Pairing, Rating, Warnings: Sheppard/McKay, PG, none
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: For Pinch Hitter No. 6, who wanted "McKay/Sheppard, happy ending, no kink or character death." AU eptag to Conversion. What do you do when one of your best friends ends up mutated and blue? First, buy a cake....
Rodney let John sulk for a full week before breaking into the infirmary. He figured he had one chance to do this right, so he brought Ronon and Teyla and a sheet cake.
The cake was vanilla with strawberry icing, because John had weird taste like that, and it had cost Rodney several seasons of Buffy to obtain. The lettering on the top read Congratulations on achieving mental lucidity! and every O and dot over an I was a little happy face.
When Ronon tugged the curtains open, John dropped his book and made a grab for his sunglasses.
"Yeah, that's not going to look weird at all," Rodney said, and gestured with the cake. "We come bearing comfort food."
John frowned, but put his glasses down. Teyla moved around Rodney smoothly and rolled the tray table over, and as soon as Rodney settled the cake down carefully Ronon stabbed it with candles. Big ones, little ones, all different colors. John sat up straight, and Ronon struck one of the weird Pegasus matches with his thumbnail.
When all the candles were lit, Teyla gave a short speech about team and family, and John fiddled nervously with his fork until Ronon cut in with a, "We eating or what?" It took John two deep breaths to blow all the candles out, but then there were huge pieces of cake passed around. Rodney suspected some (most!) of the nurses and doctors who just happened to wander by were off-shift. He would have complained, but John grinned wider with every plate he filled. By the time everyone in the infirmary was flying on a sugar high, John looked more normal than he had since Carson had broken the news that not all the physical changes were reversible.
John was released two days later, with permission to perform his usual administrative duties. Rodney dropped by John's quarters that evening on his way back from the lab, figuring if John was in they could maybe grab dinner together.
John's face lit up when he opened the door. "More cake?" he asked, sounding hopeful.
"It took Pavlov ages to train his dogs, I can't have conditioned you with one dessert," Rodney grumbled, shoving past John to claim the best spot on John's sofa, the seat without that unfortunate candle-wax stain.
"It was good cake," John said, and flopped down on the bed. "Plus I'm more highly evolved than mere humans now."
"The word you're looking for is mutated," Rodney pointed out.
There was a small, awkward silence, and then John said, staring up at the ceiling, "I was going to grow a serious Captain Ahab beard, you know, but the places that got scaly don't grow hair any more. I can cover my arms and my feet, but -- " He gestured at the rough blue that spread down from his ears along his jaw and under his turtleneck collar. And then he snorted, and held up his hand. "Exhibit B." He studied his darkened nails for a moment before dropping his hand.
"Some people might consider mutation a feature and not a bug," Rodney suggested, and was taken aback when John burst out in loud, absurd laughter. "I'm serious."
"Stop," John wheezed out, holding his stomach and pulling his knees up. Rodney thought for a moment he saw actual tears as John made helpless little threatening gestures with his hands and gasped for breath.
John had seemed so utterly monstrous when he was changing that Rodney had been afraid of him, even heavily drugged and nominally capable of rational thought. There was nothing fearsome about John now.
"And you call yourself a grown-up," Rodney said, and went to fetch John a bottle of water.
John pulled himself together and sat up to drink obediently under Rodney's watchful glare.
"You're not normally this nice," John said finally, after wiping his mouth with the back of his hand.
"You're usually more blas? about near death experiences." Rodney met John's eyes and gave a little sympathetic shrug. "I'm glad you're not dead and you're, well, you again."
John had to qualify that with a, "Mostly," which Rodney waved off.
"The essential bits." He sat down next to John. "It's annoying to see you act like you've crossed the Morrissey line into unlovable territory. The people who care don't care what you look like."
"I keep thinking you're hitting on me," John said, and his knee started to jitter. "But then you insult me again."
"Huh." Rodney twisted a bit sideways so he was looking right at John, who looked nervous and a little red in the human parts of his face. "Would you be amenable to flirtation?"
"Maybe," John said, and bit his lip. Then he reached out and put a hand on Rodney's shoulder, holding him still while John leaned in and pressed his mouth to Rodney's, light and gentle, barely a kiss at all. But John closed his eyes and didn't move away, so Rodney slid his fingers into John's hair and kissed back. John made a small desperate noise and his mouth opened, and he let Rodney take control until Rodney pushed John back onto the bed and stretched out over him, at which point John became a lot more aggressive with his tongue. Rodney suspected there were some fun new psychological stumbling blocks related to all the new mutations, and he realized he didn't know whether John's tongue was blue or not, or whether asking to see was rude.
So he wasn't all that surprised when John stopped the hand that Rodney was trying to insinuate into his shirt and said, like he was both turned on and painfully embarrassed, "Can we take this slow?"
"I actually came here to ask you to dinner," Rodney said, pulling back to give John space.
"Yeah, okay," John said, and reached up to play a bit with Rodney's hair, which as there was no justice in the universe had probably gone all fluffy and debauched. "You could come back here after."
"Yeah, okay," Rodney mimicked. "Mister Enthusiasm." He got up and straightened his clothes briskly.
"I'm," John said, cutting off his own words by biting his lip again as he grabbed his sunglasses as he stood. He slid them on as if he expected Rodney to protest.
"I heard Carson was ordering you contacts," Rodney said, and John shrugged, looking impatient, or possibly hungry. "One more for the road," Rodney added, and pulled John in for a quick kiss before waving the doors open.
John waited until they were in the corridor to say, "Thank you."
Rodney thought about explaining that he was only being selfish, like always, and was motivated by a heady combination of scientific curiosity and hormones. But he settled for a simple, "You're welcome," and was rewarded by one of John's wide familiar smart-ass grins and an elbow jab. Despite himself, Rodney grinned back.