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McKay watched Sheppard scratch his stomach, a hint of tanned flesh and dark hair showing beneath his t-shirt while he stretched lazily across the couch. It was well into the early hours of the morning, most of Atlantis was asleep, but McKay couldn't sleep and Sheppard had dragged him out of the lab, so there they were.

The football game was playing, but neither of them were particularly watching. Sheppard had seen it a dozen times and McKay just didn't care. But the background noise was soothing.

"Hell of a few days," Sheppard said eventually. McKay nodded in silent agreement, but he didn't really know what to say.

"That was a brave thing you did," Sheppard said.

"I didn't... You would have done it, if the shield had worked on you," McKay flushed.

"It was still a brave thing to do," Sheppard said, his voice quietly stubborn, even though his posture remained easy, lazy.

McKay had never seen anyone look so effortlessly at ease, he never felt at ease, anywhere. But Sheppard lay there; stretched and comfortable looking. His eyes met McKay's, his compliment hanging in the air between them.

"Thank you," McKay said tightly, because he didn't know what else he could say. Sheppard smiled easily, letting it reach his eyes. "I was terrified," McKay admits after a few moments hesitation. It comes out in a rush of air, but he knows Sheppard understood.

"It was pretty terrifying," Sheppard said, nodding agreeably.

"You never seem scared," McKay said. Granted they'd only known each other a couple of weeks, but everything about Atlantis terrified McKay, even the stuff that excited him, terrified him, Sheppard seemed so at ease with all of it.

"Everyone is scared McKay. You work through it, like you did today," Sheppard said.

"I don't want to be a hindrance out there," McKay said.

"Not going to happen. If I thought it was, you wouldn't be on my team," Sheppard said.

McKay nodded, thoughtful. "I won't let you down."

"I know," Sheppard smiled another easy, bright smile. McKay returned it, finding it easier to relax back into the chair he was sitting in. Sheppard shifted, rolling his shoulders, one leg dangling over the edge of the sofa, his eyes closing slowly, a smile tugging at the edge of his mouth.

McKay thought maybe he could do this after all. Sheppard had faith in him and that made having faith in himself a whole lot easier. McKay smiled, the corners of his mouth tugging up every so slightly and he let his own eyes drift closed as well.


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