Pairing/Charecter(s): John/Rodney, Laura Cadman, Radek Zelenka
Warnings/Spoliers: Post-"Duet" story, from Laura's POV; some swearing
Disclaimer: All characters, situations, quotes et al are properties of their respective owners and I am merely using them under Title 17 of the US Code, § 107, aka the Fair Use Doctrine, without intents to infringe upon or defame anyone's legal rights.
Summary: Rodney's life – and, by extension, the lives of everyone else on Atlantis – would be better if only he was having sex on a regular basis.
Notes: My entry for the McShep Match 2005, my prompt being "over the moon" and my team being (the winning) Team Sheppard, reposted here now that the winners have been announced. Thanks to everyone who voted and commented on my story!
The Best Laid Plans
A Stargate: Atlantis Story
There's nothing quite like being a) back in one's body and b) having full control over said body, and so Laura Cadman spends the first five days after her experience as Doctor McKay's split personality relishing this fact, drinking vast amounts of orange juice and going on exceptionally long runs.
By day six, however, she starts feeling nauseous at the sight of anything citrus and has pulled a hamstring, and so she's left with more than enough time to think about her experience, however little she might want to. Once she gets over the lingering horror of having been stuck quite against her will in somebody else's body, however, she comes to the conclusion that McKay isn't really such a bad guy. A rude, pompous ass with an ego the size of a small solar system, but not actually a bad guy when you considered he could actually do all the things he claims he can. Besides, Colonel Sheppard likes him. Sheppard is the best CO she's had in ages, and if he likes McKay, he can't be all that bad.
Maybe it's the drugs Doctor Beckett had her on for the hamstring. Maybe it's the touch of lingering guilt she had for taking control of McKay's body without his permission. Maybe it's the way Lieutenant Collins kept referring to him as "Cadman's boyfriend" every time the scientist's name came up in conversation. Laura's still not sure, but when she wakes up on day seven, it's with the vague idea that Rodney's life – and, by extension, the lives of everyone else on Atlantis – would be better if only he was having sex on a regular basis.
At first, she thinks it's just one of those crazy ideas you get at 0500 that you laugh off in the light of day. But, as the day wears on and all anyone in the mess can talk about is how Doctor McKay apparently made one of the new Dutch scientists cry when he found a fatal flaw in one of her equations for whatever their latest project is, her vague idea starts looking better and better.
It's not like regular sex could make Rodney's mood any worse, so at dinner she seeks out Katie Brown.
"So, how was your date?" she asks, hoping that Rodney had seen fit not to tell Katie about her part in it.
"Oh, hi Laura. It was... fine, I guess. A bit unusual, but fine, I guess."
Fine is... not good. Fine is the kind of response you give when you're planning on never going out with the guy again but are too polite to say so, not the kind likely to mean you're prepared to jump his bones. But still, a girl's got to ask. "You going to see him again?"
"Hmm? Oh, no. Probably not. To be honest, I'm rather surprised he agreed to dinner in the first place."
"He agreed?" This was news.
"Oh yes. Looking back on it, I think he just said yes to be polite. That's why he kept putting it off..."
For a moment, Laura flounders, her objective forgotten. "Rodney? Polite?"
Katie frowns at her. "Now you're starting to sound like Sharon from Anthropology. Rodney's a sweetheart at heart. Some dreadful woman probably broke his heart in the past and so he just pretends to be so mean to keep everyone at arms length. He just needs to find the right person to be able to come out of his shell."
Laura has always thought Katie nice, if a little bit ditzy, but that is okay because, well, what perfectly sane person volunteered to go on a mission to another galaxy anyway? But this? This was madness, plain and simple, because no one – no one – could honestly believe Doctor Rodney "I'm-the-smartest-person-in-two-gala
It's all she can do to make agreeing noises while Katie continues down this vein (which is, rather worryingly, for some time), before the botanist concludes, "It's not like it ever would have worked anyway. I'm not even his type," as if that were the sole reason their date failed.
But still, it's something Laura can put towards finding someone else who might be interested in sleeping with McKay and, thus, making Atlantis a better place to live, so she asks. "And his type is?"
Katie bites her lower lip. "Well, rather like you, actually."
Laura blinks. "Me?"
"You know. Blonde. Military. And..." She makes a vague gesture towards her chest. Katie doesn't quite meet her eyes when she continues, "You know, I wouldn't have a problem if you wanted to ask him out yourself."
"What?" Laura shouts, scrambling out of her chair and suddenly very glad the mess is mostly empty at this hour. "No. I'm not- Just, no," she tells her before strategically retreating before this conversation could get any worse.
* * *
Armed with this new (and, frankly, alarming) information, Laura makes a survey of Atlantis.
As far as anyone can tell, McKay has only ever expressed interest in one person: Lieutenant Colonel Samantha Carter, who, in addition to being the blonde, well-endowed military sort, is also apparently one of the few people who can keep up with Rodney intellectually. But, also as far as anyone can tell, the attraction is all one-sided. And besides, Colonel Carter is back on Earth, so she's hardly a legitimate contender for Operation Get McKay Laid.
Since Colonel Carter is hardly an option, Laura starts with her fellow marines, figuring it's the best place to find someone who's both his type and is used to the idea of taking one for the team. Hell, some of them probably have had enough head trauma that they might actually be interested in having that kind of relationship with him. Though she tries to be subtle about it, all of them seem to find the idea of sleeping with Rodney as... distasteful... as she does, however. But, more surprisingly, none of them mention having been hit on even once by the scientist. Not even the blonde ones.
So she expands her search, but it's more of the same with the civilian contingent. Not only are each and every one of them staunchly opposed to the idea of having sex on any sort of regular basis with McKay, but they can't think of anyone other than Colonel Carter that the scientist has hit on, mentioned passing interest in, or even sexually harassed. Which, considering Rodney's rather caustic nature and the fact that there doesn't seem to be a filter between what he thinks and what he says (or, at least, not much of one), Laura finds surprising.
In fact, by the time she gets around to talking to Sharon from Anthropology, she's beginning to despair of finding anyone who might want to sleep with Rodney, let alone anyone he might actually be interested in that way.
None of it makes any sense. Everything about McKay is rash and loud and brazen, and there's no doubt in Laura's mind that, if Rodney had found any of the women on Atlantis attractive, he would have said so, loudly and often.
It's not until Sharon from Anthropology tells her about a mission during the Expedition's first year, one where an alien archaeologist practically threw herself at McKay and McKay didn't even notice, that it all finally makes sense, all the evidence clicking together in her head so that it seems impossible she didn't realize it before.
Which is how Laura finds herself marching into her CO's office on her tenth Rodney-free afternoon announcing more than asking, "Doctor McKay's gay, isn't he?"
Colonel Sheppard is sitting at his desk when she enters, ostensibly catching up on paperwork, and makes a small choking noise at this pronouncement. For a moment he does nothing, then, carefully closing his laptop, he says, "Afternoon, Lieutenant," with undue amusement, considering the situation.
Still, he's her CO, so she gives him a causal salute and an, "Afternoon, Sir," before continuing, "but I'm right aren't I?"
"Do I even want to know what spurred this on?"
"I've been trying to find him a girlfriend and-"
"I'm sorry," the Colonel interrupts, "but what the hell?"
She sighs and starts explaining Operation Get McKay Laid from the beginning. She barely gets halfway through explaining her reasoning before Sheppard's eyebrow has risen to hereto unknown heights, and, by the time she's concludes with, "So I need you to tell me, Sir, if I'm even on the right track with this whole McKay's-actually-gay thing or if I need to be looking more in the direction of blow-up dolls, because I don't know how much more some of the scientists can take before we have some sort of revolution on our hands. I hear Doctor Zelenka was involved in one in Czechoslovakia in '89, so I imagine he knows the best way to go about such things, and I just figured since he's your friend and all that you might be able to help," Laura's not sure if he's actually listening any more.
"Well," Sheppard says after long moment in which Laura's not sure if he's going to laugh at her or throw her out of his office for suggesting his best friend might be gay, "good luck with that, Lieutenant."
She frowns. "But are you going to help or not?"
"Oh no. I'm staying out of it. Tell me how it turns out, though."
* * *
Lacking any definitive proof that Rodney is or is not gay, Laura's forced to gather information the old-fashioned way: by watching him whenever her schedule allows. By day twenty-three all she can say definitively is that Doctor McKay spends far too much time in his labs, which she already knew, and that most, if not all, of his free time is spent in Colonel Sheppard's company, and she's starting to run out of excuses for why she's following him around.
A lesser woman would have given up by now, she knows, but she's put far too much time into this project to give up now and, besides, she's convinced of the worthiness of her cause.
She's trying to find the best place to hide in the jumper bay (Sheppard and McKay are due back from a survey of Lantea's moons, which the scientists think might contain useful minerals, or something of the sort) when Doctor Zelenka surprises her.
"Ah, Lieutenant, I thought I'd find you here," he begins.
"You did? I mean, I was just-"
His, "You do not have to pretend with me," however seriously confuses her.
"I know all about your little crush on Rodney."
"My crush? On Doctor McKay?"
"Yes," he nods enthusiastically, apparently not seeing the abject horror on her face, "Is open secret you have been asking everyone about him, if he likes anyone."
"I was just-"
"You do not have to say anything. I think it's cute. But I wanted to tell you not to waste your time. Rodney, he is, how do you put it? Not interested in women that way."
"Ha! I knew it!" Laura nearly pumps her fist into the air before she catches Zelenka's frown. It's kind of scary, actually, and she quickly stifles herself.
"You must not tell anyone. Your military, it has strange rules regarding such things. Rodney and John are both friends of mine, and I would hate to see either of them hurt because of this."
"Rodney and-" she feels her eyes go wide at this. "Doctor McKay and Colonel Sheppard?"
Zelenka's frown deepens. "This is not what you were trying to gather proof of?"
"What? Yes. Well, not exactly. Not about-" It's Laura's turn to frown. "Wait. You mean that Rodney's getting laid on a regular basis and he's still an ass?"
"Is one of the great mysteries of life," he sighs. "But we should leave. If Rodney finds you stalking him again, I do not know what he will do, but it is not likely to be pretty."
Laura's not entirely sure this is true – Colonel Sheppard's likely to stop McKay before he could do anything too awful – but, all things considered, she spends most of the next few weeks carefully avoiding both the head scientist and her CO. Just to be on the safe side.