So that's just my kink then.
Well, too bad, so sad. It's my fic, so I'm doing it anyway! Nyah!
Title: Overheard at Supper
Fandom: Stargate: Atlantis
Pairing: McKay/Sheppard implied
Note: vegetariansushi asked for "five things John overhears at supper," but my maths aren't very good, so I guess I still owe you a few, sweetheart.
Series: Overheard on Atlantis, Overheard in a Meeting
Hours after the Meeting of Doom, John could no longer ignore the way his stomach was attempting to digest its own lining. Reluctantly, he abandoned the relative safety of his office and, carefully deploying his military stealth skills, skulked through the deserted, half-lit corridors.
When he got there, the mess was almost empty: Parrish was asleep over his laptop, two women John vaguely recognised as anthropologists were playing footsie and sharing a piece of chocolate cake in the far corner, and Corporal Dean was tiredly wiping down the condiment table. Without making eye contact with any of them, John quickly served himself a plate of spaghetti, smothered it in powdered parmesan cheese, and then, deciding that discretion really was the better part of valour, he took his plate out onto the balcony, sitting on the floor so that he was beneath the eyeline of the open windows. It was a good thing, too. He had just swirled a forkful of pasta and lifted it to his mouth--the hot, cheesy faux-tomato heaven of it creating a feedback loop of God, yes, more straight from his tongue to his primitive reptile brain--when the mess doors swooshed open and Rodney and Radek's voices cut in, mid-argument.
"--blatantly ridiculous," Rodney was saying, as his footsteps stomped over towards the urn. "I spend more time with you than I do with him, so why doesn't the rumour mill have us fucking like bunnies during our late night lab sessions?"
John hesitated with his second forkload half-way to his mouth, his appetite suddenly gone.
"Perhaps," Radek said, sounding very, very weary, making John wonder just how long Rodney had been venting, "because they have seen the way we look after long night of desperate terror and frantic work. Is not pretty."
"Oh please!" Rodney said, the rush of the urn as he filled his mug an audible exclamation mark. "If people were that obsessed with prettiness, they'd be gossiping about Sheppard and Ronon's hypothetical gay sexcapades. They're the two prettiest men in the city."
"Ah," came Radek's response, a study in dryness, "I would not call either of them pretty," a rattle of cutlery, "to their faces, but as you say, they are both very attractive men, and I am sure you are not alone in hypothesising about their sexual preferences."
The distinctive, strangled gurgle of a soldier trying desperately to swallow laughter floated through the window, followed by Rodney demanding, "Do you have something you wish to say, Corporal?"
"No," Dean replied, sounding as though he was in danger of rupturing something, "but I'd be happy to spread the word about you and Dr Zelenka if it'd help."
There was a long beat, in which no one spoke. John resisted the urge to bang his head against the wall.
The silence went on, deepening into a brooding, tangible threat of cold showers and malfunctioning transporters--and it probably said something way too revealing that John could clearly picture the corresponding smack-down expression Rodney would be bludgeoning Dean with--until the moment was finally broken by the sound of military-issue boots beating a hasty retreat.
John tentatively re-swirled his fork, hoping that Rodney and Radek would follow Dean's example.
"That wasn't tactful, Rodney," Radek said a moment later, his voice coming noticeably closer.
"He's a moron," Rodney replied, amidst a clatter of cutlery being dropped onto a table. It sounded like it was about an inch from the window above John's head.
John carefully let the spaghetti slide back off his fork.
"Yes," Radek said, setting down his own tray, "but a moron with a big mouth. His tales will not help squash these rumours. And that is what you want, yes?"
Rodney sighed. "I just don't understand why this is happening." He sounded bewildered and fed-up and it made something twist a little inside John's chest.
"Ah," said Radek, and even without seeing his face, John could tell he didn't want to know what was on the other side of that ah.
Ignoring the warning signs, Rodney snapped, "What do you mean, 'ah'?"
"Perhaps," Radek said, his voice very kind, "if you were not quite so quick to point out when he is happy, or smile so much when he comes into the room, or search for weapons so obviously in the hope of pleasing him, or gloat so much about being on his team--"
There was a loud thunk, as though something soft and heavy, like Rodney's head, had just hit the table. "Shut up now."
Radek obediently went quiet, except for the sudden crunch of salad.
"Oh, God," Rodney said, hyperventilating. "I thought I was hiding it better than that. Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck. Why the hell didn't you say something sooner?"
John could just imagine the sucked-lemon expression on Radek's face.
"Right," Rodney said, and there was another thunk. "Right. But at least Sheppard is oblivious." Then with sudden terror in his voice: "He is still oblivious, right? Oh, god. Say he is!"
"I do not think that he knows. It is very strange how someone so good-looking can be so modest when it comes to this."
"Modest," Rodney snorted, the panic mostly drained out of his voice. "He's a total moron about it, actually. In fact, as long as I don't accidentally proclaim my undying love or something retarded like that he'll probably never figure it out."
The fork slipped from John's suddenly nerveless fingers and arced gracefully towards the floor. Instantly, his combat reflexes kicked in, and John got his hand under the plunging fork just in time for the tines to stab into the web of his thumb. He fumbled it once--biting back a moan of pain as the tines twisted into the flesh of his palm--grabbed it again tightly, and then went totally still. The plate of spaghetti was now precariously perched on his belly, and every time he breathed, a glob of warm, sticky pasta slowly oozed its way over the lip of the plate and down onto his groin.
Unaware of the drama unfolding a mere width of wall away, Radek asked, "Would it be so bad for him to know?"
Breath held, John waited for Rodney's answer.
"Oh please!" There was a brief scrape and rattle as Rodney got up. "Do you have sawdust for brains? God, I can only imagine how he'd take that news, and I really don't need that kind of heartache!"
And with a stomp, stomp that John could feel reverberating all the way along his spine, Rodney marched away, dropping off his tray with another clatter of cutlery, and then he whooshed back out through the door.
A moment later, Radek's footsteps followed, accompanied by a vehement muttering in Czech. The door opened and closed again.
John lay very still for a few moments more, feeling as though he'd just been unexpectedly bazookaed at close range. Then, very gingerly, he pulled the fork prongs out of his hand, scooped the worst of the spaghetti off his pants and back onto the plate, and rolled carefully to his feet.
Radek, who was quietly contemplating the dessert rack, looked up as John stood. His eyes widened comically behind his glasses.
For an endless moment John stared back. Then, deciding that cowardice was definitely the better part of discretion, he dumped his plate and fork on the nearest table, and enacted a perfect tactical withdrawal at high speed.
And now for the part where you get to boss me around. What do you think should be overheard next?
I was going to put in a poll, but then I figured, why limit it? Knock yourselves out. Make suggestions as wild as you like. I'll pick my favourite and incorporate it into the next exciting episode of Overheard on Atlantis. :)