muscle in my body doesn't ache."
"I'll give you two a minute alone while I update everyone," said Keller. She paused at the curtain setting Carson's bed off from the rest of the infirmary. "I'm glad you're okay, Carson."
"Me too," said Carson. "Me too."
Rodney got back up and went to sit on the edge of Carson's bed after Jennifer left. "If we hadn't gone fishing, you'd probably be dead."
Carson winced. He wasn't sure if he should tell Rodney that his sitting there was exacerbating some back pain that he was having, because he was enjoying having Rodney so close. "I'm glad you couldn't find an excuse to get out of it, then," he said.
"Well, I--" Rodney shifted his weight until Carson put his hand on Rodney's leg and gave him a look that said 'stop now.' "I tried."
"I know," said Carson. He smiled and tried not to wince as it pulled at his split lip. "I don't blame you for that, or for any of it. You understand me, Rodney?"
"But if I hadn't--" started Rodney.
"You went, and I didn't," said Carson firmly. "So there'll be no more worrying about it. You understand me?"
He wasn't going to tell Rodney - or anyone else - about the dreams he'd had while unconscious. Chaya had been there, in her light blue dress instead of the usual white that Ancients wore. They'd had a nice little chat about might-have-beens, not to mention things that could be instead, and probably shouldn't be allowed to happen.
She really was a very dear woman. Just before he'd woken up, she said she wished him and Rodney the best. Said that Rodney'd learned a lot since coming to Atlantis, and Carson should keep him on the straight and narrow.
He'd woken to her laughter ringing in his ears when he'd said he'd keep Rodney on the narrow, at least, but he couldn't do much about the straight.