So, here's the first part of my McKay/Weir fic. At the moment I think it'll likely be three chapters long. It is rated M+ but that's overall. This chapter is T at most.
Some feedback on this one would be very welcome. It's unbetaed as my beta is having lack of internet issues, and it's unusually for me to write something so static (without lots of action or adventure, I mean). Any tips or mentions of what you liked/disliked would be very useful indeed.
Do enjoy :)
Title: The Challenge Of Rodney McKay
Spoilers: Nothing in particular
Summary: A return journey to Earth finally gives Rodney and Elizabeth an opportunity to test the waters in their slowly flourishing relationship. Of course, Rodney isn’t the type of man who’s about to make things easy for them…
Elizabeth knew Rodney was talking but the moment she took that first mouthful of Belgian waffle between her lips every other sense seemed to shut down in favour of diverting her full attention to just how good that tasted. After months of the satisfactory but rather mundane food on Atlantis, the sensation of warm melted chocolate and cold vanilla ice cream on her tongue was as close to bliss as she could recall being for some time.
Only when that first wonderful sensation had completely faded away did she realise that Rodney had stopped talking. She glanced up to see him looking back at her with an amused smirk on his face.
“That good, hmm?”
“Sorry,” she apologised with a gentle, mildly guilty smile.
His smirk widened to a proper grin, “Well since I ate a whole packet of marshmallows for breakfast this morning who am I to judge?”
Elizabeth shook her head in fond amusement. Why this man wasn’t on a permanent sugar high, she didn’t know. Or maybe he was and she’d just gotten used to it.
There was a lot she had gotten used to about Rodney McKay in the last few months, and she imagined there were plenty more things she had yet to discover. Elizabeth was usually very good at quickly summing people up, it was an important part of her job. Yet occasionally this man still managed to surprise her. And despite her normal preference of knowing someone inside and out before she let them so deeply into her life, she found that she quite liked that he wasn’t such an open book.
It wasn’t as if she didn’t want to get to know him better, far from it in fact, it was just that Atlantis was hardly the easiest place in which to carry out a normal relationship. Their situation was unusual to say the least and when you lived in a such a relatively small colony, privacy was hard to come by. It certainly didn’t help that their respective positions kept them extremely busy. A few stolen evenings here and there was all they had managed to salvage together since they had come to admit that what was between them had grown into more than a friendship.
To be perfectly honest, this opportunity to return to Earth couldn’t have come at a better time. Yes, it did mean spending seemingly endless days making reports and presentations to all those who warranted being informed about the events on Atlantis in person. Not to mention the arduous task of choosing even more mission personnel to take back with them. But the evenings were theirs and at last it afford them an opportunity to spend some real time together without having to discuss the latest alien threat or the fact that Rodney still couldn’t figure out precisely how the Ancient plumbing worked. She’d actually been a little nervous about the prospect at first. They gelled so well in a work environment where they had common goals and ideas to talk about, that she wondered what it would be like when that was taken away. She knew from experience that Rodney didn’t always make himself the easiest person in the world to get along with. He had a tendency to run his mouth off before engaging his brain, and his social skills were seemingly hampered by his intelligence and his unwillingness to let anyone into a position where they might know him too well. If she was truthful with herself, Elizabeth had been a little concerned that when they did finally get some proper time alone together she wouldn’t like him as much as she thought. That he would lose his slowly growing confidence and make things too difficult for them. That as nice as he seemed, there was only so much Rodney McKay she could handle.
Fortunately it quickly become apparent that she had nothing to worry about. Things had gone as perfectly as she could have hope for so far. Okay, so she had had to have been the one to suggest they go out for dinner, but she didn’t think he was ever likely to be one of the great romantics of their time. And she didn’t really need nor want him to be. Yes, he was at times arrogant, egotistical, sarcastic and opinionated in the extreme. He had said plenty of things tonight that had given her cause to roll her eyes in disbelief. But she didn’t mind in the slightest. That was just him and who he was, and in her eyes that was a very good thing indeed. After all, he was the only man she had met in some time whose presence she found so warming for no apparent reason. He was the only one who looked at her in a way which made her feel wanted for something deeper than her skills and abilities. He was the only one whose grins made her insides flutter in a way she’d almost forgotten existed.
She liked it a lot more than was probably good for her.
They’d been through so much together in the past two years, she supposed it was hardly surprising that such a bond had sprung up. Even so, she had been shocked by just how deep her feelings for him had become. She had always had the ability to see in him things that others missed. From virtually the moment they’d met she’d realised that beneath the sarcastic comments and large ego was actually a very good man. But Atlantis was full of those and why she had come to feel so deeply for this one in particular was still a bit of a mystery even to her. On the outside it seemed unlikely. He wasn’t exactly her usual type and she knew there were many who would see him as far too difficult a person to even consider as a possible interest. Besides, surely she should be a little busy right now running one of the most important expeditions in the history of mankind to be worrying about her love life?
Oddly, that was a comfort to her. To feel like this, to want this at such an inappropriate time and to find herself unable to ignore her feelings just convinced her how deep this ran. That this relationship was worth a shot. It reminded her that she had a duty to herself and her own happiness as well as to the people who lived under her command.
Besides, he did look very good in the blue suit and casual white shirt.
She frowned, realising she’d been thinking so much that she had been neglecting her desert. Well that just wouldn’t do. Stabbing another piece of waffle with her fork, she swept it around her plate, covering it in a generous layer of chocolate sauce. Unbidden, the sight pushed a thought into her mind, and she briefly wondered what Rodney’s reaction might be if he was the one she was covering in chocolate sauce. Subconsciously she sneaked a glance up at him, trying to imagine it more clearly, and was startled to find him looking at her with curiously raised eyebrows. Evidently something of what she was thinking was showing on her face.
She felt her cheeks flushing slightly but immediately convinced herself that it was just the wine.
At first it had been odd to think about him in that way, but she was finding herself becoming increasingly comfortable with it. More than comfortable in fact. After all, no matter who she was or what her professional position was, she had the same needs as any other grown woman.
There was never a lack of attraction between them. Even before this had begun she had considered him a good looking man, and the physical exertions of living in the Pegasus Galaxy had certainly done wonders for his tone. Upon closer inspection however she had come to realise that he was quite nicely broad shouldered. That he had great arms, cute hair, long eyelashes, lovely blue eyes and about a dozen other things she found attractive and yet had never really seen before. It was funny how you could look at someone everyday and fail to notice so many things until your reason for looking at them changed.
Up until now she had kept her observations discrete however. Neither of them were the type to be into big public displays of affection; they liked their private life kept that way. For the first few weeks, their physical contact was limited to the affectionate brush of the cheek here and there, the occasional hand squeeze or sitting pressed close together on the small sofa in her quarters watching a film - which he inevitably berated for all the artistic license the makers were taking with what he considered well known facts. She’d been content with that to be honest. All she really craved at the time was his affection, and he gave that with surprising willingness.
Then, eighteen days after he’d stutteringly admitted she meant more to him than just a friend and he had an inkling she may feel the same, they’d lost contact with the puddle jumper containing Sheppard’s team.
Elizabeth had never felt so isolated in her life. Never had one period of twenty four hours felt so oppressive and long. The one person she could truly felt she could go to for comfort in such a situation was the one missing, and whilst she had been able to maintain her external appearance of calm, thoughtfulness and positivity, inside she was falling to pieces. Every way she turned she found nothing but more confusion and worry. She couldn’t think of anything but him. It was ‘Rodney is missing’ not ‘Sheppard’s team is missing’. She despised herself for her lack of professionalism but she couldn’t help it. All she kept hearing in her head were the same questions and doubts. What if he didn’t come back? What if she never saw him again? Had the Wraith had got him? Was he in pain? Was he lying there injured somewhere, enable to go for help? Was he thinking of her at all?
It scared her that she could feel so strongly about something that had so barely begun.
When they had finally returned, battered but alive, she’d clenched her fists so hard her fingernails had left deep, half moon shaped dents in her palms as she tried to prevent herself from throwing her arms around him the moment he stepped out of the puddle jumper. The long wait in the infirmary had been torture. She’d tried not to be obvious. She’d tried to pay as much attention to the rest of the team as she had him during the barrage of tests and checks. But she couldn’t help the little sideways glances in his direction as she checked up on him, ridiculously making sure he was still there. Nor could she fail to notice that he kept looking at her too, with something akin to relief in his eyes.
She had a feeling Beckett had picked up on something but he was good enough not to say a word. She and Rodney had been discrete so far in their fledgling relationship; they weren’t exactly hiding it, but neither felt any compulsion to announce it to the world either. Which was why, when Beckett had finally released them to their quarters with strict instructions to rest or he’d have them straight back to the infirmary, she’d forced herself to wait a short while before going to see him. In fact, she went to Sheppard first, questioning him about what had happened and where they had been. He’d been surprised when she had scolded him so badly for something that was hardly his fault, and she quickly apologised, blaming lack of sleep and worry about their wellbeing.
She had been unusually nervous as she had walked to Rodney’s room. She didn’t know what was about to happen. Her sensible brain seemed had shut itself down and her emotions were firmly in control. So, when finally he closed the door behind her as she entered his quarters, she had done the one thing that every instinct in her body screamed at her to do. She threw her arms around his neck and pulled him towards her, kissing him with passionate relief. After a short moment she had pulled away to look at him, wondering if that was all right, or if she had gone too far too soon. His face was for once unreadable and she could hardly breathe in anticipation. That was until she felt his hands firmly at her waist and his lips suddenly and fiercely upon hers in an uncharacteristic show of emotion. Every first kiss she had with a man had always been slow and tender. A goodbye kiss at the end of a date. The slightest peck on the lips after she was complimented on her appearance. This kiss was something else entirely. It just wasn’t her. It wasn’t normal. But there again it wasn’t her normal type of man, nor normal situation.
She’d stayed there for the rest of the night, casually snuggled against him as they lay on his bed and talked about nothing in particular. The companionship that had grown between them was so wonderfully genuine. There were no forced moments, no awkward silences. It didn’t even feel uncomfortable to be so close to him like she suspected it might be at first. She knew this wasn’t about the physicality of being together though. It was better than that.
Still, they hadn’t yet progressed beyond kisses and Elizabeth was beginning to feel in her whole body that there should be more too it. It felt like a natural next step to take and now felt like the time to be doing it. He wasn’t hesitant with his praise of her – he had told her she was beautiful enough times to keep her blushing with pleasure until she reached a hundred at least – but he wasn’t exactly the most forthcoming man she’d ever been with either. She considered it was likely a mixture of slight lack of confidence and an unwillingness to seem like he was pushing. Unfortunately so far she’d been unable to convince him that she would quite like him to push just a little.
Inwardly she smiled. Maybe they should have ordered another bottle of wine. It might make her plans for tonight feel a little less intimidating. In the circumstances, she decided that testing the waters may be a good idea. Okay, so she preferred things to be a little more spontaneous and a little less planned, but if it was a means to an ends it was fine by her.
Slowly she slid one of her high heel shoes off, careful to leave it in a position where she could easily find it again without having to clamber under the table in an undignified manner. She stretched her leg out and quickly found one of his, sliding her foot gently up and down his calf.
Almost immediately she felt the muscle there tense and his hand stopped in midair, the piece of banoffee pie that was on the spoon he was holding seemingly forgotten.
Elizabeth tried hard to act innocent as he glanced up at her, but his mildly shocked expression made it next to impossible to smother the grin from her face, no matter how much she pursed her lips.
“What’s the matter, Rodney?” she enquired, her amusement clear in her tone, “Gone off your food?”
He swallowed hard, apparently composing himself.
“Oh please,” he scoffed, continuing to eat despite her foot doing its best attempt to put him off, “It’ll take more than that.”
“Really?” she asked, raising an interested eyebrow, “Is that a challenge?”
She thought she saw him blush slightly, but she was good enough to pretend she hadn’t seen it.