Fandom: Stargate: Atlantis
Summary: When someone offers you his heart, take it.
Author's Note: This was written in 2005 and I somehow neglected to post it here. Happy Valentine's Day for those of you who observe.
"You've got the all clear, John," Elizabeth said as she descended the stairs and approached the group assembling at the gate. John didn't hear her, however. He was trying to pull something out of the pocket that normally held his life signs detector.
"What the hell?" he muttered as he pulled out a piece of red paper. Unfolding it, he saw that it was a heart about six inches high and completely blank. John frowned at it wonderingly. "A heart? Where did this come from?"
"I see you got one, too," Elizabeth said. "I found one on my desk this morning and Dr. Grodin found one inside his laptop."
"I found one on my pillow this morning," Teyla said. "What is the significance of this heart?"
"It's yet another earth custom," John said. "On a certain day of the year it's customary to give a token of affection to someone you care a great deal about."
"Then someone seems to care a great deal about all of us," she said with a smile.
"Apparently," Stackhouse said as he pulled a rolled-up heart out of the barrel of his P-90.
"I found one under my door this morning," another marine said with a slight blush.
"I didn't get one," Aiden said dejectedly.
"In that case, you may have my heart, lieutenant," Teyla said with a smile.
"That's really sweet of you; thanks," he replied, delight and surprise evident in his face.
"Is it just me or did it just get warmer in here?" John teased. "Let's go, people. Load up and move out." He adjusted his vest as Aiden walked through the gate totally oblivious to everything but the woman in front of him.
"Lord, I hope there are no unfriendlies on the other side. He'd be toast," John said with a smirk before he followed them. When he reached the other side of the gate he turned and waited for Rodney, who came through wearing a pout. "What's eating you?"
"I didn't get one, either."
"Oh, for crying out loud, McKay," John said as he rolled his eyes. "It's just a piece of paper." Rodney's expression didn't waver. He sighed and reached into his pocket. "Here; you can have mine."
"Thanks, but I'd prefer to have my own," Rodney said as he walked on ahead. John sighed again and stuffed the token back into his pocket. Then a thought hit him. He waited till the others were out of earshot before he spoke.
Rodney turned around.
"I just offered you my heart and you rejected it!"
"So?" John repeated angrily. It was Rodney's turn to sigh.
"All right; if it means that much to you, I'll take it."
"Don't do me any favors," John said as he stormed off after the others.
John was still in a foul humor late that afternoon when his team returned to the gate. Aiden drew Rodney aside and asked about the major's bad mood. Rodney explained what had happened between himself and John that morning.
"I wonder why you didn't get a heart," Aiden mused.
"Very simple," Rodney replied. "I'm the one who gave them out. It wasn't till I'd distributed them all that I realized that I wasn't going to be getting a valentine myself."
"Bummer," Aiden agreed. "Hey wait! I didn't get one either!"
"Well, I wasn't going to be the only one without a valentine, was I? Besides, what are you complaining about? You got something even better. I don't think Teyla was just talking about a piece of paper back there in the gate room," Rodney said sotto voce. Aiden smiled at the thought of the opportunity before him.
"You might have gotten something better too. I know you've got the hots for Major Sheppard; maybe you should have accepted his offer."
Rodney's mouth fell open. It was the last thing he'd expected to hear Aiden say.
"Yes, I've got 'the hots' for the major," Rodney admitted miserably, "but that doesn't mean he's got the hots for me."
"Hey, he offered you his heart, didn't he? Get on the clue bus, McKay," Aiden said softly before he walked on ahead and caught up with Teyla.
Rodney froze in his tracks and considered the young lieutenant's words. He turned and looked at John, who was standing at the gate as Aiden dialed the address. He frowned and wondered at the major's angry reaction earlier.
"Do you need a special invitation, McKay?"
Coming out of his reverie, Rodney absently said yes before he could catch himself. Then he looked around and realized that everyone had gone through the gate save for John and himself.
"Well, you're going to be here a while then," John said tartly. He nonetheless waited for Rodney to reach the gate.
"I'm sorry, John," Rodney said. "My mind was engaged elsewhere."
"Yeah," John said as he turned to step through the event horizon. But Rodney stayed him with a hand on his arm.
"Wait. I owe you an apology," Rodney said. "You made a very thoughtful and generous offer this morning and I foolishly rejected it out of hand. I didn't mean to insult you by refusing your offer. I just--. I wasn't thinking."
"You weren't thinking? Oh, you'll have to come up with a better excuse than that," John replied.
"Hey, even I have my moments," Rodney said, "and as moments go, that was a lulu. I mean there you were offering me your heart and I unthinkingly rebuffed it with absolutely no consideration for--."
"Yeah, I remember," John said pointedly.
"I am sorry, John."
"Swell," John said turning toward the gate. Rodney grabbed his arm once more.
"If your offer still stands..."
"Why? I thought you said you'd prefer your own heart to mine," John replied. Neither man pretended to be discussing paper valentines and Rodney knew that the answer to this question would determine what, if anything, happened next. He averted his eyes and rubbed his hands together nervously. He squirmed for a moment, and then his answer came out in a spill of words.
"You know me, John; arrogant, presumptuous, vain. I always expect the best of myself. I always expect the best for myself. And yours is clearly the superior heart here, John," Rodney said desperately. "Yours is a heart worth having. Mine... mine is useless without a heart like yours to guide it. So if you're still willing to give it I'd rather have yours."
John tried to suppress a smile, but he failed miserably.
"You silver-tongued charmer, you," he said as he tousled Rodney's hair and turned toward the gate for the third time. "Just don't expect chocolate and flowers," he said before he stepped through.
Laughing, Rodney followed him through the gate. Once on the other side, he caught Aiden's eye and smiled. The lieutenant returned a "thumbs up" sign and went off to stow his equipment.
"So," Rodney said as he and John ambled after him. "Since you don't plan on coming across with the chocolate and the flowers, I suppose it falls to me to provide the romance."
"Why Rodney McKay, whatever do you have in mind?" John asked as Dr. Zelenka breezed past him, a bright red heart in his hand. John turned to watch him go down the hall smiling happily. "I wonder where all those hearts came from, anyway?"
"I don't know, but I have a theory," Rodney said.
"Ford? You've got to be kidding," John said.
"What, you think it was a complete accident that he was the only one without a heart this morning? Teyla fell right into his trap," Rodney said, warming to his white lie.
"You didn't get one, either," John reminded him.
"Yes I did," Rodney said smugly. Aiden Ford saw to it that I did.
"Oh yes, that's right," John said reaching into his pocket and passing the scrap of red paper to his soon to be lover. "You did."