Spoiler: Underground, Home
Summary: "I can be discreet! All I need is the right incentive."
"What was that?" Aiden asked tersely, hours later, when the puddle jumper had returned to Atlantis. The Marine had cornered Rodney as he attempted to leave the jumper and demanded an explanation.
"Look, whatever you're talking about, it'll have to wait. I've got to speak with Dr. Weir about the Genii's proposition," Rodney replied, attempting to push past him.
"Wait a minute! You can't just grab my thigh and--."
"You grabbed mine first!"
"...To signal you to stop talking!"
"And then you--."
"Oh. Oh. I--. Well, I--."
"Yeah, you did."
"You held my hand all through dinner!" Rodney reasoned.
"No, Doc; you held my hand all through dinner," Aiden replied. Rodney looked crestfallen and Aiden felt guilty. "Look; go and see Dr. Weir. You and I can talk about this later."
"What's there to talk about? You've made yourself abundantly clear!" Rodney turned to go, but Aiden grabbed his arm.
"Wait a minute!"
"I've got work to do, lieutenant," Rodney said, looking down at his arm.
"Hey! What's the hold up?" John called from outside. Aiden released Rodney's arm and watched as he caught up with John. A few hours later they returned to the planet of the Genii, where things ended badly. The team returned to Atlantis and Rodney avoided Aiden for the next week or so. Aiden was aware of it, but he let it go. Or so Rodney thought, until John ordered Aiden to accompany Rodney to M5S-224 to work on the planet's DHD.
Aiden held the large lamp so that Rodney could work in the mist-shrouded atmosphere of the dark planet. The two made small talk as he worked and after about an hour the task was completed. Rodney radioed Elizabeth with the news and then sat back to await her arrival.
"Would you mind moving that light elsewhere, lieutenant?" he said. "It's shining right in my eyes."
"I know," Aiden said with a smile. "I figured that since we had a little time before the others get here I might take advantage of the opportunity to ask a few questions."
"So this is an inquisition?" Rodney said lightly.
"Exactly," Aiden replied seriously. "So what's up with you? First you ask me on a date and then you avoid me for a week."
"I asked you on a date?" Rodney said uneasily.
"Let me refresh your memory," Aiden said archly. "You think I look beautiful by candlelight."
"I--. Could you point that damned light the other way?" Rodney spat as he reached out and pushed it away.
"I'm waiting, McKay," Aiden replied, lowering the light. It illuminated the ground, creating an eerie shadow.
"You said you weren't interested."
"When did I say that?"
"You are interested?"
"I didn't say that."
"So are you interested in me?"
"I thought that was my question. As I recall, you were rather upset with me when we returned from--."
"Did it really surprise you that I objected to being propositioned in a roomful of hostiles?" Aiden asked reasonably.
"So that's what you wanted to talk about?" Rodney asked sheepishly. "Oh. Does that mean we can have a date?"
"Are you out of your mind?"
"Rodney," Aiden said carefully. "I like you. I really do, but you've got a big mouth. I've got a reputation to maintain and I can't afford to be with someone who's indiscreet."
"I can be discreet. I know when to talk and when to keep my mouth shut. I can--. What?" Rodney asked when Aiden covered his eyes and shook his head, barely suppressing a laugh. "I can! All I need is the right incentive."
"And that would be--."
"You?" Rodney said shyly.
"So you can't keep your mouth shut about military secrets but you'd manage it for me?"
"I'd manage to walk on water for you," Rodney said with such sincerity and awe that Aiden began to laugh in earnest. Rodney sighed and got to his feet, ready to walk away from the embarrassing scene but the gate suddenly activated and he was forced to hold his ground. Aiden quickly sobered and rose to stand beside him.
"Good job, Rodney," Elizabeth said as she walked over to join them, with John and Teyla at her back.
"Thanks," he said stiffly. "Ford helped," he said with a nod of his head in Aiden's direction. Aiden's eyebrows rose in surprise. Elizabeth acknowledged Aiden's assistance before turning to the DHD and asking Rodney to dial the gate. Aiden stole a glance at Rodney, who looked utterly crestfallen. Aiden sighed and made his way over to him.
"When we get back," he said softly. "Dinner." Rodney looked up and Aiden waggled his brows above a disarming smile. "Don't forget the candles."
On to Part Three