Title: First Kiss
Category: Stargate: Atlantis, McKay/Beckett
Archive: If it's on your list, you can archive it. If it isn't and you'd like it, just let me know where you're putting it.
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Website: Mice's Hole in the Wall https://www.squidge.org/mice
Disclaimer: Not mine. They belong to many other people. But if they were mine, they'd be having very interesting adventures.
Author's Notes: Just because. And also? I get another FF100 prompt filled. Evol Laz. This is your fault.
Carson was asleep, his hair in disarray, a battered, formerly white bandage covering one eye. Rodney wasn't sure how badly things had gone wrong, but it seemed probable that death was imminent. He knew parts of the city were in ruins. The Genii were everywhere, backed up by their Manarian minions. There were hundreds of them in Atlantis now.
At least it wasn't the Wraith. There was a chance some of them might survive. He and Carson had hidden in an isolated part of the city, high up in one of the towers. Radio was out. The Genii had been in control for close to two days, but Rodney hadn't been able to get access to a Jumper so he and Carson could get to the mainland.
Rodney was worried they'd starve before Sheppard and the others could mount an effective resistance. The Genii and the Manarians, thankfully, were less interested in killing the Atlanteans than using the city to fight the Wraith. It was too bad they couldn't just be allies.
There were only a couple of power bars left in Rodney's pack. Carson's injuries needed more than Rodney could do to help. Carson himself wasn't in any shape to be treating anyone.
If they stayed here, there was a good chance they'd die. If they turned themselves in, there was a better chance they'd still be alive when Sheppard, that spike-haired space cowboy, rode in with a contingent from the Daedalus to save their asses. The only question was how long it would take.
Rodney pulled Carson a little closer as he shifted in his sleep. It was pitiful, really, how long Rodney had been ignoring what he felt for his friend. It only took impending doom, obviously, to make him wonder what might have happened if he'd ever said anything to Carson.
Carson stirred, opening his unbandaged eye. "Rodney?" Carson's voice was soft and ragged.
"We can't hold out much longer," Rodney said.
Carson nodded. "I know." He gave Rodney an uneasy look. "We have to do something."
"Yeah." Rodney raised one hand, stroking Carson's bruised cheek. "I can't leave you like this."
Carson's hand covered his. "Let me go to them. Without me, you'd have a chance. There are things you could do if you didn't have me holding you back."
"No," Rodney said quietly. "I'm not gonna leave you in their hands alone. Whatever happens, it happens to both of us."
Rodney shook his head. "No. I'm not handing you over to them and abandoning you." He sighed and rested his forehead against Carson's. "I don't know for sure what'll happen, but it has to be better than this." His fingers trailed gently down Carson's face to his jaw. "They won't kill us; I know that. They need us too much. We both have the gene, and they know how valuable I am."
Carson was shaking a little. Rodney knew he was badly hurt, and the longer he waited for medical treatment the worse it would be for him. "You can't--"
Heart hammering, Rodney leaned in and kissed Carson softly, once. "I can and I will."
Carson looked at him, blinked. "Oh." His face softened. "Right enough. Together, then."
Ford called it "Planet Beach." It hadn't taken more than a week for the Atlantis offworld teams to call it Planet Vacation. There were a lot of tropical islands, no hideous, disease-bearing pests, and best of all, no locals trying to kill them every time they turned around.
Paradise, really, Rodney thought. Except, of course, for the ultraviolet rays, but Rodney had SPF100 for that.
When Elizabeth gave the word, people started taking shore leave there. They'd been separated from Earth for five years, and really, they deserved a break now and then. After all they'd been through, a day off in a warm, comfortable, non-Wraith-infested planet was a well-deserved necessity.
Carson sat on a blanket, staring out at the oddly purple-tinged sea. "It's never gonna be Hawaii, Carson, so give it up," Rodney snapped, applying another layer of sunscreen.
Carson sighed, chin in his hands. "That's not what's on my mind, Rodney."
"It's not? You look about fifty thousand light years away."
Carson rolled his eyes and looked up at him. "You are so thick."
"What the hell do you mean by that?" He offered Carson the sunblock.
"Why don't you rub that on my back where I can't reach," Carson said. "Then I'll do your back and you can take that bloody shirt off."
Rodney shrugged and started slathering Carson's back with the creamy stuff. Carson made a pleased sound, his shoulders relaxing, finally. "What did you mean?" Rodney asked again.
"We've been dancing about this for a year now." Carson's head was bowed, his voice warm but a bit tentative.
Carson looked up. "Don't tell me you don't feel it."
"Stop being so obtuse."
Carson reached around behind him, his hand wrapping around Rodney's ankle. "I'm not the obtuse one, Rodney."
It was true. He'd been deliberately avoiding the conversation for a long time now. Fear, mostly, he thought. "Why now?"
Carson sat up straight and turned to him. "Because if we've not heard from Earth by now, we both know we're never going home again. It's time to let go of that and make a life here." He squeezed Rodney's ankle. "It's time to stop fooling ourselves. You know no one's goin' to say anything if we take up with each other."
He was surprised to find Carson putting it so bluntly. Usually, Carson was the one who didn't want to take chances, the one who insisted they'd get home someday. As if Earth was home anymore. As if they'd find a ZedPM charged enough to let them go there, even if it was.
"You're sure?" Carson's eyes were such an intense blue. Rodney had known years ago that he was lost in them, but he'd avoided getting involved. They were good friends, and Rodney had made it a policy never to get mixed up with friends. Sex with friends inevitably blew up in his face, and emotional involvement? Rodney was aware of just how bad he was at that. A broken marriage and a string of short and truly lousy relationships with girlfriends and the occasional male fuckbuddy had left him convinced that the whole emotions thing was overrated.
But this was Carson.
Carson, whose voice had a way of making Rodney's brain melt. Rodney had convinced himself that it could never happen, and he'd been more or less content with that.
"Aye, I am."
Simple as that, Carson tilted his head and kissed him. His lips were as warm as the afternoon sun.
"Och, and you're a coward, too," Hamish said, elbowing Carson in the ribs.
"Am not!" Carson barely managed to avoid a drunken slur as he tilted on the barstool. Donald's broad chest was about the only thing keeping Carson on the stool.
"Isss... it's a conference," Donald grumbled. "Ye've not been laid even once. How can we go home after if ye've not got laid, Carson?"
Carson's pint sloshed on Hamish's shirt. "I'm not interested in gettin' laid," Carson complained. "I jus' wan' tae go back to the hotel. I have to give my paper in the morning. I'm already goin' tae be right hung over."
He hated going to conferences with Hamish and Donald. They were constantly on him about how he should bag himself some anonymous conquest simply because he wasn't home in Glasgow where his wife would find out.
"Hung over? Ye're not near drunk enough to get hung over." Donald's ham hand gripped Carson's shoulder tight and Carson wondered if there'd be bruises. "And besides, isnae Toronto far enough from home for a wee bit of action? Ye're such a bloody wuss."
Sick of it and too drunk to care, Carson slapped his half-empty pint on the bar. "Oh, damn you all for the prats you are. I'll kiss the next stranger to order a drink just to shut ye up!"
His mates cheered, and Carson hoped that would be the end of it. They were, no doubt, too drunk to remember it for the five minutes it would take for someone to come to the bar. Wobbling, he turned back to the bar and leaned on it, hiding his face in his hands.
"Oh aye," Hamish said, laughing. He jogged Carson's shoulder. "There's the one ye'll be kissin' then." He pointed and Carson followed his finger with rather more effort than it should have taken. Two stools down, a pasty-faced, heavy-set man with thinning brown hair was ordering a drink.
"Oh, bloody hell," Carson whimpered. It wasn't even a gay bar. He was like to get his face bashed in. "Ye can't make me do that. Really, lads, you can't hold me to that."
"Can and will," Donald insisted. He dragged Carson to his feet and shoved him at the man.
Carson looked back at his two sniggering mates. "I'm a dead man," he muttered. Taking a deep breath, he approached the man. "Excuse me," he said, wobbling a little.
"Yes, yes, what?" the man snapped. He looked irritated as he turned to Carson. God, the man's eyes were blue.
"Um... me mates, they've got... they've got me in a rough spot here." Carson thought fast, or at least as fast as his blood-alcohol level would let him. "Ye see I've lost a bet, and... and me mates, they're making me kiss the next person that odored... ordered a drink. Would you humour me and let me... um..." Carson swallowed nervously, tugging at his collar as he wobbled.
The blue-eyed man stared at him for a long moment. "You're not from around here, are you?"
"No. I'm afraid not."
The man grinned. "You know, of all the gin joints in all the world, somebody like you really would have to walk into this one." He tugged Carson's collar and Carson tipped awkwardly toward him. "And I thought this was gonna be a bad night."
The kiss was hard and fast and deep and Carson was utterly stunned. Breathless, he stammered, "Th-thanks." His heart really shouldn't be beating nearly so hard.
"I've got this hotel room down the block," the stranger said. He smiled, looking inordinately pleased with himself. Carson looked over his shoulder at his stunned mates. It might just be worth it.
The man nodded. "Definitely." He took Carson's elbow. "Come on." Carson followed him out of the bar, mesmerized. "My name's Rodney," the man said. "Rodney McKay. I'm an astrophysicist. And you would be?"
"C-Carson Beckett. Geneticist."
"Oh, you're in town for the biomed convention." Rodney McKay, astrophysicist, grinned at him.
"I've got a paper to deliver tomorrow morning, first off," Carson said.
McKay chuckled. "Oh, don't worry. I'll make sure you're there on time."
Siberia was bloody awful. Carson couldn't understand why they didn't just send someone to take genetic samples instead of forcing him to leave his more or less comfortable office under the mountain in Colorado Springs. He'd been there only two days, but already he'd been warned about The Canadian.
From what everyone said, he'd almost expected Rodney McKay to be a fire-breathing creature out of legend, but he'd turned out to be nothing more than an irascible if somewhat amusing man.
Carson turned around. "McKay? Yes?"
McKay held up one hand, a pained expression on his face. "I mangled my hand. It may require surgery. God, what if my hand won't work anymore?"
Carson took a quick look. There was a little bit of blood, like the man had got his finger stuck in something and cut himself. "There's no real harm in this. Why don't you just go to the infirmary?"
"Because nobody there speaks English, for one thing, and for another, those barbaric rattle-shakers won't give me the time of day. God knows what they'll do when I present them with a potentially career-threatening injury like this."
Carson snorted. He took McKay by the hand, gave the cut a quick swab with antiseptic, and put a small plaster on it. With a grin, he gave McKay's cut finger a quick kiss. "There," he said. "All better."
Watching McKay sputter was worth it.
Rodney looked like he'd been crying, and Carson had never known the man to cry. He was sitting in a dark corner of his lab when Carson arrived with a cup of coffee, thinking to coax him out for a while. He knew Rodney had been out of sorts lately, but he'd no idea why.
Rodney didn't even look up when he came in. Carson walked over and sat beside him, setting the two coffee mugs on the lab table. "Rodney?"
He pulled himself together with a visible effort. "What are you doing here?"
"Nothing." Everything about Rodney betrayed the lie.
Carson sighed and put an arm around Rodney's shoulders. "Don't lie to me like that. What's happened?"
Rodney shook his head, looking away. "You... you don't want to know, okay? Just leave it at that."
The misery in Rodney's voice twisted in Carson's gut. "This isn't like you," Carson said. He'd been watching Rodney for months, resigned to being nothing more than a friend after the man had started seeing Radek. "Please, Rodney. I'm your friend. I'd like to know."
Turning to him, Rodney locked eyes with him. There were dark crescents under Rodney's eyes, and from here Carson could see that he had, in fact been crying. "No. Trust me on this. You don't."
Carson pursed his lips. "If you won't tell me, perhaps Radek will, then."
Rodney's eyes squeezed shut, a look of agony on his face. "Please, don't. Just... just don't."
Sliding his hand down Rodney's arm, Carson squeezed gently. "Something's gone wrong, hasn't it?" Rodney nodded silently. He didn't open his eyes. "Perhaps it'll help to talk about it."
"You... Carson, this... I really can't."
With a sigh, Carson tugged Rodney into his arms. "How can I do anything to help if you won't tell me what's wrong?"
"Everything's wrong," Rodney moaned. His hands crept up Carson's sides, arms finally slipping around him, and Rodney held on tightly. Carson petted his back, soothing him as he might a small child.
"Have things gone bad with you and Radek?"
Rodney nodded into Carson's shoulder. "Yeah." It was a whisper.
"I'm sorry. I know things have been tense for you both lately. Is there anything I can do?" Carson hated himself for thinking about how good it felt to hold Rodney like this. He'd been jealous all this time, wishing he'd said something before Radek had got Rodney's attention.
Rodney took a deep breath, raising his face and nuzzling Carson. "I... he... damn it." Rodney kissed him, his mouth warm and wet and desperate. Carson, guilty but wanting, let Rodney do it. He held Rodney close, wishing it were more than just this.
Both of them were panting when Rodney broke the kiss. "He... Radek said... he said I wanted you too much. He said it wasn't worth being with me if my mind was on someone else." Carson's breath stopped for a moment, his heart skipping a beat. "I'm sorry," Rodney said. "This whole mess was my fault. I should have tried to talk to you a long time ago."
Carson stroked Rodney's cheek gently with his fingertips, his mind slightly numb. "I... I don't know what to say," he finally whispered. "I just... we'll work something out."
Carson wondered what the price would be for his heart's desire.