Rodney had realized his mistake the moment he entered the room, but he had this problem with saying no to John. Well, he could say no easily enough, but it was usually a sarcastic "not on your life" no that the both of them knew was pure bravado, and he almost always ended up playing along with whatever John wanted in the end. He doesn't quite know how this happened, or how to stop it, but it was getting out of hand.
It's not that he couldn't play poker, he could count cards in his sleep, but the marines and other various military grunts had all looked at him like he'd found the wrong room when he walked in; it was like high school all over again, and he was sitting at the wrong table on his first day.
John had invited him though, with large earnest eyes and a mischievous grin and Rodney could make little girls cry, but he couldn't seem to cut John down. He sighed and stepped up beside John, who had his feet resting on the only vacant chair. He dropped them down with a lop-sided grin and Rodney sat down beside him.
Lorne smirked. "Wanted to play with the big boys, huh?" he asked.
Rodney glanced at him. "Actually, I'm just here because I heard Cadman was wiping the floor with you all."
Laughter broke the spell of his awkward entrance, and Cadman flashed him a wide grin. "Well, you're in for a treat," she said. "I plan to clean these boys out again tonight."
"She's got everything but my first born," Campbell said sullenly.
"Ha," Cadman said. "I wouldn't accept those terms anyway. What self-respecting woman would sleep with you?"
Campbell laughed. "They don't have to be self-respecting. I don't have standards."
"Why doesn't that surprise me?" Lorne asked. He grabbed the deck and held it out to Rodney. "You want to deal?"
"Sure," Rodney took the cards, and flipped them hand to hand. It was kind of like riding a bike. Not that Rodney ever really rode a bike what with neat technological advances like cars.
Rodney didn't do anything too fancy with his shuffling, just enough to get a few interested stares. There was no reason to give himself away, because he could win easier as the fumbling scientist than the card shark only John knew he was. He was pretty sure the main purpose of John asking him to join in was to get back at Cadman for winning his Johnny Cash poster, but he wasn't going to complain.
Since the new reinforcements arrived John had been busier than usual, getting them up to speed and finding them assignments and though Rodney would go to his grave without admitting it; he missed him. He would never regret being able to contact Earth, but there'd been a certain charm to only having each other, and getting John mostly to himself.
Rodney decided he would win every hand, and get John's poster back, so John would be so grateful he would happily fall into his arms. Rodney smirked at that particular fantastical outcome in a way that had Lorne looking nervous and Cadman looking giddy for a challenge, and dealt the cards.
Seven hands later, things weren't exactly going according to plan. The majority had fled to find less costly pursuits after only four hands, but Lorne and Campbell had hung on a little longer, making their hasty retreat only when Cadman innocently suggested they were welcome to continuing playing by using their clothes as collateral.
Rodney couldn't figure out how she was doing it, unless maybe she had an endless supply of aces up her sleeve. He'd managed to win three hands, a record against Cadman, apparently, but Rodney had become accustomed to winning them all, and this just wouldn't do.
"That vein in your forehead is pulsing again," John whispered.
John had stuck around for what he called moral support, and Rodney called insult to injury.
"She's a fraud," Rodney hissed, and then glared at Cadman. "You're counting cards!"
"You're counting cards," Cadman said wryly. "I'm just lucky."
"No one's this lucky," he said.
Cadman grinned. "Okay, I'm counting cards, and I'm lucky."
"You're cheating, you have to be!" Rodney narrowed his eyes at her, and she rolled hers.
"I know it's hard to accept, Rodney, but you're not actually the best at everything," she said. "And you've also been cleaned out." She flashed a bright grin at them both. "Thanks for playing. Have a nice night."
"No no no," Rodney snapped. "I'm not done with you yet."
Cadman raised an eyebrow. "What have you got?"
Rodney winced. "The entire first season of Twilight Zone, the original, of course. But you have to put up the Johnny Cash poster."
"McKay, we live in the Twilight Zone. You're going to have to do better than that." Her eyebrow was still quirked and rather overtly suggestive, and Rodney shifted uncomfortably.
"I knew it," he said, before glancing at John. "She undressed me while she was in my head, and she's been after me ever since."
John laughed. "That true, Cadman?"
Cadman snorted. "I'm a one-man woman, Colonel, although I won't deny that Rodney was surprisingly buff."
Rodney went a little red, caught between flattered and insulted. "What do you want then?"
Cadman gave another wicked grin. "I win, you two have to kiss. For thirty seconds."
"What, is this junior high again?" Rodney snapped. "That's it. From now on I'm staying with the scientists."
John just laughed, and leaned towards Rodney with mischievous eyes. "Can you win this?" John asked.
Rodney sighed. "I would have said yes an hour ago, but--"
"Right," he agreed. "She's a shifty one."
"She can hear you," Cadman said pleasantly, and started to shuffle the deck.
Rodney flexed his hands and narrowed his eyes as Cadman started dealing, she was wearing the same little grin she'd been wearing from the moment he entered the room and it was making him nervous. John, leaning back in his chair, looked entirely relaxed.
"I can do this," Rodney said, nodding to himself. He frowned at the cards. He didn't have anything. Cadman was definitely cheating.
"How many you want to trade?" Cadman asked.
"All of them," Rodney said, shoving them towards her in a leap of faith.
"Rodney," John said, warningly.
"Don't worry," Rodney said. "I have truth and justice on my side."
"What does that even mean?" Cadman asked, before tossing him a new hand.
"It means you're a cheater," Rodney snapped.
"She's not cheating, Rodney," John told him. "She's just been playing since she was three."
Rodney took a deep breath and then looked at his cards. It was statistically improbable. Nothing. Nada. Not even a pair.
"Full house," Cadman said cheerfully, before splaying the winning hand out in front of him. "What have you got?"
Rodney slammed the cards down. "You're definitely cheating. I demand a rematch."
"Don't be a spoilsport," John told him, before grabbing him by the front of his shirt and pulling him in for a kiss. Rodney was dazed and disbelieving, and before he could even try and kiss him back Cadman was laughing and calling time. "That's thirty seconds," she said. "So totally worth it."
"You've taken everything then," John said, leaning back in his chair again like nothing had just happened. "Even our virtue."
Cadman laughed. "We could always raise the states, boys, and go another round."
"I'm not sure Rodney could handle that," John told her.
Cadman pulled her winnings and then got to her feet. She eyed them both appreciatively. "I'll be off then," she said, and then tossed them both a wink.
"I can't believe you just did that," Rodney said, after she was gone.
"We had a bet," John said. "She won fair and square."
"She didn't," Rodney said. "She's cheating, I'm sure of it. I never lose this much, not at anything."
"I wouldn't say that," John said. "You kind of suck at darts, too."
Rodney turned to glare at him, but John just smiled and got to his feet. "Well thanks for trying, anyway," he said. "I think I owe you a drink."
"It's the least you could do," Rodney agreed, carefully getting to his feet, and trying to shake off the aftereffects of that kiss. John was just playing around, Rodney reminded himself. It was just the stake in a game.
Rodney followed John back to his quarters, and John pulled a bottle of wine out from under his bed. "Where did you get that?" he asked.
"I won it in the days before Cadman joined our poker game," John said wryly.
Rodney snorted. "She should be banned."
"I think it's actually kind of fun to watch," John said.
Rodney sat down on John's bed and took the glass of wine he handed him.
"Sorry if that bet made you uncomfortable," John told him.
"No, no, it--" Rodney trailed off. "It was fine. I thought I'd win."
John smirked. "I think maybe I did win," he said.
Rodney set the glass of wine on the table. "Do you...I mean, are you saying what I think you're saying?"
John sat down beside him. "Do you want me to be saying what you think I'm saying?"
"I think I do want you to be saying--"
John cut him off with another kiss and a little laugh, and this time Rodney grabbed onto his shirt and pulled him closer, kissing back. Then something caught his eye.
The Johnny Cash poster was still hanging over John's bed, just the way it had been the last time Rodney had seen it.
"I thought you said Cadman won that," Rodney said blurrily.
John just laughed. "I would never bet against Cadman," he said. "She always wins."
"But you did bet against her," Rodney snapped. "And we--oh--"
"Exactly," John said, and kissed him again.