A/N: Second in my semi-series of "what would happen if Rodney McKay and Lydia Winter actually did end up going out/kissing/getting married?" Last time: the date. This time: the kiss. Lydia is not mine, she's BiteMeTechie's. I should not have to keep telling you that. Go read Techie's stuff. NOW!

A/N2: Later on, this gets quite a bit darker than the title may suggest; all I can say is, don't worry, it turns out all right in the end.

A/N3: This first scene is also mostly Techie's. She sent a plot bunny, the plot bunny held me hostage, and I wrote what it told me to. HELP!

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"Go back to the 'built like Marilyn Monroe' part."

"No!"

"Well what happened after you told her about the bet with Cadman?"

"Nothing!"

"You're telling me you had a date with a gorgeous–"

"She's not gorgeous,"

"Oh fine then, you had a romantic date with a woman with an incredible body, you took her back to her place afterwards–"

"It wasn't romantic!"

"Rodney."

"What, Sheppard?"

"You took her to dinner. You shared the experience of food. For you, that's romantic."

"GAAH!"

"I win. So you're telling me you went on a date, took the girl back to her place afterwards, and nothing happened?"

"Yes!"

"Yes something did happen, or yes I'm right nothing happened?"

"Yes . . . I mean no . . . I mean . . . you . . . NOTHING HAPPENED!"

"This lady is built like a movie star and nothing happened."

"Exactly."

"And you aren't asking her out again."

"Precisely."

-pause-

"Rodney, when was the last time you had a CAT-scan?"

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Last July if you must know, and I'm not crazy. I just happen to like being alive and whole at the moment.

Plus, to be fair, I didn't ask Lydia Winters out in the first place, she asked me. And it was for a bet that started out as a dare because nobody thought we could go for more than five minutes without killing each other.

Not the most auspicious beginning for a relationship.

Not that I want a relationship with her, of course, although we have been rather more cordial to each other since The Date. I don't think there have been any murder attempts in . . . wow . . . almost a week. That's a record.

But even if we were the best of buddies, I would not ask her out. We're just . . . oh fine, I guess I can't say we have nothing in common, we found plenty to talk about last time, movies, games, comic books, things like that, but we don't . . . okay we work all right together, once we each stay on our own side of the drawing board, but we . . .

Wait, why can't we go out? I know I had a reason before, but now I can't think of anything. We had a good conversation, we were nice to each other, and I think we both enjoyed ourselves. Why not again?

Hmm. Food for thought.

Hmm. Thoughts of food.

I make my way through the masses of crawling scientists to the commissary, expecting at least two citrus-related death threats from Chef Alex Ramsey, but she serves me silently, her lips drawn into a thin line and her gaze seeming far away.

Me being me, I can't let that slide, so with no thought to my own self-preservation, I open my big fat stupid mouth and stick my foot in it.

"What's up, Ramsey?"

She looks up at me, seeming surprised that I'm there.

"Oh hello Rodders, nice to see you," she says vaguely.

This being all the response I get, I shrug and am about to turn away when my stupid gallant side shows. I'm telling you, this is the reason guys like Sheppard get shot all the time, it's when they stop and try and help someone else. Usually I'm smarter than this.

"Is something wrong, Alex?" I say, a note of concern accidentally leaking into my voice. She looks up, surprised yet again.

"Oh no, I'm fine," she says, undoubtably puzzled that I care. I am too. I'm prepared to leave it at that, but too late, I'm in it deep.

"I'm just worried about Lydia."

Famous last words. Well, not yet, but they will be now.

I sigh and put my tray down, knowing there's no way I'm getting out of this now.

"What's wrong with her," I say, trying to sound like I care.

Apparently I sound sincere, which surprises me, but Alex continues, "She's been locked up in her room ever since yesterday, I think she got news from home and it's upset her or something."

I nod and turn to leave, then she puts the final nail in my coffin:

"I do hope you can cheer her up."

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Which is why I'm here, in front of Lydia's door, holding (God help us) a bouquet that Alex made me get from Dr. Flink, one of the botanists, debating with myself if it's actually worth it to knock on the door.

I lose the argument, and I knock.

"Lydia?"

No answer.

"Lydia, it's me, Rodney."

Still nothing, although I think I hear a rustling inside.

"Chef Alex says you've been depressed for a while, want to talk about it?"

I wince. Sometimes my brain gets sluggish and my tongue doesn't wait for it to catch up.

More rustling from inside. I hear a muffled "Go away" after I knock again.

I sigh in frustration.

"Lydia, I'm perfectly prepared to hotwire the door, I can do it you know," I shout to the other side of the aforementioned obstacle.

Luckily this works, because the last time I tried to short out the opening panel for one of these doors, my hair stood on end for a week.

The door slides open to reveal a very tousled-looking Lydia. Her hair is back to normal (for her) and is piled on her head in a messy bun, held there with a pencil. She's wearing her favorite worn Ramones t-shirt and jeans, and her room is in about an equal state of neatness.

"Er . . . hi, Lydia," I stammer. For some reason, I'm blushing as I look at her, I don't know why, but she's too self-focused to notice.

"Listen, Rodney, I'm really not in the mood to talk right now," she says, moving to close the door, but I stop her by swiftly stepping into her room. I do not know what has possessed me, but it's too late to back out now.

She looks at me strangely, then shrugs and turns back to her room, but not before I notice the tell-tale puffy eyes and streak marks that say she has been crying recently.

"Lydia?" I ask softly, stepping towards her and putting a hesitant hand on her shoulder. She doesn't respond. Not good.

I gently turn her to face me, searching her face for signs of the old Lydia, the rambunctious, snarky woman I fell in love with.

Whoa. Did I just say that out loud? No? Phew. I've only just realized it myself, and I'm still trying to come to grips with the fact that I'm in love with the woman who has singlehandedly almost managed to kill me on many occasions. But right now I'm just worried about her; she still hasn't said anything and it's really starting to freak me out.

I lead her over to sit on her bed, lowering myself beside her, and never taking my eyes off her face.

"Lydia you're really worrying me now," I say, hoping to guilt her into telling me what's wrong.

Hah! It works.

"There's absolutely" -sniffle- "nothing to be worried about, Rodney," she says in a half-hearted attempt at her usual sarcasm. "My world is just completely, totally, and in all other ways over."

"Oh, is that all," I quip back. She bristles. Good. A reaction.

"As if you'd care," she says meanly, which for some reason really does hurt me a little, even though I know she's just upset.

"Yeah, let's pretend for a minute that I do care, Winter, and that I do want to help, and that I am postponing a very important experiment in order to find out if I can do anything," I answer in annoyance, prepared to get up and leave. Leave it to Winter to think only of herself, never of Rodney, who could have been off saving the planet instead of sitting here listening to her blubber about nothing of any importance . . .

"My best friend has cancer."

Oh.

"Oh," I say softly, sitting back down. "Er . . . how bad?"

She sighs, "Can cancer ever be good?" almost to herself, then answers, "Not terminal . . . yet. But they think it could turn at any moment."

What does one say to something like that? I just nod quietly and scootch closer to her on the bed, sliding an arm around her shoulders and offering what comfort I can. She leans into the half-hug, also quiet, and reflexively I start to stroke her hair, murmuring hopefully comforting things and letting her relax enough to cry some more.

We stay that way for what seems like forever, the forgotten bunch of flowers sitting forlornly on the night table. Finally she gives one last sniffle and sits up, leaving a large wet spot on the front of my shirt.

Seeing it, she smiles weakly and gestures towards it with a muttered apology. I cut her off with a finger against her lips.

"Lyddie, you don't have to apologize," I say, then add, noting her look of skepticism, "I know, it's silk and the stain will probably never come out, but for once I don't care."

She smiles slightly, and I smile back, then say, "Thank God, you're still in there."

She laughs at that, causing my smile to grow. She sniffles again, then swipes the back of her hand ineffectually across her face and sighs.

"I guess it's silly to cry about it," she says. "Hell, I haven't cried this much since they cancelled The Lone Gunmen."

She's about to try to wipe her tears away again and I stop her, gently holding her hands in mine before I let go of one and brush the tears away myself. She smiles at me and I blush again.

"You look a fright," I say self-consciously, dropping her hand and sticking both of mine into my pockets, but she tugs on my sleeves and draws them out again.

"Yeah, well, back at ya dork-face," she says, and I can't resist the snarky smile on her face. Leaning forwards, I cup her chin in my hands and kiss her, gently at first, then deeper as she puts her arms around my neck and pulls me closer.

It's amazing, I think as I kiss my sometime-archnemesis, the things that bring people closer together.

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A/N: -sniffles- Okay so that was a bit over-the-top, but hey, they kissed, didn't they? -ducks from barrage of rotten vegetables thrown by McWinter shippers- Hey! I'm one of you! I'm on your side! I want them to get together! Hey! -runs away-

-runs back for a second-

A/N2: Next fic (Rodney popping the question) will be up soon. -barrage of rotten veggies stops suddenly, to be replaced by a barrage of chocolates and roses-

A/N3: Ah. That's better.