"Misunderstanding"

Summary: Rodney feels uncomfortable when a Sheppard from an alternate reality appears in Atlantis and sits Rodney down for a little talk. McShep (sort of)?


Rodney McKay was walking down the corridor on his way to his quarters for what he hoped would be a very extended nap. He had not slept much in the past week and it showed in the dark circles under his eyes and in his mussed up hair. Once again a visitor from an alternate reality was wandering around Atlantis. This time it was Rodney's friend and team leader John Sheppard. From what they had learned from the other Sheppard his reality was very similar to their own. This made dealing with his presence much easier… or much harder depending on how you looked at it. It meant he knew pretty much all there was to know about this Atlantis and didn't need hand-holding when it came to finding his way around. However, it also meant that when they did find differences between the two universes they were much more shocking. And Rodney was in store for one of the biggest surprises yet.

"McKay, wait up!"

Rodney, upon hearing the voice, turned around to find Sheppard running to catch up with him. "What is it now?" He grumbled in his usual over dramatic way. He was sure that he was once again about to be deprived of the life-saving sleep that he was wishing for.

"I need to talk to you."

Sighing loudly, Rodney responded irritated, "Talk to me tomorrow." Then realizing he had no clue which Sheppard he was talking to (hey, they looked exactly the same), he asked, "Which one are you again?"

Although one might have expected Sheppard to be taken aback at the question he just said simply, "The other one." Apparently he had gotten that question quite a few times over the past couple days. Rodney had tried to petition for them both to be labeled clearly at all times, but Carter wouldn't agree to force them to wear name tags. So, Rodney had been forced into the disconcertingly uncomfortable position of figuring out which Sheppard he was actually talking to every time he had a conversation with one of them.

"I want to talk now."

McKay had been about to protest loudly when he caught the expression on Sheppard's face and decided that his sleep could wait a few more minutes. "Fine, go ahead."

"In private?" Sheppard asked.

Rodney scrutinized the man's face, but all he learned was that this Sheppard was as good as hiding his feelings as the other one was. Acquiescing to the abnormal request, Rodney led him into his quarters which they were practically standing in front of anyway. The tired scientist immediately collapsed onto his bed. Sheppard slouched down close to Rodney. Too close. They were practically touching elbows but Rodney was too tired to move. Several long uneasy minutes passed before Sheppard finally said, "I've wanted to talk to you about my universe for awhile. There are things I haven't told you, or anyone. But I should tell you, I owe it to you."

At this Rodney perked up slightly. Whatever Sheppard was about to reveal was clearly very important. He looked at the man next to him, what his mouth wasn't saying was being screamed at him from his eyes. He was looking at Rodney in a way the real Sheppard never did. Rodney suddenly felt very self conscious.

"I've been here for a week already and I'm finding myself…" Sheppard trailed off but instead of continuing, he grabbed Rodney's hand. "I miss you."

Rodney stiffened at the unexpected contact and felt his ears grow hot. Sheppard, ignoring Rodney's body language, plunged on. "I mean I miss my Rodney. But you two are just so alike. And the way you look at John, it's the way my Rodney looks at me. I know the John you know can be a bit thick at times. But I wanted to let you know that I've noticed."

At these words Rodney felt himself blushing even more furiously and Sheppard still hadn't let go of his hand. He desperately wanted to pull his hand away but was in shock at what he had just heard. Was Sheppard really insinuating that he was… That he… was batting for the other team? The thought made him want to laugh, but the way Sheppard was looking at him told him not to. "I think you're confused." Rodney started. This entire situation was too surreal to actually be happening right now. Was it possible that the lack of sleep was actually making him hallucinate? That seemed more plausible than sitting on his bed holding the hand of an alternate reality Sheppard who was clearly gay, and in a relationship with Rodney's own gay alternate self. Thinking about it he let out a snort, which he then tried to cover up by yawning hugely.

"Rodney, I'm not the one confused here." Sheppard was moving closer.

Taking his free hand, Rodney laid it on Sheppard's shoulder in an attempt to keep him where he was. Sheppard, however, read this differently and began stroking Rodney's hand with his thumb. Rodney pulled at his hand, but Sheppard held on and was again moving in closer. Before Rodney knew what had happened he felt lips on his own, then – SMACK! Rodney had slapped Sheppard in the face. He was standing up and on the other side of the room in an instant.

Sheppard looked momentarily stunned before realization dawned on his face, "Oh, you're not…?"

"Nope." Rodney said quickly as he crossed his arms protectively over his chest.

"Oh." A pause. "Sorry, it's just that the way you look at…" Sheppard fidgeted with his hands.

Needing to fill the awkward silence Rodney said, "So you and your Rodney you…" He waved his finger as if gesturing between Sheppard and a non-existent person.

"Yeah, for about a year." Sheppard was now the one turning red.

"How's that?" Rodney tried to sound casual, but his voice came out rather higher than normal.

Sheppard had still not looked at him, "It's good. You're, I mean… he is really good at…"

"Oh, that's good." Rodney really didn't want Sheppard to finish that sentence. As it was he was picturing things he'd really rather not.

"I was going to say, he's good at listening." Sheppard finally met Rodney's eyes with an all too familiar smirk spread across his face.

"Right." Rodney said lamely.

Sheppard stood, again fidgeting with his hands. "Well, I'll be going then." He said at last and headed for the door.

"Wait, how do I look at John?" Rodney kicked himself even as he said it. Sheppard smiled, his eyes twinkling. "You know what, don't answer that."

"Goodnight Rodney."

As the other Sheppard left the room Rodney was left to wonder why, as a straight man, he always wound up kissing other men against his will.


A/N: I've planned this little piece as a one-shot, but if there's enough response I'm considering doing another chapter in which Rodney tells the real Sheppard about all of this. What do you guys think?