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Five Bluffs in the Pegasus Galaxy

Title: Five Bluffs in the Pegasus Galaxy
Author: lilyfarfalla
Rating: PG-ish
Pairing: John/Rodney
Words: 1,393
Summary: Five times John attempted to bluff his way into or out of something.
Notes: Written at the last minute and totally un-betaed. Concrit welcome! More, slightly spoilery notes at the end.


1. Teyla was spinning them a tale of Wraith attacks and desperate losses, while John and Ronon were playing the intimidating-and-yet-non-threatening-soldiers role. After years of trying to be anything but the guy standing at attention, John was surprised at how much he enjoyed it, on occasion. Instead of putting on a friendly face, he could scan the crowd openly, looking for threats and sending less-than-subtle glares whenever he liked. John knew he was non-threatening option when compared to Ronon, but that made it even easier to fade into the background, just this once.

And then the Mpilean Ambassador gestured to their weapons and John heard Teyla say, “Enough to defend ourselves, but sadly not to mount an attack on the Wraith,” and John straightened his spine.

***

2. The Mpileans wouldn’t trade with anyone they saw as a threat to their growing empire, which meant striking the right balance of “we pose no threat to you” and “fuck with us and we will take you down.”

But the Consolidated Farmers of Parma embraced a philosophy of complete non-violence that John found hard to trust. But Rodney had been over the planet with every sensor he could put together, and he hadn’t found any underground bunkers. And though Teyla had been distrustful at first, she too had come to the conclusion that the farmers were what they claimed to be.

Of course, having established that, he and the rest of Atlantis had to prove they were equally peace-loving, and oh, John might have felt a sting of shame in their first year, but with the City finally back in Pegasus, based on a deal that required Atlantis to become self-sufficient, whether the IOA had quite realized that result or not…. Well, John had things other than lying to unionized hippies to worry about.

***

3. The day after Carson crash landed John’s beautiful City into the Pacific, Stargate Command somehow managed to arrange a boat ride for authorized crew to go out to the mainland for a few days. Much to John’s surprise, given the loose wires, the state of the power grid, and the confusion among scientists about how to reconfigure their work from Earth, Rodney was among them.

John was not.

This meant that, once he returned, Rodney felt obliged to fill John in on most (but thankfully not all) of the excruciatingly boring details, including many stories of drinking, as well as stories shared by certain head medical offers during drinking games.

John nodded, and uh-huh-ed, and finally said, “Check mate,” to Rodney’s agitated swearing. Some things, John mused, would always stay the same.

***

4. John had, over the years, inured himself to the fact that negotiating tended to take the form of outright lies about 95 percent of the time. It figured that the newly formed Ring Society had not.

“We promise, you will not be kept as prisoners,” they had said. But John (his knees scraping against the ground, losing feeling from his tied up arms and legs) disagreed. While “kept” might imply a long time period, they were prisoners now.

They were in a long and narrow room, squinting against the sun that came in through a wall of open windows. The angle of the sun and slight fogginess of the air gave the room a strange sense of dimension. John couldn’t quite see the ceiling or the doors their not-captors had pushed them through.

“This is the room of intentions,” one of the Society had said. “We know you’ve lied, about who you are and what you want from us. But this room will tell us whether your intentions are true.”

The Society members arranged them into a row: Rodney, John, Teyla, Ronon, and then moved to stand behind them. John shuffled a few knee-steps to the left until he and Rodney were pressed close together.

“Ancient tech?” he whispered into Rodney’s ear, and Rodney did a complicated nod-shrug that succinctly described how John felt. He stayed there, leaning into Rodney and telling himself that he would stay for just one more minute. Rodney was warm, and in the increasingly foggy light, a solid point of contact.

The light grew brighter, limning the fog that had now filled the room and was weighing down John’s hair. He could barely see Teyla, just a few feet beside him. He could feel Rodney’s pulse and his quick breaths, but sounds were muffled and John found himself hoping against hope that this Ancient Device (it must be Ancient, John thought) would somehow judge them worthy.

The planet’s sun finally reached the right angle to flood the chamber and John’s eyes with direct sunlight. Faintly, he heard Teyla gasp beside him, and Ronon let out a rumbling sigh. John blinked again and again, but his eyes filled with visions, pulling the tracker out of Ronon’s shoulder, standing with Elizabeth as they set the self-destruct sequence, finding Teyla and her son, racing toy cars down the hallways of Atlantis. Michael was there too, and the nauseous mix of hate and shame and sorrow mixed up with his half-human, half-Wraith face, and all of the other moments of doubt and the decisions John got wrong.

And throughout, there was always Rodney.

John let it wash over him, feeling too much, unable to look away, until the sun rose just a few degrees more and his vision cleared.

“Good intentions!” said one of the Society, the surprise clear in his voice.

“Yes,” said Teyla, her voice steady and strong and loved. “And now you can prove your own by releasing us.”

***

5. Afterwards, unloading their gear in the locker room, Teyla started to speak, choked up, and finally got out, “It is always an honor,” before walking from the room, tear tracks still on her cheeks.

Ronon raced through a shower, slapped John and Rodney on the back while they were still unbuttoning their TAC vests, and shouted, “Gonna go find ‘Melia!” on his way out of the door.

Abruptly, Rodney let himself collapse onto the bench and dropped his head into his hands. John wondered, idly, his brain still honey-slow from the afternoon’s events if Rodney would ask to be on another gate team or just for some time apart.

“John,” Rodney said, and he sounded devastated, utterly shattered.

John sat down heavily next to him, was reaching to comfort Rodney before he realized that might not be welcome and stuffed his hands into his lap.

“It’ll be ok,” said John, his voice shaky. “Just, a little time, and we’ll be back to normal.”

At that, Rodney dropped his hands to his thighs and sat up to face John.

“Normal?! That’s your offer??”

John stared straight ahead. This is why he didn’t talk emotions, he thought, angry at Teyla for a millisecond, and then just angry at himself.

“This isn’t a negotiation John, you can’t just give me a poker face and hope I’ll accept it as truth. I’ve ¬seen your I’m-lying-please-don’t-find-out face, remember?”

“Fine,” John bit out. “So what do you want to do? Switch teams?”

Rodney was silent in response to that, so John snuck a sideways glance to see that Rodney’s mouth was literally hanging open.

John raised an eyebrow at this expression, but Rodney continued to gape, mouth opening and closing slightly, looking more like a trout than a Rodney. And, as if it had a mind of its own, John saw his hand reaching over to gently push Rodney’s chin up until his mouth clicked shut.

John would have pulled his hand away in horror and possibly run out of the mission-ready room to hide somewhere else, but Rodney leaned into John’s palm, and finally, everything clicked.

“Oh,” John breathed, and let his hand cup Rodney’s jaw, his cheek.

“Yes, oh,” said Rodney, eyes fluttering closed and still maintaining a perfectly sarcastic intonation.

John smiled and, with more purpose, ran a finger down Rodney’s nose and across his lips before Rodney let out a quiet little sigh and suddenly they were kissing, lush, slow sweeps of tongues and gentle teeth and John thought his heart might burst out of his chest, but Rodney was there, an arm solid around his back, another warm on his knee, saying “I know, I know, me too, we’re idiots,” and John was laughing and kissing Rodney and thinking “all cards on the table now.”

The End

-------------

End Notes: I wasn’t feeling very creative, but I thought I should be able to put together a rec list of SGA fic + bluffs. I mean, it happens often enough right? But in scanning through my bookmarks I realized that almost all SGA fic has some kind of bluffing in it. And sure there’s the more literal kinds, the Vegas!AUs and the negotiations with planets and civilizations (“oh yes, we have infinite fire power”; “oh no, we’re not on the brink of starvation” etc etc), but even more than that, the INFINITY of stories where John is in love with Rodney and/or vice versa and they pretend that they aren’t? To the utmost of their abilities? Well. If that isn’t bluffing, I don’t know what is. So, this is really in honor of all of those stories that I love so well. A poor imitation.

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
tarlanx
Jun. 23rd, 2012 09:36 am (UTC)
Lovely story :)
esteefee
Jun. 23rd, 2012 09:42 am (UTC)
awwww, wow, yeah, especially to your note, because that last bit? is all of the John and Rodney bluffs put together, plus the teaminess of love. <3 <3 <3
danceswithgary
Jun. 23rd, 2012 06:25 pm (UTC)
Really enjoyed this! :-D
ladysorka
Jun. 23rd, 2012 08:51 pm (UTC)
I love how you equated John and Rodney pretending to the types of bluffs the team does on a daily basis. Because yes. (Plus, this just made me happy.)
panisdead
Jun. 24th, 2012 01:57 am (UTC)
Choked up Teyla! I love it when she gets to show real affection. And I love John and Rodney trying to bluff each other, and finally being unable.
semielliptical
Jun. 24th, 2012 04:20 am (UTC)
Oh, lovely!
popkin16
Jun. 24th, 2012 06:00 am (UTC)
I like the idea of the natives having a hut that somehow determines intentions XD

Afterwards, unloading their gear in the locker room, Teyla started to speak, choked up, and finally got out, “It is always an honor,” before walking from the room, tear tracts still on her cheeks.

This gave me a lot of feels! As did John and Rodney - silly, silly men that they are. This was a cute fic ♥
lazy_8s
Jun. 24th, 2012 03:08 pm (UTC)

Gorgeous, especially the ending. :)
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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