Riot Bar

Title: Riot Bar
Author: Keira Marcos
Big Short Prompt: John Sheppard
Fandom: Stargate: Atlantis
Relationship: McKay/Sheppard
Genre: Slash, Romance, Trio Tag
Word Count: 1552 (Complete)
Warnings: No beta
Summary: McKay’s ill-tempered and John’s a little insecure.

* * * *

“How are your palms?” John questioned as he helped Rodney pull off his T-shirt. “You probably should’ve taken the day off.”

“I’m fine,” Rodney said but frowned down at his hands. “Keller asked me to have dinner with her, again.”

“Well, you saved her life.”

“I’m awesome,” Rodney agreed. “But I save lives all the time, and I don’t see any of them following me around like a lovesick kitten.”

“Hero worship gone terribly awry,” John murmured as he unbuckled Rodney’s belt buckled but then he paused. “I mean…unless you want to go out with her?”

McKay frowned at him. “Why would I?”

“You wouldn’t have to keep her a secret,” John said quietly and flushed when Rodney’s frown shifted into a full-blown glare. “Come on, Rodney, I’m the only man you’ve ever been with.”

“You’re no gold star yourself,” Rodney said a little peevishly.

“No, that’s true, but I’ve been in the closet since I was sixteen which meant I had to make…choices that included women when I would’ve preferred to never lay a hand on one.” He took a deep breath and looked away when Rodney’s glare fell away to what looked like horror. McKay hated to be reminded of that fact that John had never really wanted to sleep with a woman but had forced himself to do it repeatedly in the past. “This is the longest relationship I’ve had with anyone—including the woman I foolishly married.” He pulled McKay’s belt free from his uniform pants and rolled it up out of habit.

“I’d blame your father entirely for your fucked-up worldview and the riot bar you have on your closet door if you hadn’t joined the military on top of everything else,” Rodney announced.

John laughed weakly. “I love you, you know.”

“I do know that so I’m a little confused as to why you’re trying to tell me you’d be okay with me dating Dr. Barbie.”

“I wouldn’t be okay with it,’ John protested. “But I wouldn’t…I mean…if the secrecy is too much, then I wouldn’t hold it against you if you moved on. DADT probably isn’t ever going anywhere…”

“If it did?” Rodney interrupted. “If DADT was gone tomorrow, would you stay in the closet?”

“I…” John took a deep breath. “McKay, this isn’t the conversation I wanted to have.”

“No, I think we’re in the middle of your standard break-up conversation, and that’s bullshit, John. I’m in love with you, and I don’t think I’ve ever had that before with anyone and I’m not giving you up unless you give me no choice. So are you even giving me a choice here? Are you going to actually use that silly little girl as a way out of us?”

“No,” John whispered hoarsely. “No, of course not.” He curled one hand around the back of Rodney’s head. “Mer.”

“Don’t call me that.”

“You said I could call you that when you’re naked,” John pointed out.

“I’m still wearing pants and my hands hurt and my boyfriend is being a confusing jerk.”

“Let’s get you in the shower then,” John said quietly and knelt to unlace McKay’s boots.

“I’m tired and now I’m mad, and I don’t want to have sex, and that’s your fault, Sheppard. I’d kick you, but that’s really fucking immature.”

John laughed and worked the boots off. He stayed where he was, kneeling on one knee as he stripped off socks and the rest of McKay’s clothes. “I’m sorry I’ve upset you, and I’m really not in the middle of my standard break-up conversation. I don’t even have a standard break-up conversation. I normally just fuck things up on purpose until I get dumped.”

“You are such an asshole.” Rodney huffed as Sheppard prodded him into the shower. “Don’t get my dressings wet. The last thing I want is to deal with Dr. Barbie again today. She casually mentioned three different times that she ordered some coffee for her personal allotment on the Daedalus while she changed my dressings.”

“Trying to woo you with your favorite things,” John said, reluctantly amused. “I have to give her credit—she’s got some game.”

“No, she hasn’t,” Rodney protested as John casually slipped out of his clothes and stepped into the stall. “I don’t even like kopi luwak. Sure it’s expensive, but it’s not all that. I much prefer that one coffee you found me from Panama and if I can’t have that one—I prefer ones from Hawaii. And she’s young and silly, John. She’s never watched a single episode of Star Trek. How could I date someone like that?”

“It does seem like it would be a burden,” John murmured as he poured some shampoo out into his hand. “Stop talking so I can wash your hair.”

It took nearly twenty minutes to get through the shower since Rodney fussed and complained the whole time but they managed to keep his bandages dry. Afterward, he put McKay on the sofa with the remote and tried to gather his own thoughts as he made some sandwiches in the small kitchen of their apartment. They’d moved into the four-room apartment during the second year of the expedition. A lot of team members had partnered up to share quarters to justify getting an apartment with a kitchen so it hadn’t looked weird when he and McKay had started rooming together.

Teyla and Ronon shared the apartment next door to them—platonically. It hadn’t taken long for John to realize that Teyla was much more interested in mothering Ronon than she was engaging him a romantic relationship. Which worked out fine, because after years on the run Ronon was in no shape to really connect romantically with someone at the start. By the time it might have been an option, the two of them had settled into a very sibling-like relationship and Teyla was involved with another Athosian.

The door chime sounded, and John went to answer it, stopping by the sofa to set a plate of plain ham and cheese sandwiches on the table as he went. Rodney didn’t like complicated food and he certainly didn’t like complicated when he was feeling like shit. Sheppard wasn’t all that surprised to open the door and find Jennifer Keller on the opposite side. She was dressed in civilian clothes—jeans and a baby blue sweater that made her look like candy.

“Dr. Keller.”

Her eyes widened fractionally. “Colonel. I…I thought these were McKay’s quarters?”

“We share—it’s a team thing,” John said coolly. “Is there a problem in the infirmary? There’s a procedure in place to report equipment problems and errors. We put it in place so Rodney could get some actual rest during his off hours. He’s currently unavailable unless there’s an emergency.”

“No, nothing work related.” She flushed prettily, and John barely refrained from sighing. “It’s personal. Can you tell him I’m here?” She tried to peek around John, but there was a small foyer and a bit of wall that separated the door from the rest of the apartment.

“He’s already asleep actually. You shouldn’t have signed him off to work. He spent 15 hours in the lab as a result and in a great deal of pain. If you’re going to be in charge of my people’s health, Dr. Keller, you need to start paying attention to personalities as well as physical issues. Most of the scientists can’t be trusted with light duty when they’re injured. They always overwork themselves and make injuries worse. That’s why Rodney had to have his wounds cleaned earlier this evening.”

“I’m not their babysitter, Colonel Sheppard.” She straightened her shoulders. “I’ll just see him at breakfast then.”

It was on the tip of his tongue to tell her to back off, to leave McKay alone, but he couldn’t say a single word without revealing more to her than he’d revealed to people who’d known him most of his life. “We’re going on a mission tomorrow—he’ll have breakfast with the team.”

“He’s not cleared for off-world duty,” Keller pointed out.

“I’m aware, but he’s team and the team eats together before every mission.” He closed the door and engaged the security with a thought. John stayed in the foyer for a few seconds then joined McKay in front of the TV.

“She’s persistent,” Rodney said wryly. “I’m pretty sure it’s the money. Carter made a few jokes about all the cash I have sitting in banks on Earth when we were being treated in the infirmary. I was trying to wrangle a private room because Simpson was in the infirmary whining and I hate when she whines. After 30 minutes, Sam apologized and asked if we could have a private room if we shared. Keller said no.”

“Sorry about earlier.”

“Shut up, you insecure dick face,” Rodney muttered and pushed play.

John groaned when the music started, and he realized what McKay had put in the DVD player while he’d been fending off Dr. Barbie. “Oh, come on!”

“Just take your punishment like a man, Sheppard,” McKay told him primly and tucked the remote control under his leg opposite John.

John glared at the TV in silence until Tom Cruise appeared on the screen and double-birded the asshole. He really fucking hated Top Gun.

The End

Author’s Note:

The Big Short is a short-form writing challenge hosted on Rough Trade’s forum, The Workshop. The prompts come in two forms — a word challenge (the theme) and a single character challenge. I post my responses to the prompts on the forum first and eventually they’ll make it to my website. Each is a stand alone piece with no potential for expansion.

These short works are NOT prompts! These are my responses to the forum prompts. No, you cannot use them as prompts. No you cannot continue my short work with a longer work or write a sequel. For fuck’s sake.

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.


  1. Oh for the love of web footed friends…I don’t EVEN wanna know who thought that….hands Keira the good coffee…xoxoxo

  2. utterly amazing, Rodney and John are so cute

    Thanks for the awesomeness that is your writing

  3. Thank you for sharing your work!

  4. That’s awesome, Doctor Barbie never get old.

    Thanks to share.

  5. All of your stuff is so delightful. I love that John wants Rodney to be happy even if it is not with him – silly John, Rodney is happiest with you! I love Rodney being devoted to him though. Poor injured, grumpy Rodney- at least John is there to care for him! Rodney is going to have to be super blunt to get Keller off his ass, it seems.

  6. This is so lovely! Thanks again for posting.

  7. I think one of the things I love best about your stories (long or short) are the little human moments that make the characters more real. Thanks for sharing this one. The perfect thing to come home to.

  8. Oh Keller. You have no chance. Nope. Another great short! Thank you!

  9. Oh I loved this. Rodney is so exasperated with John because he has to be the emotionally mature one.

  10. I am loving all of these shorts, thanks so much for sharing with us! John flipping off Top Gun is such a great image!

  11. i don’t think i could tell you why, but this one really cracked me up. i think it is the slice of life and how clearly some things belong and other just…don’t. thanks for writing!

  12. I love this! Thanks for sharing.

  13. I love it when John calls him Mer!

  14. HAHA I loved every moment of that. Doctor Barbie, dickface, I loved it all. Thank you for sharing.

  15. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. It was wonderful.

  16. Now that was a talk they needed to have!!! I loved Rodney laying down the law: “I’m not leaving you unless there is no other choice.” and the “Dr Barbie ” always cracks me up!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. I love Top Gun, lol. This is so perfect, it’s a fantastic way to end my long day. John telling Keller off would be awesome 😀 Thank you for sharing.

  18. I love ease they have with each other even when they are at odds. Thanks.

  19. This short is wonderful,(actually all of them)you could see this happening right in front of you. Thank you for sharing.

  20. Ahahahaha! I adore that Top Gun is how Rodney punishes John. Definitely now headcanon 😀 I can imagine how much he hates it 🙂

  21. I like this insecure, adorkably cute, John. Thank you.

  22. It’s always a good day whenever I get to read your writing and I’m so grateful that you keep sharing it with us!

  23. Lovely. 🙂 Thank you for sharing.

  24. Insecure John – you made smile and laugh. Thanks for the story!

  25. Stubborn + clueless = an easy, casual hatred for the Barbie bimbette *lol*

  26. Gah..this is like a snapshot into the secret lives of Rodney and John – Love!

  27. “Insecure dick face!” Ha! That how you know it’s true love. Thanks for posting! These two dorks are my favorites.

  28. This is gold! Doctor Barbie really needs a reality check. Thanks for sharing!

  29. *laughing helplessly* Dr Barbie and Top Gun Seriously lol

  30. greywolfthewanderer

    just got back from a road trip and here is noms in my inbox, wheee!

    kopi luwak, read about it and no. just, no. somebody else can drink my share. I like the bitterness in coffee!

    awesome, Keira. thanks for the lovely pressie! *grin*

  31. Love everything about this!

  32. Lovely.
    Keller strikes me as the type that won’t get the message that easily so poor Rodney may be bothered for a while! I don’t think she really values him for who he is, as his team and others do, and is doubtless used to being sought after so expects men to want her.

  33. I loved this – John’s insecurities, Keller’s persistence and Rodney just being Rodney ‘he tucked the remote under the leg on the opposite side to John’. That’s just perfect Mckay, and says so much without having to actually say it.
    Thank you

  34. Fabulous as always. thank you for sharing.

  35. Yet again you are the queen of the killer last line !!!!
    thank you for this lovely story.

  36. ITA, if someone doesn’t get Star Trek they’re not good dating material. lol

  37. As a rule I don’t read short fics. But also as a rule, I read everything you write. Well, except Harry Potter bkz also as a rule, I don’t read het or Harry Potter fic. But I did read Soulmate Bond and of course I loved it. So I will probably read the rest of your Harry Potter fic because … see rule #2 above. What I’m saying is I loved this story. In so few words you captured a moment between John and Rodney that was revealing and tender. Insecure John pulled at my heart strings. Pissy Rodney has a place in my heart that is just for him. And “Dr Barbie” just never gets old. Thank you for sharing your work with us. And thank you for writing fic so fabulous that I happily break all my many rules to read it. <3<3

  38. God, I really love this one. Seriously I adore John/Rodney, so good.

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