unadrift: (what?)
[personal profile] unadrift
Title: Not Quite Fair Play
Author: [livejournal.com profile] deltacephei
Categories/Pairings: humor, with a side order of McKay/Sheppard and Dex/Keller
Rating: PG
Words: 2500
Notes: Tag for Tracker. Written for the Season 5 Tagathon on [livejournal.com profile] sga_episodefic. Beta'd by [livejournal.com profile] naye for which she deserves a big hug. *hugs*

The lab is deserted except for McKay, just like Ronon expected it to be. McKay is always the last to leave.

"Hey," Ronon greets, leaning against the door frame casually.

McKay doesn't look up from whatever he's tinkering with. "Sheppard's not here."

"I'm not looking for Sheppard. Came looking for you."

McKay's head whips around quickly at that. "What? Really? I mean, why?"

It's amusing how McKay can still be frightened just by Ronon's presence. Though it stings a little sometimes, that even after four years McKay expects the worst from him. "I want to know what you have in mind," Ronon says.

McKay blinks. "For what? Specify your request. Because, let me tell you, my mind is filled to the brim with all kinds of--"

"For finding out who the better man is," Ronon interrupts him.

"Oh," McKay says, eyes widening. "Um."

For a man of so many words, McKay suddenly has very little to say. It's a satisfying change.

* * *

When Ronon hears the door open, he lifts his eyes from the sheets of paper for the first time since they started. Sheppard walks into McKay's quarters and says, "Rodney, I need to show you something on the-- Oh. Hey, Ronon." Sheppard approaches the table, and his eyes dart between McKay's bowed head, Ronon's face, and the papers spread out between them. "What are you doing?"

McKay straightens triumphantly and puts his pencil down on the table. "That's none of your--" he starts, but Ronon cuts him off.

"Figuring out who's going to date Keller."

"Ronon! Did you have to tell him?" McKay complains. "And you could call her Jennifer, you know. That would probably be a good start. Except-- Don't. Why am I giving you valuable advice? Forget I said anything!"

"Wait," Sheppard says. "You're fighting over Keller?" He picks up a sheet from the table. "With competitive Sudoku?"

"It's easier than it looks," Ronon says and fills in the final number on his third sheet.

"But you lost anyway," McKay sing-songs gleefully. "That makes three out of five. I win."

"You're both crazy," Sheppard says matter-of-factly. He points at Ronon accusingly. "You even more so, because you agreed to play his game."

"Only for the first round." Ronon grins evilly. "It's my turn now."

Ronon is not surprised to see that McKay is beginning to look a little queasy.

"I hope you know what you've gotten yourself into, Rodney," Sheppard says. "Because I'm not going to come and rescue you when you start screaming like a girl."

"I do not scream like a girl!" McKay says indignantly. "And when have I ever been in need of rescue?" He catches their looks. "What? Seriously, what?"

Sheppard shakes his head and walks out, grinning.

"Tomorrow," Ronon says, "at five. Meet me at the sea-level transporter on the south pier."

Predictably, McKay squeaks, "Five? In the morning?!"

Ronon smirks. "Don't be late. Bring your running shoes."

Baiting McKay is fun. Ronon can see why Sheppard likes it so much.

The next morning, McKay impresses Ronon by arriving on time. He's wearing a wrinkled pair of sweat pants that he has probably dug up from the bottom of a drawer, and his field issue sneakers. "Because I've got a lot of practice running in these. For my life even. Repeatedly," he explains grumpily.

"Fine," Ronon shrugs. "Round the pier and back to the transporter. No cheating," he warns and sets off.

"Hey, that's cheating!" McKay shouts, but follows him.

It's more of a jog than a run for Ronon. When he's completed the course, he stretches for a while, then fishes the apple he has brought from the mess out of his pocket. He has just thrown the remains over the railing of the nearest balcony when he hears McKay approach. Loud, ragged breaths, and a, "Fine, fine. You win," sound through the corridor before McKay even turns the corner. He's been really fast, Ronon thinks, for McKay's standards. Maybe this is because he's got the right motivation – McKay usually is pretty fast when running for his life, too. But then again, it's more likely McKay's stubborn refusal to lose against anyone in any kind of competition.

"Just wait until--" McKay starts, pointing a finger at him, then leans down with his hands holding onto his knees for dear life, gasping for breath.

"See you later," Ronon says and steps into the transporter.

McKay just glares at him.

Later turns out to be just after lunchtime. McKay sits down opposite him in the mess with a cup of coffee. "Prime, not prime," he says, and it isn't like Ronon hasn't suspected that this particular game would come up at some point. He knows the general principle and can maybe identify the first fifteen prime numbers in the whacked-out human decimal system. It's still almost a fair game, because even if they were to count in Satedan, he would need to rely on a different set of skills to beat McKay – or at least draw level with him.

"Let's keep this nice and simple," McKay says, rubbing his hands. "The first one to make a mistake loses."

It's a given that McKay will identify every number thrown at him correctly. So it's just a matter of waiting for Ronon's first wrong guess.

"Five hundred and fifty-nine," McKay says, voice steady, looking Ronon in the eye.

"Not prime."

Another three numbers follow that aren't prime, and then McKay picks up his coffee cup. "Seven hundred and ninety-seven."

"Prime," Ronon says.

McKay almost chokes on his coffee. "Correct," he admits grudgingly.

Ronon leans back. This isn't as hard as he had anticipated: When McKay is almost relaxed and sure of himself, it's not prime. When McKay's fingers draw circles on the table, it's prime, McKay's eyes flickering away from his – prime, McKay gripping the coffee cup a little tighter – prime.

After a while McKay gets a wild eyed look that first suggests incredulity, then increasing despair, which is replaced by suspicion far too quickly. Ronon stares back at him, unimpressed, and enjoys watching him squirm. With narrowed eyes, McKay calls the next number and checks the surrounding tables for anyone who might be listening in and giving hints.

Sheppard joins them at the table and digs into his pancakes enthusiastically, watching their exchange with mild interest. It isn't until Sheppard swallows the last bite of his meal and asks, "Have you ever played poker, Rodney?" that McKay catches on.

It doesn't take long after that.

* * *

It's almost midnight when Ronon drags McKay out of his lab and into the gym without saying a word.

"Oh, is this the part where you finally beat me into a pulp with your sticks?" McKay says, his tone a little too high to pass for sarcastic.

"No." Ronon grips him by the shoulders and steers him backwards into a circle drawn on the floor. "Yours." He points at another one and moves to stand at the center of it. "Mine. Don't leave the circle, don't let the orb leave the playing field, and don't drop it. It has to keep moving, no catching allowed."

Ronon throws the orb. It's the size of an Earth melon, but weighs much less. It hits McKay squarely in the chest and lands in front of his feet. McKay clears his throat. "How about I get to do the kick-off?"

"Okay." Ronon decides that protesting would be more trouble than it was worth.

"Hey," McKay says brightly after a few minutes. "This is like volleyball and soccer mixed together. And I've always been excruciatingly bad at team sports. At any kind of sport, actually," he informs Ronon with false cheerfulness and promptly kicks the orb far out of the playing field.

"Is that news?" Ronon asks. "Three for you and none for me."

"You could at least have the decency to count points, not penalties. That's the way it's supposed to be."

"Keep playing. You've got six penalties left."

McKay glares and throws himself into the game with a surprising fierceness. He actually manages to score a penalty off of Ronon.

This is because Ronon lets him, of course, but he's not going to tell McKay that.

McKay's face is bright red and sweaty, his eyes are following Ronon's every move, when Teyla walks into the gym. Torren hasn't been sleeping well lately, Ronon knows, and Teyla isn't quite her usual calm and collected self these days.

She freezes, surprised. "I would not have expected to meet you here, Rodney."

"Yes, well," McKay answers, panting, "you wouldn't, usually. But we're in the process of--"

"Teaching McKay how to play Orbiting," Ronon interrupts. Belatedly McKay seems to realize the mistake he was about to make and clamps his mouth shut.

"I see," Teyla says suspiciously. "Since Rodney has always expressed such a keen interest in sports."

Ronon lets the orb bounce off his arm into McKay's circle. A futile nose-dive for the orb leaves McKay lying flat on the ground. "Damn!" He sits up, groaning, then explains, "This is a valuable cultural experience."

"Of course," Teyla says with obvious disbelief. "I will leave you to it, then. Since you are not up for sparring tonight, Ronon."

"Tomorrow," Ronon offers.

"Very well." Teyla leaves with a final suspicious glance in McKay's direction.

"You really would have told her?" Ronon asks, because McKay usually possesses a much healthier sense of self-preservation.

"Of course not," McKay lies, and for that he has to sweat a little more.

An hour later McKay limps out of the gym, cursing Ronon and Satedan sports in colorful metaphors.

So, they're still tied after four games.

"You realize," Sheppard says the next morning, while pretending to be totally fine with the speed Ronon has set for their run, "that your competition" – pant – "won't amount to anything" – ragged breath – "like this," – gasp – "right?"

"Yeah," Ronon says.

Sheppard looks at him sideways. "You got" – heavy breath – "a plan?" He keeps eyeing Ronon curiously and manages to almost fling himself over the railing into the sea when the gangway narrows and takes a turn. Sometimes Ronon wonders how Sheppard survived in the field before Teyla came along to keep an eye on him.

"You'll see." Ronon speeds up, until Sheppard hasn't got the breath to spare for talking.

* * *

The jumper bay is crowded with scientists who stare openly (some even thankfully) when Ronon grabs a protesting McKay by the arm and drags him away.

"Hey! In case you hadn't noticed, it's my turn! The concept shouldn't be too difficult to understand, even for you!"

"You get the afternoon," Ronon offers, and leaves it at that.

Five minutes later, they reach the point where McKay almost starts screaming like a girl. "Free climbing? Free climbing?!" he squeaks, staring up at the next balcony above them on the west tower.

"Sheppard's done this," Ronon explains. "Climbed a lot higher, even."

"Oh, right. Well, then," McKay says, voice rising. "If Sheppard, Mister please-point-me-to-the-scorpion-pit-and-where-can-I-get-myself-killed-next, has done this, it should be a cakewalk for me! Seriously, are you nuts?"

"You'd do it for him."


"If your dates with Sheppard were on the line, you'd do it."

"If my-- what with who were what?"

"Your dates with Sheppard," Ronon repeats patiently.

McKay stares. "How did you ever get the idea that I-- I'm not dating-- Wait. You want to fight me for dates with Sheppard?" McKay asks. Of course he grabs hold of the completely wrong end of the stick.

Ronon doesn't sigh. It's not appropriate for Satedan soldiers to sigh. He doesn't try to knock sense into McKay either, which is appropriate behavior for a Satedan soldier. "No. I don't wanna date Sheppard."

"Good." McKay realizes what he's said and back-pedals. "Er, I mean, okay. Because I'm not dating him either."

"No. You only play your Earth games with him. You watch movies and fight over popcorn. You finish his sentences. He finishes yours. You have beer on the pier with him at least once a week," Ronon lists. "He dresses up for that. And you don't even like the beer."

"I don't like Sheppard's stupid beer," McKay agrees, frowning.

"You're dating. So why do you wanna date Keller, too?"

"It's not-- I'm-- I need coffee," McKay says, desperately.

Ronon steers him towards the transporter, down a few corridors and into the mess. McKay is thinking hard and can't be interrupted, so Ronon seats him and gets him a cup of coffee. He grabs himself some lunch and waits for McKay to figure it out.

It takes less than ten minutes. "I've been dating Sheppard," McKay says suddenly. He looks up and meets Ronon's eyes.

Ronon shrugs, chewing on his spaghetti. McKay's eyes grow wide and accusing. "You knew! You knew! And you couldn't have dropped a hint before killing me with exercise twenty times over?"

"No," Ronon says, smirking.

"I hate you."

"You don't."

McKay glares at him in a not very hateful way, but is distracted by his thoughts soon enough. "What should I-- How should I--" He stares into space, a slow smile spreading over his face. "This is really weird," he finally says, in wonder.

With a perfect sense of timing, Jennifer approaches their table. "Rodney, Ronon. May I join you?"

"Jennifer!" McKay jumps and stands, smiling at her widely. "I really like you! But I don't like you like you!" He grabs the tray from her hands and sets it down opposite Ronon's. "Here. Sit. Enjoy your meal." Then McKay pats her shoulder, twice, and hurries away.

"What was that?" Jennifer asks, staring after him.

"Epiphany." Ronon answers. "He can be slow sometimes."

"Oh," she says.

Ronon imagines that McKay will track Sheppard down now, will point an accusing finger at him and yell, "Why the hell didn't you tell me that we're dating?"

Sheppard will freeze for a moment, then shrug and answer, "You always insist that you're smart. I thought you'd figure it out eventually."

McKay will gape at that. "You're not denying it."

"Why should I?" Sheppard will ask with a raised eyebrow. "Wanna go out for a beer, Rodney?"

McKay will stutter and blush, and Sheppard will grab him for a kiss, and this is the point when Ronon's imagination chooses to tune out.

Jennifer is still standing there, staring.

"Food's getting cold," Ronon observes.

She looks at him, startled. "Right," she says and sits down. "It's Colonel Sheppard, isn't it? The epiphany?"

"Yeah," he answers, watching her carefully. "Are you disappointed?"

"Um. Maybe? No. I think I suspected. And I don't like him like him either, I just like him." She grins sheepishly. "Great. Now I've completely regressed to my teenage self."

"You're not the only one," Ronon says, thinking of McKay and Sheppard, and how he'd been tempted to bang their heads together more than a few times. He leans forward. "I like you like you."

A smile lights up Jennifer's eyes. "So, we can be teenagers together, right?"

- end -

Skin Deep (tag for 5x08) // Talk Amongst Yourselves (missing scene from 5x10)

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Date: 2008-10-04 05:02 pm (UTC)
tarlanx: (McShep - promo)
From: [personal profile] tarlanx
LOL! Love how Ronon knew all along!

Date: 2008-10-05 04:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unadrift.livejournal.com
Thank you! I'm happy you enjoyed! *g*

Date: 2008-10-05 04:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dodificus.livejournal.com
uh...I wanna make out with your icon:O

(no subject)

From: [identity profile] crownglass39.livejournal.com - Date: 2008-10-05 01:16 pm (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

From: [identity profile] unadrift.livejournal.com - Date: 2008-10-05 04:32 pm (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2008-10-04 05:32 pm (UTC)
ext_3572: (sga david & jason glomp)
From: [identity profile] xparrot.livejournal.com
Awww! so cute! Of course Rodney would get competitive about it...(I may almost handle this whole pairing thing, if fandom continues to so kindly provide me sweet and convincing fixes!)

Date: 2008-10-05 09:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unadrift.livejournal.com
Ronon has to know what's going on. I'd like to see him point it out to Rodney :-)
And these sweet and convincing fixes are such *fun*!

Date: 2008-10-04 05:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] scoob2222.livejournal.com
I'm not sure my level of adoration for this fic could ever be expressed in words. Its just that good.

Date: 2008-10-05 09:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unadrift.livejournal.com
Heee. Thank you!

Date: 2008-10-04 05:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tacittype.livejournal.com
How did I miss this in my inbox?!

OH MY GOD!! It is so ridiculously awesome! It's hilarious! *bounces*

He catches their looks. "What? Seriously, what?"


"Good." McKay realizes what he's said and back-pedals. "Er, I mean, okay. Because I'm not dating him either."

and the entire prime/not prime exchange. Sheppard's cameos. And Ronon. ♥

Date: 2008-10-05 09:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unadrift.livejournal.com
I don't know how you missed this in your inbox. *g* Well, surprise!
You just made me very pleased because of hilarious and awesome.

Date: 2008-10-04 05:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kristen999.livejournal.com
That's adorable and of course Ronon knew :D

Date: 2008-10-06 06:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unadrift.livejournal.com
He does! *g* Thank you!

Date: 2008-10-04 05:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mary-russell11.livejournal.com
hehehehehehehehehehehe*snickers* ah Ronon, I wonder how you managed not to sigh already, what with all this crazy nonsense we Earthlings throw at you...*snorts*

Date: 2008-10-06 06:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unadrift.livejournal.com
That's a good question... *g*

Date: 2008-10-04 06:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bluflamingo.livejournal.com
Aw, that was really nice, especially the end.

Date: 2008-10-06 06:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unadrift.livejournal.com
Thank you!

Date: 2008-10-04 06:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mirabile-dictu.livejournal.com
Just darling! Thank you!

Date: 2008-10-06 07:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unadrift.livejournal.com
My pleasure. *g* Since oblivious!Rodney and knowing!Ronon are so much fun!

Date: 2008-10-04 06:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elayna88.livejournal.com
Oh that cracked me up! So cute.

Date: 2008-10-06 07:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unadrift.livejournal.com
I'm happy you enjoyed!

Date: 2008-10-04 06:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] incidental-fire.livejournal.com
Delightful. :)

Date: 2008-10-06 07:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unadrift.livejournal.com
Thank you!

Date: 2008-10-04 07:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] panisdead.livejournal.com
This is super cute. John dresses up for beer!

Date: 2008-10-07 04:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unadrift.livejournal.com
Hee. Yeah, he would.

Date: 2008-10-04 08:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] erda-3.livejournal.com
Hee! That was so cute.

Date: 2008-10-07 04:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unadrift.livejournal.com
Thank you!

Date: 2008-10-04 08:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cathalin.livejournal.com
Eeee, yes, I love this! Ronon is so crafty, and understated, it's wonderful. I love the moment of realization for Rodney, and his announcement to Keller seems totally like something he'd do, lol!

Date: 2008-10-07 05:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unadrift.livejournal.com
\o/ Thank you!

Date: 2008-10-04 09:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] trystings.livejournal.com
Yes! Like this! :)

Date: 2008-10-07 07:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unadrift.livejournal.com
If only! *g* Thank you!

Date: 2008-10-04 10:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] outsideth3box.livejournal.com
That was just adorable! I loved Ronon's Why It's Obvious To Everyone But You That You're Dating Sheppard list.

And his imagined confrontation scene is likely right on the money.

Very sweet.

Date: 2008-10-07 07:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unadrift.livejournal.com
Ronon's Why It's Obvious To Everyone But You That You're Dating Sheppard list
Yes. Oh, oblivious Rodney. *sigh* He's such fun!
Thank you!

Date: 2008-10-04 10:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] horridporrid.livejournal.com
Hee! I love it when Ronon is wiley. :D Very enjoyable read.

Date: 2008-10-08 08:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unadrift.livejournal.com
Thank you!

Date: 2008-10-05 04:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dodificus.livejournal.com
I love that even though it was Ronon pov, we still got to see an imagined scenario with Rodney confronting John at the end:)

Date: 2008-10-08 08:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unadrift.livejournal.com
an imagined scenario with Rodney confronting John at the end
There was no way it could have ended without a little glimpse at that! *g*

Date: 2008-10-05 08:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gnine.livejournal.com
Heeee, this is TOTALLY how it should go!! And the ending is so cute, with the "we can be teenagers together" and just...please show? Be like THIS *points enthusiastically*

This was great! Oh boys! *smishes them all!*

Date: 2008-10-09 08:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unadrift.livejournal.com
Yes! I'd love for the show to be something like this (er, obviously) -- but, well, we still have to make it happen ourselves. Damn. *g* Thank you!

Date: 2008-10-05 11:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mayachain.livejournal.com
aw, this was awesome fun.

Date: 2008-10-09 08:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unadrift.livejournal.com
Thank you!

Date: 2008-10-05 09:14 pm (UTC)
naye: the going merry go on blue waters with the words "follow your dreams" (atlantis - ronon smile)
From: [personal profile] naye
It was all my pleasure, dear! *hugs* I love this one a lot.

Date: 2008-10-09 08:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unadrift.livejournal.com
*hugs* back. Because you deserve lots and lots of hugs...

Date: 2008-10-05 09:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] d_odyssey.livejournal.com
Yay, Ronon - not only did he know, he craftily did something about it. Love his method! This was fun and made of win. If only you could write this for the show! Thanks for the happy fic!

Date: 2008-10-09 08:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unadrift.livejournal.com
My pleasure! It was really fun having Ronon intimidate Rodney a little -- okay, a lot. *g* And I think that Ronon really must want to bang their heads together sometimes. Just a little.

Date: 2008-10-06 10:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] psyko-kittie.livejournal.com
Ronon is made of awesome! Great fic.

Date: 2008-10-09 08:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unadrift.livejournal.com
Yes, he is. Canonically, even. *g* Thank you!

Date: 2008-10-08 05:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] badwolf36.livejournal.com
Hahahha. Perfect. I love it when Ronon knows all. :D Thanks for sharing!

Date: 2008-10-09 08:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unadrift.livejournal.com
My pleasure! I'm happy you enjoyed! \o/

Date: 2008-10-11 05:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lishel_fracrium.livejournal.com
awww *adds to mems*

Date: 2008-10-13 09:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unadrift.livejournal.com
Thank you! (I'm inclined to take awww as a compliment. *g*)
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