Pairing: Aiden Ford/Rodney McKay
Summary: Savor every happy moment.
Author's Note: This story was inspired by a bag of Dove chocolates, which come individually wrapped in a little foil sheet with a little "promise" inside. There are 40 messages in this story (not including the one above), some readily apparent, others not. Can you find them all? Feel free to open a package of Doves and enjoy. Don't forget to brush your teeth afterward.
"How many of those things did you bring with you?" Aiden asked as he moved past Rodney and slipped into his usual seat in the cockpit of the puddle jumper. "Everywhere I go I see your little wrappers."
"I brought enough," Rodney said defensively.
"What's enough?" John asked, taking up the inquiry. "What did you do, bring chocolate instead of clothes?"
"I established priorities and packed accordingly," Rodney said. "I have only one vice, and it's chocolate. Besides, chocolate always loves you back."
"You've been studying those little messages, haven't you?" John said with a smirk.
"Can I help it if they're right?"
Aiden covered his mouth to suppress a giggle. John poked him in the arm.
"Why do you eat so much chocolate?" Teyla asked.
"Hello, it's chocolate.....who needs a reason?" Rodney countered. "I simply enjoy life's simple pleasures. Don't you?"
"You need help, McKay," he said. "Fortunately, we brought a shrink with us for just this sort of thing."
"Who needs therapy when there's chocolate?" Rodney said with a shrug. Aiden laughed out loud.
"What little messages are you speaking of?" Teyla asked. Rodney shoved a hand into his pocket and came out with a handful of foil, he unfolded it and handed the small squares to Teyla as he read them off.
"Follow your instincts. Take time to laugh; it's the music of the soul. Wink at someone driving past today."
"What does that mean?" she asked.
"It means that Dr. McKay should find someone to flirt with," Aiden said with an impish smile.
"Flirt?" Rodney repeated. "I don't flirt. Flirting is for vacuous blonds and oversexed jumper jockeys," he said with a pointed look at John. "It's beneath me. Nay, it's beneath my contempt."
"Too bad," Aiden said, unfased by his reply, "I think flirting's fun. You really should try it sometime."
"You do?" Rodney said, suddenly interested. "Really?"
"Yeah. Lots of fun," Aiden assured him.
"Who should I flirt with?"
Both Aiden and John turned to look at the confused astrophysicist.
"Don't ask us who to flirt with, Rodney," John said. "You don't select the target of your affections by committee." John and Aiden turned back to the approaching gate.
"Too bad," Aiden said with an enigmatic smile. "I could give you a list." The next five minutes passed in silence.
"I need those back," Rodney abruptly said to Teyla just as Aiden punched in the ID code to open the gate. He carefully refolded the wrappers and secured them in a pocket. Then he smiled. The further out of reach, the stronger the temptation.
When the jumper was safely docked in its bay, the team was summoned to the conference room for a debriefing. Aiden was about to take his usual chair near the door when he noticed a familiar square of foil on the seat. He picked it up and started to wad it up when the message caught his eye.
Aiden smirked and balled up the foil as Rodney took his seat across the way. Aiden expertly lobbed it across the room and hit Rodney squarely on the forehead. He looked up, startled, and Aiden smiled. Rodney frowned in confusion and resumed reading the screen before him.
"So, Rodney," Elizabeth asked after he had given his report, "do you think it's worth returning to P7X-339 for such a small quantity of trinium?"
"Of course," he replied pleasantly. "You know what they say: 'Little things can make big differences.'" Everyone stared at him.
"Who says that?" John asked. Rodney shrugged, a smile still dancing about his lips. John and Aiden exchanged a look and a shrug.
When the meeting was ended a few minutes later, Rodney was the first to leave, declaring that he needed to return to his lab. Aiden, John and Teyla went to the dining hall to get something to eat. They grabbed trays and collected sandwiches and drinks. Aiden saw that there were cookies and smiled as the server offered him a plate to put them on. John opted for an apple, as did Teyla.
"I think she likes you," John said as they ate.
"Who?" Aiden frowned.
"Corporal Emerson," John said, reaching out to push aside the cookie on his plate. Aiden was about to protest when he saw the edge of a square of foil. "Someone ought to tell her that superior officers are off limits."
"Perhaps you should do it, sir," Aiden said, glancing at the foil and quickly averting his eyes.
"What does it say?" Teyla asked curiously. Aiden was less than eager to reveal what was obviously intended to be a personal message, but John helped himself to the cookie blocking her view of the message and Teyla leaned in to read it.
Be mischievous. It feels good.
"I did not realize there were so many different messages," she said. "This is not one of the ones Dr. McKay showed me earlier."
Aiden frowned at the message and wondered what was going on.
That evening when the lights came up after the movie, Markham tapped Aiden on the shoulder.
"You've got something on your hat. He handed Aiden yet another message.
Friendship is the gold thread that ties hearts together.
"Another one?" Teyla asked, reaching out for the message.
"Yeah," Aiden said.
"That is sweet."
"Yeah; it is." Aiden smiled and, pausing to take the message back, took his leave.
Little bits of foil seemed to find Aiden everywhere over the next three days. He was amassing quite a collection. Some were relatively innocuous:
Make your eyes twinkle.
Don't think about it so much.
Push yourself to recognize the extraordinary in the ordinary.
Remember your first everything.
Savor every happy moment.
There's no excuse not to dream.
To accomplish great things one must not only act, but dream.
Laugh until your heart overflows.
Others were a bit more flirtatious:
Find your passion.
Sometimes a smile says more than a dozen roses.
One little smile can fill the room with sunshine.
Listen with your heart.
The heart has reason which reason does not know.
See how much your heart can hold.
When two hearts race, both win.
Open your eyes.
You can't have 'no' in your heart.
Make someone melt today.
Aiden laid out all messages and read them one by one. Then he rearranged them and read them again. Smiling, he sat up and mused about the messenger. Contrary to what John may have thought, there was no doubt in Aiden's mind that they'd all come from Rodney. He never caught him in the act, and nothing about Rodney's behavior gave Aiden any clue as to how he managed to pull it off, but Aiden was convinced nonetheless. He just wasn't sure what to do about it. After two more days, he came to a decision and went looking for Rodney.
He found him in his lab, shouting at his staff. Aiden frowned and waited patiently till he was done with his tirade. As the staff shuffled off to their respective workstations, contrite and plotting revenge on their supervisor, Aiden stepped forward.
"McKay," he said. Rodney nearly hit the ceiling.
"Holy--! Don't sneak up on people like that! You could have given me a heart attack!"
"You don't have a heart," a lab technician muttered before she left the room. Aiden closed and locked the door.
"I think you've got a hole in your pocket," Aiden said.
Aiden produced a handful of foil squares.
"You keep losing these things."
"Have I?" Rodney said coyly.
"You're the one who brought twenty pounds of chocolate to the Pegasus Galaxy, right?"
"You exaggerate, lieutenant," Rodney said, turning his back to Aiden.
"I based my figure on the number of these things I keep finding," he replied archly. "Why me?"
"You said I should flirt with someone," Rodney said with an insouciant shrug. "I meant to ask you for that list, but I didn't have time. So I just sent them to you," he continued as he made a notation on the pad next to him. "Figured you'd pass them on to someone on your list."
"You didn't have a message for that," Aiden countered with equal bravado, "So I just held onto all of them."
Aiden leaned against the counter and smiled. Rodney refused to look up, but after a minute or so he hazarded a glance over his shoulder. Aiden was gone, but on the counter was a bar of Godiva dark chocolate with raspberries. Rodney reached out and touched it wonderingly. When he picked it up he found a note, written on a square of white paper.
There is a joy in giving back.
Rodney smiled and stuck the chocolate bar into his pocket.
Life. Joy. Chocolate.
Aiden smiled and continued his run through the corridors of the Atlantis with his men.
Chocolate is more than a taste, it's a feeling.
Rodney folded the message and stuck it in his pocket. He wanted to be mad that Aiden had slipped it into the stack of papers he'd left on his workstation; he hated it when people messed with his workspace. But he was too happy to care. If his staff was suspicious of his buoyant mood the remainder of that afternoon, they nonetheless benefited by it. As soon as Rodney could escape, he went to his quarters and selected the ideal message and delivered it to a place where he knew Aiden would find it.
Eating chocolate is like giving yourself a big hug.
He found an answer under his door when he retired for the evening.
Hug someone today.
Rodney sat and stared at the note for three full minutes, his heart pounding in his chest. He spent a few minutes washing up and making himself presentable before leaving his quarters and heading to Aiden's prepared to meet his fate. He knocked but received no answer. Disheartened, he returned to his room, his eyes averted to the ground. Out of the corner of his eye he saw something glinting off to the left and turned his head. He found a tiny scrap of foil. He began to walk again and saw a second piece and then a third and a fourth. Smiling, Rodney continued to follow the trail.
The pieces of foil got larger as Rodney got further and further away from the more populated area of the city. Pretty soon he could make out messages:
Isn't life sweet?
Have chocolate before bed to sweeten your dreams.
Chocolate makes everything a little better.
Rodney was ready to run, but he reached a transporter. He gamely stepped inside and found another message:
Live your dreams.
The doors opened as Rodney read it aloud. He looked up and saw Aiden waiting for him. He smiled and handed Rodney one last note:
Dare to love completely.
"I can do that," Rodney said, tossing it over his shoulder. He pulled Aiden into his arms and kissed him.