Category: First time
Summary: Brains versus brawn; winner takes all.
"Come on, Ford, search!" Rodney insisted. "The sooner we find it, the sooner we can get out of here."
"It would be a lot easier to find it if I knew what the hell I was searching for," Aiden replied.
"I've already told you, lieutenant," Rodney said impatiently.
"You said it was a hand spectroscope, but I have no idea what that means."
"A spectroscope is an instrument one uses to observe emission and absorption spectra. A hand spectroscope is a hand-held instrument one uses to observe emission and absorption spectra."
"Wonderful," Aiden sighed. "That tells me exactly what to look for."
Rodney had lost the instrument a few days earlier when he and a group of scientists were examining the vaults under the piers at the western end of the city. When he returned to the vaults to look for it, Aiden was less than thrilled that John ordered him to accompany the scientist. He and Rodney had been at each other's throats since the lieutenant took exception to Rodney referring to the military contingent as a bunch of "idiot jarheads." John hoped that spending some quality time together might give the pair an opportunity to make peace. He was mistaken.
"You're looking for something that resembles a short telescope, lieutenant," Rodney said exasperatedly.
"Why didn't you just say so in the first place?"
"Perhaps I assumed that you knew what a hand spectroscope looked like. But I apparently overestimated your intelligence... again."
"Why does every discussion I have with you lately end with an insult to my intelligence?" Aiden spat angrily.
"What intelligence? Let's face it lieutenant, if it wasn't for the United States Marine Corps you'd be making 'Happy Meals' instead of dining on 'Meals Ready to Eat'."
"What the hell is that supposed to mean?"
"I rest my case," Rodney said smugly.
"Dr. McKay? Lieutenant Ford?" Elizabeth said over the radio, interrupting the two men who were practically nose to nose. Aiden took a step backward, turned away and tapped his com link.
"Ma'am?" he said crisply.
"What's keeping you? I thought Dr. McKay said that it'd only take a few minutes to find his lost instrument."
"Dr. McKay says lots of things he shouldn't," Aiden said with a venomous look over his shoulder at Rodney.
"If the lieutenant would spend more time looking and less time mouthing off I probably would have found it by now," Rodney countered.
"Hey, McKay! If you're such a smart guy, how did you manage to lose your gizmo, anyway?"
"Well, gee, Ford, I'm too busy trying to hold Atlantis together so we can survive another day to worry about keeping track of all my 'gizmos.'"
"You mean to tell me that the self-proclaimed smartest man in the Pegasus Galaxy can't multitask?"
"Hey, you two!" Elizabeth cried. "Is there a problem?"
"No problem, ma'am," Aiden said. "We'll head back as soon as the doctor finds his spectrometer."
"And that will probably be a while because the lieutenant is being more than useless," Rodney added. "And it's a spectroscope."
"If you were less than obnoxious I might--."
"Am I going to have to come down there and separate you two?" John said warningly.
"No, sir," Aiden replied automatically.
"Get the job done, boys, and get back up here. Liz gets the heebie jeebies when people mess around under the piers," John said. Elizabeth shot him a look.
"We're not 'messing around under the piers,' major," Rodney said exasperatedly. "We're searching for--."
"Good luck, Ford," John said with malicious glee. "Sheppard out." Aiden gritted his teeth and turned back to his search.
"You don't think they'll come to blows, do you?" Elizabeth asked worriedly. "The lieutenant sounded very angry."
"Yeah, well, in spite of his tough guy, kick-ass Marine demeanor, Ford's a real pussycat," John replied. "Besides, in a fight between those two, I'd put my money on Rodney."
"You're joking," Elizabeth and Peter said in unison. In response, John just smiled enigmatically.
"Good luck, Ford? I'm the one who needs luck. With you as a handicap, I estimate--."
Rodney was grabbed by the front of his shirt and slammed up against the wall. Well, not slammed, exactly; he was firmly but gently pushed up against the wall and pinned. For all that he made fun of Aiden's intellect Rodney was well aware of the lieutenant's physical power and knew that he was showing a great deal of restraint. That didn't stop Rodney from swallowing hard and holding his breath. Though he constantly baited the young officer he'd never seen Aiden reach the end of his patience so he had no idea what to expect.
"Stow it, McKay. I've had enough of your insults for one lifetime, all right?" Aiden said in a low, menacing growl. He immediately released Rodney and walked off to resume his search for the spectroscope.
Rodney remained where Aiden had left him. He shut his eyes and shuddered slightly. After a moment he opened them again and observed the soldier as he scanned the poorly lit room with his flashlight, noting--not for the first time--the graceful lines of the officer's athletic body as he methodically swept the area. Rodney knew he ought to be helping, but at the moment he couldn't care less about a missing hand spectroscope. The only thing he wanted was for Aiden to pin him to the wall again--hot, angry and in his face.
"Found it," Aiden announced. "It's behind these containers." He picked up the container on the top of the stack and placed it on the ground a few feet away. "Are you just going to stand there?" Aiden asked as he bent to pick up the next container.
"I'm the brains, you're the brawn, remember?" Rodney replied. He leaned against the wall and enjoyed the view as Aiden moved four large containers and then reached over the fifth to retrieve the spectroscope. He carried it over to where Rodney stood.
"I ought to shove this down your throat," he said. "Maybe that would shut you up."
"You can try," Rodney said, recklessly taunting the Marine.
"What's gotten into you? You develop some sort of death wish?"
"You can't kill me," Rodney shot back. "This place would collapse in a week without me."
"I might be willing to take that risk," Aiden snarled. Rodney smiled wryly and took a step forward.
"What are you going to do," Rodney said as his heart began to race, "beat me up?"
"You know what? You're not worth breaking a sweat over."
It was the opening Rodney had hoped for. He took a step closer.
"You're so sure you'd beat me in a fair fight, aren't you?" he said.
"I'm sure an Athosian child could beat you with both hands tied behind its back," Aiden laughed.
"And I'm sure I could beat you with both hands tied behind my back," Rodney countered.
"Really? Using what?"
"Well, I have to concede that possibility," Aiden said with another laugh. "Lord knows, you've nearly talked me to death on more than one occasion without even trying."
"I could do it without saying a word," Rodney said, unruffled by the insult.
"Oh yeah, Dr. Science?" Aiden grabbed him by the wrists and roughly forced Rodney's hands behind his back. "Let's see."
Acutely aware that he was taking a tremendous risk, Rodney smiled and leaned forward. Aiden instinctively angled his head to one side, anticipating a head butt. Rodney had other ideas, however, and ran a hot, wet, languid lick from the base of Aiden's neck up to a spot just below his ear. He heard Aiden gasp and felt the hold on his wrists loosen slightly.
"That's Dr. Shit to you," Rodney whispered in his ear huskily. He smiled triumphantly before running the tip of his tongue around the rim of Aiden's ear. Then he sharply nipped his earlobe and ran his tongue along the line of Aiden's jaw. Not surprisingly, Aiden pushed him away. "I'm not finished," Rodney complained.
"This is supposed to be a fight, isn't it?" Aiden said with a smile that made Rodney's hair stand on end. He felt his courage fade as he stared into Aiden's dark, intense gaze. "I'm not just going to stand here and take that."
"Fight fire with fire?" Rodney suggested pathetically. Aiden smiled and shook his head. He moved Rodney's wrists to his sides and pushed him up against the wall once again. Rodney shut his eyes and braced himself.
The moist heat of Aiden's tongue danced over his lips. Before Rodney could identify the source of the delicious sensation, Aiden had found his way into his mouth. Keeping Rodney pinned to the wall with the length of his body, Aiden thoroughly explored his mouth. Rodney pulled his hands free and burrowed under Aiden's shirt to make contact with warm, silken skin. Aiden finally broke the kiss and licked his way down Rodney's throat.
"You're cheating," he murmured as he thrust his hips against Rodney's.
"Sue me for being creative," Rodney replied as he pushed up the shirt and pulled it off. Aiden returned the favor and then began to lick his way across Rodney's shoulder. He grabbed Rodney's hands and held them against the wall.
"I'm winning," he said as he lifted his head to reclaim Rodney's mouth. By that point, Rodney had forgotten about the fight and was happy to concede anything as long as Aiden didn't stop.
"Congratulations," he said.
"What's my prize?" Aiden said, suddenly pulling away to look Rodney in the eye.
"What do you want?"
Aiden gave Rodney an appraising look, licking his lips as he did so.
"Ooh, can I try that?" Rodney asked. He didn't wait for a reply. He leaned in and ran his tongue over Aiden's succulent mouth. Aiden released his hands and pulled him closer and the two men became lost in each other.
John poked his head into one of the large storage vaults and, seeing no one inside, withdrew and moved on. He was seriously rethinking his plan to force Aiden and Rodney to make amends. In spite of what he'd told Elizabeth, John half expected to find Rodney's bloody corpse--possibly chopped into small pieces and floating on the water just off the pier.
"No blood; that's got to be a good sign," he murmured as he continued down the long corridor. He reached the end and frowned. There was no sign of Rodney or Aiden. John started to call Elizabeth, but he heard a sound and backtracked a bit to go down a second corridor, listening as he went.
"Must you always call me that?"
"Oh yeah; it's Dr. Shit, right?"
"You can call me Rodney."
"I'm kind of liking Dr. Shit."
"Hey, aren't you forgetting something?"
"No, I don't think so."
"Oh that. Yes, I suppose it would be a shame to leave it here after all the trouble we went through to find it."
"We? I found it."
"Yes, well, I led you to the vault."
"Whoop de do."
"We have got to expand your vocabulary, lieutenant. Here; you forgot your hat."
"Thanks, Dr. Shit."
"You're welcome, Lieutenant Jarhead."
John rolled his eyes and activated his com link.
"I've found them, Liz. They're alive... amazingly enough," he said as Rodney and Aiden came into view and exchanged a wary glance.
"You came looking for us, sir?" Aiden said.
"Liz thought someone should. You've been gone well over an hour."
"Time flies when you're hurling verbal abuse," Rodney said airily. He started down the corridor with Aiden at his side. John frowned at them suspiciously and moved to keep up.
"Nice job, Ford," John said as he and Aiden walked toward the mess a while later. They'd dropped Rodney at his lab and reported back to Elizabeth before going off to eat.
"Well, you found Rodney's what's-it and made nice with him," John said. "By the way, you have got to explain to me how Rodney came to be 'Dr. Shit.'" Aiden froze for a heartbeat and then forced himself to keep moving.
"You heard that, eh?"
"Yeah, as I came down the corridor I heard you call Rodney 'Dr. Shit' and him call you 'Lieutenant Jarhead.'"
"Just terms of endearment," Aiden shrugged.
"So suddenly Rodney's your new best friend?" John scoffed.
"Oh, he's not so bad once you figure out how to handle him," Aiden replied.
"It was his idea: fight fire with fire. He attacked me with his tongue; I just fought back with mine."
"Well, I'm glad you two have kissed and made up because he just asked if I could free up a little time for you to give him a few lessons in hand to hand combat."
"I'm all for it, if you're willing. The more confident he is in the field the better things will be for everyone on our team. Of course, this is Rodney we're talking about so if you agree to this you'll have to do it on his terms."
"What are his terms?"
"Well, you can't take him away from his lab time, so he wants his lessons during off hours. And he wants them totally private--he apparently expects to make a spectacle of himself and doesn't want the entire base to see."
"It'd be okay if I made videotapes, though, right?" Aiden quipped. "Just so I can study his technique," he added with a wink.
"Devious little whelp!" John laughed. "So are you up for that?"
"Yeah," Aiden said thoughtfully. "Sure; I'm willing." John eyed him skeptically, but couldn't find anything to pin a doubt on.
"Listen; don't go too hard on Rodney. He can be an arrogant prick when the mood strikes him--."
"...And it frequently does," Aiden teased.
"Yeah, but he's really handy to have around."
"I know, sir. I promise I won't leave a mark on him."
Late in the evening two days later, Aiden led Rodney into a small room far from the main area of the city. He closed and locked the door behind him as Rodney looked around.
"I've set up a rather ambitious training schedule for you," he said as he handed the physicist a clipboard.
"Calisthenics?" Rodney said with a pained look.
"You want to become a lean, mean fighting machine, don't you?" Aiden asked as he pulled a mat to the center of the floor.
"No, actually; I just wanted to roll around on the floor with one," Rodney admitted. Aiden came up behind him and wrapped his arms around his waist.
"Twenty minutes of calisthenics every night as a warm up," he said into Rodney's ear. "Every night--even when you and I don't train together."
"Sir, yes, sir," Rodney said with a shiver.
"And then once you're warmed up we'll move on to your lessons," Aiden said before licking Rodney just under his ear and having the satisfaction of feeling Rodney's knees go weak. He held his lover till he became steady again and began to read.
"'Easy take-downs,' 'disarming opponents,' 'taking and giving blows--I think we already had that lesson," Rodney said with a snort.
"Practice makes perfect, Rodney."
"You had no complaints about my technique the other day."
"The other day I was too busy enjoying the silence to notice your technique."
"Silence? You were moaning so loudly I thought they'd hear you in the north tower!"
"You know, I think I really prefer you with your mouth full," Aiden said as he nuzzled Rodney's throat.
"Then fill my mouth," Rodney challenged, turning in his arms to kiss him deeply before falling to his knees. But when he reached for the cords of Aiden's sweats, the lieutenant grabbed his hands and pushed them down to the floor.
"Since you're down there, we'll start with push ups."
"You're joking, right?" Rodney hazarded a look into Aiden's eyes. He was definitely not joking. "Oy."
"So how are the lessons coming along?" John asked Rodney over breakfast a week later.
"I'm so sore my bruises have bruises," Rodney sighed into his coffee.
"I thought you were going to go easy on him, Ford," John complained. His second in command merely shrugged and rose to dispose of his tray. John noted that Aiden was walking a little oddly and smirked. "It looks as though you aren't the only one who's a little sore today."
"Every once in a while I manage to get in a few licks of my own," Rodney said with a grin.