Summary: "You really are beautiful by candlelight."
"This is nice."
"Nice?" Aiden repeated. "We're being held captive by these people. What's nice about it?"
"I wasn't talking about the circumstances, I was talking about the setting. Good meal, pleasant company--well, some of it. And you look very...um... very nice by candlelight, lieutenant."
"I said...well, I said you looked very nice by candlelight." Rodney shrugged. "It...um...it flatters you. Your complexion; it flatters your complexion."
"Thanks, I think."
"Too bad we have to do this under duress. It might be nice to eat by candlelight sometime. You know, back in Atlantis; when there are no--."
"...Genii with crazy ideas about developing weapons of mass destruction?"
"Well, yes, without the Genii, or Teyla; and no Major Sheppard."
"What's wrong with the major?" Aiden asked. Rodney gaped at him for a moment. Then he shifted in his seat and rejoined the conversation at the other end of the table. Aiden frowned, completely confused by Rodney's behavior. And then the light dawned; Rodney McKay had just asked him on a date--sort of. Aiden dropped his fork, attracting the attention of several people near him, but Rodney ignored him.
Rodney as too busy explaining to his neighbor how simple explosives could be used to power the Genii weapon. Aiden tried to interrupt him, not only to question whether Rodney had indeed just asked him on a date, but because he thought it was unwise and indiscreet to reveal anything about U.S. military ordnance to strangers.
"Not now, lieutenant," Rodney said the third time he tried to interrupt. Aiden gave John a slightly alarmed look; he finally reached out and put a hand on Rodney's thigh in an effort to surreptitiously stop his tongue. The touch had the desired effect. He got Rodney's immediate attention.
"Dr. McKay," Aiden said softly. "I really don't think we should discuss this now."
"I agree," Rodney said smiling slightly. "Why don't we talk about it when we're back in Atlantis?"
Rodney placed his hand on Aiden's thigh and began to lightly stroke circles on Aiden's knee, which Aiden found even more confusing. Under different circumstances--very different circumstances, and perhaps with a different person--Aiden might have been intrigued. But at a formal dinner in a bunker with a group of delusional aliens, Aiden couldn't afford to be distracted. He placed his hand on top of Rodney's to arrest his movement. Rodney turned his hand over and caught Aiden's fingers. Again, Aiden frowned in confusion, but Rodney resumed talking as if he weren't holding hands with a member of his team under the table.
John shot Aiden a pointed look. Aiden gave Rodney's hand a hard squeeze and he finally shut up. He resumed eating--still holding Aiden's hand. The lieutenant sighed and ate left-handed.
"You really are beautiful by candlelight," Rodney said, leaning over and speaking softly.
On to Part Two