-1Lemons & Wraith & John. Oh My!

A/n For all disclaimers and notes etc please see chapter 1.

There may be spoilers for seasons 1, 2 and 3.

Chapter 3 A Time For Bonding.

"Hey buddy. Let me in." Johns voice came through the door, sounding very happy for this time of day.

Rodney jumped up and opened it. He was met by John with a huge grin on his face. Rodney raised his eyebrows and let him come in, making a gesture towards a seat as he sat down on the bed.

"Colonel, is there something I can do for you?" Rodney asked.

John looked awfully smug and said, "No, but there is something that I can do for you. Get your shoes on and follow me."

"Why would I want to do that?" he asked, looking to see where his shoes were.

John looked at Rodney expectantly. "I had a feeling that you wouldn't get back to sleep so I thought that you might enjoy the company."

Reaching for his shoes, Rodney looked up at John. He wasn't sure about the company, but he knew the Colonel was right about one thing. At the moment, the last thing on his mind was going to sleep.

"Alright Colonel. Give me a moment and I will be with you."

John was happy to wait. Eventually they found themselves walking down the corridor . John took a look at Rodney as they walked. He seemed a lot calmer and some colour had come back to his cheeks. John was glad of this. Rodney wanted to say something to John, but he was so full of emotions he couldn't find the words. So they walked together in silence.

Eventually they stopped at a transporter. Getting in, the two men went to a part of city that was rarely used.

"Colonel, what are we doing here?" he said as he followed John.

The Colonel led him out on to one of the cities many balconies. Rodney took in the scene before him. There were two sleeping bags laid out on the balcony floor, one of which was on a blow up mattress. Between them was a storm lantern. Laying on one of the sleeping bags was a rucksack and a flask.

It was a mild night and the sky was clear and full of stars.

Rodney realised that he had never taken the time to just stand and look at the sea, to let the world go by. Of course he had been to some of the balconies before. But whenever he did, he had something on his mind. Either a problem that needed to be solved, or a new piece of ancient technology that had been found. It didn't mater what it was, there was always something to bother him. So doing this was something of a luxury for him.

"It's beautiful." he thought.

Turning round he saw that John had sat down and was getting something out of his rucksack.

"Come and sit down Rodney. The rucksack is full of food and there is something special in here for you." he said pointing to the flask as he opened it.

Rodney sat down. It was rather comfortable, all things considered. John handed him a mug of brown, steaming liquid. He breathed it in. There was an unmistakeable smell of chocolate.

"Where did you get this from?" Rodney asked, as he took a sip.

It was wonderful. He gave John a big smile.

John said to Rodney, "I called in a few favours. After the way you were earlier, it was worth sharing it with you just to see you smile."

Rodney looked around him and asked, "All this?"

"I was going to persuade Elizabeth to give us a few days off so that I could take you camping on the mainland." John replied, with a sheepish look on his face.

"Which particular part of your brain thought that I would think that it was a good idea?" Rodney asked, in his usual sarcastic manner, as he took another sip of his chocolate.

"The part that cares about you and thinks that you could do with a little down time." John said catching Rodney's eye.

"I wish we could have made it to the mainland." John couldn't quite hide the disappointment in his voice.

Rodney looked across at John. He realised that John had done this for him because he cared enough to see that he needed a break. He was really touched.

Taking another sip of chocolate he said, "This is good. It's nice out here. Thank you John." Rodney watched as John lit the storm lantern. There was something warm and reassuring about its glow.

Looking in to the Rucksack, John pulled out some sandwiches and gave them to Rodney.

"Here. I wasn't sure if you'd eaten. I hope you like turkey." he said as he watched Rodney open the bag.

Rodney smiled. As a matter of fact he was rather hungry. He had got so caught up in his work that all he had had to eat was his usual working meal of power bars and coffee.

Taking a bite he said, "This is good."

John pulled one out too and began to eat.

Rodney looked at John as he ate his sandwich. No matter how hard he tried he could never quite work out why this friendship worked and why it mattered to him so much. The only conclusion he could come to was that the entity known as Lieutenant Colonel John Sheppard, was so much a part of his life that there was nothing he could do about it. Not that he wanted to anyway.

"How are you feeling Rodney?" John asked as he finished his sandwich.

Rodney thought for a moment before replying, "Apart from stupid you mean. It was only a dream for heavens sake. I should have realised that you wouldn't do anything to me."

"It's ok Rodney. Nightmares can do that to you sometimes." John replied.

He thought back to all the bad dreams he had had over the years. Dreams about the people and comrades that he couldn't save or bring back.

"I guess one good thing has come out of this …" Rodney stopped.

He wasn't that good at dealing with his feelings or expressing them so this was more than awkward. But at the same time Rodney felt that if he didn't say this now he never would.

" … I have realised that I am part of the Atlantis family. I have finally found a place where I am wanted and needed. Somewhere I can make a difference. Somewhere where I don't have to live my life alone. I have friends too and most of all, I have a best friend and that's you John. …"

He looked at John and continued, " … It scares me sometimes. I'm not used to having friends. As you have no doubt noticed, I'm not the easiest of people to get on with."

John couldn't help chuckling as he said this.

"So people never bothered with trying to make friends with me. I didn't mind that at all. It meant that I could shut the door on the world outside at the end of the day and not have to worry about anyone else. It all seemed so easy."

Rodney stopped and finished the last of his chocolate.

Noticing this, John held out the flask, "Would you like some more?"

"Er … yes please." Rodney replied as he held out his mug.

"Where was I? Oh yes. It all seemed so easy. But since I have come to Atlantis my life has been turned upside down. I have seen things I never thought existed. Done things that I would never have imagine myself doing. I have been attacked by things that I really could have done without meeting …"

They both knew that Rodney meant the Wraith.

"I have a whole city and sometimes the entire population of the planet that have come to rely on me to get their collective rear ends out whatever particular fire they are in. I have even had to help save the populations of other planets too! Throughout all this there has been one thing that has helped me through the bad times and made me feel even better during the good times. That has been your friendship John. I never realised how much you meant to me until tonight. You see, as I was lying on my bed, I did some thinking. I realised that I have come to rely on you and the friendship that we have. …"

John reached in to his rucksack and pulled out some bars of chocolate and some sweets. Placing them between the two of them, he motioned for Rodney to help himself.

"Knowing you are dead would be painful enough. But to loose your friendship and still see you around the city. … Well that would be almost too much to bear."

Rodney grabbed a Mars Bar from the pile and started to eat it.

John looked at Rodney. He had never realised that he felt this way.

"Wow" he said, "You know the first time we met, in Antarctica, if some one had said that we would have ended up being best friends, I think I would have laughed at them. And yet, here we are. "

This time it was Rodney's turn to chuckle.

"I remember the day you walked in to the darkness. It was a very stupid and very brave thing to do. I was proud of you. I realised then that there was more to you than meets the eye." He stopped, took a drink and reached over and grabbed a bar of chocolate for himself.

"I think that seeing that side of you was what made me want to be your friend. And it is something that I have no regrets over"

Rodney looked at John in surprise. "You mean it! I know that I can be a pain at times and I am not the easiest people to get on with"

There was a pause. Then he continued, "I could try and change you know. Yes. I'm sure I could manage it!"

Munching in to his chocolate bar John looked at him and frowned.

"Why would I want you to do that? It wouldn't be the same if you didn't give me a snarky reply to things. Anyway, I think you'd scare your scientists even more if you were nice."

John and Rodney both laughed at this

"I can just imagine Radek coming up to me and saying, 'Where is he? What have you done with our Rodney?'" John gave his impression of Dr Zelenka.

Rodney couldn't help grinning at this, "The accent was terrible but I know what you mean."

John was struggling to find the right words to say. He wasn't very good at all the heartfelt stuff and it was making him feel more than a little uncomfortable. But he felt that he owed it to Rodney. After all, he was the one who was sitting pouring his heart out and he got the distinct feeling that Rodney didn't find it any easier to do this than he did.

"Here goes nothing!" he thought to himself.

"I guess what I am trying to say is … I value your friendship. I know fine that Atlantis wouldn't be here because of you. I'm not so sure that I would be either. …"

John looked at Rodney as he continued, "You manage to keep me grounded and you remind me that life isn't all doom and gloom. I don't want you to change because you wouldn't be you. I can see how far you have come Rodney and that makes me proud too. I know that you aren't the easiest of people to get on with and I really don't care. I don't care about your attitude, your whining, or even the way that you behave to your other staff members. I don't even care about the fact that you sometimes manage to drive me crazy! I don't care because that is all part of the man that I know as Rodney Mckay. And you know what?"

Rodney looked at John and shook his head.

"I wouldn't want it any other way."

Rodney looked at John with a satisfied look on his face as he grabbed another chocolate bar from the pile.

"You really care about me don't you?" he asked.

"Yes Rodney." John replied with a contented sigh, "Oh, by the way. You don't have to worry about going to the lab any time soon. I had a word with Dr Zelenka and he promised me that he will find us if there are any problems."

Rodney was about to protest when he changed his mind.

Instead he replied, "Thank you."

After a short silence he continued, "So does this mean we are cool?"

John thought for a minute and said "You may be cool. I am fine!"

Rodney raised his eyebrows. He had not felt this good since … well he couldn't really remember when.

Lieutenant Colonel John Sheppard was still his best friend and things were going as well as could be expected for this part of the Pegasus galaxy.

Finishing his chocolate bar he lay back down on his sleeping bag, closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep.

A new day dawned on Atlantis.

The End.