lilyleia78: Team Play: We have the best toys (SGA: Team Play)
[personal profile] lilyleia78
Title: Ahead of the Game
Fandom: SGA
Pairing: John/Rodney
Genre: established, humor, fluff
Warnings: None
Word Count: 1714
Summary: Surprising a genius is nearly impossible, but sometimes the genius outsmarts himself.
Note: A big thank you to my beta [personal profile] djaddict. Written for the 2010 [community profile] mcshep_match for Team Play. Check out the masterlist here. My prompt was 'jump the gun'

Ahead of the Game

John thought that his instructors would be proud. Or possibly mortified, but John was okay with that either way. He was putting his Air Force academy training in stealth to what he considered good use. He watched, hidden around a corner as Rodney exited his quarters and spotted the envelope dangling from fishing line in the center of the hallway. Rodney did a double take, looked to the right and then slowly swept his gaze to the left, forcing John to pull his head back around the corner to avoid detection.

Before he moved, John was pleased to note the way Rodney’s right hand had drifted down toward his thigh - automatically reaching for the sidearm he never carried in the city. That was good. It meant the paranoia that had saved all their lives many times over was in full working order. It also meant that John's training had taken effect to the point that Rodney's subconscious and muscle memory were doing exactly what John wanted them to do in an emergency situation. Which this wasn't, but he still felt proud of his team member and friend. If John was correct, then the next thing Rodney would do...

"John," Rodney's brisk voice was doubled as John picked up the sound both live from the hallway and directly into his ear over the headset.

Retreating quietly a little further down the hall adjacent to Rodney's he tapped his own earpiece with a lazy, "What is it, McKay?"

"There's a... There's something outside my door, hanging from the ceiling." Rodney sounded more baffled than nervous, so John adjusted his response to match.

"Oh? Something interesting or something that might blow us all up in the next few minutes?" John leaned against the wall and folded his arms across his chest, knowing the ease of his body would bleed into his voice.

"I have no idea, Colonel." Now Rodney just sounded annoyed. "It's an envelope and it has my name on it."

"Really? You called me to report someone left you a note? Maybe it's a birthday card from a secret admirer," John teased.

"Humph. You don't have to sound so smug. Many, many people value a brilliant mind like mine. My sperm alone would be priceless." But John could hear that Rodney was smiling and not truly offended. "I got the hottest man on Atlantis, didn't I?"

John resisted the urge to ask if they were on a secure line. He knew Rodney wouldn't take the risk - would never put John's job in danger - over something so silly. So he went with his second response instead. "No, I did."

John wished he dared peek around the corner again to catch Rodney's blush. He looked good all pink and flushed. Especially when John was the one who'd made him that way.

"Oh, I..." Rodney cleared his throat and John could almost hear him pulling himself together. "So, anyway envelope in the hallway?"

"I think you'd better read it, find out what it is." John said, all grave concern. “It might be important.”

Rodney, of course, was now even more suspicious. "John, did you put this here?"

"Me? Why would I do that?" John smiled.

"Please don't ask me to try to understand the inner workings of your mind." Rodney sounded relaxed and curious, and John knew victory was his.

"Just open it, McKay." John signed off and crept back down to the corner so he could watch Rodney open the note.

Rodney scanned the two lines of text, flipped the card over as if searching for more and then reread them, disbelief all over his expressive face. He reached up for his headset again.

"John, are you sending me on a scavenger hunt?" Rodney absently studied the card while he waited, but this time John didn't answer him. Rodney frowned and tapped the headset again. "John?" Then to himself, "Oh, fine, whatever." And he took off down the hall away from John.

John allowed himself a moment to revel in his triumph before springing into action. He gathered the bag he'd stashed behind some planters near Rodney's room and let himself inside.

Everything was exactly as he'd left it when he’d snuck out of Rodney’s bed in the wee hours of dawn that morning. It was a bit messy, but not too bad as John had also been using his Academy training to stealthily pick things up over the last week in preparation for today. It was only a matter of minutes to straighten up the room.

Then he opened his bag, hung up the birthday banner Torren had helped him make and some crepe paper streamers that Cadman had helpfully volunteered. He was just starting
to blow up some balloons when the door whooshed open again.

Rodney stood in the doorway, arms folded across his chest, eyebrows raised in faux surprise, and smug amusement oozing from every pore. "Surprise," he said sardonically.

"Rodney." John refused to give him the pleasure of acting surprised. "That was fast. Forget something?”

"No. I used my superior intellect and the power of logic to skip to where I assumed the last clue would lead me." John said nothing. He knew Rodney wanted him to ask, but he was in no mood to indulge surprise ruining party poopers. Rodney took his silence as invitation to continue anyway. "I assumed whatever you have planned for me would require a bed and some privacy. And my bed is bigger."

"And the second clue led you to my room," John pointed out sullenly.

"That too," Rodney agreed easily. "Don't pout, John, it's slightly ridiculous in a man your age."

He was not pouting. He did not pout. Sometimes his lower lip just jutted out like that when he was annoyed. "Well, Mr. know-it- all..."

"Dr. know-it all," Rodney corrected. John really wanted - no needed - to wipe the smug right off of Rodney's face.

"Dr. pain-in-my-ass." If anything Rodney's smug grew. "It looks like you managed to outsmart yourself this time. This was not the end of the scavenger hunt."

Rodney scoffed and advanced on John with a predatory gleam in his eye. A gleam that died when John failed to respond to the sexy stalking by swooning into Rodney's manly arms.

Rodney faltered just inside of John's personal space with a frown. "You're just messing with me aren't you?"

John smiled in a way he knew Rodney found especially irritating. "Nope."

"But I caught you in the act!" Rodney backed up a few steps and waved his arms vaguely toward John's aborted attempt at decorating.

"This was an extra surprise - a bonus - for later." The consternation on Rodney's face was almost worth having all of his hard work ruined by Rodney's somewhat faulty reasoning skills.

Rodney studied his expression for awhile before concluding. "You're baiting me. I'm not going on a wild goose chase all over the city just to give you more time to do god knows what to my quarters."

John sighed heavily and reached out to put his hands on Rodney's shoulders. Some of Rodney's tension immediately dropped away and John had to ignore the unsettling warm fuzzy feeling that gave him so that he could focus on the situation at hand. "Right now there is a large crowd of people gathering in the mess hall to surprise you."

Rodney recoiled in horror. "What? Why?"

John let his hands drop and shrugged. "Cause it's your birthday?"

"So they want to celebrate it by waiting in a dark room to jump out and give me a heart attack?"

"The Doc said your heart could handle it." John thought the sarcasm of his statement was implicit.

"Really?" Apparently it wasn't to Rodney. "Did she say anything else, because lately..."

"McKay," John barked. Rodney's face fell in dismay, but John refused to feel bad about it. They'd never make it to the party if Rodney got started.

"What? Oh, yes, sorry. Surprise party in the mess hall, got it." Rodney peered with interest at the wrapped package poking out of John's bag. "What if I want to skip it and have a more private celebration?"

John had to kiss him for that, taking the two small steps necessary to press their lips together. He kept it short and sweet but didn't step out of the warm circle of Rodney's arms when he pulled back. "The private celebration is for later. Right now half the expedition is gathering in the mess hall to celebrate the wonder that is you."

Rodney leaned in and feathered light kisses down John's neck. "Maybe I want to stay here and celebrate the wonder that is you." Rodney's voice had gone soft and husky and John shivered as the words pushed air against the exposed skin of his neck.

"Can't. You're supposed to be there in ten minutes." If John's voice was a little breathless it was just concern for getting the birthday boy there on time, not at all because he was feeling ever so slightly swoon-y.

Rodney pulled back a little to look at his watch and John embarrassed himself with a tiny whimper at the loss of Rodney's full body pressed against his own. Rodney gave him a knowing look but didn't call him on it. "So, you thought it would take me twenty five minutes to finish your little scavenger hunt? I think I'm offended."

"Zelenka took forty five."

"Did he? Hmmm, well I am his superior in many, many ways." While he was speaking, Rodney's hands had been very naughty - tugging and pulling at John's clothes and John was surprised to find that he'd lost his shirt at some point.

"Rodney," John whined without conviction, "we have to go." His protest was half-hearted at best and Rodney ignored it in favor of working at John's belt. John redoubled his efforts to put a stop to this by covering Rodney's busy, busy hands with his own. "There'll be presents," he said desperately. "And cake."

Rodney paused, "Cake?"

"Chocolate," John promised, torn between disappointment and victory.

Rodney checked his watch again. "Ten minutes is long enough to take the edge off." Then he grinned slyly. "Or to put one on."

Oh yeah, it was gonna be a long night.

**
The complete list of my Stargate Atlantis fiction can be found here.

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February 2015

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