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Title: \o/ lemon chicken in the mess!!!
Author: lilyfarfalla
Words: ~2,000
Pairing: Rodney/John
Warnings: None
Rating: R
Prompt: pariah
Summary: It wasn’t until Miko that Rodney noticed something was wrong.
A/N: At the end because spoilers! But, fair warning, this is ridiculous.

It wasn’t until Miko that Rodney noticed something was wrong. He’d been working off a research high for nearly 50 hours now and was enjoying the buzz of riding the thin line between exhaustion and exhilaration (and of course regular doses of caffeine helped.)

And for the first time in years (“YEARS” Rodney had exclaimed to himself many times over the past two days), he wasn’t working under the pressure of almost-assured death and destruction. No, this was research, pure research, for the sake of science and knowledge and knowing things. It was beautiful, and Rodney thought he might never stop.

Except then, suddenly, Miko was giving him a look. In general, Miko’s looks tended to consist of adoring, annoyed-and-trying-to-hide-it, and embarrassed. This look might have started at annoyed-and-trying-to-hide-it, but it had evolved far far past that point and into I-will-kill-you-with-my-eyes. Rodney himself had used this look himself many a time, though anymore it was rarely effective with anyone outside of new science team members. (The trouble with having a team that had movie nights was that you became the kind of person who went to movie nights with some of the most popular kids in the school. Rodney enjoyed the movie nights too much to trade them in for effective glares, but even he couldn’t help a few longing sighs once in a while.)

But, back to the the abnormality of Miko’s glare. Rodney took a moment to ponder while his next model ran. Had he done anything to offend her recently? Probably, he concluded, but most of the rude things that Rodney did to Miko didn’t tend to result in glares. He decided to blame it on Cadman.

[In reality, Cadman had been gone from Atlantis for six months after she’d been pulled to work a deep undercover mission in the Milky Way, but Rodney continued to blame her for various mishaps, especially related to the female population of Atlantis. Teyla, meanwhile, despaired.]

The computer dinged and Rodney turned back to his model. In the far back reaches of his mind, Rodney spared a thought to thank Radek for his work on integrating the Atlantis servers with their own work computers. Rodney sometimes laughed to think of how long running the kinds of math and engineering models would take even on the best computers on earth.

After several more hours, the auxiliary-auxiliary computer set up in Rodney’s work station dinged. Rodney’s workstation was a thing of marvel, with one computer dedicated solely to minesweeper, email, and reminders to occasional eat something. John had insisted that Rodney set up a reminder system for food. Rodney would have protested being treated like a six year old, but a) Madison had been six at the time and no one was setting up timers to remind her to do anything and b) John did the coding to set up the reminder himself, which Rodney couldn’t help but find a little hot.

Rodney hopped out of his chair and stretched, looking around the science lab. The whole place seemed deserted, which was strange. He glanced again at the clock. 1900 wasn’t exactly burning the midnight oil in Atlantis. While all of the scientists tended to work their own hours when disaster wasn’t breathing down their necks, there tended to be a handful of people working in the main lab almost 24 hours a day.

Shrugging to himself, Rodney snagged his portable work laptop and headed towards the mess. Probably he wouldn’t work during dinner. Since John had set up the alarm, Rodney tended to have dinner with the team, but there were times when their many varied responsibilities (or fervent desire to kick Marines around) meant that no one was around at the appointed time. If that were the case tonight, Rodney was going to make sure he used the 10 minutes it would take to scarf down the alien pasta of the evening to full effect.

When he got to the mess hall, he was surprised to see that all of the tables were occupied, but there was no sign of Ronon, Teyla, or John. Strange, he thought. He tried putting his laptop down on a couple of tables, but the people sitting there were saving seats.

What is this, highschool? he wondered to himself, and finally gave up and decided to take the food back to the lab. In the hot food line, he’d started to reach for some kind of chicken-looking dish, when Sgt. Montgomery snatched the bowl away.

“What are you—” Rodney started to exclaim.

“Ah, sorry Dr. McKay,” said Sgt. Montgomery. “Someone spilled lemon juice all over the kitchen tonight.”

Rodney stiffened up in fear.

“It’s ok,” Sgt. Montgomery reassured him. “We’ve cleaned it up, but it was in the middle of the dinner prep, so it could be in any of this food.”

Rodney looked dubiously at the long line of dinner items available.

“Any of this food? Seriously, this is all prepared fresh every night?”

Sgt. Montgomery’s right eye twitched slightly. “Yes, we prepare the hot food fresh nightly.” She paused. “And in fact, we were preparing all of the cold sandwiches when the lemon juice bomb went off.”

Rodney looked helplessly around the mess. “But then…what am I supposed to eat?”

“There are always MRE’s, right?”

If Rodney hadn’t known better, he would have thought the sergeant was smirking at him.

[In fact, he did not know better, but Rodney always thought he did. Know better. But he didn’t. She was smirking, is the point.]

Rodney sighed, dropped his tray back into pile, and headed towards his quarters. He hadn’t eaten an MRE for months, but he must still have a couple stashed away under some clothes or in a drawer somewhere.

He was sorting through a collection of unpaired socks that he couldn’t remember ever wearing, when John rushed through the door.

“Rodney, thank god!” he said, breathless.

Rodney felt his heart jump into his throat. “What? What is it? Wraith? I thought we got them all! Damn it, Sheppard, you told me we got them all! We angsted over being the destroyers of an entire civilization! God, why did I think that was a bad thing?! I’m sorry, I want to be a destroyer of civilizations, or at least that one, fuck—”

And then for the second time that evening, he was interrupted.

“No, Rodney, no Wraith” said John.

Rodney’s knees went weak and he stumbled over to the bed. “Well,” he said weakly. “Good. That’s. Good.”

Suddenly, the eleventh cup of coffee he’d had that day seemed like a terrible idea. His heart was racing and he could see the edges of his vision going black.

“Whoa,” said John, coming to sit next to him on the bed. “Easy buddy, deep breathes.” Rodney closed his eyes and leaned into John’s hand when it came up to rub his back. After a couple of minutes, Rodney felt the dizziness pass and cautiously opened his eyes again.

John was still there, hand on Rodney’s back and a tiny smile on his face. “Better now, Rodney?”

Rodney nodded. And then shook his head. “No, wait. What the hell, John? What was the “thank god!” nonsense all about if not some enemy come to rain destruction down on our heads?”

“Oh,” said John. “Well.” He paused, taking a moment to fiddle with the zip of Rodney’s jacket.

Rodney felt the tension start to rise up in him again. What was so goddamn important that was also so hard to say? Rodney was about to say this when John finally spoke up.

“I heard about the, um, the accident.” He paused. “With the lemon juice. I was just worried you’d gone to the mess and everyone had forgotten about your allergy or something.” He shrugged. “Overreaction, I guess.”

Rodney squinted at him. “You guess???” Rodney was about to start a lecture on blood pressure and the effects of unused adrenaline pumped through the body when he saw John grimace a bit. Well, the man had been worried about him.

“Fine fine, no worries,” said Rodney. “Unfortunately, the “lemon bomb,” as Sgt. Montgomery so aptly put it, ruined even the wrapped sandwiches in the mess. So I’m looking for an MRE or something to eat. I probably have a powerbar somewhere too, maybe in the desk? Go look.”

Rodney made some shooing motions. Sure, it was maybe undignified to shoo the military commander of Atlantis, but no one else was there to see. John just rolled his eyes and grinned.

“One moldy powerbar coming up, your highness,” he said and gave Rodney a quick kiss to the forehead.

Thankfully, John quickly turned around and started searching through the drawers of Rodney’s desk so he didn’t see the blush spread across Rodney’s face.

Ahem, thought Rodney to himself. Refocus, McKay, refocus. John’s search was not very thorough, but it would do for now. Rodney suspected John and his mini-fridge might have some high quality snacks that he had a solid chance of getting a hold of if the other option was Rodney starving to death because all of the other food in Atlantis was effectively covered in Rodney-poison.

“It’s funny,” Rodney mused. “If this was five years ago, I might have assumed the “lemon bomb” was a deliberate ploy to make my life that much more miserable.”

Rodney had just been talking aloud, but he saw John’s back tense up at the words “deliberate ploy” and Rodney knew what that meant.

“Oh. No,” he said. “You have got to be kidding me. What the hell did I do in the past 48 hours to make me deserve lemon chicken? Besides be an amazing researcher and scientist, likely solving problems that will save everyone’s life on this city at some point in the future?”

John sighed and turned around. His face was all scrunched up, which usually Rodney found somewhat adorable, but oh no, not tonight.

“It’s not that I approve,” said John wearily.

Rodney crossed his arms over his chest.

“Fine. Fine! You drank the last cup of coffee for the day, ok?”

Rodney blinked. His arms fell down to rest by his sides. He blinked again.

“There’s no more coffee?” he asked.

John huffed a laugh. “Jesus. Rodney, there will be more coffee tomorrow, ok? Breathe.”

Rodney decided to glare in return.

“Rodney! You know this. Woolsey set up coffee rationing months ago. And for the most part, everyone, yourself included, has been really good at sticking to the ten cup limit.”

Rodney felt memory returning with a dawning sense of horror.

“And if any one Lantean shall go above the prescribed ten cup limit,” said Rodney. “That person shall be shunned unto the ends of the city.”

John was smirking. “Got it in eleven, McKay.”

Rodney groaned and dropped his head into his hands. “Well, that explains why Miko was glaring at me,” he said.

“Honestly, I think the whole city has been anticipating this day for a long long time,” said John. “I can’t really blame them, not after you read that announcement over the PA and called it the ‘Word of McKay from on high.’”

Rodney groaned again. “Why didn’t I include a clause about the appropriate time-period for shunning?! How did I not anticipate that I would be the one to go over the ten cup limit??”

“Hey Rodney,” said John.

Rodney ignored him.

“Rodney, Rooodney, Rodnnneeey.”

Rodney groaned some more.


“FINE,” said Rodney and sat up.

“Rodney,” said John, grinning like a terrifying maniac. “I’ll protect you from the lemon-wielding hoards.”

“I’m pretty sure the high and mighty military commander is supposed to be in charge of hounding those who break the sacred bond of coffee rationing,” Rodney said. “I remember a subclause to that effect.

“That’s ok,” said John, lowering his voice like a secret. “I’m not always so good at following orders from on high.”

That made Rodney laughed. And John’s lips against his lips, and John’s hands on his hips, well, those made Rodney think that he could probably weather the storm just fine, if he had at least the one ally.

And just as long as no one told Teyla.

A/N: For esteefee , who helped turn this prompt into something non-angsty (and coffee related!) I want a Rodney ostracized for...that time he finished the last cup of coffee in Atlantis. it's unforgivable, really (I had no coffee in the house today) Thanks darling! Hope you have had a couple of cups already today. (Also, how ridiculous am I that I write the fluff piece of pariah-fluff pieces….and it’s more fluffy than I even anticipated. I feel like I should challenge myself to write something angsty, but then again, eh.)


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 9th, 2011 07:09 pm (UTC)

“That’s ok,” said John, lowering his voice like a secret. “I’m not always so good at following orders from on high.”

hee hee hee! the dreaded sub-clause. oh, John, you fail at ostracism! and the Word handed down from on high (I can so totally hear Rodney's intonation): PERFECT. and then of *course* he breaks it himself!

but the thought of Rodney doing pure research is so so lovely. :)))

I think what I love best about this is how non-emo Rodney is about being dissed. now if only he can raid John's fridge properly after sex, all will be golden. :D
Jul. 9th, 2011 07:09 pm (UTC)
I love lemon chicken stories!

And Rodney not remembering that he drank too much coffee is just perfect!

Fun... and... kissing! Whee!
Jul. 9th, 2011 08:26 pm (UTC)
You just KNOW Rodney's going to up that coffe-limit now! And I love how you turned Miko's character around - giving Rodney the death glare. Awesome!
Jul. 9th, 2011 09:50 pm (UTC)
Hee! I loved the way you revealed the premise. Of course it was that eleventh cup of coffee! I should have know.
Jul. 9th, 2011 09:54 pm (UTC)
Lemon chicken! China!

Love how Rodney needs John to tell him he's being ostracized, hahaha.
Jul. 9th, 2011 09:58 pm (UTC)

Of course Rodney was going to be the one to drink that last cup of coffee. And then he forgot! This is just perfect. Thank you!
Jul. 9th, 2011 10:28 pm (UTC)
I found myself smiling through this whole thing! Great inner Rodney.

And a lemon bomb. OMG, how will he ever recover. What's even cooler is that his team wasn't in the mess to shun him. Awwww!
Jul. 9th, 2011 11:11 pm (UTC)
A lemon juice bomb, oh, funny. I liked this matured Rodney, who didn't automatically exclude himself from the rules that govern everyone *else* while he continues to do whatever he wants, heh. Peons! *g*
Jul. 10th, 2011 09:32 am (UTC)
Really lovely and light and airy and such fun. And yeah many many points to you for getting the fluff element of pariah just right. And writing this John who writes special codes on Rodney's computer and loves him and admits to not always being good at obeying orders. All of this was very delicious.
Jul. 10th, 2011 06:45 pm (UTC)
LOL! Loved this :)
Jul. 10th, 2011 08:19 pm (UTC)
Made me giggle! :-D
Jul. 11th, 2011 03:27 pm (UTC)
Heeee! Love that Rodney doesn't realize he's being shunned until John comes out and tells him. And of course he'd be the one to break the rule. Very cute!
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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