Ionization -- The Progression of Rodney McKay

He's embarrassed as hell, but thankfully the next day Carson doesn't seem to care that Rodney asked. Embarrassed that Carson knew enough to turn him down, and Rodney is grateful that Carson is professional enough or friend enough or both to move past it like it never was and get on with their work.

Antarctica is as cold as Russia was, without the promise of Spring or Summer, but Rodney doesn't really care because they're underground anyway and Carson still sits with him at breakfast and laughs at his feeble jokes.

He has no idea whose idea this was, but it might have been his because it's absolutely brilliant.

But he has to confess that he's certain he didn't move first and that John must have decided which means that Rodney has a thing for brains as well as beauty and has, once again, picked both.

But John is still kissing him and he's kissing back, and yeah. Wow. One of them is brilliant and now that hands are beginning to do wonderful, happy roaming things, he thinks perhaps they're both the genius.

"I--" He stops, because does he really want to say this?

But John just nods. "If it helps, I don't really blame you."

Rodney looks up, surprised, and for some stupid, perverse reason, he's jealous. But John is agreeing with *him* so they should either both be jealous, or neither.

"He's just...." Rodney shrugs, because he's not really good at this. He can describe two thousand different types of physical reactions, but not ones that fall into the category of people.

But again, John's nodding. "Smart, handsome, witty? Or is it the accent?" John winks, but his tone is serious, and Rodney appreciates that John isn't flying off the handle because Rodney finally told him about the distraction he has that doesn't seem to be going away. He's been sleeping with John for awhile, now, and he likes it.

But he still sees Carson all the time and he wants to know what could have been, if Carson had said yes.

He goes to tell John what Carson has said, his brain is working furiously on all the available options and there are only two, so the question is just which one will John choose. Rodney knows he's staying in Atlantis. There's no way he's leaving Carson alone and there's no one else he wants to make volunteer.

There's nothing for him on Earth, anyway, not really. A trip to a convenience store for a bag of junk food they can't get in Pegasus, a set of DVDs that must have come out by now, and the only thing he really wants is here.

If John stays, it'll be perfect.

He wakes up and there are two arms over his stomach, something warm and solid pressed up against his front and his back. It's suffocating, for just a second, until he remembers that there's a good reason why he's sandwiched in-between two people.

It's only been a week and his brain is still catching up. But it's the best way he's ever woken up in his life and he doesn't move a single millimeter because as soon as either of them wake up, they will be that much closer to getting out of bed and Rodney won't be able to lie here and feel them pressed in on him like this.

He barely lets himself breathe, and he keeps his eyes closed and tries to stay awake so he can feel this.

When he wakes up again, John is saying his name and kissing his shoulder and it's time to wake Carson up as well.

He's flat on his back and his eyes are spinning and there is really nothing in the universe like absolutely fantastic head. There's some secret in that, which studying Ancient technology and philosophy and the stars can't ever answer.

Rodney clutches the couch cushions and hopes he doesn't fall off this time, but John has Rodney's legs over his shoulders so if he falls, he'll land on John.

Probably break his neck, but Rodney doesn't care because John is still sucking his cock and he hears Carson's voice from somewhere and the world ends in tiny, shattered pieces which when they reform are made of jello and honey instead of good, solid quarks.

He looks up from his laptop because at some point he heard John's voice, but now he doesn't and he's wondering why John is waiting so patiently. But John isn't there; Rodney's alone in his lab with the pieces of one of Carson's gizmos lying everywhere.

He's been working on figuring out what it's supposed to do -- Carson won't tell him and Rodney knows he's going to have to get his revenge sooner or later. But after he's put the puzzle pieces together and figured out how it works, and what it does, and why.

Carson can only make them work. Rodney can make new ones and figure out how to add them into the repertoire of Ancient devices they've uncovered so far. Carson tunes the instruments, Rodney is the composer. Or conductor, he's not sure. Maybe John is the conductor and Rodney discovers he's starving because he's thinking in really bizarre metaphors.

And there's a plate of food, sitting nearby, and he suddenly realises what John was doing here. But he didn't interrupt and Rodney quite unaccountably touched.

There's a hand on his shoulder, caressing him, and the touch is so soft and barely-there that Rodney can't decide if he wants to lean in or move away. It's driving him insane regardless, but it doesn't stop and he doesn't try to make it.

He doesn't even know which of his lovers is touching him, because they both have delicate hands when they want to. Well-practised fine motor control and doesn't Rodney feel like an ape, sometimes, lumbering through the world with only his brain to justify him.

He turns his head and presses his cheek against the hand, and it's Carson.

He's gasping and he really feels the need to scream but he won't let that out. John is holding him down and Carson is biting and sucking and there is no way in the world any mortal man could hold out against such an onslaught.

Rodney is only trying to because he wants to be conscious after so he can return the favors.

But a second later he knows he's lost, and he's coming, and he knows he's going to be fast asleep ten seconds afterwards and it really isn't fair. Carson kisses him and Rodney opens his mouth, grateful that Carson's mouth muffles the tiny groans he can't keep silent.

John's telling him to let go, and Rodney has no chance to ask him what the hell he means because he's gone and he's gone and when he finally opens his eyes he's in bed, plastered in-between two sound-asleep lovers.

He's going to die. Dead from sex, his epitaph will read, and won't that be embarrassing. But there's no way around it because his entire body is motionless, ready to disintegrate while everything else -- his inside, his spirit, his brain -- is shaking like he's going to explode.

Carson is whispering to him to relax and breathe, and he is. But it isn't helping and dear god, he's going to die but it will be worth it.

John looks at him from between Rodney's knees, and there is the smell of Crisco which Rodney will never, ever associate with mom's home cooking again.

John's got his hand inside Rodney, now, up to his wrist. Carson is stroking Rodney's chest, and Rodney wants something. Or nothing. He wants to die, wants to freeze this, wants to go back to the beginning and start over so he can relive this as often as possible before his life ends.

Because he's got to die, there's no way a body can sustain this much without ceasing to exist.

His mouth drops open and he exhales, and inhales, and he wants... He doesn't know what, only his mind is shattering and he wants more and knows he can't stand more, then John pushes just a little bit and everything stops.

Rodney's breathing, his heart is pounding and this must be what the guys in university meant when they said nirvana. He looks up at Carson and maybe he's dead already except Carson is smiling at him and *pow*.

They clean him up while his body is dead, and Rodney makes himself promise to be really, really nice to his lovers for at least a decade. Especially if they promise to do this again.

John's looking at him and Rodney stutters to a halt. Words still flipping over themselves in his brain, but he's managed to stop them from coming out because John is *looking* at him and Rodney knows that talking anymore is pointless.

It's the same look John got when Rodney told him about the list he was giving to Dr. Weir of the things Carson needed brought back from home. The same look he got when Rodney told him they needed to live together. The same look he got when Rodney came home after working longer than he'd meant to and Carson had brought dinner from the mess hall and it was just the three of them alone.

Rodney wants to ask him what he's looking at him like that for, but he's terrified he knows the answer. He tries to recapture his train of thought and it had something to do with the gate addresses and how they should decide where to visit next, and who should be on the new teams they were forming with the new personnel, and John is still looking at him and Rodney realises he's been babbling about wanting to go, and wanting to stay, and it isn't fair that they can't put Carson on their team and take him with them.

He scowls, and John laughs, and that's a hell of a lot easier to look at.

It's the second week everyone is back and Rodney hates it. There is noise and talking and motion everywhere, and both Carson and John have gone back to work which means Rodney spends all day in his lab with Radek and Akira and Calvin.

He wants to go home and shut the door and do nothing, with John and Carson. Or just go home and shut himself up in his office and know that when he finally wanders out there will be someone there who doesn't make him tense up, and doesn't make him jump when they walk up behind him, and who he can wander over to and get a hug and a kiss and an invitation to stop working for a few more hours.

Rodney's alone in his office at home, and he doesn't know if John and Carson are there or if they're gone. He can't remember how long it's been since he heard anyone out in the main room and he suddenly has the urge to go look.

He gets up from his desk and goes to the doorway where he stops, because Carson and John are sitting on the couch, watching the screen they've rigged for movies. Carson has a full library, now, and they've all been slowly working their way through it.

Rodney feels a stab of anger that they didn't ask him to join them, then squashes that as stupid and childish and walks over to join them, even if he'll have missed the beginning. He sits on the floor next to John's legs, wrapping one arm around them.

He sees the action on the screen, recognises Bruce Willis but not the movie. Then the frame freezes and the DVD menu pops up, and Rodney looks over to see Carson with the remote aimed at the screen.

He opens his mouth to ask what the hell, then the movie is starting again and they're back to the opening credits.

Rodney blinks and frowns, but when he looks up John just shakes his head and nods towards the screen. He knows he should tell them they don't have to -- but he is really thrilled, and he turns to watch the screen again and rests his head on John's knee.

Previous Story: Interlude #1 | Next Story: Twelve Days