Disclaimer: Not my galaxy or my sandbox. For fun, not profit.
Author's Notes: Thanks very much to my beta. She rocks. Title of the story taken from this quote:
Home is a place not only of strong affections, but of entire unreserve; it is life's undress rehearsal, its backroom, its dressing room. ~Harriet Beecher Stowe
Summary:Home is where the heart is.
They’d been back in Pegasus for less than three weeks when Lorne’s team went missing on what Rodney had deemed a diplomatic mission to (Al)Deron, aka MX7-259. The Deronians were one of the more advanced cultures in Pegasus and Woosley was trying to stop them from going to war with the Genii. John had been waiting for the other shoe to drop since they had splashed the city back down, so to quote Han Solo, he had a bad feeling about this. Of course, if he was honest with himself, he’d take all the bad feelings he might have about Pegasus over the diplomatic claptrap of Earth every day of the week and twice on Sundays.
To be out in the field with Rodney, Ronon and Teyla again, to be a team, was worth anything they might encounter--even the Wraith. And it was good to know there were certain constants in the world. Rodney complaining was one of them. You could set your watch by it.
“Why am I here again?” Rodney asked as they slowly made their way up the steep incline. They had been climbing the twisting path for over an hour. “What good am I in a rescue mission?”
It was the fifth time that Rodney had asked that question. So yep, just like clockwork.
“You’re the one who’s going to need rescuing if you don’t shut it McKay.”
And Ronon baiting Rodney was another constant. John was pretty sure the knowing smile on Teyla’s face matched his own. It was good to be home.
"Oh, how I've missed daily threats from you, Ronon. They just warm my cockles."
John waved Ronon off as Teyla handed Rodney her water bottle. “Here, you seem thirsty."
Rodney accepted the bottle and took a sip. "Thank you."
"You are most welcome, Rodney. Major Lorne and Dr. Zelenka and their team have missed three check-ins. I know you want their safe return to Atlantis. Having you with us will no doubt help us accomplish that goal.”
Rodney blushed and nearly tripped over his feet at Teyla’s compliment. Some days John could kiss her. Well, not really. But she certainly knew how to defuse Rodney like a bomb.
Ronon pulled out a package to Twinkies and tossed them to Rodney. “I think your blood sugar must be getting low, you’re bitching even more than normal." Somewhere along the way, Ronon had appointed himself the regulator of Rodney's blood sugar, so he always carried snacks and treats for when McKay got grumpy. "Sorry, should have seen the signs. It's been a while.”
It had been a while. Too damn long in John's mind. They might be a little rusty, but John had no doubt they'd be back in fighting form in no time.
"Thanks." Rodney offered Ronon one of the Twinkies. "Sorry for the..." Rodney said with a wave of his hands.
Ronon shoved the entire Twinkie in his mouth and chewed. When he was done, he clasped Rodney on the shoulder and smiled. "It's okay, McKay. I hate to admit it, but I've missed your constant bitching."
"I do not constantly..." Rodney looked at the incredulous looks on his teammates faces and burst out laughing. "Alright, maybe I do."
Okay, so John could almost kiss his entire team. It was so damn good to be home. Besides, they all knew what was really going on. McKay had been either bitching or moaning since Keller decided not to come back with them. Of course, as Ronon had just pointed out, those were Rodney’s default settings most days, but it now had a more bitter ring to it.
The last few weeks had been rough. For a few terrifying moments there after they had the green light to fly Atlantis home, John thought Rodney might stay behind with Keller. But in the end, he chose Atlantis. Because Atlantis was important. Atlantis was home. Rodney wouldn't be happy on Earth. Not if someone else was playing with his city. Deep down Rodney knew that, John was sure of it. He just needed to remind Rodney. It was one of the reasons he told Woosley to let them take lead on the rescue mission. Rodney needed proof that he'd made the right decision and John was going to give it to him.
Of course, that was before they blasted their way into the Deronan compound only to find Lorne and Zelenka doing what had to be the Pegasus version of the "Slide" in costumes that had to be seen to be believed. Okay, so maybe not a mission that needed Rodney's specific skill set, but from the look on his face, he was enjoying it just the same.
Rodney’s eyes had gone wide. “Radek?”
John couldn't blame him. Zelenka in jaunty lederhosen and what could only be described as a Robin Hood hat was a sight to see. Of course, he wasn't the only one dressed to kill. Sheppard shifted his gaze to Lorne, who was wearing what appeared to be a dress made of burlap and no shoes. He cocked an eyebrow at the other man.
Lorne shook his head. “Don’t ask, Sir. You really don’t want to know.”
Apparently, Ronon wasn't above asking. "Coriolanus?"
Both John and Rodney stopped and stared. Rodney spoke first. "You've read Shakespeare?"
"Amelia took me to see Henry V in the park back on Earth. Then bought me the complete works. I like the tragedies best. Although I don't care what Amelia says, Romeo is nothing but a pussy."
John laughed. "I totally agree with you, buddy. I don't remember lederhosen being part ofCoriolanus though."
Now it was just Rodney staring. "You've read Shakespeare too?"
"Yep. Performed it too. I played Puck in high school."
Rodney gaped. "Of course, you did. You certainly have the hair for it. While these personal confessions are nothing short of fascinating, could we get back to the rescuing, or save that, at least get back to finding out why Lorne's in a dress and Zelenka looks like a wood elf."
Sadly, the story wasn't nearly as fascinating as the costumes led them to believe. Just another freaky harvest festival in the Pegasus galaxy. Although John was pretty sure the pictures that Rodney had taken of Zelenka would be used to keep him in good coffee for a long, long time. Not that John approved. Blackmail was wrong. But he was pretty sure, he'd be in coffee too as Rodney usually shared with him. And besides the smile and glee on Rodney's face as they made the trek back down the path to the stargate made it all worth while.
Rodney walked in stride with John as they exited the debriefing. He was about to ask Rodney if he wanted to grab something to eat when Rodney spoke first.
“Who knew Lorne had such nice legs."
John stopped walking. He couldn't have heard that right. "What?"
Rodney looked over at John. "Lorne. Nice legs. Not many men could pull off that farm chic look."
Of all the things John would have thought could come out on Rodney's mouth. That wasn't one of them. "Are you seriously telling me you find Lorne attractive?"
Rodney nodded. “He is a fine looking man, but he’s not really my type.”
Oh for the love of God. John was not having this conversation. "Yeah, Rodney, everyone knows your type. Pretty, female and a decade too young for you." John didn't stick around to see the hurt that he knew would shadow Rodney's face.
John felt kind of shitty--okay really shitty--for what he said to Rodney, but he couldn't help it. He'd been supportive through Katie and Keller. He just couldn't watch Rodney use Lorne as some sort of weird rebound crush. It was bad enough watching Rodney go after women, but to have him widen his playing field. John just couldn't do it.
John wasn't surprised to find Rodney perched on the couch in his room when he finally made it back there after a really long walk around the city. He had calmed down enough and worked up the courage to apologize. "Figured you might be here. I'm sorry for what I said earlier. I didn't mean it."
Rodney stood up and walked over to where John was standing just inside the door. For a brief moment, John thought Rodney might hit him.
"Yes you did. But you were wrong. For your information, you're my type."
John stumbled back almost as if Rodney had actually hit him. "What?"
"You're my type," Rodney said as he pushed John up against the wall and had his tongue in John's mouth before John could protest. Not that John was going to protest. He must be hallucinating because no way could he be getting exactly what he wanted. But Rodney's mouth was hot and insistent against his own. He didn't think Rodney had picked anything up on the planet that could be making him act this way, but even though their medicals were clean, John thought he'd better check. He gently pushed Rodney away. It ranked up there with getting fed on by a Wraith as the hardest thing he'd ever done in Pegasus. But he couldn't take advantage of Rodney. "McKay, what are you doing?"
"You're a moron," Rodney said, leaning in for another kiss.
John held him off. "Okay... Since when do you go around kissing people you think are stupid."
"I don't normally, but you're a special case."
John folded his arms across his chest and did his best not to look at Rodney's kiss wet lips. "Explain that."
"I'm not grumpy because of Jennifer. It was a mutual parting of the ways."
"But... you almost didn't come back." John hated how his voice cracked.
"I know. But you are too dense to see why. I was freaking out because I realized that I wasn't coming back because of Atlantis or the discoveries I could make or even a chance at a Nobel. The only reason I wanted to come back was you."
Rodney sighed and spoke very slowly. "I. Came. Back. For. You."
John didn't want to beat a dead horse but... "What about Keller?"
"She saw it before I did. She told me that even if you and I were never anything more than friends, our relationship would still take precedence over everything else. Everyone else. I thought she was crazy until I realized she was right. You are more important. You've always been more important."
John couldn't argue with that. "But the kissing?"
"Oh that? After your little temper tantrum over Lorne, I realized you felt the same way."
"I didn't have a temper tantrum."
Rodney smiled, full and wide. "You so did. But it's okay, because it made me realize that we can have it all." Rodney reached for him. "Can we get back to the kissing now?"
John wanted nothing more, but he had to be sure. "So this isn't some aftereffect of Alderaan?"
Rodney laughed and shook his head. "While the sight of Radek in bright yellow lederhosen was pretty damn hilarious and Lorne in a dress..."
"With his nice legs." Sometimes John couldn't help himself.
Rodney sighed. "Yes, with his nice legs, it hasn't caused me to have some sort of psychotic break. I want this. I want you, John. And you want me too."
"I do. Now shut up and kiss me."
Never let it be said John couldn't follow orders. He spun them around so that Rodney was the one up against the wall. He nuzzled his nose against Rodney's neck and smiled against his jaw before looking into Rodney's eyes.
Rodney smiled wide and leaned forward. "Welcome home, John," he said before covering John's lips with his own.
And John was home. Finally. In Pegasus, on Atlantis and in Rodney's arms.
Additional Author's Note: For those of you who aren't a Star Wars geek like me, Alderann is a planet in Star Wars. Rodney just alters the "Deronians" planet's name for his own amusement. (Well his and John's)