A/N: The last chapter of this story. Thought this was a nice place to end. The events take before and after the episode The Outsiders. Hope you enjoyed this story. It was fun to write/ Thank you for all your support and reviews. I am trying to tie up loose ends on some of the stories (this being one) so I can concentrate on some of my other pieces like my Music story and AU Quarantine works. Unbetaed so mistakes are mine.
Chapter 11- The Outsiders
Rodney struggled to stay awake during the mission briefing and he barely heard what the mission was. He vaguely recalled something about medical supplies and Carson. His eyes were half closed when a swift kick to his shin snapped him awake.
"Wake up, McKay," John hissed in a low voice. The last thing he needed on this mission was a sleepy Rodney. "Have some coffee," he pushed the entire carafe toward the drowsy man.
"Thank you for your concern, Colonel," the scientist was not happy about the kick to his shin, but it did its job and he was wide-awake now. "You know that is going to leave a bruise," Rodney grumbled as he got up from the chair. "Are we ready or not? He was cranky because of the lack of sleep and John pestering him. The physicist got up and headed toward the gateroom.
Ronon closely followed the tired man and grabbed Rodney's arm before he had a chance to head down the stairs, "Hold up there a minute, McKay." The burly man still had a hard time processing that Jennifer was with him. He wanted to make sure that the Canadian had his intentions in the right place when it came to Jennifer.
Rodney paused and looked between where the barbarian had his hand around his arm and Ronon's face. "What is it?"
"You hurt her and then I hurt you," the threat was simple and to the point. Ronon knew how things ended with his ex and he did not want to see Jennifer hurt in the same way. "This will not be on stun," he pointed to the gun at his side.
"Excuse me?" he was not taking the threat well. "I suggest getting your hand off of me," Rodney tried to wretch his arm free in an unexpected moment of boldness. He did not take lightly to being threatened.
"I'm serious, McKay."
The scientist cleared his throat, "I'm sure you are. I'll have you know that Jennifer only took those sparring lessons from you on nights I had to work late." I was the first choice. You were only an afterthought and she still came to me after.
Ronon narrowed his eyes at the petty statement, realizing there was probably some truth to it. The Satedan raised his finger and poked the smaller man in the chest, "Don't do to her what you did with Katie."
Rodney looked the man up and down, surprised he strung so many words together at once, "Not that it's any of your business, but I have no intention of doing that." He was almost offended by the suggestion because deep down he knew what he had with Jennifer was very different from what he had with Katie. Things were easier when no one knew of their relationship, as the watchful eyes waiting for him to screw up were not upon him. "I think we be should be focused on the mission and not my personal life," the scientist's face was serious as he headed toward the gate. He's not God's gift to women. Jennifer is with me because she loves me and wants to be with me. She could have her choice of anyone and I'm the one her heart chose. Rodney had to remind himself of those facts in light of the Satedan expecting him to screw-up this relationship as well.
Rodney was rolling his eyes by the time he returned to Atlantis. Being taken hostage twice in one week was some kind of new record and he wanted nothing more to hide under the covers for a few days until his body recovered from the exhaustion.
"Rodney, where do you think you are headed?" Carson jogged to catch up with the other man.
The Canadian stopped and made a face as if it were obvious where he was headed, "My quarters. I'm exhausted and going to sleep for the next three days."
"Shouldn't you get examined first?" the former CMO asked, the Rodney he knew would be the first in line for an examination.
"Why? I'm fine." Rodney shrugged and knew Jennifer would yell at him later for not coming in, but maybe he would get a special examination out of it. That idea caused a grin to form.
"What's so funny?" Carson shook his head, knowing something was going on.
"Nothing. If you want to follow and make sure I don't keel over and die, you are free to follow me," it was not an invitation Rodney expected Carson to accept.
The clone had other things to do, but it also had been a long time since he had a chance to talk to Rodney and had no idea what was going on in the man's life. "I think I will," he knew that was not the expected answer as the scientist's lips started flapping.
"I...um...um...okay," Rodney fumbled for words. He was not sure the state his room was in since it had been a few days since he had been there. "You are going to be very bored. At least I'm giving you fair warning."
"You are never boring, Rodney," Carson said in a dry tone, humoring the man.
"Yes, very well," the tired physicist waved for his friend to follow.
"How has life been treating you?" It had been almost five months before today that the Scot had talked with Rodney.
"I almost died a couple of months ago," Rodney made it seem as if it was no big deal.
"Really now? What happened?" Carson wondered how much Rodney exaggerated.
Rodney explained what happened to him during the Second Childhood and finished with a sigh. He waved his hand in front of the door sensor.
Carson was shocked into silence of the seriousness of the illness. "You are fine now?"
"In perfect health," Rodney said with a yawn. "I would have gotten more sleep last night if I knew I was going to be taken hostage again."
"Some things never change, do they?"
"Excuse me?" Rodney was curious what Carson had implied with the question. He sat on his bed and kicked off his shoes, making sure he was very comfortable.
"You and working to all hours of the night." Carson felt sorry for Rodney that he was always focusing too much on work.
The physicist could only laugh at the logical assumption the clone made. "Who said anything about work?" Rodney's mind was in a state of bliss as he recalled the amazing night with Jennifer. It was the first time he had ever connected so deeply with someone else.
"You weren't working?" It was most un-Rodney like.
"No," the voice was high-pitched. "I can see where you would think that, but since I got sick I've come to realize there is possibly more to life than work."
"Possibly?" Carson asked with a measure of scepticism.
"Okay, more than possibly," the smile on Rodney's face said all.
That is all Carson needed to see, "Ah, you are seeing someone. Do I know her?"
"You do," the scientist paused for a moment before looking down.
"Well are you going to tell me?" Carson was befuddled by the reaction.
Rodney shook his head, "I'm not in the mood for another lecture or round of threats. I know everyone is waiting for me to mess this up like I did with Katie, but I'm not this time." He knew that word had to already spreading around the base. The head of science could almost hear the whispers of disbelief and some wondering what kind of bet the CMO lost to be dating him.
"Rodney, I never said such thing. Good for you. I'm glad you found someone. How long have you been seeing this woman?" he was not going to push the jumpy man for any more information than he was willing to give.
"A little over three months. John's known since the beginning and Ronon threatened me after he found out this morning. I'm sure there is plenty of people just waiting in line, expecting me to screw up. The joke is on them because this time is different. I'm pretty sure I've found the one," Rodney was never so sure about anything before.
It was a dizzying experience talking to Rodney sometimes and this was one of them as the man jumped from threats to finding the one all in one breath. Carson had heard what happened between the physicist and botanist, but he did not know if he spoke about Katie the same way he talked about his mystery woman. "What does she do here?" he wondered if Rodney would be willing to give that much.
"Your old job," the scientist said as looked up at Carson for a split second before looking away. Rodney knew it was a matter of time before the lecture would come.
"I'm not surprised."
"What?" he was stunned by Carson's reaction.
"You were expecting a different reaction?" Carson said with a slight smile.
"Um, yeah," Rodney could not say much of anything else.
Carson shook his head, "I always thought you two would make an nice couple. Both of you are a lot alike in a number of ways and she always enjoyed the stories I told her about you." He laughed as he saw Rodney try to process what he was saying. "I thought it a shame that I thought you two probably would never have the chance to meet."
"How...how come you never said anything?" the physicist was still trying to comprehend the news.
"And get your hopes up over something that never would be."
Rodney scowled, "Well, yes."
"So Jennifer is the one?" Carson thought a bit of ribbing was in order.
Rodney's ears and cheeks went red, "I'm pretty sure. Yes, she is."
"Does she know that?" he looked up and smiled as she saw the woman in the doorway.
"I know," Jennifer said with a smile despite her coming here for another reason.
Carson stood up, wanting to give the two sometime, "I think someone is in trouble for skipping out on their post-mission physical. Good luck, Rodney." He knew his friend was in very capable hands.
After Carson's departure, Jennifer sat next to her beau on the bed, "The one? Did I hear that right?" She teased him with a slow and tantalizing kiss.
"Maybe," Rodney teased.
Jennifer crinkled her nose, "Do you think you could get away with this?"
"With what?" he hoped to distract Jennifer with a kiss.
She let herself be taken by the kiss for a minute before pulling away, "You never got yourself checked out after coming back."
"I thought you could do that for me." A man could dream, couldn't he? Rodney hoped a smile could get him out of an exam.
"Not so fast. You may be sexy and flash me a smile, but it's not going to work. Have Amanda examine you and then I can check you out," Jennifer leaned in as if she was going to kiss him, but pulled away just as their lips were going to touch.
"That's blackmail," he pouted. "What about talking about our future? Can that get me out of it?"
The physician shook her head, "Post-mission exam first, then shower and then we can plan for the future." Jennifer liked the way that sounded. "But nothing else unless you get that exam."
Rodney dramatically rolled his eyes, "Fine." He headed for the door but stopped, "Hey are you saying I smell?"
"Just a little. I'll even clean you back for you if you don't give Amanda a hard time."
"Incentive to behave. You know me too well," the man looked at his soulmate and smiled. "We are going to have a good life."