Title: When You Say You Love Me
Author: Keira Marcos
Series: What Might Have Been
Series Order: 3
Banner Art: FanArts Series
Warnings: Slash, angst, sappy emotional stuff, gun violence, knife violence, explicit sex, no spoilers
Disclaimer: I don’t own them. I don’t pretend to. This is just for fun. Don’t sue me—it would be a waste of your money.
Colonel John Sheppard and Dr. Rodney McKay find themselves unwillingly thrust into the public spotlight when someone makes an attempt on McKay’s life. John finds himself juggling a freaking out McKay, his gianormous cat, an estranged father (and two brothers), a murderous plot, two irritated Generals, the IOA, and a wedding planner masquerading as the Prime Minister of Canada.
– – – –
Colonel John Sheppard suppressed a grin at the one syllable sound that fell from Dr. Rodney McKay’s lips, because the entire room stilled at the utterance. The sound was always greeted with something in between elation and utter horror. There was really absolutely no telling what was going to come out of Rodney’s mouth when he started with ‘huh’. It could be the most brilliant thing ever. Alternatively, it could be the beginning of him ripping someone’s soul right out of their body. It could be… both.
The conference room was full to the brim with government officials and upper brass from several different branches of the military. Every one of them seemed to have an opinion on how to deal with the threat of the Wraith.
Major General Jack O’Neill focused on McKay and raised an eyebrow. “Something to add, Dr. McKay?”
“Ten thousand things you’d rather not hear, I’m sure.” McKay tapped his pen on the notebook in front of him and frowned. “But let’s just hit the highlights, shall we? One, it’s absolutely idiotic to sit here and discuss trying to negotiate peace with a species that might as well be the human form of Africanized honeybees. They don’t give a fuck if we want peace. They don’t care if we fight back. This galaxy is a goddamned buffet for them. We’re their fucking food. And let me ask you, gentlemen…” He paused and shot the head of the IOA a dirty look. “And lady… have you ever tried to bargain with the chicken on your plate at dinner time? Because, if you have—I’d really seriously like to know how that worked out for you and the chicken.”
Jack leaned back in his chair and looked at John for support but John offered a small smile and focused on the empty legal pad in front of him.
“Two,” McKay said as he stood from the table and went to refill his coffee. “We can all pretty much agree that I’m the smartest man on this whole stupid planet. I mean… seriously… my brain is one in a million.”
“Ten billion, actually.” John lifted his head. “The chances of anyone testing on your intellectual level is one and ten billion.”
Rodney smirked and slid back into his chair. “So, we can’t argue or bargain with the Wraith. I’m smarter than all of you, and I believe our only option is to arm ourselves to the teeth, retrieve Atlantis, and play intergalactic pest control man until every single one of them is nothing but dust in space.”
“Retrieving Atlantis is impossible without a great deal of effort including the locating of more ZPMs.”
Rodney waved the Secretary of the Navy off like he was idiot, and John had to admit the man was a bit of a twit. “I’m very close on the calculations on the construction of a ZPM and in a few months I’m sure I can complete the work necessary for recharging the ZPMs we currently have in storage.”
The whole room came to an absolute standstill and Jack O’Neill leaned forward in his chair. “Say again, McKay.”
Rodney sat down his coffee cup. “I speak ten languages but I’m pretty sure I was speaking English. I said, that I’m almost finished with the procedure to recharge a ZPM. I should be able to construct my own within the year – especially after I’ve done the work on recharging a few of them.”
“And when were you going to tell us this?” The head of the IOA demanded in her clipped French accent.
“I am the one that actually requested this meeting and maybe instead of me just missing all of you—I had something important to tell you,” Rodney responded coolly. His eyes darkened. “It isn’t like I haven’t been working on this project for years. You didn’t honestly think I wouldn’t figure it out?”
She sputtered. “You’ve not updated the committee on your research in a year, Dr. McKay. This is unacceptable that we did not know your progress on such a project.”
Rodney tilted his head and sat back in his chair. “Yeah, well, dying made me reevaluate my point of view on paperwork. You people and your stupid reports are tedious, and I don’t have time for it. If you want reports on my work you’ll have to hire some twit to run along behind me and write up reports for you.”
“I don’t appreciate your tone.”
“I can always take my toys and go home,” Rodney responded icily. “Trust me, Dr. Lemere; there are lots of places I could be. I get offers every single day with money and incentive packages that are so fantastic they are practically orgasmic. I stay here because the work is interesting. But, if bullshit like this is what I have to look forward to I believe the stupidity will start to outweigh the interesting parts before too long.”
“I believe allocating funds for Dr. McKay to have an assistant to handle his reports and paperwork is certainly doable.” Richard Woolsey cleared his throat and shared a glance with the representatives from the UK and Canada. “In fact, I believe General O’Neill would be able to help us with that.”
“Of course.” Jack sent John another look but John was focused on Rodney.
“So, McKay, tell us about your new ZPM project and how goes it on my big gun?” John tilted his head and watched his lover switch gears. There wasn’t a person in the room who wasn’t aware of their relationship, but most had chosen to ignore it. Now, he figured that they might be a little relieved by it as well.
Rodney glanced at him; the look was predatory, proprietary, and indulgent. Amusement lit briefly in his eyes. “Why don’t we just declassify the project and kick the IOA to the curb?”
John grinned. “That’s not playing nice.”
“I’ve been accused of many things in my life, Colonel, but playing well with others was never one of them.” Rodney focused on Jack O’Neill who gave him an amused look, while the members of the IOA from France and China were looking at him like they could kill him. “You should tell them that killing me would not be good for the program.”
“There isn’t a person in this room who doesn’t understand the level of misery that would be inflicted on them if such a thing even crossed their minds,” Jack responded and then grinned when several people in the room straightened in the chairs. “After all, we have space ships that can pluck them right out of their beds and transport them anywhere we would like.”
Rodney sighed. “I found Mars to be quite lovely. Surely, the best place to visit in the solar system.” He flipped open a notebook in front of him and stared at for a moment. “Colonel, your stupidly big space gun is on Dr. McKay-Miller’s desk. She’s dealing with the power requirements at the moment, and then we’ll be ready to begin construction. I anticipate six months of Earth bound construction and then no less than eight weeks in space for the orbital platform.”
“She’ll finish on deadline?” Richard Woolsey asked.
“She’s a McKay,” Rodney responded, shooting a Woolsey a dirty look for even asking such a question. “If physical production goes as planned we’ll have three orbital platforms ready in the next eighteen months. We’ve nixed all AI applications or automatic responses to a threat, because who ever suggested that was simply stupid. It’s not a good idea to give that much autonomy to a weapon that could blast a chuck out of the planet. Therefore, each platform will have to be manned. A five person crew for each platform would be the best for performance.”
“And we’ll be able to cloak them?” Jack made a notation on a legal pad in front of him as he asked.
“Yes, of course. At least until we need to use them. Cloaking technology will have to fall away once the weapon is activated. We used the Jumper systems as a model for both the cloaking system and the shields. The yield of each platform will be extreme, and we’ve built in automatic beaming technology in the case of platform destruction. If the systems go critical—the crew will be beamed directly into the SGC. It’s the best we can do as far as crew safety goes.”
“Are you sacrificing power for that system? Beaming technology does not come without sacrifice.” Dr. Lemere asked her gaze penetrating like the weapon they were discussing.
“Yes, but I won’t build a manned weapon that does not account for the safety of its crew.” He glared at her when she started to speak. “And before you go any further in your line of questioning, I would remind you that France has never once provided a single military asset to the Stargate Program. You’re perfectly content to dictate policy, demand your share of technology information, and send me barely educated scientists who test my belief that humanity even has a chance of survival, but you don’t send soldiers. The SGC is entirely manned by armed forces from the US, Canada, and the UK. Not a single soldier on this base is expendable to me, and I don’t care what you think about the matter.”
Marcus Cain cleared his throat. “I for one have always appreciated the level of dedication Dr. McKay has demonstrated when it comes to the safety of the men and women on this project. The program is dangerous and we have lost many, but it was never once because we didn’t do everything we could prevent it. He has, at times, risked his own life to insure the very survival of this base and this planet. If he believes that we need beaming tech on the weapons platforms, then we need it on the platforms.”
“You’re just taking his side because his Canadian,” Lemere muttered.
Cain laughed softly. “Dr. McKay, would you care to tell Dr. Lemere how you feel about me?”
“You’re marginally intelligent and I’m pretty sure you didn’t get your degree online. You’re a hack politician with delusions of becoming the Prime Minister, and the only reason I didn’t put all of my money into your opponent during the last election cycle was that he was a bigger idiot than you. Although you did admit last year that I was a national treasure which warmed my frigid little heart.”
Marcus grinned. “The Prime Minister made me say it.”
“What kind of power sacrifice would it be?” John asked his gaze intent on McKay’s face.
“The emergency beam out system when engaged would be something of a Hail Mary. It wouldn’t even be triggered unless the shields for the platform were near failure. However, at that point, the beam out would probably deplete what power was left leaving the entire thing unshielded. That being said – we’ve also designed a self-destruct because the last thing we want is an enemy boarding one of those things and turning it on us.”
“So beam out and then destruction.”
“Under full bombardment, how long will the shields hold?”
“Go’uld or Ori? About twenty days with a naquadah generator. Wraith? My data on them is slim, but I’d say closer to forty-five days. It isn’t like they won against the Ancients because they have superior technology.”
“A battle of that scale would be long over before the shields failed… one way or another,” John said after a moment. “So the power compensation for the evacuation isn’t really that much of an issue.”
Rodney nodded his agreement. “As for the ZPM project, we’ll be ready to move our lab to the Apollo within the next few months.”
“The Apollo?” Cain asked with a frown. “Why do you need the ship for that?”
“Because I’d rather not fuck around with harnessing power from subspace on Earth,” Rodney responded. He tossed his fellow Canadian look that clearly said he was a moron. “I like this planet… it’s mostly pretty and my cat lives here. I’d rather not blow it up.”
“Is that a concern?”
“Yes, of course it is. We’re going to pick out a solar system that is uninhabited and build our lab on one of the planets in the life zone. The recharging might not be very dangerous—but it is the building of it that has me a little concerned. Better to be cautious than blow up Earth.”
“I’m getting a t-shirt that says that,” Jack said with a grin.
“I want a full report of your research after this meeting is adjourned,” Lemere interjected.
“Not likely.” Rodney tossed a glare Lemare’s way when she started to stand. “You don’t honestly think you intimidate me, do you? Because I’m pretty sure that you did get your degree online.”
Lamoure’s eyes darkened with fury, and she focused on John. “Isn’t it your job to handle him?”
John’s mouth dropped open and he shut it with an audible click of his teeth. “Dr. McKay, you’re dismissed from this meeting.” His gaze flicked briefly towards Rodney who had paled with fury and maybe something close to hurt. “Please.”
Rodney nodded, gathered up his notebook and laptop, and left the room without another word.
Jack O’Neill took a deep breath and expelled it as he ran one hand down his face. “Mr. Woolsey.”
Richard cleared his throat. “It seems we have a little problem.”
“You could say that,” Jack snapped. He turned on the French woman. “Colonel Sheppard’s personal relationship with Dr. McKay is not up for discussion, has never been up for discussion, and your use of it during this meeting was grossly inappropriate.”
Lemere grimaced. “We all know Sheppard was ordered to pursue McKay on a personal level to insure his continued cooperation in the Stargate Program.”
Jack looked at John. “I think she just called you a whore.”
“I think so, too.” He smirked then. “I’m under paid.”
“What other reason could a man like you put up with him?”
“He’s brilliant; the smartest man you’ll ever have the privilege of sitting in the same room with. He embraces life, sees beauty in the mundane and the extraordinary, can play whole symphonies from memory with all the passion and skill of a virtuoso, and can demonstrate the power of the star on a napkin while we wait for appetizers with math so eloquent it might as well be poetry. He understands the value of humanity and has dedicated his entire adult life to the survival our planet. He’s been on the short list for a Nobel Prize since his twenties but the work that would actually win him one is so classified that it probably won’t see the light of day until he’s dead. He gave up going on the first Atlantis mission because his sister had breast cancer, a dead husband, and three-month-old infant to take care of. He rescued the biggest cat known to man off the side of the road, feeds it gourmet, organic cat food, named it Quark, and treats it like a child to make up for all the things it surely suffered before he rescued it.”
Jack snorted. “Really?”
“Really,” John’s jaw tightened as he looked back towards the French woman. “I don’t know what your problem with McKay is and frankly I don’t care. He’s the single best defense we have against the Wraith because without him my ATA gene is absolutely worthless. The best thing you can do for this mission is to sign off on his projects, stop asking him stupid questions, and do us all a favor and don’t let him set eyes on you again.” He stood. “Now, I’m going to go down stairs and talk him out of packing his office.”
“Should I come…” Richard Woolsey stood.
John shook his head. “No, trust me… Richard… I’ll probably have to clear the entire floor for this.”
– – – –
He found him sitting in Jumper One. It wasn’t the first place he’d looked, and eventually he had to get security to help him. Giving a man of McKay’s brain power an hour to brood was never a good thing, so he closed the hatch with a sigh and walked up to the front of the Jumper, slid into the pilot’s chair, and started flight procedures. “Flight, this is Jumper One. Dial the space gate, Dr. McKay and I are taking a little tour of the solar system for his orbital defense project.”
“Understood, Jumper One, report every two hours.”
Rodney said nothing while he maneuvered the craft down into the gate room and through the Stargate. Once they severed radio contact, he sighed. “I don’t want to give my work to the IOA because I don’t trust them. John, this is the kind of stuff that could lead to seriously horrible weapons. The more I work with it, the more I know what kind of damage it could do. I don’t trust half the countries in the IOA with that kind of knowledge. I feel like the Oppenheimer of my time. And ZPM tech makes the atom bomb look like a child’s toy.”
John swallowed hard. “I know.”
“And, we still don’t know who wanted me kidnapped and why they wanted to get around our shield technology. The same shield technology we’re going to use on the orbital weapons platforms.” He slouched in his chair. “I’m not meant for this kind of political crap honestly. I don’t want to have to think about it.”
“How much can you give them without it being dangerous?”
“Maybe everything but the last few months. Radek says I’m channeling an Ancient on some of this stuff anyway. Sam claims that it’s over her head, which means I doubt they could find anyone to finish it. I could fudge some of the math, take out a few of the equations, and they wouldn’t be able to duplicate what I do. But that would mean that the team that goes to the lab would have to be…” He sighed. “We’d have to pick the team very carefully.”
John nodded. “I’ll discuss it with O’Neill and Woolsey. I don’t believe either one of them wants to put a weapon of this magnitude in the hands of the Chinese or have it end up on the black market for terrorist use. What about your government?”
“My contract is with Stargate Command, and I’m bound to confidentiality clauses that supersede any duty I might owe my country and they all know it. I sold myself to the highest bidder a long time ago, John, and my government didn’t even realize what they were letting the Americans have until they were clued in on the existence of the Stargate.”
“They’ve tried to get you back, I assume?”
“Yes, and they’ve already figured they don’t stand a chance.”
“Listen.” John engaged the autopilot and turned so he could focus on Rodney. “Mer, you know that woman was full of shit, right?”
“What? Of course… I mean…” He shrugged. “I sort of think it’s your job to handle all of the scientists on the base.”
“Yeah, but she was implying that I’d been ordered to fuck you to keep you in line.” John reached out, ran his hand down McKay’s arm, and snagged his hand. “Which is utter bullshit. It’s insulting to you. Insulting to me.”
“Yeah, because you don’t get paid enough to be a whore,” Rodney laughed softly and curled his fingers into John’s. “You certainly don’t get paid what your worth in bed.”
John couldn’t help but laugh. “Asshole.”
“She thought that because of that first Jumper ride we took. You said the report indicated that you were trying to rekindle my interest in the mission.” Rodney shrugged. “She probably isn’t the only one to think it.” He looked down at their joined hands and sighed. “Sometimes I don’t even know what I did to get you. You’re so strong and beautiful, you know?”
“I love you.”
“When you say that… sometimes…” McKay shook his head. “I forget to breathe.”
“I don’t want you to ever doubt what I feel for you. Not ever.”
“I don’t.” Rodney shook his head. “How could I? I’ve never known anyone so honest, and you’d never say something like that if you didn’t mean it.” He sighed. “You didn’t threaten her did you? I mean I don’t think it would be appropriate to threaten the chair person of the IOA.”
“No. I didn’t threaten her. That being said the next time the IOA meets, we’ll probably see a different person in charge. She obviously missed the memo.”
“What memo?” Rodney asked with a frown.
“The one that told everyone that you were to be indulged and pandered to at every opportunity.”
Rodney huffed. “Asshole.”
John laughed but he was only half-kidding. There had been several memos detailing what could and could not be said to one Dr. M. Rodney McKay and Dr. Lemere had pretty much violated all the rules of engagement on that front.
Rodney was silent for a minute and then rubbed his thumb over the top of John’s hand. “I cancelled her credit cards and had her utilities turned off.”
“And… I put her name on the terrorist watch list. It takes an act of Congress to get off that thing.”
John swallowed hard. “Please tell me that they can’t trace that back to you.”
Rodney shot him a glance. “Don’t insult me and besides, even if they did they wouldn’t do a damn thing about it. I’m a genius and we’re allowed to be petty and eccentric. Besides, what she implied about you had to be addressed. She’s lucky I’ve matured. Ten years ago, I would have hired someone to investigate her, and then I would have used the dirt they dug up to ruin her. As it stands, I’m not even going to post the porn video I found of her, her husband and their limo driver on her personal computer to xtube or anything. But I did make a copy, just for you know, emergency future use. Okay and maybe half the SGC have seen it in the past thirty minutes.”
– – – –
“He’s afraid the tech will end up on the black-market and be used for weapons development.”
“He wouldn’t be wrong,” Jack looked over the pool table with a practiced eye and then set up his next shot. “You do realize that the President is considering declassification so that we can leave the IOA behind? McKay just voiced something we’ve been discussing privately for more than a year. The closer we get to development of a ZPM the more worried both Canada and the UK get. There is no way in hell, we’re going to fork over that kind of tech to Chinese or even the Russians for that matter.”
“How much do we already hold back from them?”
“They’ve seen a very small fraction of information we gained from the Asgard, practically nothing on the X302 or X308 projects and Sam has been editing the reports that come out of the mountain for years. They know half what we really know about the Stargate and how it works. Less than half of what we learned about Atlantis while you were there. And McKay was right about the military personnel. The fact is that I don’t allow anyone but the Canadians and the British. I’ve declined teams from the Russians and the Chinese more times than I can count. Even if I was interested, there are parts of the mountain they absolutely cannot see. Parts that extend past the SGC and move into more interesting areas of NORAD. The French have never requested a Stargate team or even access to a ship which makes me really concerned about her interests in the ZPM.”
“What about the Ancient outpost?”
“They’ve toured it but the ZPM had already been depleted and the facility is being run on generators at this point. I think Lemere is just on a power trip, but it was pretty damn obvious that the rep from China was interested. He normally just sits there and stares into space. Today he stared at McKay throughout the entire meeting.”
“I noticed.” John watched his CO miss his next shot and set aside his beer bottle in favor of lining up his own shot. He glanced out the double doors that lead to the deck. Rodney and Sam Carter were in a pair of lounge chairs having an intense conversation. “That woman hurt him today. I think it stunned him a little because he likes to think he’s above such shit.”
“He knows it’s not true, right?”
“Yeah, intellectually he does. Doesn’t mean that it didn’t hurt to have someone imply that our entire relationship is…” He shook his head. “He’s a little stressed anyways. He’s presenting in Chicago next week, keynote speaker, and he hasn’t done that in years, apparently. He and Radek have spent the last month going over which paper he needs to present.”
“It’s difficult for them,” Jack glanced outside. “Scientists of their caliber aren’t really in this game for the money or the fame. They are in it for the knowledge and ninety percent of them desperately want to share that information with everyone they meet. The thrill of it is lost in secrecy and confidentiality clauses.”
“And if the President declassifies?”
“McKay is already a pretty hot commodity in R&D, John. When the project is declassified, he’ll need personal security for the rest of his life. I’m already lining up soldiers for protection details for the majority of the scientists on the base because between you and me… it’s coming and probably sooner than anyone thinks. We were blackmailed into playing nice with everyone, and now they are actively trying to prevent us from thoroughly defending the planet. Frankly that doesn’t fly with me. It doesn’t fly with the President. The Brits and the Canadians are ready to give France the finger in more ways that one.”
John took his shot and smirked at Jack when the older man cursed. “It’s all angles and geometry, Sir.”
“I never should have gotten a closeted geek for my 2IC.”
John hung his head briefly and then took his next shot. “I’d like to be in the loop as much as possible on that front, and I want to take Wilkes and Martinsen with us to Chicago next week. McKay would prefer that they not attend but with zero development on the kidnapping situation and today’s meeting—I’d feel better with a little back up.”
Jack nodded. “Did you give him the emergency watch you had Radek build?”
“Not yet. That’s an argument waiting to happen. I’m thinking that’s an ‘after sex’ discussion.”
Jack snorted. “That works?”
John chuckled. “Never met a man it didn’t work on. Myself included.”
– – – –
“She totally did get her degree online.” Sam agreed. “At least that last one… the stupid one about international relations.”
Rodney laughed and set aside his beer. “Want a copy of her homemade porn?”
“Hell, yes. I heard the limo driver was impressive.”
“Yeah, in a very scary, has no higher brain functions when he’s erect sort of way.” Rodney cleared his throat. “Look, I know I’ve sort of put you in a position lately that’s not cool.”
“I knew you were hiding your results,” Sam grinned when he glanced at her shocked. “I know why, too. You’ve always been very leery of building weapons, and it’s no secret. The weapons applications for the ZPM technology are hard to ignore and there are plenty of people on this planet that could misuse it in ways that we’d all never live to regret. I don’t think they really understand that we could actually literally destroy the planet with it.”
“Yeah, stupid fuckers.” He retrieved his beer and tipped it back. After a moment, he dropped the empty bottle on the deck between them and relaxed back on the lounger. “I picked the paper on wormhole physics.”
“It’s a good choice, a precursor to all of our other research, and it will start to prepare the scientific communities for declassification.” Sam rubbed the back of her neck. “Jack thinks it’s going to come soon.”
“I’ll believe it when I see it.”
“Yeah.” Sam grinned. “I’m going to present my paper on optics and lasers in Tampa next month. Radek has some pretty fantastic work on a theoretical hyperspace engine.”
Rodney sighed. “The day we get declassified I’m going to call at least fifteen people and tell them how truly stupid they are.”
She laughed. “We should compare lists, so we don’t double up because I know of at least ten that I’d like to verbally punch in the face.”
“We could hold a press conference—get everyone at once.” Rodney glanced into the house and frowned. “I know I’m going to end up with an assload of Marines in Chicago with me next week. I see it written all over him.”
“Well, you did get kidnapped. Military men take things like that real personally.”
“Yeah, I remember.” He frowned. “Did you see a shrink after it happened to you that time?”
Sam frowned. “Well, yeah. I mean, I was held for over a week, and they almost killed me trying to figure out how I’d survived a Tok’ra hosting experience. I had nightmares for months. Jack didn’t let me leave the base without an escort for more than a year. I know that a day doesn’t go by when he doesn’t think about it.” She grimaced. “The fact is that Jack was never thrilled with the fact that I accepted a symbiote to begin with. He would have never allowed it if he’d actually been on the base but the host was dying, but we needed the intel the Tok’ra had. It wasn’t much of a choice.”
“It isn’t like the snake tried to keep your body,” Rodney finally muttered. “I mean, she didn’t fight going into a new host as soon as the Tok’ra arrived with one.”
“No, she was more than willing.” Sam rubbed her throat and sighed. “Still, it was the reason I got kidnapped and only added to Jack’s ire about that entire situation. He never trusted them.”
“They never really trusted us, not even after your father joined them and became a host.” Rodney shrugged. “But ultimately we defeated the Go’uld without them. We didn’t need the Tok’ra or the Tollan. They can all fuck off. Miss the Asgard though. Even if the naked thing freaked me out.”
Sam laughed. “How many beers have you had?”
“Three before you got here,” Rodney frowned and glanced at the cooler at their feet. “Two since you got here. I’ve had a hard day, you know.”
“I know. Getting picked on by an evil, skinny, French woman.” Sam shook her head. “Don’t worry—I hacked into her alarm system and changed the disarm code on her front door. She’ll probably get arrested and pulled out of her own home any minute now in hand cuffs.” She patted Rodney’s arm. “And Radek had her car towed and put up for auction—the Children’s World Hunger Fund was very pleased to get her brand new limited edition BMW as a donation.”
Rodney laughed. “Don’t pick on geeks?”
“It’s a lesson everyone needs.” Sam rummaged in the cooler and pulled out two beers. “Good job on the terrorist list, by the way. I spent three hours trying to trace it and it dead ends in an Internet café in India.”
“Yeah, I was pretty pleased with that.” Rodney sighed. “If she complains I’m posting her porn video on the Internet.”
Sam snorted. “If she complains I’m sending Vala to her house for a visit.”
– – – –
“So, how many Marines are going to Chicago?”
John lifted his head and tilted it slightly. Rodney was leaning against the bathroom counter, ankles crossed. “You look awful sober for a man that has put away as much beer as you have tonight.”
Rodney snorted. “Please, I cut my teeth on one hundred fifty proof rot gut in Siberia. Six American beers… it might as well have been water.” He shoved his hands into his pockets and inspected John thoroughly. “I like having you in my shower. Are you going to move in with me?”
“I think it’s important that I maintain a residence on the base,” John frowned. “I mean I spend a lot of time here but…”
“No, I get it. You’ve a lot of men who live out a duffle bag on base, and it isn’t like we’re married or anything.”
“Wow, we’re discussing marriage?” John asked as he turned off the water and stepped out of the shower stall. “I think I need pants for that discussion.”
Rodney ran one finger down his chest, playing in the water on his skin. “I think Lemere resents me because I have you.”
“Oh yeah?” John raised an eyebrow.
“She’s one of those beautiful women who think all men should fall at her feet. When she encounters one that doesn’t… it becomes this challenge to her personal power.” Rodney sucked in a breath as John moved closer. “You’re going to get me wet.”
“Yeah, that’s the plan.” He leaned in and brushed his mouth over Rodney’s. “And hard. I love to make you hard.”
“I’ve got news for you, Colonel, you make everyone hard.” He closed his eyes as John moved closer. “I’ve seen men I know without a doubt that are straight turn around and watch you walk. You look like the best, dirtiest sex on Earth. Vala told Cameron last week that if it was possible she’d totally grow a dick for you.”
John paused and then laughed. “You know I love that woman. I really do. I think I’m going to take her back to Atlantis with me.”
“So, you’re going to steal Jackson because you know those two are joined at the hip?”
“You think O’Neill will let me?”
“We need all the help we can get with the city. Daniel would be ideal, really, to handle the soft sciences, which would free me up to deal with the hard sciences. A split of the labor. We don’t have a lot of time to fuck around.” Rodney took a deep breath as John’s hands drifted to his belt and deftly unbuckled him. “The new ship will be ready for the trip, you know. The ship I’m building just for you.”
“I know. Are you trying to distract me?”
“Well, yes, I’m not sure I should fuck you anymore… at least not until we get you a pay raise.”
John jerked and their gazes connected. “You evil bastard.”
McKay laughed. “Come along then… we’ll take it out in trade or something. After all you did use your brain today during the meeting… gave me a little bit of math porn in front all of those idiots.”
“Well, you really are one in ten billion. I could search the entire galaxy over and never find another person like you.” He leaned against the doorway of the bathroom and watched amused as Rodney shed his clothes, leaving a trail from the bathroom to the California king size bed that had become their playground in the three months they’d been dating.
John sucked in a little breath as Rodney slid up onto the bed, sprawled on his back, and spread his legs shamelessly. He allowed himself the view for roughly ten seconds before he went to the bed and crawled up between McKay’s thighs. “I want to fuck you.”
Rodney sucked in a little breath as John flicked his tongue across the head of his cock. “Does it bother you that I’m not cut?”
John lifted his head. “God, no, it’s really hot, and it feels amazing when you fuck me.” He laughed softly when Rodney shuddered. “Do you want to fuck me instead?”
“No. I want you in me. I love to have you in me.” Rodney groaned and sighed as John nuzzled at his balls with soft, damp lips and then licked his cock from base to tip. “Seriously, you make me doubt my atheism.” John hummed as he took Rodney into his mouth and started to suck. “Because I think you must be a gift from some god or something. Fuck.”
Rodney’s fingers slid over John’s head, offering no pressure or guidance just a gesture of affection and appreciation. He lifted his hips against the suction of John’s mouth briefly and then relaxed against the mattress. There was no rushing John, and he knew it. Of all the lovers he’d ever had… and he wasn’t ashamed to say that there had been more than a few… John was the only man he’d ever known who made love to him. It wasn’t something he could say aloud; it was hardly something he could even let himself think about.
He took a deep breath and released it in an effort to keep from coming and groaned when John ran his strong, calloused hands down the back of his thighs and spread him open further. Rodney reached out, snagged the lube off the bedside table, and dropped it onto his stomach. As clues went it, it was a good one because John grabbed it without lifting his mouth off the cock he was enthusiastically sucking.
Rodney bit down on his bottom lip as John pushed two lube-coated fingers against his entrance and relaxed as the fingers pushed past the ring of muscle to explore. He rocked against the invasion and sighed when John added a third finger, each delicious thrust of those fingers brushed against his prostate. McKay planted his feet firmly on the mattress and lifted his hips against the invading fingers until John forced him to be still by pressing one large hand flat on his stomach. He rubbed gently, his fingers catching in the fine hair that trailed down to his pubic bone in a defined line. His thumb brushed through Rodney’s pubic hair in a rough estimation of the gentle rhythm of the mouth working his cock.
“Fuck. John. Fuck.” McKay fisted his hands into the bedding beneath them and arched against the pleasure being given to him. “In me. In me. Right now.”
John released his cock with a soft sound, letting his lips trail over the weeping head just once before he lifts upward and takes Rodney’s mouth in a heated, deep kiss. When the man beneath him started to move and clutch at him with desperate fingers, he lifted away and grabbed the lube again. With practiced ease, he lubed himself up and let his gaze to wander over Rodney’s prone form.
“I’d never use my strength against you.”
“I know. I trust you.”
“You’ve seen me be violent with others; I just need to make sure you understand that I’d never want you to be afraid of me.” He tossed the bottle aside and wiped the excess lube onto the sheet beneath them.
“I love how strong you are, how the muscles play under you skin when you fuck me,” Rodney murmured as he hooked one leg around John’s waist and lifted his hips. “In me.”
“So demanding,” John responded his voice soft with amusement. He slid both hands under McKay, cupped his ass, and lifted him until he could press the head of his cock against the muscled entrance of his body. “Like this? So you can watch?”
“Oh yes.” Rodney arched on the bed. “Fuck, you’re amazing.”
John pushed in deep and stilled. “You’ve no idea what you do to me. Spread open for me like this.”
“More,” McKay demanded, his body rocking gently in John’s hands. “Fuck me.”
Rodney bit down on his bottom lip and shuddered as John started to work his cock in and out of his body. The light spilling from the bathroom danced over his body creating pockets of astounding clarity while shielding other parts in near darkness. He’d never had lover like John and knew with certainty that he never would. John was it for him – the love of his life and he didn’t even know how he’d lived without him for as long as he had.
“John.” His name came out in a startled gasp as John changed the stroke of his cock and hit Rodney’s prostate with the perfect amount of pressure. “John!”
“I’ve got you,” John promised as he slowed his pace marginally and used his thumbs to caress the too soft skin that covered of Rodney’s hipbones. “I thought about this all day. I sat across from the fucking Secretary of the Navy thinking about fucking you. Knowing that I was going to end this day with my cock in your gorgeous ass.”
“Dirty bastard,” Rodney admonished, his voice strained with pleasure.
“Wrap your legs around my waist,” John instructed and when Rodney complied, he leaned down slid one arm under the scientist and lifted him off the bed completely until he was kneeling again.
Rodney wrapped his hands over the top of John’s shoulders and shuddered in complete awe as he slid down onto John’s cock. “You’re a fucking genius.”
John laughed softly and used his hands to guide his lover into a rhythm that pleased them both. “I love you. I love you beyond all reason.”
Groaning, Rodney rocked on John and gasped when the head of his cock slid up the muscled wall of John’s stomach. “I’m not going to last like this.”
“Good, come for me.” John brushed his lips over Rodney’s and then across his jaw. “Come all over me; I want to feel it.”
“So dirty.” Rodney groaned and his fingers dug into Sheppard’s shoulders as he came. “Fuck.”
“So goddamned sexy,” John whispered and buried his face against Rodney’s throat. He lowered him to the bed carefully and started to move, deep hard thrusts that had the man beneath him keening and begging – and endless stream of sound pouring out of him. John shuddered and came hard, his vision darkening for one for startlingly moment.
“I love you,” Rodney whispered as his fingers dug into the muscles of John’s back. “I love you so much I don’t know how I ever survived without you.”
– – – –
They took a private plane to Chicago and John hated every second of the flight. He’d grilled both pilots for thirty minutes before they’d ever gotten off the ground but it did nothing to make him feel better about not being at the controls. Martinson and Wilkes were playing cards and totally ignoring their obviously uncomfortable CO.
“Oh, for fuck’s sake, John sit down.” Rodney shut his laptop with a huff. “Look, I’ll call my financial guy and we’ll have a plane ready for our return home.”
“Ready?” John frowned.
“Yes, a Learjet 45 will do won’t it?” Rodney asked as he pulled out his cell phone. He checked reception and frowned but started to dial. “Jeff, hi – yes, of course, I read your emails. You’d know if I had anything to bitch about. It isn’t like I keep that shit to myself. Look, I need a plane. No, no, of course I don’t want to rent one. I want you to buy me one. We’ll be landing at O’Hare within the next few hours and then I’ll fly home on Wednesday. Get a Learjet 45, I like the ride on that the best and make sure it’s right off the production line. I don’t want something that’s been sitting in a warehouse for six months. Load it up and make sure it has all the amenities that I like and don’t forget the big TV. You know I hate to be bored when I fly. Make sure it’s delivered and fueled for departure on Wednesday and I’ll have Colonel Sheppard file a flight plan. Yes, whatever, call it a business expense.” He turned off his phone, tossed it in the chair beside him, and found all three men in the cabin looking at him. “What?”
“Did you just buy me a plane?” John asked softly. “Seriously? You just bought a twelve million dollar plane?”
“It’ll be close to thirteen.” McKay opened his laptop again. “With amenities and delivery.”
“Jesus Christ,” Ian muttered. “It pays to save the planet.”
Rodney snorted. “My money comes from private contract jobs, Ian. It pays to be an astrophysist. I don’t take money out of the Stargate program.”
“Why?” Jimmy asked with a frown. “Isn’t like you don’t deserve it.”
“Yes, well, you guys deserve better pay, good equipment, and decent food more than I need to pad my already indecent bank account balance. All but ten percent of my salary at the SGC is funneled into the mission support fund.”
“The other ten percent?” John asked softly.
“Goes into a trust fund for children of the men and women who work in the SGC. There is a scholarship fund – all of the scientists contribute to it.” He flushed. “It was Sam’s idea and we’ve already sent five kids to college with it.”
“I know about the fund.” Most of the soldiers he knew contributed some small amount—obviously not as much as men like McKay but they did their part. “Most of the money in the fund is yours, isn’t it? Ten percent of your salary is what—a quarter million dollars a year?”
“It’s just money.” McKay didn’t look up from his computer again, his fingers moved over the keyboard efficiently and without pause.
John glanced towards the two soldiers with them and raised one eyebrow when he found them staring at McKay stunned. They both turned back to their cards without a word. He wondered if they were more surprised by the kind of money Rodney had or if they were shocked that he would give all of his money at the SGC to the soldiers and their families. He figured that Rodney’s reputation with the soldiers was going to take a turn for the better despite his attitude.
The landing was smooth and an SUV was waiting for them as they exited the plane. He let Jimmy and Ian handle the luggage while he settled McKay in the passenger seat. Three people from the airport were on the ground buzzing around making sure that Rodney had everything he needed and the vehicle would do. John answered their questions because Rodney didn’t even bother looking up from his laptop once he’d gotten settled.
Once they’d escaped, he cast a look over his shoulder at his soldiers and found them staring at McKay again. “Gentlemen.”
Ian flushed. “Geez, Sir. It’s like traveling with the freaking president.”
Rodney snorted. “I have more money than the president of your country.” He turned and looked at them both. “Everyone on this trip is going to kiss my ass and in turn yours but don’t think for a minute that a single one of these fucks really gives a shit about anything but the money they’ll get from me.”
“How much money do you have?” Jimmy asked without shame.
Rodney pulled his cell phone out of his pocket, poked at it for a little while, and then frowned. “My liquid assets top out at six billion dollars.”
Jimmy stared for a few minutes and then cleared his throat. “We voted and we think all the military personnel assigned to the SGC should get half-priced beer at your bar.”
Rodney laughed, dropped his phone back into his pocket and turned in his seat to look at John was staring at him. “Christ, Sheppard, you did read my file right?”
“I skipped your financial data.” John started the SUV with a sharp twist of his wrist. “So what’s the total net?”
“A little over ten.” Rodney slid his laptop into its case. “Is this a problem?”
“Are you older than me?” John asked as he shifted the vehicle into drive.
“Yeah by about six months,” Rodney’s lips quirked in a small smile. “I think I’d have to be a least five years older than you qualify as your sugar daddy.”
John laughed. “Asshole.” He glared in the rear view mirror when Ian and Jimmy started laughing. “Keep it up gentlemen; you’ll be running twenty miles on a hotel treadmill.” They sobered immediately and Rodney started laughing. “You too, McKay.”
“Yeah right.” McKay leaned back in his seat. “How about sexual favors instead? I have it on good authority that I give the best blow job on Earth.”
“Not in front of the kids, Rodney.”
– – – –
“That was superior ass kissing,” Ian said as he shut the door on the hotel concierge. “That guy looked like he might offer us all sexual favors.”
John sighed. “Look what you did, McKay.”
“Yeah, don’t blame me. I know what happens in boot camp. That kid was ruined before he ever set eyes on me.” Rodney set up his second laptop on the desk in the main living room of the suite and pulled out a tablet PC from his second computer bag. “Will you order us some food?”
“Sure.” He grabbed the hotel phone and walked to the doorway of the bedroom Wilkes and Martinson were sharing. “How do you like your steaks?”
“Rare.” Was the dual response.
“That’s disgusting! Don’t blame me if you all die of food poisoning!”
John laughed. “We won’t.” He glanced over the king size bed. “You two cool sharing this?”
“Yeah. We’ll be fine.” Jimmy glanced towards Ian and then shrugged. “We’ll split guard duty anyways.”
John nodded. He remembered pretty clearly that Ian was a little funny about being touched by men but Rodney had made it also pretty clear that he thought the kid was in the closet. A deep closet apparently. “I’ll order food. Any allergies?”
When the food arrived, John forced Rodney from his computers and to the table while room service set up their meals. The ass kissing was getting a little old already but Rodney tipped with barely a glance in the person’s direction and took the glass of wine John poured him. The rest of them weren’t drinking but from the way Ian and Jimmy were looking at their food, they weren’t exactly missing the alcohol.
“So tell me about tomorrow.”
Rodney set down his wine and started to carve into his steak. “I have to be present for the first three presentations because if I’m not they’ll think I’m being a snot. Not that I care but the General said I should start working on my public persona since the so-called declassification is coming.”
“And they’ll be on?”
“First up is Randolph Keel. He’s presenting a paper on fusion dynamics, which is going to be utter bullshit. Then there is this woman from Great Britain – Darcy Cole and she’s presenting a very interesting but flawed paper on string theory. I’m going to talk to her because the SGC is considering recruiting her.”
“But her paper is flawed,” Ian said with a frown. “Why recruit her?”
“Because if she had access to the right information her theory wouldn’t be flawed and like many of the other scientists at the SGC I believe she would embrace the project with a great deal of enthusiasm. Radek has a huge crush on her brain.” Rodney shrugged. “Then the third presentation of the day is one on black holes that is so wrong wrong wrong that I might have a stroke in the middle of it.”
“You’ll just have to find your happy place during it,” Jimmy offered with a smile. “You’ve got one right?”
“Yeah, whatever, I’m not sure there is a happy place big enough in my head to hide from the astronomical wrongness of Dr. Jeffrey Branford, III. Even his name is stupid. I bet he was grandfathered into Harvard. I wouldn’t be surprised that his single doctorate was given to him so he would go away.” He attacked his steak then and glared at the asparagus on his plate. “What’s with the green stuff?”
“It makes Dr. McKay a healthy boy so he’s going to eat it,” John grinned when he received the glare the vegetable had been getting. “Be a good example for the kids.”
That earned John the finger but he stabbed a spear and started cutting it up. “It’s sort of sick that we’re both old enough to have fathered them, right?”
“Yeah,” John sighed. “Make me feel old, McKay.”
“I’ll get you a private nurse when things get so bad you can’t walk.” Rodney patted his hand and grinned when Ian and Jimmy started laughing. “I like having them around, sometimes.”
“When you’ve traveled in the past, you have hired private security right?”
“Okay, that’s something we’re talking about a lot later.” John looked across the table and Ian flushed a looked away. “Problem?”
“No, it’s just…” He cleared his throat. “It’s interesting seeing you outside of the SGC, Sir.”
Rodney laughed. “He thinks I’ve tamed you.”
“No! I mean, that’s not what I meant.” Ian flushed blood red and Jimmy started laughing.
John grinned and picked up his water with a shake of his head. “Ignore them; I think I know what you mean. The first time O’Neill came to McKay’s house for dinner I sat through the whole thing wondering what the hell was going on. It’s different being out of uniform and being in a different place. Speaking of, no saluting tomorrow, I’d rather not advertise that McKay has a military escort.”
“Yeah, because the three of you don’t look like soldiers at all,” Rodney snarked and then grinned when they all three looked at him. “Seriously, you look like a very pretty little army. I’m sure half my colleagues will be overcome with jealousy.”
“Did he just say we were pretty?” Jimmy asked eyes wide.
John laughed. “You’re on your own with that one. I can’t control what comes out of his mouth.”
“So after you speak tomorrow?”
“I have to go to a social function with a bunch of fucks I don’t like. You’re all three welcome to glare at anyone who gets too close to me during that whole thing. Then we’re free for the evening. I present again first thing Tuesday and that will have a question and answer session.” Rodney rolled his eyes. “It promises to be a fucking nightmare. Then there is another dinner—I made sure that all four of us were on the list and they know to sit you with me. It was a little bit of a thing, as they didn’t want men with the guns in the hall at all. I made sure they understood we were a packaged deal.”
“We can leave as soon as you’re ready. You’ll want to go out to the airport early right. Check over the plane and file a flight plan?”
“Yeah.” John frowned. “About the plane…”
“No, don’t be stupid. It’s already done. I got the confirmation in my email just before we landed. It’ll be here in the morning.” He waved his hand as he stood. “I’ll just put it with my other one.”
“Your other one?” John demanded.
“I have a Lear 40.” Rodney walked back to his computer. “But it’s small and I’ve been letting the Last Wishes Foundation use it for the last year. It’s stored in Colorado Springs when they aren’t using it. I’m pretty sure it’s Orlando right now. One of the kids wanted to go to SeaWorld.”
“Mer.” John sat back in his chair and waited until Rodney turned and looked at him. “Last Wishes?”
“It’s a charity I set up for women with cancer. Originally, it was going to be Jeannie’s Last Wish but she lived and I couldn’t very well name it after her. So, I named it Last Wishes. They help women and their children during treatment and after if necessary. I have lawyers, doctors, and a research team. It’s not a big deal.”
John swallowed hard. “It’s a very big deal.”
“No, watching six women in Jeannie’s cancer group die in the same six months she had chemotherapy was a big deal. Finding out a few of them didn’t have insurance and no one to take care of their children… that was a big deal. Giving money I’ll never use to charity is not a big deal.” He slid into the desk chair and picked up his tablet PC. “Eat your asparagus, John; it makes you a healthy soldier boy.”
John laughed softly and turned his attention back to his meal.
“Do you work hard to be a jerk so people won’t know how nice you are?” Ian asked.
John choked on his water and then started laughing when Rodney turned to glare at him. “Sorry. Should I discipline him for that?”
It earned him another rude hand gesture. “I’m not nice,” Rodney muttered. “If you repeat that shit, soldier, you’ll be buying me a lot more coffee.”
– – – –
“It does look easier to be with a guy than a girl.”
Jimmy laughed. “Well, if the guy isn’t McKay.”
Ian grinned. “I like him. I mean I didn’t. I was pretty sure he was a Grade A prick but he sort of grows on you. I see what the Colonel sees in him.”
“Oh yeah?” Jimmy asked stretching out his feet on the coffee table. “What’s that?”
“Well he’s brilliant and no matter what he says he’s a good person,” Ian shrugged. “Can’t give away all that money to soldiers, kids, and sick women and not be a good person. I mean, really.”
“Yeah, and he’s got a great ass.” Jimmy glanced towards the bedroom door where both McKay and his CO had disappeared more than hour ago. “I get it too. Of course, we can all see what McKay sees in the Colonel. He’s… beautiful.”
Ian coughed and his gaze darted to the door. “Fuck! Don’t say that too loud.”
“What? Come on, everyone says it.” Jimmy grinned. “I heard one of guys in requisitions say that Sheppard could probably make him forget that he was heterosexual.”
Ian laughed and then shook his head. “And the Colonel thought that Bates was a bad influence on me.”
Jimmy grimaced. “Bates was a bad influence on you, shithead. You’re lucky, I mean very lucky you didn’t end up getting a really rough ride out of that whole situation. Anyone else take a swing at McKay and they probably wouldn’t make it out alive.”
“I guess I should just be lucky that I didn’t actually connect,” Ian muttered. “I’m still sort of stunned that McKay allowed me on his protection detail. I figured he would protest.”
“I guess he figured you might be a good person, too. At least when you’re sober.”
“I haven’t had a single thing to drink since, you know.”
“Yeah, we all know.” Jimmy frowned. “Do you think it’s a problem for you?”
“I don’t know. Not prepared to risk it. My dad was an alcoholic and it’s obvious I can’t hold my own liquor. No need to tempt fate, I’ll never to get to go through the gate if I fuck up again.” Ian frowned. “I’m just fucking lucky that all I got was my ass beat down in front of the entire squadron.”
Jimmy chuckled. “You held out longer than most of us and you looked like shit through the whole thing. I know I couldn’t do thirty minutes in the sparring ring with the Colonel… without a hangover. Bates got a lot worse than you did. At least you didn’t leave the gym bleeding.”
– – – –
“So, no sex, right?”
John laughed and glanced towards their closed door as dried his hair with a towel. “Yeah, no, I’m not having sex with my men in the same suite with us. You make too much noise. ”
“We could pay them to go away for a while.”
“They would certainly negate the reason they are here,” John responded dryly. “I’m sure we’ll manage for two nights.” He inclined his head as he watched Rodney dress. “The thing about the cancer charity… that’s amazing you know.”
Twin peeks of pink appeared on Rodney’s cheeks and he slid into the bed clad in a pair of boxers and a t-shirt. “I—I really don’t want to talk about it, John.”
“Oh, I got that already.” John walked to his suitcase plucked out boxers and t-shirt of his own. “It’s just amazing and I’m proud of you. That’s all.”
“It’s selfish really. I did it because it made me feel like I was doing something to fight her disease. It made me feel better, when I could do nothing but pay for her treatment and hire a nanny for Madison. I mean, I’m the smartest man on this fucking planet and I couldn’t save my sister.”
“But you did save her. She got the best treatment and doctors that money could buy and she survived. She made it.”
“Yeah.” Rodney lay back on the bed. “She made it.”
– – – –
The conference was as boring as Rodney had predicted and John watched Rodney write notes all over the papers he’d been given as the speeches were given. Ian was sitting on the other side of him Every once in a while the soldier would snicker at something McKay wrote, and the two of them would grin at each other. It was during the morning break that John began to realize that he should have brought more men with them.
“Oh fuck,” Rodney muttered and actually took a step back as a two men approached. Both men reached out for him but found their hands full of two soldiers instead.
“No touching.” Jimmy stared the man in front of him right in the eye until he nodded and with confirmation from John stepped back. Ian followed suit, his stance tense.
“Nice, McKay, taking the death threats seriously these days?”
“Only when assholes like you try to pass your moron cooties off to me. How can I help you, Dr. Gardner?”
“I wanted to talk to you about a project I’m setting up with Marks Research.”
He glanced towards the other man. “Steve Nichols, right?”
“Yes, if you weren’t interested in Harry’s offer; I was going to suggest you join me in Florida. I’m working on a plane with Boeing. I could certainly use your input.”
“Marks Research couldn’t afford to pay me to get up out of the bed much less work for them,” Rodney said to Garner. He turned to the second man. “I’ll consult but I’m not going to Florida you know I hate the heat. Send me your project files and a contract agreement. Standard fee for off-site consult, three weeks, and don’t fuck with me on the terms.”
“Not a problem.” Nichols stuck out his hand and then snatched it back when Ian moved slightly forward. “Right, no touching. Forgot. You’ll have to tell me where you picked up your security team, McKay.”
“Boys R Us. I got a great deal.” Rodney waved both men off. One left smiling and the other left glaring. “I hate them both. Really.”
John laughed. “Boys R Us?”
“What? I couldn’t very well tell the truth or make up some name. He would have looked it up and then got curious. He’s not an idiot. You don’t make men like him curious. They just start digging and then FBI has to show up at their house. Being rude was a better choice.”
“So what is your standard off-site fee?”
“Million?” John questioned.
“A week.” Rodney raised an eyebrow when John’s mouth dropped open. “What? I’m worth it.”
“I have no doubts.” John settled his hand on the small of McKay’s back and leaned in. “You are never going anywhere again without a security escort for pretty much ever.”
“This medieval protection thing you’ve got going on is pretty hot.”
John rolled his eyes and scanned the room. “So how many government contractors are in here headhunting?”
“Couple dozen. This is like a geek buffet for them, you know.” The doors to the conference hall opened and Rodney sighed. “And here we go again.”
“Rodney!” The shrill female voice was like nails on a chalkboard and John actually winced when he saw the attractive woman it was attached to. Can’t have everything, he thought.
Rodney frowned at her. “Have we met?”
“Dr. Carlee Dent. We worked together in Nevada.” She tried to scoot past Jimmy and frowned when he moved with her. “I was hoping we could have dinner later? Catch up on old times?”
“Yeah, I make it a point to never have meals with people I’ve fired. I hope you enjoy the conference.”
“You fired her?” John asked as he ushered Rodney away to his seat.
“Yeah, she slept through half the team and it was horrible for team dynamics but I let it slide until she tried to hop into my bed.” Rodney grimaced in distaste. “Even if I liked women… that voice would make my dick crawl up into my stomach and hide.”
Ian laughed and then bit down on his bottom lip. “Sorry, Sir.”
John shook his head. “Where’s Jimmy?”
“He’s doing a check on room exits and he’s checking in with hotel security. We wanted to pick out good locations to be during Dr. McKay’s presentation.”