Summary: He'd picked up the phone several times, but every time he'd had a vision of the voice on the other end being female and saying "Katie McKay" and he'd quickly hung up again.
John didn't bring himself to call Rodney until the last day of his enforced downtime on Earth.
He'd picked up the phone several times, but every time he'd had a vision of the voice on the other end being female and saying "Katie McKay" and he'd quickly hung up again.
John knew his dread of her was entirely irrational. It wasn't her fault that she and Rodney had started dating again around the same time that John finally admitted to himself that his feelings for Rodney were not platonic. She hadn't planned to catch an alien virus that resulted in something like a common cold with the added side effect of rendering contraceptives ineffective. And it wasn't her fault that she got pregnant right on the heels of their defeat against the main fleet of the Wraith ships, so that for the first time in 4 years they were relatively safe.
It had been Rodney's decision to return to Earth with her and their unborn child and to John's knowledge she hadn't even asked this of him.
Despite all of these facts, John couldn't help feeling as if she'd taken Rodney away from him.
Which was ridiculous because Rodney had never been his to begin with. It wasn't as if John had planned to ever tell Rodney how he felt. The only thing he had hoped for had been their continued friendship.
And it was the thoughts of this friendship that finally made him stay on the phone long enough for someone to pick up on the other end.
John quietly sighed in relief when it turned out to be Rodney. He was happy to simply hear his voice again after three years and he thought that Rodney also sounded happy to hear him.
They agreed to meet at a fair the next day, because Rodney had promised his daughter to go and John couldn't ask of him to break that promise, when he'd had a full week to meet with Rodney and only called at the end of it because of his own insecurities.
The next day as he waited for them, he tried to brace himself for the vision of a happy family of four. They'd had another child this year and it had hit John harder than the first, because apparently he'd harbored some sort of hope that Rodney had only gone back to Earth out of responsibility, but a second child meant that he intended to spend the rest of his life with Katie. Something that John had tried and managed to be in denial about even when he had heard they had gotten married.
But when he saw them, it was only Rodney, pushing a stroller with a little blond boy in it while a little girl with chestnut colored hair bounced around him.
Rodney managed to introduce him to Jenna before she rushed away and they followed.
Every time John looked at Rodney, he realized that the three years had done nothing to diminish his feelings for him. He looked a bit older, a little less hair, a bit more padding on his body. Nothing could beat running for your life in terms of exercise, not even an energetic little kid.
It was unmistakable that Rodney adored his kids, even if he seemed a bit stressed out. John hoped it wasn't his own presence that made Rodney tense. He kept giving John looks, when he thought he was watching Jenna, and John couldn't quite decipher what they meant.
They hadn't even hugged when Rodney had left Atlantis. "I wish..." Rodney had begun and John had agreed even though he'd known his wishes were different from Rodney's. Watching Rodney with his kids now, John couldn't bring himself to regret.
When Jenna took him for a ferris wheel ride and confided that "Daddy doesn't like ferris wheels. They make him sad," John was glad that Rodney thought about him at all. When he learned that Rodney's son was called John, he didn't dare ask and just raised his eyebrow, but Rodney's flush told him enough.
They eventually drove home and John tried to prepare himself to meet Katie. He hadn't asked about her, hadn't wanted to acknowledge her part in Rodney's life until the last possible moment.
When she wasn't at home, John took the conscious effort not to sigh out loud in relief. There were pictures on the wall of her with the kids, but other than that he didn't feel her presence in the apartment and he was grateful for that.
Rodney got the kids ready for bed and John got a hug from Jenna, and then they were alone on the couch in the living room, drinking a glass of wine.
John gave him the presents that Teyla, Ronon, Radek and Elizabeth had given him for Rodney. Rodney was visibly touched.
"How are things, really?" he asked, putting one knee on the couch so that he could face John.
"We're okay," John said truthfully. "There are still a few Hive ships left and now that the Wraith are not as much of a threat a few others have cropped up to take their place."
"Nothing serious though?" Rodney asked anxiously.
"Nah. For the moment we have things under control."
Rodney looked at him and John wanted to reach out and touch him. They hadn't even shaken hands, but what was he supposed to tell Rodney? That he just wanted to have a little memory that would sustain him for the next three years?
"So what are you working on at the moment?" he asked instead, trying to break the awkward moment of silence.
But instead of the expected tirade about incompetent underlings and the importance of his own work, Rodney simply said, "I miss you."
John didn't know what to say. He wasn't prepared for this, not for the fragile way in which Rodney said it, as if he'd been thinking about John as much as John thought about him. He knew that he should probably make a joke of some kind, but when he spoke it was a quiet, "I miss you, too."
Rodney got up from the couch and walked to the window looking out for a moment. Did he expect Katie any moment now? Either way John couldn't stay very long if he wanted to catch his flight.
Rodney didn't turn to him when he started talking. "The first few months I didn't think very much about you. We had hardly any time to prepare everything and then Jenna was there and suddenly I realized I was gone for a year."
"That's understandable," John said, because he didn't know what else he could say. He didn't even know what Rodney was trying to say.
Rodney turned around then, staring at John. "We never..." He stopped, sounding incredibly helpless.
John still didn't know what he was saying. There'd been many things they'd never done. They'd never hugged, they'd never kissed, they'd never talked about their feelings. Rodney still hadn't called him John. But he wanted to help Rodney and got up and closer.
Rodney watched him almost desperately and John only had a fleeting thought of Katie coming in now, but there was nothing wrong with hugging a friend after he hadn't seen him for over three years. So he took Rodney in his arms.
Rodney hugged back tightly, pushing his face into John's neck. John stroked his back until Rodney relaxed. When he pulled back, their faces only inches apart, John tried not to look at Rodney's parted lips. He had to remind himself that Rodney probably didn't even realize how he looked right now, and that he couldn't possibly want to kiss John. And that even if he did, he wouldn't, because he was married.
Except then Rodney leaned forward and their lips met. John kissed back automatically, arms pulling Rodney close, closer until they were touching from head to toe. When their tongues met, John felt it in his whole body and he couldn't hold back a moan.
Rodney pulled back. "This is insane."
John removed his hands and took a step away. "I'm sorry," he said, even though he wasn't really. It was good to know that he wasn't alone in his feelings, that even if they could never be together, Rodney wanted it, too.
"You're leaving in," Rodney looked at his watch, "half an hour. We can't..."
"I know, I know," John said. "And Katie..."
"What about her?"
John snorted. "She's your wife."
"Not for long," Rodney said.
John was stunned.
"I didn't tell you?" Rodney asked, looking thoughtful. "I could have sworn I mentioned it in the last letter. Oh right, I never sent that one."
"Things haven't been going well for a while. We thought another child would bring us closer again like it was with Jenna."
"But it didn't." John didn't make it a question.
"I don't love her the way she deserves," Rodney stated flatly.
John didn't know what to say.
"And I've been thinking about Atlantis and especially you. It just didn't seem right that I felt more for a friend a galaxy away than for my own wife."
"A friend," John repeated quietly.
"I didn't know that I... I mean, since I left her, I've thought about it all the time, but I wasn't sure it would matter with you away and-"
"It does matter," John said and stepped closer.
And then they were kissing again.
They stumbled to the couch, not letting go of each other. "This is insane," Rodney mumbled again, between kisses.
John pulled back to ask, "Why?" He'd understood when he'd still thought Rodney was married, but now...
"You'll be gone in twenty minutes and then I won't see you for another three years," Rodney said, stroking John's hair.
John hadn't even thought about it. And now that he did, he couldn't help thinking that it didn't matter. He could take a longer leave. Hell, he could come back to Earth, it wasn't impossible. And that was what mattered. There were possibilities now for them, when before there had been none.
"We'll find a way," he said and kissed Rodney again.
They made out for the rest of the time that they had and it was a good thing that they started making their way to the door 5 minutes before John's taxi arrived, because they kept stopping to kiss again.
When John finally opened the door, Rodney looked so resigned that John had to kiss him one last time.
"I'll come back soon," John promised. When Rodney didn't look as if he could believe him, he added, "Jenna will still remember me."
Rodney turned to look at the door behind which she was sleeping. Then he turned back to John. "I'll tell her that," he said, and John nodded in agreement.
He cupped Rodney's face one last time and then left, hurrying down to the taxi to get his things and catch his flight.
On the way back to Colorado he thought about how Elizabeth had had to force him to take this vacation. He hadn't thought there was anything left on Earth for him other than a few memories.
But now it wasn't just his past, it was also his future.