A/N: A week or so ago, there was a clip of Sci-fi’s men, a documentary or something they were teasing us with. In it, was this image. It struck a chord and begged to have its story told, so here it is.
Thank you to Jilly for beta’ing, Kaz for pre-reading, and a big thank you to Fanarts for the lovely banner.
Alas, I do not own SGA (if I did, it’d be on the air again). This is all in good fun.
John had never imagined being here again – and by here, he meant in love, with a ring burning a hole in his pocket. Never mind being back on Earth. Yet here he was, on the steps of City Hall. He wasn’t nervous. Not really. John felt oddly at peace with himself, even though he hadn’t actually popped the question yet.
Once Earth was safe – at least for now – and things had settled down, everyone on Atlantis had been given leave, albeit in shifts. It had taken some careful rearranging of schedules and a discreet word with Woolsey, but John had managed to ensure the timing for their leave coincided. The days leading up to it, he’d acted as if butter couldn’t melt in his mouth, of course, and casually arranged to “meet up” on their second day.
John couldn’t resist indulging his inner-child a little and slid down the railing. He couldn’t help himself, he was excited at the prospect of having his dreams come true. Everything was carefully planned out, with the help of Miko and Woolsey. Permissions had been acquired where needed, all paperwork was set and waiting to be signed and filed – expedited, due to their tenuous situation. A smile played on John’s lips as he went over everything again in his head. Leaning against the railing, he felt something suspiciously like a giggle begin to bubble up; something he quickly squashed.
Still smiling, he took a deep breath. It was strange being back on Earth after living on Atlantis and breathing nothing but smog-free air for the last five years. He hoped they’d be able to head back to Pegasus sooner rather than later, but he certainly wasn’t going to complain about the opportunities that had presented themselves with their return here.
“John? I’m not late, am I? It’s not my fault if I am. One of the newbies waylaid me with some stupid-,”
John glanced up, smiling, his eyes taking in the slightly harried-looking scientist as he took the few steps to reach him. “You’re fine, Rodney. Haven’t been here but a few minutes,” he assured.
Relief flooded Rodney’s features. “Oh, good, because I really didn’t want to keep you waiting or waste our time off on meaningless-”
John shook his head, a fond expression in his eyes as he took Rodney’s hand and squeezed it. “You’re fine, really.”
Rodney beamed up at him, bouncing lightly on his toes. “So, did you have anything planned for today? I was thinking maybe we could go see a movie or something? Or better yet, go raid a couple of stores for entertainment and food and whatnot. You know, stuff for team-night?”
Biting his lip, John was half-tempted to give into Rodney, who seemed excited at the prospect of introducing Teyla and Ronon to more entertainment and foods from Earth. The temptation only lasted a heartbeat, however. Clearing his throat, John fingered the ring in his pocket and gave Rodney a nervous smile. “Actually, yeah, I did.”
Blinking, Rodney deflated slightly, then frowned as he took in the sudden hesitation in John. He probably looked as uncertain as he felt, which seemed to puzzle Rodney. “Okay, so what-?”
Taking a steadying breath, John squeezed Rodney’s hand again as he sank down to one knee. Gazing up at his shocked lover, he licked his lips as he held the ring in front of Rodney’s finger. His stomach was doing flips and John had no idea why his hands were sweaty all of a sudden. With a catch in his voice, he managed to get the question out on his first try, though. “Rodney, I know life’s crazy, and more often than not we’re running headlong from one disaster to the next, but… There isn’t anyone I’d rather have by my side, and I don’t mean because you’re ‘team’, or because you’re the smartest man in two universes. Marry me, Rodney?”
John felt winded. He wasn’t normally one for speeches of any sort, let alone one to put voice to his feelings in any way, but for this moment it had felt right. He’d practiced in front of the mirror, had attempted to roleplay it with Miko, though that had failed miserably as he’d just gone into his usual default setting. But this was Rodney, the man he loved with everything he had in him. The man who brought things out in him he’d never have believed were there – they never had been with anyone else. Not even with Nancy. Anxiously, John searched Rodney’s face for any hint of his answer, but all he found was a look of wide-eyed bewilderment.
“John?” Rodney asked quietly, as if unsure he was hallucinating. “What-?”
Huffing a laugh, John held up the titanium band. “I’m asking you to spend the rest of your life with me, Rodney,” he murmured. His heart felt like it wanted to simultaneously crawl through his throat and cease working altogether as he waited for what felt like eternity for Rodney to process his words. John could almost see all the variables chasing each other behind the other man’s eyes.
After a minute of heavy silence, Rodney blinked, swallowed hard, and fairly squeaked, “Are you sure? I mean, I’m not exactly the nicest person to be around and-”
“McKay,” John huffed. “I know you. And I know exactly what I’m in for with you. We’ll figure it out together, like we always do. I love you, okay? So yes, I’m sure.”
Rodney’s mouth worked silently for a moment and John was beginning to worry he had gotten it wrong. That maybe he had planned for nothing. Finally, Rodney nodded, a quiet, “Okay. Yes,” all he appeared able to utter.
Heart leaping for joy, John nonetheless needed to be certain. Eyes intent on Rodney, he asked, “Yes?”
A smile spread across Rodney’s lips as he nodded and spoke more firmly this time, “Yes, I’ll marry you, Sheppard.”
Laughing, John slipped the ring on Rodney’s finger, pressing his lips to it briefly before hopping to his feet and sweeping Rodney up in a fierce hug. Grinning, he looked at him. “You’re serious?”
“Completely,” Rodney assured, kissing John.
Forgetting everything for a moment, John relished the feel of Rodney in his arms as they kissed. After a few minutes, he pulled away, much to Rodney’s consternation. “I wasn’t done yet,” he groused.
Chuckling, John grabbed his hand and began to pull him up the stairs toward the doors. “Neither am I,” he said, grinning over his shoulder.
“Where are you going?”
“To get married, of course,” John said, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.
“What? Now?” Rodney squawked, eyes widening. “But you need papers and permissions and-”
“Already taken care of.”
“Are you kidding me?”
Shaking his head, Rodney pulled John to a stop. “Even if that’s the case, you know Jeannie would never forgive me if we did this without her.”
John pulled him the last few steps before wrapping an arm around Rodney’s shoulders and turning him to face the windows left of the door. Jeannie, Kaleb, Madison, Dave, Teyla, Ronon, Carson, Miko, and even Woolsey. All their friends and family were there, waving enthusiastically at them.
Stunned, Rodney turned to look at John. “How did you…? When…? Are you serious?”
Chuckling, John pecked his cheek. “As Pi. I had a little help from Miko and Woolsey,” he admitted softly. “Everything we need is waiting for us, the only thing missing is your signature. Woolsey helped expedite everything.”
Rodney let out a whoosh of air through pursed lips. “So we’re really going to do this? Today?”
John nodded. “Yeah. I mean, if you want.”
The sudden insecurity that coursed through him must have been obvious even to Rodney, as the other man gave a soft smile as he cupped John’s cheek. “More than anything, John.”
John’s lips twitched, his eyes gazing into Rodney’s. “Yeah?”
Rodney nodded. “Let’s do this.”
Grinning, John pressed a quick kiss to Rodney’s lips. “Okay!”
As they headed toward the door, arms around each other’s waists, Rodney exclaimed, “Oh! One thing. I am not changing my name to Sheppard.”
John’s eyebrow went up in amusement, and he only barely managed to keep the rest of his face straight as he replied, “No? How about hyphenating?”
Rodney pondered that as he reached for the door, opening it. “That, I can live with, but only if you do, too.”
“I can live with that.”
Half an hour later, the Justice of the Peace pronounced to the room, “Ladies and gentlemen, I hereby give you Dr. and Mr. Sheppard-McKay. Congratulations, gentlemen, you may now seal your bond with a kiss.”
They stared into each other’s eyes for a moment, both of them wearing goofy grins. The second their lips met, the room seemed to explode with noise, and they weren’t allowed to stay wrapped up in each other for very long before everyone insisted on congratulating them in turn. Hugs and kisses and tears of joy were rained on them.
Though normally uncomfortable with any such showing of affection, this time John found he didn’t care. Rodney’s hand was firmly clasped with his the entire time, grounding him. They belonged to each other now, officially. From here to eternity, the way they were meant to be. Always.