"Okay, so here's the thing, I think we need to set up some ground rules."
John glanced up from War and Peace as Rodney stormed his room. He frowned. "How did you get in?"
"Please," Rodney said. "Atlantis may have a huge crush on you, along with the rest of the galaxy, I might add, but I still know how to override a door."
John set his book aside, guessing this might take awhile. "What's the problem now?" he asked with a sigh. The last time Rodney had done this it was because he thought Kavanaugh was stealing from him, and the time before that he was convinced Atlantis was conspiring against him on John's behalf.
Rodney smiled at him, but it was not a nice smile. "A little thing I like to call the 'Kirk Factor'," he snapped, complete with the air-quotes.
John pressed his eyes shut. He just knew he was going to regret asking. "The Kirk Factor?"
"It's getting a little out of hand, don't you think?" Rodney asked, glaring. "I mean, I realize you were brought onto the expedition rather late in the game, and you don't have a lot of prior experience with things like this--but really, do you have to take all your cues from sixties sci fi?"
John blinked. "Have you been nipping at the Athosian moonshine again?"
"Oh, yes, make jokes," Rodney snapped, "be charming. Just don't forget who you're dealing with! I'm not some little alien princess!"
"Rodney, let me assure you, at no time have I mistaken you for an alien princess," John said. "And also, don't you have important things you should be doing?"
"Fine," Rodney said. "Don't talk about it, but this isn't over! Things are going to start changing. I'm putting my foot down."
John bit his lip to keep from laughing. "You're putting your foot down?"
"Yes," Rodney said, nodding. "No more of this...this...kinky alien sex business. I'm cutting you off before you get some kind of Ancient STD."
"Rodney," John started.
Rodney ruthlessly cut him off, on a roll. "And don't think that Teyla and Ronon aren't on my side about this, because they are. Enough is enough. The last thing this galaxy needs is a bunch of little wild-haired Sheppard's flying around."
John stared at Rodney for a moment, replayed that in his mind, and then gave up. "You're insane," he said.
"Yes, well, at least I keep my pants on!" Rodney shouted, and then he barreled out of the room, muttering to himself about Ancient bunny-boilers and man-whores.
John figured the best thing he could do was try to forget the entire conversation; but that, of course, bit him in the ass at the very first available opportunity.
It turned out that by "putting his foot down," what Rodney actually meant was "completely losing his mind."
He'd been eating in the mess, at one of the back tables, when Rodney dropped his tray across from him and sat down--already mid-sentence. "It seems only reasonable," he said, "that you shouldn't be allowed to wander off alone off-world; and by not alone, I mean you should be with me. Ronon and Teyla obviously can't be trusted not to lose you."
Rodney ripped a bagel in half and then turned his attention to the egg-like things, which he stirred with his fork.
It took John a moment to catch up with him, as it sometimes did. "Are you not over that yet?" he asked.
"Of course I'm not," Rodney said. "Someone needs to do something and no one else is stepping up to the plate. When I suggested an intervention to Elizabeth she threw me out of her office."
John paused, his fork half-way to his mouth. "An intervention for what?"
"Like you don't know," Rodney said. "Everyone knows, Colonel; look, it's okay. I'm not judging." Rodney thought about it. "Well, okay, I am judging. I think you must be suffering some deep-seated emotional problems and probably a fear of commitment. I've known people that slept around a lot because of low self-esteem, but in your case, that seems unlikely."
"I do not sleep around!" John growled.
Heightmeyer was giving him the eye from the next table over and he winced, really hoping she hadn't heard that. He had enough trouble keeping her from forcing him into a session as it was. "You're in denial," Rodney said. "It's perfectly natural."
"Go away," John said.
Rodney just grinned at him and reached over to take his muffin. "You're not going to eat this, are you?"
John pouted a little as Rodney tore it to pieces, sprinkling the debris over his plate and only eating the top, but Rodney didn't really seem to notice. "So that's rule number one," Rodney said. "You need to stay with me off-world. It's really a mutually beneficial rule. I can stop you from getting manipulated into participating in any of the various bizarre sexual rituals of the Pegasus galaxy and you can keep me from getting shot."
"There's a flaw in your plans," John said sullenly. "Right now I'm not sure I care if you get yourself shot or not."
Rodney cheerfully ignored him. "Rule Number Two, of course, is that you're not allowed to associate with strange Ancients. And Rule Number Three is that you're not allowed to have sex with aliens ever again. Ever. Got it?"
"Maybe I'll just shoot you myself," John said, contemplatively. "No one would blame me. I'll never be convicted."
Rodney glared at him. "You're not taking this seriously," he said.
"You mean you're actually serious?" John asked.
"We obviously need a new system of operation!" Rodney said, earnestly. "One that doesn't involve you ending up on your back, thinking of Atlantis, every other planet."
John let his head fall down on the table. "Please go away," he said.
Rodney reached over and grabbed John's plate, tilting it and letting the food fall onto his own. "Also," he said, "you really shouldn't waste food."
"I hate you," John said, his voice was muffled and Rodney was unfazed.
"Just wait; you'll thank me for this later," Rodney said.
"Seriously," John said. "Stop it."
Rodney had been stuck to his side since the moment they exited out on PX5994 to secure a trade agreement. He was standing, pressed up against him, with his arms crossed and his most intimidating expression in place as he glared at everyone that came within two feet of him. "They're going to want to have sex with you before they'll trade," Rodney said. "I can see it in their eyes."
"I'm really starting to worry about you, Rodney," John snapped. "They're nice people. They have tea, with caffeine, so play nice."
"I'm not going to play nice!" Rodney said. "I don't trust them. They don't care about trading, they just want in your pants."
John's trigger finger twitched. He would not shoot his scientist. "They're just trying to be nice--"
Teyla interrupted them gently, smiling apologetically and stepping between them. Rodney didn't exactly give her the same glare he'd been giving the natives for touching John, but it was a close thing. "I have talked with the Chief, Colonel Sheppard," she said.
John turned to her and smiled, quite glad to talk with someone sane. "How did it go?"
She frowned. "He says he will only trade with us if you share union with his daughter."
John paled, and beside him, Rodney clapped his hands and said, "Ha! See? This is why I need to put my foot down."
"I'm not...union-ing anyone," John said, tightly, while trying to ignore Rodney's little victory dance, which was rather similar to his invulnerable dance.
"I have explained this," Teyla said, "but apparently his daughter is quite taken with you."
Rodney stopped his victory dance and glared at her. "Tell her to get in line," he snapped irritably.
"I'll have sex with her," Ronon said easily, and Teyla and Sheppard both glared at him, but Rodney nodded, pleased.
"Good!" he said. "You do it. Take one for the team; god knows Sheppard has filled his quota for the millennium."
"Would you knock it off?" John said. "You act like I've been...been..."
"Sleeping your way across half of the galaxy?" Rodney said helpfully. "You have." Rodney placed a supportive hand on his shoulder. "Look, don't worry, I know it's going to be hard, but I'm going to help wean you off all of the kinky alien sex."
"There's been no kinky sex!" John shouted, and a small group of the natives looked at them in surprise, before running off. John placed his head in his hands. "Is tea worth this?"
Teyla gave a wry grin. "Perhaps if we told them that the Colonel is betrothed to another, they will allow us to forgo a blessing union."
John nodded, reluctantly. "Okay, yeah, go with that."
"You can say he's betrothed to me," Ronon said, with a shrug.
John gave a shocked cough, and Rodney glared at him, no longer impressed with Ronon's readiness to help out. "You're nearly as bad as him," he snapped, jerking his thumb in John's direction.
Ronon grinned at him, entirely unrepentant, and Rodney narrowed his eyes; obviously there were enemies closer to him than he'd realized. Chances were, even Atlantis was trying to get in John's pants. "He'll be betrothed to me," Rodney said, irritably. "It's far more believable." Then he turned and shouted, loud enough so the entire village could hear, "You don't get to have sex with him, so just forget about it!"
The Chief came out of his hut, with his daughter, looking enraged. He pointed at them and an army arranged in front of them, arrows aimed in their direction all around. "Run," John snapped. "I'll grab the crazy man."
Teyla and Ronon took off and John grabbed the startled Rodney's arm, pulling him along behind him. "Are you trying to get us all killed?" he hissed.
"I was only trying to protect your virtue!" Rodney said, dodging an arrow. "You could be a little grateful!"
As they all jumped through the gate, and slid across the floor of Atlantis, arrows landing uselessly at the event horizon, John hit his head back against the ground and briefly closed his eyes. He was tempted to pretend this hadn't really happened, either, but he had a feeling it would be a little harder to forget.
"I think you're going to have to explain this to me again," Weir said.
John had slouched in his chair the first time his team had started recounting the events, and was now just about eye level with the table. Luckily, it was Rodney Weir was giving the evil eye.
"I told them they couldn't have sex with Colonel Sheppard," Rodney said, in a ridiculously reasonable tone, "and then they all started shooting at us."
Weir turned to Teyla, obviously looking for the punch line. "Teyla?"
Teyla's lips twitched upwards. "Dr. McKay is correct," she said. "The people of Niriel require a blessed union before they will take on trading partners, and I believe it was a great insult when Colonel Sheppard did not immediately give his acquiescence."
Weir's eyes were wide, and shook her head disbelievingly. "Maybe I should have had the intervention after all," she said.
Rodney beamed and John resentfully kicked him under the table. Rodney yelped and started chanting 'ow', but was mostly ignored. "It's a common thing," John said. "Teyla, tell them it's common."
"It is not an unheard of request," Teyla admitted, glancing from Sheppard to Weir, "but it seems that it has become disproportionately more common since I started visiting worlds on Colonel Sheppard's team."
"I don't know what the problem is," Ronon said, looking at them all in confusion. "I say if they want sex we give them sex. At least we'd have tea."
"Yes, thank you," Rodney said, "for that entirely unhelpful bit of insight. You can stop talking now." Weir looked a little sheepish and Rodney tilted his head, watching her in disbelief. "Oh, you're not serious!"
Weir glanced at John, trying to look supportive. "I would, of course, never encourage this sort of behavior," she said, "but we are running dangerously low on caffeine."
Rodney was looking at her as though she'd just suggested they invite the Wraith over for dinner. "He's had enough sex for you people!" he shouted. "We're not prostituting him for tea!"
John wondered if maybe he was dreaming, or something. Maybe stuck in another virtual world. Hallucinating. Dead. He'd take any of them so long as it erased the last few days.
So he maybe lost it a little at the end there, too. He could only take so much of Rodney's madness before it started to rub off.
"I'm doing away with the rules!" John shouted, as he walked into Rodney's lab. Everyone but Radek ran for cover; Zelenka just looked amused as he slipped out of the room.
Rodney glared over at him. "You can't do away with the rules. They're for your own well-being."
"You're a loon!" John snapped.
"Maybe I am," Rodney said, looking back at his laptop, "but I was right!"
"Teyla says it was a routine union to bless the alliance," John said. "It had nothing to do with me."
"Oh please," Rodney snapped. "There's no blessing ritual. They just say that so you'll sleep with them. I can't believe you keep falling for it."
"Despite what you apparently believe," John said, "there isn't a galaxy-wide conspiracy to get me into bed."
"It's the oldest line in the galactic dating book!" Rodney shouted. "Have sex with me because it's 'part of my culture.' Really, Colonel, I can't believe you're this gullible."
John rolled his eyes. "When we refused to comply, they started shooting at us."
"So what?" Rodney said. "It's easier just to sleep with everyone that might be able to supply us with caffeine? Do you have no pride?"
John grinned at him slyly, deciding to switch tracks. Indignation wasn't getting him anywhere. "You act like it it’s a hardship, but it's usually--"
"I don't need to hear about your sex adventures!" Rodney interrupted coolly.
"Sex adventures?" John said. "Wow. Just what is it you think--"
"I don't want to think about it at all," Rodney said irritably. "The rules still apply."
John leaned forward, looking up at Rodney through his lashes. "You don't get to tell me what to do," he said, and he was suddenly laid back, like all the irritation had bled away, but Rodney wasn't fooled.
"I told you that your so-called charm doesn't work on me," Rodney said stiffly.
"I think you were lying," John said, grinning a little, "and I think maybe you're jealous."
"Jealous?" Rodney said. "Ha! I pity you--having lots of meaningless sex with beautiful exotic women. How empty your life must be."
"It's not always women," John said, slowly, grinning.
Rodney froze, but his expression didn't change. "Well, it's not anything anymore!" he said harshly. "I told you, you've been cut off."
"I don't know if I could go cold turkey," John said, and maybe he was playing dirty, but turnabout was fair play. "Are you going to ease me through it?"
"Oh my god!" Rodney shouted. "You're hitting on me! Do you have no shame? Can't you go five minutes--?"
John rolled his eyes and grabbed Rodney's shirt, tugging him up against him for a bruising kiss. "I haven't been sleeping around, you moron," he said. "A couple times, yeah, okay, maybe--but Chaya doesn't count. Ancient sex has no skin on skin contact."
Rodney was a little dazed. "Still, you have to admit, my concerns are not unwarranted..."
"There's an easy solution to all this," John said. "If I were, you know, involved with someone I could bow out of all of those blessed unions and let Ronon take my place."
"Involved?" Rodney said.
John kissed him again, and they started moving, John locking the doors with his mind as they crashed against the wall. "You sure you're a genius?"
Rodney grinned, while pulling off John's jacket. "I got you down here, didn't I?"
John laughed as Rodney kissed him, and had to agree he definitely had. No one could push his buttons like Rodney; but then, he could hold his own. "So, we can forget about the stupid rules now, right?" John asked. "You're going to stop acting like a jealous maniac?"
Rodney shook his head, pressing John into the wall with a wicked grin. "Are you kidding?" he asked. "I'm going to be all kinds of worse."