A/N: Thanks so much for all the words of encouragement. Thanks especially to jackrocks for pointing out something I should have noticed. I have addressed that little fact in here. So without further ado, here is the next installment.
"Well um, I'd say I hate to see you go, but one Sheppard is more than enough for me." Rodney was standing in one of the science labs. In front of him was the other Sheppard who was clearly more than ready to go home. After spending three days actively avoiding the man, Rodney was also anxious for the man to be leaving. "Not that having you around wasn't ah, interesting." He colored slightly, recalling a certain past event.
"I sure am going to miss you." The 'real' John Sheppard clapped his alternate self on the shoulder. "You always listen to reason; you're easy to get along with, not to mention you aren't bad looking."
Rodney's faced flushed even more as Sheppard said this last part, but he still managed to get in a snide comment about how cocky pilots could be.
"I could say the same things about you, John." The other Sheppard replied grinning from ear to ear.
"You're sure this thing is safe?" Sheppard asked eyeing the mass of electronic equipment, which even to an untrained eye looked jury rigged.
The other Sheppard just chuckled, "I have the utmost faith in you, Rodney." He gave Rodney a look which caused the scientist to squirm uncomfortably, but the Sheppard that belonged in this universe was too busy inspecting the device to notice.
"Um, right. Yeah." McKay told his shoes as he scuffed one against the other. Boy was he going to be glad when the alternate Sheppard was no longer around. How uncomfortable the other man made Rodney feel was the main reason he had been pushing himself so hard the past few days in order to figure out how to send him back home. As it turned out his persistence had paid off in the end, allowing him to come up with an ingenious solution which, while it would only work once, was certainly clever enough to earn the Nobel Prize, that was if anyone ever found out about it.
"Alright, well I guess it's time to go." The other Sheppard shot Rodney a pointed look.
"Oh yes, right." Rodney turned to one of the many laptops set up in the area. "Initializing quantum flux reactor now." He tapped the enter key. A soft mechanical noise began to issue from the dubious looking device. Suddenly a small hole appeared in the middle of the room. At least it looked like a hole at first. It expanded quickly, forming a circular, swirling aperture that was glowing intensely with energy. The three men shielded their eyes until the aperture dimmed slightly.
"I think I underestimated how bright that would be," Rodney said in an undertone as he squinted at the swirling anomaly.
"You're absolutely positive this is going to work?" Sheppard still looked apprehensive.
"Yes, yes." The scientist said absently, completely absorbed in the figures that were being displayed on his laptop screen. "Good, the reactor is running at one hundred percent efficiency."
The other Sheppard approached the anomaly and stretched out a hand. "This is really cool." Rodney snorted. In his opinion it went way beyond 'cool'. "So what do I do?"
Rodney pointed at the aperture, "Just step through and in no time you'll be back where you belong."
"And with the people I belong with." The other Sheppard said knowingly as Rodney tried to ignore the odd sensation in his stomach. But Rodney noticed that the other man also looked slightly awkward, perhaps he wasn't as okay with his mistake as he tried to pretend. "Thanks for helping me out, both of you. Maybe we'll run into each other again sometime."
"I extremely doubt that." Rodney said, but his words were ignored as his Sheppard wished the other man good luck.
"Nice guy," Sheppard remarked as his double disappeared into the glowing white light. "It was nice to talk to someone who really gets me."
Rodney made a small 'hmpf' noise at this, but John ignored him. Glancing down at his laptop Rodney said, "According to these readings he should be back in his own universe now. I'm going to cut power." As the machine shut down, the lab was once again quiet. Sheppard was already in the doorway by the time Rodney joined him for the walk to the control tower to let Colonel Carter know that their guest was safely home.
John spoke first, "We actually traced back our lives, just to compare. Turns out they're virtually identical."
"I think he may have left some things out." Rodney had meant to say it casually, but it came out more as an accusation.
Sheppard stopped walking and turned to his friend. "What does that mean?" There was a fire behind his eyes. He was clearly ready to defend his alternate self.
"Let's just say that you two have different tastes." Rodney offered in what he hoped was a dismissive manner.
The pilot's eyes narrowed. "I don't follow, McKay."
"Well, maybe you didn't know him as well as you think. Can we just leave it at that?"
"No," Sheppard replied, his curiosity rising. He asked in a much gentler tone, "What do you know?"
"Nothing… I mean, if he didn't tell you then he obviously didn't want you to know. So I... I really shouldn't, I mean it's his – "
"Spit it out McKay!" Sheppard half-screamed at him.
Seeing no way around it, and extremely grateful that they were alone in the hallway, Rodney answered, "He's gay."
John did a double take and then started to laugh. "I thought you knew me well enough to know when I'm joking."
"You – he," Rodney stammered, "Was most definitely not joking."
"C'mon Rodney, that guy he couldn't be..." Sheppard's voice was full of disbelief.
"Oh yeah, and I suppose heterosexual men always go around kissing one another do they?" He hadn't meant to tell him, but there it was all out in the open.
Eyes wide, Sheppard said, "He didn't!"
"Oh yes and it isn't something I'll be forgetting anytime soon. And not because it was pleasant I tell you."
Sheppard stood stunned for a moment. "But why did he…" he faltered, "you know." He finished, his face screwed up into a half-amused half-appalled look.
And there it was. Rodney blew out a long sigh. "Just remember that you asked," he began. He paused, considering the best way to phrase it. "He said that you and I… I mean, him and his Rodney they are kinda of in a..." he gestured frantically, trying to tell John without actually saying it. "You know a, relationship." He winced as soon as he had voiced it. The entire thought was just too bizarre.
If Sheppard had been shocked before it was nothing to the look on his face now. But after a few moments it was replaced by a thoughtful look. "Technically, wouldn't kissing you be cheating on his Rodney?"
It was Rodney's turn to be taken aback. "I guess so, technically. Maybe he wasn't worried about it, because we are sort of the same person." He studied Sheppard, but he had regained his normal calm demeanor. "Aren't you just a little freaked out about the thought of us in a relationship?"
"It's not us Rodney. You're talking a completely different universe."
"Yes strictly speaking" he rolled his eyes, "but still, who would have ever thought that a reality like that could ever exist?"
"Hey, anything's possible." Sheppard starting walking once again, leaving Rodney standing thunderstruck, "Besides we do make a pretty good team."
A/N: So what do you think? Come on, I know you are just dying to hit that pretty little blue button.