Come to Pass on a Summer's Day

~ Written for the Harlequin challenge. So, so, so cesperanza's fault.

The mess hall-cum-cafeteria was its usual state of almost but not quite packed. Most of the people there were gathered at tables on the balcony, enjoying the sun and gentle breeze.

At his own table just inside the double doorway, Rodney frowned. "Excuse me," he said in his most withering tone. "But *who* is Head of the Science Department?"

From across the table, John just glared back. "Who's head of the military?"

They exchanged glares for a moment, then Rodney glanced at Carson, who was sitting next to John. Carson shook his head. "Oh, no. Chief Medical Officer. Not to mention the fact I can have either of you declared medically unfit for duty." He gave them each a quelling look, which said he would happily use that power if he felt he had the slightest provocation.

Rodney didn't feel quelled, but he also didn't want to spend the next week explaining to Elizabeth why he'd accidently locked Carson in a supply closet in an uninhabited section of the city.

Instead of insisting that 'medicine' hardly ranked with science or military, Rodney instead looked over to Teyla.

"Oh, no. I am still leader of my people." She waved a fork at him then continued eating her salad.

Frustrated that none of them would just volunteer already, Rodney said, "Well I am *not* about to just... I mean, have you *seen* the support staff in this place? Not a single one of them has a degree higher than a Master's!"

"You could ask one of the infantry," John said, smirking.

"Oh, please." Rodney rolled his eyes. "If I had a uniform fetish -- shut up -- then I certainly would not have a fetish for someone who doesn't even hold a rank higher than Sergeant!"

"Major Lorne?" Teyla suggested in a serious tone. "He is handsome, and his rank is less only to that of Colonel Sheppard's."

"And to Colonel Caldwell," Carson put in. "Why not him?"

"Because John wants to ask him," Rodney said quickly, moving his legs out of kicking range.

"I do *not*!" John hissed. "You are so dead, McKay."

"If you hadn't snagged Ronon, this would be simpler," Carson said to Teyla. She just grinned smugly, then shrugged.

"Look, we have to-- Oh. Hey!" Rodney saw Radek walking past their table. "Hey!" he called out.

Radek paused, looked at Rodney, then looked in turn at each of the others. "Oh, no," he said quickly. He started backing away.

"I just want to ask you something," Rodney snapped.

"And the answer is 'no'!" Radek said, dropping his tray on a nearby table. "I don't care if I am technically your subordinate, I am *not* letting you 'sweep me off my feet.'"

"But you're the only one in this entire city who isn't of equal rank, and who I'd actually want to spend more than five minutes with!" Rodney stood up, intending to chase Radek down.

Why hadn't he thought of him, before? It was perfect, really. Other than the fact Radek was trying to run away from him like he had the plague, or a law degree.

"I would as soon it fell off from disuse!" Radek said. He paused, then added, "Yours, I mean. Not mine." With that, he turned and ran.

"Oh, for..." Rodney thought about chasing him, but realised he'd see Radek eventually in the lab. He sat down again, and frowned at his lunch.

"This is perfect," Teyla said, enthusiastically. "You have begun well."

"Begun *what*? He said no! How is this *perfect*?" Rodney wondered if she'd missed the entire point of the conversation.

"She's right," Carson said. "Now you get to chase after him. You're not supposed to have sex right away, anyhow."

John nodded. "All good romances start with dramatic tension. Will he, won't he. You can have sex tomorrow." He reached over and patted Rodney's hand.

"But I want sex now," Rodney muttered.

"Then you should have started your romance yesterday, like the rest of us," Carson said. "Elizabeth sent out the memo yesterday morning. You're the one who was too busy to even read it until dinnertime."

"I was trying to fix the--" Rodney stopped. "Rest of us? I know Teyla got her 'handsome stranger comes to town' plot with Ronon, but who did you get?" He looked at Carson, then John.

Then he looked at Carson *and* John.

"HEY! You two just said you're of equal rank!"

John shrugged. "We picked the 'overcoming differences from across two cultures' variation. It didn't matter if we're of equal social standing."

"You're the one who wanted the 'fair prince falls in love with the peasant boy' story," Carson told him, then he gave John a grin, which was returned -- and Rodney realised, sickeningly, that those two were probably *already* on page 25.

"It was the only one left," Rodney complained. Then he sighed, and pushed his tray back. "I guess I should go get started, or I'm going to be stuck with seducing Rodriguez, from the kitchen staff."

"Oh, no," Teyla said. "He has already accepted a role in Dr. Simpson's playboy mansion plot."

"I am the *last* one to get a story?" Rodney asked, not sure he wanted to know the answer.

"You and Radek," John winked. "I think someone *li-i-i-kes* you!"

Rodney threw his sandwich at John, then turned and headed for the lab. The first thing he was going to do was set up a notification system to warn him when Elizabeth sent around memos. So he could arrange to go off-world until they were over.

Although maybe, if he played his role right, he could take Radek along with him.