Fandom: Torchwood/Stargate: Atlantis
Pairing: Jack Harkness/Rodney McKay
Warning: No spoilers: vaguely Torchwood series 2/SG:A season 4
Word Count: 1700
Disclaimer: Property of the BBC/the Sci-Fi Channel. Various other people. None of them me.
Summary: “I can’t resist a physicist in his prime.”
Notes: Thank you to for beta.
“Is there citrus in this?” Rodney said to the bored woman behind the catering table. “It looks like it has oranges in it.” He pointed to the brightly colored salad: like a snake sleeping on a stone, it was beautiful but potentially deadly.
“It ‘s got grapefruit in,” the woman said, and Rodney was proud of how, after two days of Welsh accents, he could mostly understand her without even thinking about it.
“Well, I can’t eat that. What do you have that doesn’t have grapefruit in it? Or oranges. Or lemons. Lemons are definitely out.”
Someone leaned against Rodney’s back and said, “I recommend the bacon rolls.”
Rodney turned his head to look at the man, and his eyes narrowed. “You.”
“Hello,” the man said cheerfully, all square-jawed American swagger. He was like Sheppard if Sheppard was a prick. Fortunately Sheppard was not a prick. He was a wonderful, amazing person, a selfless leader and the bravest man Rodney had never met, and—and the guy was still talking. “I really enjoyed your lecture, Dr. McKay.”
“You didn’t hear a word of my lecture—you were too busy laughing at it. You were disruptive and rude. You should be thrown out of here in the interest of science. People like you laughed at—at—Gallileo.”
“I never laughed at Gallileo,” the man said with surprising seriousness and stuck out his hand. “I’m Captain Jack Harkness.”
“You’re not even a scientist! This is a physics conference! Security!” Rodney shouted and a few people turned their heads to look at him—though, Rodney realized, most of the people just looked annoyed.
Captain Jack Harkness—he wasn’t even in uniform, Rodney thought, growing even more disgruntled—put his hand on Rodney’s arm. “Try the scallops. They’ve got bacon.”
“Still say you shouldn’t be here,” Rodney muttered and picked up a few of the scallops by their toothpicks.
“I don’t have a degree,” Captain Jack Harkness admitted as he filled his own plate—not just with the scallops but also with the grapefruit salad Rodney had scorned, “but this interests me. And I wasn’t laughing at your lecture, Dr. McKay. Well,” he said, after a tiny pause, “I was laughing, but only because I was so pleased.”
“Pleased? Why were you pleased?” He passed over the roasted Brussels sprouts and took a few rolls and pats of butter.
“I’ll tell you when we’re sitting down.” He picked up a few of the tiny flower-shaped tuiles filled with blueberries and cream.
Rodney pointed to the tuiles and asked the caterer, “Is there lemon in this?” and the caterer sighed.
“You’re very presumptuous,” Rodney said when they were at a table near the back of the room. “What if I didn’t want to eat with you?” The scallops, fortunately, were delicious.
“You do.” Captain Jack Harkness ate his salad with the impressive ability of not even dripping the vinaigrette on his dark blue shirt. “You’re intrigued.”
“Everyone at this conference,” Rodney said, “is either baffled or in complete denial about my work. You’re the only person to say ‘pleased.'”
“I am pleased. You talk like someone with experience.” He said more quietly, “You talk like someone who’s been out there.”
Rodney looked away and ate another scallop.”No,” he said when he’s swallowed. “Of course not. I’m not an astronaut.” He added in a lower voice, “I never passed the physical.”
Captain Jack Harkness drank some water—it seemed to Rodney he and the captain were the only ones to choose water—and said quietly, “You’ve been out there. I know the look.”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” Rodney muttered and ate a tuile. The blueberries were perfect. “So what are you doing there, if you’re not a physicist? I know you’re not an astronaut either.”
“I like to keep up with what the rest of the world has figured out. Believe it or not, it’s not over my head.” He smiled with those impressive white teeth. “Despite my lack of degrees.”
“You understand all of this?” His own lecture had been as much technology as he was allowed to reveal, and even the other lectures, while not as sophisticated as his own, had hardly been grade 9 stuff.
Jack nodded and popped a tuile into his mouth. “Yup. Plus, I gotta confess.” He leaned closer to Rodney and whispered, “I can’t resist a physicist in his prime.” He squeezed Rodney’s thigh with his big broad hand.
Rodney swallowed his bit of roll and coughed.
“Rodney?” Jack Harkness said. “Are you choking? Do this,” he held his hands to his throat, “if you’re choking.”
Rodney waved him off. “I’m fine, I’m fine. But you’ve—I mean, I don’t —” All those longing glances with Sheppard aside, he didn’t—he’d never —
Jack Harkness, Captain Harkness, whatever he called himself, was drinking water smugly. “We should get out of here,” he said as he put down his glass.
“And do what?” Rodney said weakly, though he figured he knew already.
“And go to your room,” said Captain Jack Harkness, smiling that smile, and Rodney realized that he’d written a lot about irresistible forces over the years but never beholden one in the flesh until now.
Rodney had shaved before supper, and Jack must have as well—Jack, he thought, it’s okay to call him Jack—because his face was so smooth it was almost easy to forget it was a man Rodney was kissing as they stumbled into his hotel room.
Except for the part where Jack was strong and big and tall and solid, long legs and big hands and a throat that smelled and tasted more delicious than those blueberries.
Jack bit Rodney’s neck and Rodney managed not to shout though his chest hitched, and he didn’t know where to put his hands, he wanted to put them everywhere, on his shoulders, on his back, maybe even grabbing hold of that ass Jack had hidden under his ostentatious wool coat.
“Rodney,” Jack said, amused, “it’s okay to make noise.” He bit Rodney again.
Rodney groaned, “That’s going to leave a mark,” and worked a thigh between Jack’s legs. They weren’t even on a bed, this was unbelievable, it was like Jack thought they were going to do it right here against the wall.
“You can brag about it when you get home,” Jack whispered and licked the teeth marks. “You can tell everyone you shagged a gorgeous groupie.”
“Scientists don’t get groupies.” He pushed Jack away. He needed a minute to get this into perspective.
Jack, he was thankful to see, stepped back and gave him space while Rodney regained his breath. He looked a lot more amused than Rodney would like about it, though. He lowered the suspenders—braces, they called it over here, right?—from his shoulders and sat down on the bed to unlace his boots, and Rodney wanted to say something about him being presumptuous, but he’d already used that line tonight.
“Damn it,” Rodney said and slumped onto the bed, wishing his life made sense.
Jack leaned back on his hands. The smile was still there, a little less toothy, and Rodney was grateful. A smile is an act of aggression, don’t you know. “Are you okay?”
“I’m confused. I don’t like being confused. I like having the answers. I always have the answers.”
Jack chuckled—dammit, he even had a charming chuckle, what, was this guy created in a lab?—and started rubbing the back of Rodney’s neck. Rodney sighed and started relaxing despite himself.
“The answer’s yes,” Jack said. “When in doubt, say yes.”
“That is so cheesy,” Rodney muttered and Jack laughed outright, throwing back his head and everything.
“Just kiss me, Dr. McKay,” he said, holding Rodney’s jaw, and Rodney kissed him because it was better than not kissing him.
“Tell me what it’s like out there,” Rodney said as he explored Jack’s hip bone with his fingertips. They were sticking to hands and mouths, which was fine with Rodney: there were some things he just wasn’t ready for, not even if they came from a man who smelled better than clean linen and tasted better than fresh cookies.
“It’s beautiful,” Jack said softly. His fingers were in Rodney’s hair, slowly massaging. “It’s horrible sometimes, but mostly it’s beautiful. Creatures made of fire and light. Worlds frozen in time. Stories. . . music . . . people. People worth dying for.”
He fell silent and Rodney looked at him. “Yeah. I know about that.” Rodney laid down his head on the flat plane of Jack’s stomach. I bet he doesn’t have hypoglycemia, Rodney thought.
“So you’ve found the same thing out there,” Jack said.
“Yes. It’s wonderful when it’s not terrible. But it’s not always terrible.”
Jack laughed a smaller, quieter version of his laugh and got comfortable, dislodging Rodney’s head a little but he just resettled it and Jack resumed petting him.
“Is that why you come here?” Rodney said. “You’re looking for people to talk to about it?”
“I used to,” Jack said. “I used to look for someone in particular, actually.”
“Why’d you stop?”
“I found him.”
“Oh,” Rodney said and frowned a little. “And then what?”
“And then. . . I came home. There were people I missed and I wanted to be with them.” He moved his hand from Rodney’s head to his shoulder, still slowly massaging. “But I still have a thing for physicists. I love big brains.”
Rodney laughed and moved off him, getting comfortable on his back. He found Jack’s hand and held it. “My first groupie.”
“Not your last.” Jack squeezed his hand. “Hey. I know down there they’re not ready. But they will be.”
Rodney smiled and started to say thanks, but just squeezed Jack’s hand back and realized he’d hardly thought about Atlantis tonight at all.
Morning. Jack went back to people he had missed and Rodney got on a plane to back to the States, Cheyenne Mountain and the Gate.
He had a lot of time to think on the way back. He thought about Captain Jack Harkness. He thought about Katie. He thought about Sheppard.
He thought a lot about Sheppard.
And he thought, as he walked through the Gate, that maybe it was time to stop resisting.