Pairing: John/Rodney with background Lorne/Parrish
Author's Notes:Beta'd by the lovely neevebrody and kimberlyfdr. Any remaining errors belong sole to the author.
Summary: When John got the news that morning, the first thing he did was smile. The second thing he did was make a list of people he needed to talk to.
When John got the news that morning, the first thing he did was smile. The second thing he did was make a list of people he needed to talk to.
He started with Ronon, seeing as how he'd kinda talked to him about this sort of thing once before. "Hey, big guy," John said as he dumped his tray down in front of Ronon's and sat down to eat lunch. "Got some news today."
Ronon arched an eyebrow at him, said, "Yeah?" and stuffed an entire roll into his mouth. It was kind of disgusting, but John was used to it by now. At least Ronon was using utensils most of the time nowadays.
"Yeah," John said, picking up his fork and knife. Everything looked good today for a change. "The President pushed through a bill changing the uniform code of conduct and Congress finally passed it." He cut a piece of meatloaf off and stuffed it in his mouth. It was good.
"So?" Ronon replied, before shoveling a large spoonful of mashed potatoes into his mouth.
John waved a his fork around, "So, now people can ask and tell and it's no big deal anymore."
Ronon gave him a penetrating look and then asked, "Are you?"
And John could for the first time in his life sit up and say, "Yeah. Yeah, I am," with a smile on his face. Actually, he found himself grinning so hard that it almost hurt.
Ronon grunted in a contemplative fashion and ate another spoonful of mashed potatoes before asking, "You're not going to jump me now, are you?"
John rolled his eyes and tossed his roll at him. "Hardly. You're good looking but not really my type."
Ronon picked up the roll after it bounced off him and popped it into his mouth. "Okay, then," he mumbled around it. "I'm happy for you."
John bounced a little in his chair. "Thanks, buddy." Then he dug into his own mashed potatoes and mentally crossed the first name off his list.
* * *
The next person he talked to was Teyla, because, well, she was Teyla. John wandered into the room that Teyla usually meditated in and found her on floor playing some Athosian baby game with Torren. "Hey, " he said cheerfully, slinging himself down onto the floor next to her and reaching out to give Torren a tummy tickle that made the baby giggle.
"Hello, John," Teyla replied with a smile, "You seem very cheerful today." She readjusted Torren on her lap as he began to list to one side. Torren burbled and jammed his fingers in his mouth.
"Got good news today," John explained as he gave Torren's belly another affectionate poke. Torren squealed and kicked his feet happily.
Teyla tilted her head inquiringly. "You must tell me what this good new is then, to have made you so pleased."
John looked up at her. "The president of my country back on Earth managed to push a bill through that'll make my life a lot easier."
She raised an eyebrow as she readjusted Torren from trying to fall out of her lap again. "Oh? And how is that?"
"I don't have to like girls anymore," John said.
She gave him this really odd look, then said, "Ah, I see."
John ran what he'd just said though his brain again and then his ears pinked up. "Uh, that didn't come out the way I meant it to. I mean, I like girls just fine!" His hands kind of waved around in a hopeless bid to try to and form something coherent and intelligent out his words. "In a regular everyday kind of way, you know, like you and me, but not in that kind of, er, special way that other guys do." He felt his ears burning when he was finished. He had imagined this conversation going much better than his apparently incompetent mouth was capable of managing.
Teyla's hand came up over her mouth to smother giggles. When she had regained control of her mirth, she dropped her hand and made a valiant effort at wiping the grin off her face. She then said in a slightly strangled tone, "I believe I understand what you meant, John. And this pleases you?"
John recalled his original joy at the news and perked up a bit from his embarrassed slump. "Um, yeah it does." He sat up a little straighter and looked her in the eye. "I can be myself now."
Teyla gave him a knowing nod. "Then I am happy for you." Torren then reached out toward John and made grunting noises. "And now Torren would like to know if you would hold him," she said, looking fondly at her son.
John blinked and then smiled. Thank god Teyla always understood what he tried to say. "Yeah, sure. Come here, buddy!" he replied and held his hands out.
* * *
The next person on his list actually beat him to the punch. "Sir, can I talk to you for a minute?" Lorne said as he stood in the doorway of John's office. He looked nervous.
John gestured to a chair next to his desk. "Sure, take a load off. What's up, Major?"
Lorne came further into the office, but didn't sit in the chair. He shuffled nervously in front of John's desk. "It's about the new policies, sir."
John felt his stomach contract painfully around his lunch. The subject matter combined with the way Lorne was acting had never equaled good news in John's life. He licked his lips, then asked, "Are the men having a problem with it? There haven't been any fights have there?" Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck.
"Oh, no sir, nothing like that!" Lorne said hastily and the relief John felt was dizzying. "I just...well, because of the policy change I ah, I need to change the contact information on my paperwork on who to contact in the event of an emergency." Lorne stood up straighter and went into formal parade rest. "And I need to add someone to my retirement benefits. Sir."
Oh. Ohhhhh. God, John had never suspected. "Oh. Okay, Major," John said and pulled up Lorne's file on his computer. "Gimme a second here...okay, what's the name I need to put in the emergency contact field?"
"Dr. David Parrish, sir," Lorne said stiffly.
The plant guy? Well, there was no accounting for taste, thought John as he pecked out the name and then moused over to the retirement benefits field. "Same for the retirement benefits as well, I take it?"
"Yes, sir," replied Lorne looking a whole world of relieved.
John tapped the name into the computer again, gave his authorization code and then clicked save. "There you go, Major. You're good to go." He looked up and gave Lorne a pleased smile. "Congratulations."
Lorne breathed out a sigh a relief and smiled back. "Thank you, sir. I know you're pretty laid back, but that was..."
"Yeah, I know, Lorne," John interrupted still smiling, "I'm gay too."
* * *
The next person on the list, while not the last, was by far the hardest, for a lot of reasons. "So, want another beer?" John said, holding a cold can out to Rodney as they sat on the pier, watching the sun go down.
"Sure," Rodney said disconsolately, his mouth pulled down, and his shoulders slumping.
"Wanna talk about it?" John asked. He knew what had happened. Gossip traveled fast, and John figured that now Rodney had some beer in him he'd be ready to talk.
Rodney sighed, popped open the beer, took a swig and leaned forward, resting his elbows on his thighs. "Keller and I had a fight."
"Yeah?" John replied. He'd heard that the word fight didn't even begin to cover the screaming match the two had had. He took another drink of his own beer. "What about?"
Rodney rolled his can between his palms, looking down into the waters below. "It was about kids."
John winced and then looked away. "What about 'em?"
"She wants to wait at least another five to ten years before having any," Rodney said softly, still rolling the can. "I...I'm not interested in being an old guy trying to keep up with kids, John. I'd like to, to be able to do things with my children without having to use a walker to get around." He sat up leaned his head back to stare at the sky. "It's...she's young and has all the time in the world, but I really want to start a family once we get married and she just isn't interested."
John's head dropped down and he stared at his feet as they swung gently. "Yeah, well, she's still establishing her career. I can see why she'd want to wait."
Rodney set his beer aside and lay back on the decking. "I know." They both listened to the ocean for a while, then Rodney said, "I don't think it's going to work out between us."
"Why not?" John asked. He knew why it wasn't going to work, but he was hoping that Rodney had come to the correct answer as well. Rodney had a bad habit of lying to himself when it came to his relationships.
"We've been fighting a lot lately," Rodney said, pulling his hands up to cover his stomach, like he was protecting himself from harm. "Actually, we've been fighting ever since I gave her the ring and thought I could finally relax. Everything I do is wrong, everything I want is wrong, everything I am is wrong. And she. Is always. Right." He swallowed hard enough that John could hear him. "It's like my parents all over again. We fight all the time, over absolutely everything." He turned to look at John. "I told her how I was when we first started dating. It's like she didn't listen to me."
John sighed and gave Rodney a look filled with compassion. "Yeah, buddy, I don't think she did either. I think she fell in love with what she wanted you to be, rather than what you are. I'm sorry."
Rodney sat up abruptly. "You knew? You knew and you didn't tell me?"
John shrugged and turned away again. "You wouldn't have listened to me. You were all into her and you would have bit my head off and accused me of cockblocking again."
"I would never have..." Rodney then stopped and actually thought about it. He sighed, "You know, you're probably right." He waved a hand around, "I mean she was cute and blond and smart and she seemed to like me...yeah, I would have torn you a new one." He covered his eyes with the hand that had been gesturing. "God, how could I have been so blind!"
"You wanted a family," John replied, "And you thought she was your ticket to it." He stared out across the water, watching as the sun dipped below the ocean surface. "A lot of people lie to themselves if it'll get them what they want."
"Well, apparently what I thought I wanted was a miserable marriage just like my parents had," Rodney said sourly. He slumped where he sat. "I'm... I think I'm gonna have to call it off. It was hard enough growing up with parents like that. I don't want to live the rest of my life being them."
"Well, for what it's worth, I think you're making the right decision," John said, reaching out and giving Rodney's broad should a brief, heart-felt squeeze.
Rodney shrugged, picked up his beer and took a swig. He then leaned forward again and started rolling the can. "I just wish..." He exhaled an irritated huff. "Oh, who am I kidding? I'll never find anybody to have kids with. I'm lousy with women. Always have been, always will be."
"You know, you don't have to get married to have kids," John slowly replied. "There's adoption. Or if you want it to be biologically yours, there's surrogacy."
Rodney gave a bitter laugh. "Yeah, no. I was kind of hoping to have someone else along for the ride that wasn't as screwed up as I am to keep me from traumatizing them for life."
John nudged Rodney with his shoulder. "You wouldn't be alone Rodney. There's Teyla and Ronon." He paused for a moment, then added, "Me. We'd all help."
"Yes, yes, because Pegasus is such a safe place to raise a kid," Rodney rejoined caustically as he gave a John an annoyed look.
John slanted an eyebrow at him. "Don't ever let Teyla hear you say that."
Rodney looked discomfited. "Um, yeah. That argument wouldn't work with her, would it?"
"Nope," John replied and then took another drink. "And really, is the Milky Way that much safer? Think about what we hear on the evening news when we're back on Earth."
Rodney made a face. "Point." He looked at his beer like he'd forgotten he'd been holding it for a second and then took a large swallow of it. He then laced his fingers together around it and rested it in his lap, letting out a sad sigh.
"Something else wrong?" John asked at that. "We've covered the kid angle."
Rodney shrugged listlessly. "Not to knock you guys, but I'd still be lonely. I mean, I know you guys like me, but I'd really like to have someone to love that would love me back."
John's heart squeezed in sympathy. "Yeah, I'd like something like that, too."
Rodney snorted. "Give it five minutes. As soon as women hear that, they'll be crawling out of the woodwork to get to you."
John took a deep breath and gripped his beer tightly. Well, now was as good a time as any, he thought. "I don't want a woman."
Rodney blinked at him in incomprehension for a minute, then burst out with, "What do you mean, you don't want a woman? You just said you wanted somebody special in your life!"
John looked at him. "Yeah, I did. And I want it to be a guy."
"But, your wife! All those women..." Rodney started.
"I used them as beards, Rodney," John said flatly, then looked down at his shoes. "I used every single one of them to hide the fact that I'm gay. And I'm not proud of it, either. Do you know how I know people lie to themselves to get what they want? Because I've done it." John wrapped a hand around the back of his neck. "I even conned myself into believing that I'd managed to go straight when I married Nancy, at least for a while. Marrying her got me a lot of what I wanted - respectability in the Air Force, my family's approval. And for a while having those things even made it okay that I was fucking miserable with her." John blew out a breath and ran the hand on his neck up over his hair and down his face. This was why he didn't drink that often. He usually wound up talking about stuff he'd just rather forget.
A tense silence descended between the two of them and John took another long pull on his beer, staring down at his feet. It had been too much to hope that Rodney would take John's declaration of his sexuality as easily as Ronon and Teyla had. He just hoped now that it wouldn't ruin their friendship or working relationship.
Eventually the silence was broken by Rodney quietly saying, "I had a boyfriend once."
John swiveled around to stare at Rodney in shock. Rodney avoided his gaze and stared down into the water, fingers tapping on his can. "It was in grad school while I was getting my second doctorate. We started out just being housemates but later we became...close." Rodney stopped and leaned forward to rest his beer can on his forehead, closing his eyes. He looked tired, like this story was taking every ounce of his strength to tell. "It was good between us, although I didn't appreciate it at the time. I dumped him when I finished school because he didn't fit in with what I'd planned my life to be like."
John took a moment to digest the bombshell Rodney had dumped in his lap. To be fair, his declaration had probably had the same effect on Rodney, but it still didn't make it any easier to wrap his mind around. Finally he said, "Yeah, a boyfriend doesn't usually come to mind when you're thinking in terms of two point five kids and a white picket fence."
"No it doesn't," Rodney replied, still sitting with the can against his forehead. Once again silence stretched between them. Eventually Rodney blew out a long breath and then said tentatively, "Have you...have you ever felt like there was something between us? Like some kind of attraction?"
John blinked in shock at the question. Had he ever felt like there was some attraction between them? Jeez, only since the moment John had first laid eyes on a man wear an orange fleece sweater who told him to think of where he was in the solar system. John licked his lips and said hoarsely. "Y, yeah. I have. You?"
Rodney looked up at him with an expression that made John's chest feel like it was being squeezed in a vice. "Yeah, me too." Rodney visibly looked for what to say next, then, "How do you feel about having kids?"
John blinked, not really sure that this was actually happening. "Um, kids are cool." He briefly thought about reminding Rodney that he was screwed up too, but remembered what he'd just told Rodney about the rest of the team being available to help raise any kid Rodney might want to have and decided to keep his mouth shut.
"You know what I'm like, right?" Rodney continued.
"Bad with people, egotistical, caring and smart? Yeah," John said, a little breathlessly.
"Do you give good blowjobs?" Rodney asked hopefully, putting down his beer on the deck.
John's licked his lips and tried not to sound too desperately eager. "Uh, I'm kind of out of practice. But I was pretty good when back when I was doing them regularly."
Rodney swallowed hard and then leaned toward John. John leaned as well and they met in a tentative touch of lips. John heard a distant splashing noise and realized that he'd just dropped his beer into the water and that he didn't care in the slightest. He reached up with both hands to hold Rodney's face and deepened the kiss. Rodney, in return, made a noise and grabbed him around the waist, pulling John tightly to him. They kept up the kiss until John was sure he was going to pass out from lack of oxygen before finally parting, John resting his forehead against Rodney's.
"You wouldn't mind if we started on the whole kids thing tomorrow, would you?" Rodney asked anxiously, still clutching John's torso tightly. "I know it's scarily early in our relationship to talk about things like that, but those things take a while and we're not getting any younger here."
John chuckled a little hysterically, then laid his hands on Rodney's biceps and gave them a squeeze. "I think you need to officially break up with Keller first, but yeah, if you want to, yeah."
"Right, right, break up with Keller, got it," Rodney said, pulling away and nodding energetically. He scrambled to his feet, obviously intent on doing it immediately, then stalled and looked at John with wide blue eyes as John stood up. "Um, you wouldn't happen to want to get in any practice tonight on relearning your blowjob technique, would you?"
John made an effort to be nonchalant about it, but the dorky grin he could feel all over his face probably wiped out any coolness points he could muster up at the moment. "After you're finished? I could go for that. Your place?"
Rodney grabbed his arms and kissed him swiftly on the lips. "Yes, yes, that would be great," Rodney babbled, "Meet me there in fifteen minutes?"
Wow, Rodney was planning on setting a speed record for breaking up with Keller, John thought with bemusement, his brain still gobsmacked and trying to catch up with everything that had just happened. "Sure," he said, and watched Rodney give him a blinding grin before hurrying off to break his engagement.
* * *
The next week, John finally got around to telling the last person on his list. "Mr. Woolsey?" he said, knocking on the edge of Woolsey's office doorway.
Woolsey looked up from whatever he was doing on his laptop. "Yes, Colonel. May I help you?"
John walked in and sat down in front of Woolsey's desk, leaning back in the chair with a shy smile. "There's some paperwork in my personnel file that I need to update..."