|Compromising Positions | Into the Black | Contact|
DowntimeNotes: For dirty_diana. She gets a hug, too, because I made her beta it.
John opens the box and grins. He feels like a kid at Christmas that got exactly what he asked for. John puts on his rollerblades, grabs his iPod, glides to the door of his room, and sticks his head out, to see if there’s anyone in the corridor. The coast is clear. The grin on his face widens and he rolls over to the transporter in a few quick, efficient strokes. John thinks of the vast, empty corridors on one of the upper levels, and in seconds he’s there.
John steps out of the transporter and after a few slow warm up laps to get his muscles loosened up, he’s zooming up and down the aquamarine-tinted passages. Ford would love this, he thinks and then quickly suppresses the pain and anger that comes with that thought. There’s no point in dwelling on something he can’t change. They don’t even know where Ford is right now.
So he puts on his headphones and starts to skate.
“Aw, c’mon, McKay, it’ll be fun,” John uses his best wheedling voice. He’d spent the last few months rollerblading alone and decided that it was time to share in the fun. Six weeks ago, he’d contacted the quartermaster on the Daedalus and had placed an order. The ship had just returned that morning.
“Fun? Fun?” Rodney exclaims, his hands already starting to wave in outrage. “How could I possibly find a potential brain injury fun? Tell me that?”
“I took care of that,” John says, and with a bit of a smirk on his face, he holds up the shiny black helmet he had hidden behind his back. “Would I risk that big brain of yours?”
Rodney’s mouth opens and closes a few times. “I’m…busy,” he says lamely gesturing behind him at his science team. “These new people make the idiots they gave me the first time look like geniuses.” He seems completely oblivious to the nasty looks his words earn him.
“I’m sure you could leave them alone for a little while. They can’t possibly blow Atlantis up in a few hours?”
“You’d be surprised,” Rodney says just as Zelenka walks in.
“Colonel Sheppard, are those rollerblades?” he asks, looking down at John’s feet. His eyebrows disappear into his untidy mop of hair.
“Very astute observation,” John replies.
“It’s my job,” Zelenka says, utterly deadpan. Rodney rolls his eyes.
“Want a pair? I ordered a bunch. I’m sure I’ve got your size.” John would go to his grave denying that he looked up everyone’s shoe size before placing the order.
Zelenka’s face lights up. “Really? That would be really nice.”
“Oh for…. We’re not going to get any work done until we go with you, are we?” Rodney asks, crossing his arms over his chest.
Rodney sighs and turns to his team. “Anyone else want to go play with Major Sheppard?”
“Lieutenant Colonel,” John says.
“Whatever,” Rodney replies, waving his hand in dismissal, as he watches hands nervously rise into the air.
In the end, approximately half of Rodney’s science team, including Rodney, end up in the empty corridors of the upper levels.
Rodney, looking like the world’s biggest five year old with the helmet, elbow, wrist, and kneepads on, very slowly, very cautiously makes his way over to John. And then, he latches tightly onto John’s arm with both hands when his feet try to go in two different directions at once.
Looking very annoyed, Rodney says, “I’d better get off these things before I kill myself.”
“Are you trying to tell me you never learned how to skate?” John asks incredulously, using his free hand to help support Rodney. “Don’t they throw you out of Canada for that?”
“Ha, ha,” Rodney says dryly. “Typical stereotyping. I suppose that I can assume that since you’re from California that you can surf?”
John hides his surprise that Rodney can place his point of origin and replies, “Well, actually…”
“Figures,” Rodney interrupts and rolls his eyes. “Besides, I wasn’t allowed to play sports. Mother thought I’d hurt myself,” Rodney says bitterly, his mouth twisting. John has no idea how to respond to this bit of information, but it certainly explains a lot about Rodney’s behaviour.
“You know, Rodney, I would probably like to use this arm again some day,” John drawls, moving the arm in question, deciding to break the awkwardness of the moment.
“Oh, sorry,” Rodney answers and loosens his grip slightly. And then Rodney blurts out, “Radek?” his voice going up about three octaves in surprise John looks over and sees Zelenka weaving around the rest of his teammates using a very complicated crisscross stroke. He glides up to John and Rodney and circles them easily.
“Was figure skater when young,” Zelenka says with a casual shrug. “This, not so different.”
“That explains so much about you,” Rodney says.
Zelenka rolls off saying something very loudly in Czech.
“You know, one of these days I’m going to find out what that means and then you’ll really be in trouble!” Rodney calls out. Zelenka effortlessly turns around and flips Rodney off before turning again and skating away.
“Could you just push me over there?” Rodney asks, waving to the wall. “I think I’ve suffered enough humiliation for one day.”
John, feeling sad that his plan to get Rodney out of his lab for some fun backfired, starts to comply, and then the tiny Asian scientist, whose name he can never remember, skates up to them and holds out her hands to Rodney.
“What?” Rodney says querulously.
“Come,” she says, moving her hands.
“Oh,” Rodney says, surprise all over his face. He takes her hands and she leads him away. John smiles as he watches her show Rodney how to move his legs. Zelenka appears out of nowhere and slaps him on the arm.
“You are it,” he says, skating away at top speed.
“What? Hey!” John replies and skates after him. The other scientists scatter before them, and John is finally catching up when Elizabeth walks out of a branching corridor. John manages to slow himself down to about half speed before impact, but he still slams into her. He gets his hand behind her head as they go down in a tangle of long limbs and slender bodies.
It takes several minutes for him to get his breath back. “Elizabeth, are you okay?” he asks, frowning with worry.
“I think so,” Elizabeth replies, more than a bit breathlessly.
“Are you sure?” John asks. He hit her pretty hard and he knows he’s going to have some bruises when all is said and done.
“Yes, yes, I’m sure,” she answers, looking him in the eye.
John is suddenly very aware that he is lying on top of Elizabeth. He gently slides his hand out from behind her head and kneels up, realizing that his position is not much better – he’s now kneeling between Elizabeth’s open legs. He can feel the flush creeping up his neck as he tries to figure out a way to get to his feet without falling again. Elizabeth solves that problem by standing up and offering him an arm. He takes it. They stare at each other for several moments. He still hasn’t let go. This is as awkward as when she hugged him in the Gateroom and he’s trying to figure a way out when Rodney’s voice breaks the silence.
“Hey! I think I’m finally getting the hang of this. Whoa, whoa!” There’s a loud crash. “Goddamn motherfucking whoreson!” Rodney yells.
Elizabeth breaks eye contact and looks over John’s shoulder. “Rodney McKay! Do I have to go over there and wash your mouth out with soap?” Elizabeth asks, the laughter in her voice making the threat an empty one. John lets go of her arm and moves to her side.
“Sorry!” Rodney says somewhat contritely. “I think I have a concussion. I’m going to go to the infirmary. Will someone help me out of these fuc…darn death traps?”
“Want to join us?” John asks after Rodney’s ranting turns into quiet muttering and he leaves the area, leaning heavily on the tiny Asian scientist. John reminds himself to learn her name.
“Oh, I see. Must maintain the dignity of leadership,” John says with a tight smile.
“Something like that.”
“Well, Elizabeth, they’ve already seen you flat on your ass with me sprawled on top of you. I can’t imagine it getting any more embarrassing than that,” John replies, quirking an eyebrow at her.
Elizabeth laughs. “You have a point there, Colonel.” She looks around at the laughing scientists and shrugs. “Have a pair of size 9 ladies?” she asks.
“It just so happens, I do,” John replies, grinning.
Elizabeth smiles back.