Authors Note: This hasn't been beta-read so I apologize if it has grammar/spelling errors in or if the characters sound a bit off. Please let me know what you think of this, complaints, suggestions; any feedback would be helpful as long as it is constructive.

This idea has been floating around my brain for several weeks and i finally managed to write it out.
It's another rather random fic with odd tone to it (I hope the short poem of mine at the start isn't annoying, sorry if it is). I know it's angsty and not cute fluff but I hope you enjoy it and will love to hear what people think of it.

Spoilers: For Season One episodes 1-10, nothing else.

Disclaimer: I don't own the rights to Stargate in any incarnations of course and I'm not making any money, this is just some harmless fanfic fun.

A Mutual Feeling

They deny it to the end,
Standing by and doing nothing
Warm and cold all together
Something there but hidden well
Something there disguised as something less
A perfect friendship and a perfect mess

In all their time as friends they'd never been to a park.
So here they were.
In St. George's park, sitting on a bench feeding ducks in front of a moderately sized pond.
Just him and her, not McKay and Weir, Rodney and Elizabeth.
Two friends, back on Earth once again, alone. Enjoying the scenery and cherishing the company.

He clutched his half of the loaf, tearing large lumps off it.
She held her half in one hand in a delicate but strong grip, breaking off manageable bite sized bits.
There was a gap between them, an inch or so of green bench.
It could have been a metre and it wouldn't have made a difference because right now he felt as far away from her as he ever had. He felt...
It was hard to say but simply put, he felt wrong. It felt wrong to feel like this.
They never talked about it and it wasn't something he contemplated lightly.

The ducks waddled over to them and having struggled with his lumps they moved on to Elizabeth's, angling for more once what was there was gone.
"You should watch it, they'll have your fingers next." he joked half-heartedly.
She smiled a little, not turning away from her task and so missing the anxious expression that passed his face as he looked to her for a response.

There was another silence which he was sure was comfortable for her, and would have been countless times for him only this time he didn't consider it so. The words he wanted to say stuck on the tip of his tongue, his brain wary of if they were wise to speak.

He watched her as she finished off the bread, happily providing for the wildlife. Studying her face he found she seemed content, lacking the worry lines her face often held back on Atlantis. These breaks did her good even if she always gave their city over to another reluctantly. They always had a vacation at the same time, because ever since she'd taken her first leave he'd felt unsettled to sleep in a city where she wasn't looking over it. It was even more disturbing to have to answer to someone else. Whoever they were and however well he knew the substitute he'd hated the disorientating feeling of taking orders from anyone other than her. Maybe it was because they worked as a team, he didn't simply take orders from her, she listened to him. If he didn't agree she respected his concerns at least, taking his ideas into consideration and compromising. Things worked like that and he hated changes to the order of his life.

But he'd appreciated it all the better when she'd come back. Sheppard had teased him for a week about his lack of snark around her when she'd first returned, it hadn't lasted long before he'd gotten back to himself but John was more perceptive than most would think.
John had seen it long before anyone else.

For years they'd grown closer and closer by the day, to the point where he'd say that Elizabeth knew him better than anyone, maybe even himself. She always preempted him, reassuring his doubts, calming his panic and more. They only thing he still surprised her with were his jokes, his snark and snide comments, like they caught her off guard and often with a barely concealed laugh. Other than that, she knew him inside out and was one of his closest friends, his best friend he'd say if you pushed him to name one. His sister had once.

Jeannie had been the second to work out what was going on, or at least the second to call him on it. Odd that his estranged sister, who he'd at the time only just reacquainted himself with, could tell so soon. Maybe all McKay's could see through such barriers, his sister having had same type of childhood he had had and could recognise the mechanisms of denial in place there.

He never knew how many people thought of them as practically a couple anyway.
Once on the base he'd overheard Sgt. Jones talking about them. He'd given the guy an earful of McKay attitude at the time, insulted by the rumours the man had been spreading that were disrespectful of Elizabeth.
Looking back he wondered why, had it been because they'd been untrue or because he wanted them to be true. He remembered how he'd hated the implication that Elizabeth would casually sleep round the ranks. Some of that anger had been about the slander of her, defending her honour but there had been something else, above the level of protection he had rights to.

She'd been reunited with Simon at the time as well, the man taking her back after being abandoned as Rodney could well understand. Who'd want to lose someone like Elizabeth?
Only Simon had in the end. She'd failed in getting him assigned to Atlantis once frequent travel was possible, something she had never explained because as far as he knew the deal had been done, the cat was in the bag and then suddenly transfer request had fell through. Then Simon had been insistent on her staying on Earth as far as he had heard and Elizabeth had out right refused on the principle that she had a duty, a responsibility to the people of the expedition, that she couldn't drop. That had been where Simon had disappeared off the scene. Simon had come to say goodbye, or rather to try to convince her one last time to stay. He'd witnessed the scene they'd made, Elizabeth resolute and calm while Simon pleaded with her. The only thing she'd said was that she couldn't.

It had seemed like an unfinished sentence, missing something to an outside observer. Her words hadn't been that she couldn't stay, just that she couldn't and Simon had understood what she was saying even if no one else had.
For a few seconds Rodney had sympathized with Simon, seeing his crestfallen face and knowing the crushed feeling that came with that. That's when his eyes had turned from sad to angry, from Elizabeth to him. He'd stared at him with a hate Rodney didn't know what he'd done to deserve, thinking that maybe Simon blamed him, as one of her team, for making her go back.
Today he knew the real reason.

He must've been a blind man all those years to not see what so many people had.
Everyone who asked he'd set straight because he'd never considered the possibility of it.
Back then he'd never admitted the true extent of his feelings.
Elizabeth had been a very good friend to him. He'd always maintained that fact, even for someone for whom friends were rare, and for a long time he'd believed it as being that simple.

He stared out at the tranquil waters wondering what had gone wrong with everything.
Here they were, greatest of friends and clearly that wasn't where it ended. At least not for him.
Neither of them had had a lasting relationship in all that time, their time spent with one another.
Was that why each of their relationships had failed? They were here for each other, no questions asked.

Elizabeth had never said what went wrong and he didn't like to pry and was even less enthusiastic about knowing any details of such things. He'd kept away from any of her brief partners, finding it uncomfortable since the one double date they'd gone on. It was supposed to be fun but he'd inevitably said the wrong thing at every opportunity, scaring her date and embarrassing his own.

His dates never went anywhere after that, even when he'd had a nice time, always something off about them that he couldn't accept, he never felt like anyone was right for him. Elizabeth had accused him of being nit picky and once got frustrated at him blowing off an attractive, intelligent and good humoured woman she'd set him up with – who she'd thought would suit him nicely. She'd gotten quite emotional at that, asking him why he couldn't accept anyone as less than perfect and when he hadn't had an answer for that she'd seemed near to tears, leaving and not talking to him for a week.

That week had been one of the worst in his life for awhile until they'd had a mission where he and Sheppard had ended up stranded on a desert planet, which had in fact come only a month or so after they'd returned to Atlantis following the hiatus where they'd had the argument.

The time between that and the mission had been tense, though after him and John made it safely home she'd never mentioned anything like that again. From then on they'd settled into the kind of friendship they had now, trusting each other implicitly on all matters and relying on one another for support in the hard times, whatever those were about. She never criticised his love life, or lack of, anymore. In fact she never really inquired at all though it was pretty pointless these last two years had she ever asked.

The silence must have been awkward even for her by now, he felt her gaze but didn't want to meet it. He continued to stare out into the depths of the pond, watching the ducks who'd returned to it and envying the simplicity of their lives. Swim, eat, breed, sleep – though he wondered where ducks slept – in the reeds, on the water, where? It was a sort of mystery you'd never solve unless you watched them for a day or two to see what they did...

On that note Elizabeth cleared her throat, well aware that he was far away, lost in random speculation. Maybe she didn't know about what exactly, hopefully, because ducks were a stupid thing to think about when he was going to do this. Alright he thought, time to confess.
"My sister keeps on asking when we're gonna get together."
It was sort of a joke,...but not. The look in his eyes and the tone as he said it making it a question; an otherwise unnecessary fear there.

A minute passed and he couldn't bear to look at her, hearing her sigh deeply and not holding out any hope.
It was out there now. He knew, she knew and he knew she knew. He just didn't know how she felt about it.
Was it wrong to bring it up after all this time?
Should he have left it be, left them to whatever this was? A bizarre limbo situation where they were everything to each other, or so he hopes because if it was only one way then he might...
He wasn't sure what but the thought is unbearable, the thought of losing his best friend over this is too much and he'd hate himself if he did, more than if anymore wasn't possible.

Only there's a part of him that knows it can't possibly be entirely him. Everything is there, just denied that last thing, the last level, all the other ones complete.
They don't tell each other they love each other, not like that.
They don't kiss, they don't do any more than brief hugs that are hard to break.
An attraction there and a love too, built up over time but caged and put at bay.

Until now there had been no admittance of it and never acting on it physically, unless you counted what they did for each other. All the little things and then the more important events; how he'd risked his life for hers time and time again. He isn't sure where this began, if it was there before he stepped in front of that gun or if that was just friendship then. Either way they are here now. Together, alone and with nothing left to say it seemed.

Does she know what she means to him? There's something that makes him want to say, even though he can't express it well enough, in case its not clear and in case this is the last time he can ever say so.

He turned to her to speak but she looks at him, eyes pained and almost begging him silently not to say anything more.
He can't take the way she's looking at him, because he'd tried to say it and in his awkward way he had already. Enough for her to understand and yet she stops him and he knows it's not that she doesn't feel the same way. Everything there shows how she feels, which is why it breaks him apart.

Her expression says as well that she doesn't want anything more, doesn't want to risk spoiling it all, the friendship precious. It's clear she'll never let there be anything else between them, ignoring that its there already. How wonderful denial was, he wishes he had it still.

He straightens himself out, shaking off the despair and prepares himself for the final step. He won't let it go that easily.
He takes Elizabeth's hand in his, marveling at how a simple thing can be so intimate and he asks.
It's his final request of her, the one moment he needs.

"Just give me this," he says holding up a finger to illustrate , "one kiss. Something to remember when I'm old and grey and wondered why I never went anywhere."

He tries for a facade of humour and strength as he looks to her, full of a fake satisfaction at what has happened. Pretending this outcome is A-Okay and fine with him, when nothing is further from the truth. But he doesn't want her to feel guilty, it's bad enough without giving her that burden.

She nods, eyes cast down as he smiles back at her response.
He gulps, so afraid of what he's wanted for some time. It's not quite the fantasy come true but it's something to remember.

He leans in, unsure of his position but moving to meet her mouth, finding her lips only just warm in the chill of the late winter afternoon.
A fraction of a second passes where he is enthralled by the softness of her lips and the feeling of her breath as it passes over his own.
And then she reacts, giving him what he wants and giving in to what she wants.

Perhaps it was only his imagination but the kiss seemed to last forever, rather desparate and savouring every millisecond of contact.

Despite how she says she feels, how it can't be, she kisses him in a way that makes him wants to fall back onto a bed.
He wants it to last longer even than this lingering moment. This one kiss is slow and deliberate, precious for both of them.
He can't believe it's finally happening. He wants it to be the beginning rather than the only, the last.
Wants it to be that, to let the emotions out that they've bottled up all this time.
But.... here they are in reality, on a park bench in the cold and reality comes crashing down at the sound of a wolf whistle from a passerby.

They part, his head so close to hers both flustered from it and blushing at the attention.
She doesn't look at his eyes at first, he holds onto the last strand of his hope for a minute before he realises what this is. It's a goodbye at worst and at best one of those memories that he has to forget ever happened.

Either way their time is over, however brief he will remember it forever. A memory that he will recall fondly and at the same time cruelly; a torture itself but something he couldn't be without now he knows what it is.

She can't bring herself to say anything, her turn to stare at nature and ponder it's mysteries.
He won't interrupt her though and she doesn't stop him getting up or say anything as he leaves her alone there.
He walks away a little before glancing back, seeing her lost in her chaotic thoughts, hypnotised by the murky blue water.

Once she'd told him his eyes reminded her of the ocean's waters, back on Atlantis that was, several years ago.
The compliment had made him happy for the rest of the day and at the time he didn't know why it should. Back then things had been simple, denial and happiness fitting oh so well together.

But then that had been on Atlantis, their home away from home, their city – where they belonged together.
Not anymore though and not happy or simple anymore either.

He carried on walking, trying not to think of how it was moving away from her, leaving her alone to cope with whatever today had been.

The park really did look nice today, good for walking, plenty of exercise in that. Elizabeth was always saying he needed to get out of the labs when he could...

Everything was beautiful. Autumn leaves, a torrent of colours; red's, oranges and browns that reminded him of her for some reason. Everything was fine, it was a mutual feeling. That should have made it better, something to be sure of. Well done, pat on the back, another mystery of the universe solved by the genius Rodney McKay.

He sniffled a little, blaming the cold wind for the sting he felt and wiping his eyes, trying to stop the tide of water that ran from them.

A/N: Thoughts?