Title: Secrets
Author: Keira Marcos
Pairing: Sheppard/McKay
Challenge: Unspoken (McSheplets LJ)
Rating: R (for language/adult themes)
Spoilers: None
Word Count: 1,400 (Completed)
Summary: “We definitely didn’t bring enough beer for this conversation.”


– – – – –

“Did you ever get everything you thought you wanted only to…” Rodney sighed. “Not want it at all.”

John laughed softly and leaned back on his hands. “I’m not giving my third beer, McKay, so give it up.”

“Some friend you are.”

“Yeah,” John sighed. “Some friend.” He frowned and rubbed his feet against the pier. He’d had many friends in his life and then there had been others—less than friends but more than just strangers. McKay was his friend, his best friend if anyone wanted to put a fine point on it. He knew what Rodney was getting at and John figured he deserved a real answer. “Sometimes, yeah. I mean, I was pretty damn sure I wanted Nancy. A beautiful, intelligent woman that my Dad actually liked? I figured I’d hit the mother lode with that. John Sheppard wins at life.”

Rodney chuckled. “Not so much?”

“No,” John agreed. “Not so much. She didn’t really want me. She wanted to be the wife of an Air Force pilot. She wanted a man in dress uniform, a chest full of medals, and an easy smile on her arm. It was politics for her and when I didn’t meet her expectations—when I couldn’t meet her expectations—the marriage was over.”

“Well, you had all of that, right? Dress uniform, lots of medals for being stupidly brave, and a smile that all the girls giggle over. What more did she want?”

“All the little things she didn’t say—control over our future, perfect children that attended only the best schools, a political posting for me that would take me out of the sky within a few years.” John shrugged. “When she basically arranged for me to be offered a position that would ground me for life—I refused it and requested a posting overseas.”

“And your marriage was over?”

“Just like that.” John shrugged. “I was in Afghanistan before the ink dried on the divorce papers. Nancy didn’t want me. She wanted the man she thought she could mold me into.”

“You see that happening between me and Keller, right?”

John’s eyes widened briefly and he opened his last beer. “Love is a risk, McKay. Going through the gate, picking up a gun, staying on Atlantis—those are all risks that we recognize for what they are but really, love is the BIG risk. It’s dangerous and probably stupid to fall in love out here.”

“She’s beautiful and smart.”

“Yes,” John agreed.


John chuckled. “Very. First time I saw her I couldn’t figure out how someone let her get all the way out here pretending to be a doctor when it was obvious to me that she should still be in undergrad.”

“Ass,” Rodney muttered.

“Well, I’m not saying you could have fathered her or anything but geez—you do realize that we were both hitting puberty when she was born. I have comic books older than her.” John finished off his beer and sprawled on his back, lifting one leg to take pressure off his back. “Probably even some socks.”

Rodney snickered and then sighed as he lay down beside him. “Okay, yeah, the only thing we have in common to talk about is Atlantis and all the fucked up things that happen here. Music, movies, TV shows, and books… it’s as if we speak different languages and there is no one to translate. She doesn’t even watch Dr. Who. It’s stupid, huh?”

“Yeah, but if you want her…”

“I thought I did. Then I tried to imagine how things would be for us ten years down the road, twenty years down the road.” He stared up at the sky in front of him. “She’s what I always told myself I wanted but there are things that I’ve obviously never told myself.”

“Like what?”

“Like the fact that my favorite day of the week is Wednesday because that’s the day you come to the lab and let me use you shamelessly for your Ancient gene when we both know that mine works 99% of the time. My second favorite day is Saturday because that’s when we scrounge up beer and sit on this stupid pier.”

John turned his head and looked at Rodney. “Wednesdays do it for me to, McKay.” He turned on his side and propped he head up on one hand. “So what did you see in your life ten years from now?”

“Her, a couple of kids that I could barely tolerate, a stupid job on Earth, a minivan, a house that I hated, a yard I had to pay someone to mow, and if I was lucky an email or two from you a month.”

“Email is my weakness. It’s too close to writing reports.”


“And at twenty years?”

“Sullen teen aged children, a bitter ex-wife, a tenured job at some stupid university that I never wanted, no you.” Rodney sighed. “No you because I wouldn’t have been around to keep you from doing something stupid. Once a year visiting some empty grave at Arlington with your name on it. Twenty years of regret sitting on me, draining the fucking life out of me like a hungry Wraith.”

“You have an unhealthy imagination,” John murmured. “You think you’re the only thing out here keeping me alive?”

“Yes.” Rodney glared at the sky above them. “I don’t trust anyone else to do it, John.”

John was silent for a moment and then took a deep breath. “I don’t trust anyone else to keep you safe either, Rodney. I never have and never will.” He rolled onto his back again and sucked in a breath. “Do I have to say it?”

“Only if I have to,” Rodney muttered.

“We’ve gone five years without saying it,” John reasoned.

“If I say it—I’ll probably have some other things to say.” Rodney tucked one hand under his head. “A lot of things.”

“Now, I’m curious.”

“That’s you—the curious George of the Stargate program.”

John chuckled. “Christ, McKay, I love you more than my own life.”

Rodney took a deep breath and silently called John Sheppard a giant asshole because hearing him say that was as amazing as it was horrific. “I really liked Katie Brown. She isn’t the first woman I really liked but she was the first in a long time that really liked me back.”

“She didn’t know the real you,” John responded bluntly.

“Yeah, she was clueless. I love Jennifer but the more I think about it the more I think it’s kind of like how I love Jeannie.”

“Jennifer liked you best when you forgot how mean you are and how much you really enjoy being mean.”

Rodney snorted. “Asshole.”

“Doesn’t make it any less true.”

“I love you like I love the universe,” Rodney finally said. “I look at you and I see my life’s work spread out before me and I can’t imagine wanting anything else, ever. The first time I saw you—I wanted to know your secrets, your dreams, and everything in between. When I picture my life with you twenty years down the road—we’ve got a beach house, a big stupid dog, and you spend too much time surfing and pretending you aren’t sixty fucking years old.”

“And you have a Nobel.”

“Of course I do.”

“I always wanted a big dog—maybe a golden retriever.”

“That works,” Rodney agreed.

“You can have a ridiculously big cat and a piano. I want to hear you play the piano in our beach house twenty years from now.” He reached out and snagged McKay’s hand. Carefully, he thread their fingers together. “Jesus.”

“Yeah.” McKay agreed. “We definitely didn’t bring enough beer for this conversation.”

“I like you best when you’re being vicious to someone who deserves it,” John admitted.

“I like you best when you’re laughing because I’m being vicious to someone who really deserves it.”

“That’s probably unhealthy of us.”

Rodney laughed. “I won’t tell if you won’t.”

“A secret.”

“We’ll have plenty of secrets now.”

“Yeah,” John murmured. “Is that a problem?”

“No. I get paid a lot of money to keep some pretty amazing secrets.” He rubbed his thumb over the top of John’s hand. “This one will be the most amazing.”

Keira Marcos

In my spare time, I write fanfiction and lead a cult of cock worshippers on the Internet. It's not the usual kind of hobby for a 40ish "domestic engineer" but we live in a modern world and I like fucking with people's expectations.

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