Daniel was zinging with anticipation, finally, *finally* he was going to see Atlantis. Colonel Caldwell had informed him they would be in orbit in a few minutes. Everything was ready, he'd made sure of it, as soon as Caldwell got the all clear form Atlantis, Daniel would be able to beam down and finally see the great city of the ancients for himself.
The Daedalus bridge crew seemed completely at ease, Daniel supposed they'd gotten use to this, the ship had been back and forth to Earth a half dozen times in the last year, but to Daniel it was new and exciting.
"Atlantis, this is Colonel Caldwell on the Daedalus, we're ready to begin transporting supplies and personnel." Caldwell said. Daniel practically had to bite his tongue to keep himself steady.
"Huh... yes, yes, whatever." The scattered reply came back, it took Daniel a second to place the voice that clearly didn't belong to Elizabeth Weir, as belonging to Rodney McKay.
"Doctor McKay?" Caldwell seemed as curious as Daniel felt.
"Yes?" the irritated voice returned. Daniel smiled, something's never changed.
"Where is Doctor Weir?" Caldwell asked.
"Clearly she isn't here. She's off-world. Now are you going to transport the supplies or just annoy me over the comm, because I'm very busy doing very important things and..."
"We're beginning transport now." Caldwell interrupted quickly, giving a nod to close the channel.
"Doctor Jackson. Enjoy you're stay on Atlantis." Caldwell said with a smirk as Daniel felt the transporter beam take hold.
Daniel gazed about in wonder; he'd seen pictures and digital video feed but nothing compared to actually standing in the middle of an ancient city. It was beautiful. The gate was a little different than Earth's but still essentially the same.
"If you gush I'm going to tell Caldwell to keep you on the Daedalus for the rest of your stay in the Pegasus Galaxy." Daniel spun around, coming face to face with Rodney McKay.
He hadn't changed much physically, Daniel thought. He looked like he'd lost a little weight maybe, packed a little more muscle, but then Daniel knew well that you couldn't run around the galaxy chasing or being chased by people who wanted to kill you without getting into shape.
Reports from Atlantis suggested he had changed thought. Certainly Daniel couldn't imagine the Rodney McKay he remembered from the SGC doing some of the things he'd heard from the reports. Saving the lives he'd saved. He had obviously changed.
"If I promise not to gush, will I get a tour?" Daniel asked, following Rodney up the stairs into the control room. It was strange seeing the Earth technology hooked into Ancient systems, wires poking here and there.
"Yes, because I have time for that." Rodney retorted, rolling his eyes.
Daniel chuckled. Maybe he hadn't changed that much.
"But I promised not to gush." Daniel said, with a pout, it was the kind that would always earn him a glare from Jack, but not without also getting him what he wanted.
"And I promised Elizabeth not to kill anyone while she was gone, I'm *fairly* sure that promise included anyone from the Daedalus as well as Atlantis. You wouldn't want me to break that promise would you?" Rodney said.
Daniel smiled. Rodney glared.
"Oh fine. Zelenka, keep working. I'm going to show Doctor Jackson around." Rodney snapped to the little man who was half wrapped in wires. Blue eyes glanced at Rodney though wire-rimmed glassed with amusement, before the man turned back to his work without comment.
Daniel could barely take it all in. Rodney babbled on about anything and everything. There was so much information, so much to learn, Daniel felt like he could be here for ten lifetimes and still not know everything about this city that Rodney seemed to.
"I'm hungry. Are you hungry? Because I haven't eaten in at least three hours." Rodney said stopping in the middle of the corridor.
"I could eat I guess." Daniel agreed. Despite how much he wanted to just keep exploring, because he was a little hungry and he didn't want to risk Rodney handing him off to someone else to continue the tour. Rodney seemed to know and understand so much about Atlantis.
The mess-hall or what passed for it was serving a strange mix of Earth foods and foods found in the Pegasus Galaxy. Daniel picked mostly things he didn't recognise, earning him a diatribe from Rodney on the evils of Pegasus Galaxy foods.
"... except the Athosians, who have these really delicious little purple things that kinda look like baby pumpkins but they taste like caramel." Rodney explained, happily munching on a piece of chicken.
"Well maybe you've just been trying the wrong things." Daniel suggested.
Rodney looked at him with wide eyes. "I've tried everything. Well almost anyway. Except obviously the things that look like they might have citrus in them, because going into anaphylactic shock and dying is not my idea of a good time."
"I'll be sure to remember not to send you oranges for your birthday." Daniel said, smirking.
"You've spent far too much time around O'Neill. It's disturbing; I thought you were supposed to be intelligent. Well you know for someone who's into the soft sciences." Rodney said.
"He has been rubbing off on me." Daniel agreed, ignoring Rodney's barb as best he could.
"Hmmm... oh, are you done?" Rodney asked, his eyes suddenly lighting up like something really fantastic had just occurred to him.
Daniel nodded, grabbing the red vaguely apple like fruit he'd picked up for desert. "Yeah."
"Come on. We can take a jumper to the mainland. I have to go and check their naquadah generator and I bet you'd get a kick out of talking to the Athosians. They wear animal skins and everything." Rodney said, grabbing several things from his tray and shoving them into his pockets before leading Daniel of at a hustle. Clearly running around the Pegasus Galaxy had gotten Rodney in much better shape than he looked, Daniel decided, he could sure as hell move fast.
Daniel felt a little queasy in the 'Puddle Jumpers' - Rodney clearly didn't have Jack's skill with the ancient shuttles, for lack of a better word. The ride had been much smoother last time he'd been in one of these.
"I'm getting much better, at least according to Colonel Sheppard, who I suppose is half way intelligent." Rodney told him, setting them down on the edge of a small encampment.
As soon as Rodney opened the back hatch three of four children buzzed around him.
"Yes, okay, I'm here, that's nice, go away." Rodney said, clearly uncomfortable. Daniel watched with amusement. Rodney McKay wasn't good with children. Shocking.
"Look I brought someone new, he likes kids, his name is Daniel, go annoy him." Rodney told them.
The children glanced at Daniel, back at Rodney and clearly decided Rodney was much more interesting, until a man with shoulder length hair approached and ordered them all away.
"Doctor McKay. It seems every time you visit you attract the attention of our children." The man said, clearly as amused as Daniel.
"Unfortunately." Rodney agreed. "Daniel Jackson, Halling. Halling, Doctor Daniel Jackson, he's from Earth, an archaeologist, he's interested in learning more about Athosian culture. I'm going to see to the generator, you kids try not to have too much fun without me!" Rodney said, pausing for a moment as if he realised something, before shaking his head in disgust and leaving Daniel standing at the entrance to the jumper alone.
"Doctor McKay's rudeness aside, he's right, I'm an archaeologist. I've read everything in the Atlantis teams reports about you're people but the chance to interact first hand and learn from that... I don't wish to impose but..."
"Not at all Doctor Jackson, please, come, it is almost time for evening meal." Halling said.
"Oh I already ate..." Daniel said.
"That is fine, come anyway, it will give you time to talk to some of our people." Halling assured him. Daniel relaxed easily, these people weren't a threat and Halling seemed open and perfectly willing to share information about his culture. For the next several hours Daniel was in archaeologist heaven.
Rodney returned to find him deep in discussion with Halling over the Athosian bonding ceremonies.
"Were you planning on getting married while you're here?" Rodney asked.
"Only if you'll have me." Daniel retorted, laughing along with Halling when Rodney turned a nice shade of red. Some days being best friends with Jack O'Neill paid of and today was such a day. He'd had so much practice bouncing sarcastic barbs back and forth with Jack for a decade; it was almost too easy to toss retorts back at Rodney.
"No thank you I have better taste." Rodney eventually retorted insisting that if Daniel didn't hurry up he'd leave him on the mainland over night.
Daniel reluctantly followed Rodney to the jumpers. "So what was wrong with their generator?" he asked as Rodney took off.
"Huh... oh nothing, just some minor fluctuations. I imagine you're tired, all you're things have probably been taken to quarters somewhere, we'll find out in the control room where you were assigned and you can go to bed." Rodney said.
"Actually I'm wide awake. There is so much to learn here." Daniel replied.
"And not nearly enough hours in the day to learn it all." Rodney agreed.
"I don't want to hold you back from you're work anymore though, I've probably taken up enough of you're time." Daniel said, surprised at the tinge of disappointment. He realized he'd *enjoyed* spending time with the acerbic scientist... he really had spent too much time around Jack if he found sarcasm entertaining.
"I have to make sure no one blew anything up in the labs and the Daedalus was supposed to bring some new supplies for the science department I really have to go through them, but..." Rodney looked at him and paused, as if considering his next words, "I suppose if you can wait until I've done that, I could show you some of the things we've been working on. I doubt you'd understand most of it, of course, but..."
Daniel smiled and nodded as Rodney prattled on. He was sure Rodney was insulting him somehow, but he couldn't honestly find it in himself to mind. Daniel was beginning to understand what Sam had said about Rodney McKay. As much as she'd disliked him, she'd been inexplicably attracted to him. Daniel had to bite back a chuckle, Sam would never let him live if down, if she discovered Daniel was similarly enthralled by the prickly scientist.
Daniel laughed harder than he could ever remember laughing. They hadn't actually made it to the labs. Elizabeth had returned while they were on the mainland along with Colonel John Sheppard, who Daniel immediately took too. He reminded him of Jack, clearly a man of honour, but with a darker edge to him. Daniel wondered as he watched them banter back and forward if that was what people saw when they watched him and Jack.
The easy flow of thinly disguised insults with the underlay of deep respect. Of course, Daniel knew well the rumours about him and Jack, which led him to wonder if maybe Rodney and John were... no, it was crazy. After all just because people thought he and Jack were, they weren't actually, he should know better than to make assumptions.
"... so there is this really quite attractive woman, flirting with Rodney *really* unsubtly. I mean I've seen call-girls with more subtle moves than this and Rodney is *clueless*" John regaled.
"It never would have worked out anyway, she only wanted me because she thought I was an ancient." Rodney said. "Now, if you've quite finished embarrassing me immensely I have actually got work to do tomorrow, so I think I'll turn in."
"Awww. We made him blush." John said not at all apologetically.
Rodney glared at him, but it all held that undertone of friendship and respect that made Daniel miss Jack just a little. It was amazing how fighting a common enemy could take two people who might otherwise want to kill each other (although there were still occasions Daniel wanted to throttle Jack) and make them best friends.
"I think I'll turn in too, it's been a long day. Elizabeth if we could talk tomorrow..."
"Of course Daniel, I'll free up some time for you." Elizabeth said with a bright smile.
"I suppose I'll show you your quarters, since I seem to be going that way." Rodney suggested. "We'll have to stop by the control room and..."
"He's on the command corridor, E35." John supplied helpfully.
"Huh. Okay. Well are you coming or not?" Rodney asked.
"Sure, right, night." Daniel said following Rodney quickly, because clearly he didn't feel like waiting.
"Erm... maybe it's none of my business but..." Daniel said as he followed Rodney into the transporter.
"Why do people always say that right before the stick their nose into other people's business?" Rodney asked.
"Oh fine, what's none of your business, but you're going to ask anyway?" Rodney said.
"Well, you seemed in a rush to get out of there, but you didn't really seem offended by what Sheppard was saying." Daniel said.
"Because I wasn't. It was true, I had no idea she was flirting with me. That wasn't what bothered me. I screwed up, we'd have had a ZPM right then if I hadn't told her we were from Earth and had only recently come to Atlantis." Rodney told him.
"It wasn't your fault. You couldn't have known." Daniel said.
Rodney turned around and looked at him. "No, I couldn't have, but if I had a lot of people would still be alive."
"I know the feeling." Daniel told him.
Rodney flicked his head to the side. "Yes I suppose you do." He agreed.
Rodney showed Daniel how to use a few of the ancient gadgets in his room. Because Daniel didn't have the gene he'd have to use them manually, but luckily all the necessities could be used without the gene.
"This place is really amazing." Daniel said, sitting down on the bed.
"Yeah, it is." Rodney agreed. "Anyway, you're tired, I'm tired, I should go."
"Okay. Sure. I guess. Thank you, for today, I'm sorry if I kept you from anything important..." Daniel stood up to shake his hand.
Rodney shook his head. "No, it's fine, it's time my team started earning their keep, I can't be there to do everything all the time and I... it was..."
"Fun." Daniel suggested with a smile.
"Yeah." Rodney agreed.
"Yeah." Daniel repeated. He was getting a dreadful sense of déjà vu, the kind that reminded him of when he was a gangly teenager trying desperately to fit in with people older than him and deal with raging hormones.
Rodney's hand was firm in his own and the heat was... Daniel's tongue flickered out to wet his lips, he wondered what it would be like to kiss Rodney, which was crazy, because he was sure he wasn't even suppose to like him. Except he was smart and funny, sure he was also sarcastic and rude, but that was kinda hot too.
"Erm..." Rodney's eyes darkened and flickered around quickly, his face flushed. Daniel was sure this was possibly the craziest thing he'd ever done, but he was in another galaxy, so really in the grand scheme of crazy this was probably... actually not... and so he did exactly what he was thinking about. He leaned in and kissed Rodney.
Rodney tasted like coffee. Daniel almost wanted to laugh, he was sure he tasted the same, between just them they'd put away several pots that day. Rodney's lips were slightly chapped, but the fitted nicely against his own. Daniel let his fingers reach up and tangle in Rodney's short hair; because he figured if he was going to do something insane, he should really go all out.
"Oh God, this is a really bad idea," Rodney panted, still half wrapped up in the kisses.
"Uh huh." Daniel agreed, but neither of them made anymore to disentangle themselves, in fat Daniel's hands were inching non-to-subtly under Rodney's blue t-shirt.
"Really... really... oh," Rodney gasped when Daniel's hand found one keen nipple flicking it idly with his fingers.
Daniel knew how bad an idea this was, knew how entirely crazy this was, but it still felt really damn good and it had been way too long since he'd... and Rodney did things with his tongue that made Daniel feel like he could die happy right at that moment because clearly insulting people kept Rodney's tongue flexible and agile and Daniel really didn't want him to stop.
Daniel woke up groggily. It wasn't yet light outside, but he knew Atlantis ran on slightly different time than Earth, so looking at his watch, which was still set to Earth time, was pointless. Rodney was curled around him, little puffs of air tickling his neck where Rodney's head rested. The man almost looked peaceful, except for the tell-tale flickering of the eyes under his lids that suggested even in sleep his mind was never fully at rest.
Last night had been... well Daniel had nothing to compare it too, in recent memory at least. Rodney was extremely passionate and entirely focused. It was at once amazing and a little scary. Oh and really, really, crazy.
"If you want to kick me out I won't be too offended." Rodney's voice startled him. Sleepy blue eyes stared at him, but despite the muzzy 'just woke up' look, it was clear his mind was working over time.
"No... no I don't want to kick you out. I was just thinking that this is really, really crazy." Daniel said.
"You've spent a decade fighting parasitic aliens who want to use you're body for their nefarious means, now you have the charming Ori to contend with... and I get to risk life and limb exploring the Pegasus Galaxy trying not to get eaten by weird human/bug hybrids... *This* is positively sane compared to an average day in our lives." Rodney said his expression entirely serious, but there was mirth in his eyes.
"Yeah. You're probably right." Daniel agreed.
"Oh course I'm right, genius here and..."
Daniel smiled and cut him off with a kiss. He'd have to suggest this method to Sam in her future dealings with him... she'd appreciate a way to shut him up.
Then again... maybe not.