[identity profile] sgasesa-admin.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] sga_santa
Title: Deep
Author: [livejournal.com profile] ladysorka
Recipient: [livejournal.com profile] hoktauri
Pairing: John Sheppard/Rodney McKay
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: Not mine
Author's Notes: Happy sga_santa, [livejournal.com profile] hoktauri!
Summary: Rodney didn't know why John got to be the angry, surly one after their awkward one night stand.

---

Rodney's head was throbbing.

"McKay. McKay! Rodney!" Someone was shaking him. "God damnit, Rodney."

Rodney tried to push them away. "My head hurts. Also, everything else."

"Congratulations, you're still alive. Get up." John's voice was terse.

Rodney opened his eyes and turned to look at him. The room was lit only by the light of the small LED lantern Rodney kept in his pack. John looked eerie and unreal in the glow. "What happened?"

John grimaced. "I was hoping you could tell me."

Rodney struggled to sit up and winced. His body did not want to be moving. "Ow. Ow ow ow. Do we have any codeine? Tell me we have codeine."

"You're fine, McKay."

"You can't know that! I could have--"

"McKay!" John had his arms crossed and was almost scowling. Rodney fought the urge to reach over and slap him and tell him to grow up. He didn't know why John got to be the angry, surly one after their awkward one night stand. It wasn't like Rodney had been the one to sneak out the next morning and then refuse to talk about it.

"I have no idea what happened! You landed the jumper on that deathtrap of a platform in the middle of the ocean, we got out of the jumper, and now we're here!" Rodney looked around. They were in a room that seemed to be Ancient in design, which was completely empty except for him and John. "Ronon and Teyla?"

John shook his head. "Not here, and my radio isn't working."

Rodney brought his hand up to his radio. "Teyla? Ronon? Can you hear me?" There was no response. He turned to John. "Nothing."

John sighed and stood up. Rodney waited a moment for the hand to help him up, but it didn't come. He rolled his eyes. If John didn't get over this soon, Rodney was going to have to try something rash. Maybe he'd e-mail Jeannie and tell her what had happened. John would never know what hit him.

Rodney pushed himself off the ground and picked up the lantern. He followed John quietly down the corridor leading out of the room. Everything was completely silent, not even the faint hum of machinery, and it was pitch black except for the light given off by their lantern. Even the normal faint ambient lights from the power conduits were missing, which was a very bad sign. The corridor ended in a small room with a console and a large window, which looked out onto a world just as black as the room, though Rodney thought he could see some lights flickering on and off in the distance.

He blew the dust off the console and turned it on. There was almost no power. He could get the display to engage, but only barely. An attempt to turn on the lights returned an error message. He frowned, knelt down, and opened up the console. Half the crystals were dark. "Oh, great."

John turned away from the window. "What?"

"I can't turn the lights on. Well, I could, but only if you wanted the shield to fail."

"What shield, McKay?"

Rodney gestured out the window. "The one protecting us from the water."

"McKay!"

Rodney sighed. "We're underwater, Sheppard. About five kilometers down, if I'm reading this right. The platform the jumper landed on is probably right above our heads."

"Underwater."

"Under. Water. Do I need to use smaller words?"

John made a face and turned back to the window. "So the lights are what, fish?"

"How the hell should I know? Do I look like a marine biologist?" Rodney turned back to the scrolling data and paused. He couldn't have read that right. He read it again and swallowed. "So. We have a problem."

"What kind of problem?"

Rodney waved at the console. "The transporter that brought us down here is malfunctioning. It's a miracle we're both still in one piece."

"Malfunctioning how, exactly?" John asked.

"Malfunctioning as in it won't be able to transport us back up unless you don't mind your component atoms not being able to come back together."

John winced. "I'll pass. Can you fix it?"

Rodney shook his head. "It's malfunctioning for the same reason the lights aren't working. It's not getting enough power."

"So transfer some power!" John glared at him.

"If I transfer power, the shield stops working, and we get crushed by thousands of meters of water and die!"

"What about boosting the power somehow?"

"Oh, yes, of course. Did you remember to bring your spare naquadah generator today? Because I forgot mine!"

John scowled at him. "So what are our options, McKay?"

"I don't know yet, I'm still thinking. I'll come up with something. I am excellent under pressure, you know."

John made an exaggerated wince.

"What? That. Oh, for. You have the sense of humor of a twelve year-old."

"Pot. Kettle." John smirked, then seemed to remember he was mad at Rodney and it fell away. Rodney suppressed a sigh.

Something in the scrolling data caught his eye. "Hmm."

"What?" John asked, warily.

"There's an emergency escape vehicle on the other side of the compound." Rodney frowned at the console.

John waited for a moment, then said impatiently, "Okay, why isn't that a good thing?"

"It is! It's a very good thing. But it's on the other side of the compound, in a different building." Rodney pointed at the window.

John looked out and squinted. "There are other buildings?"

"There's eight of them, though two are completely flooded and none of them have more than emergency power."

"So let's find the pressure suits and go, McKay."

Rodney shook his head. "There aren't any pressure suits."

"What do mean, there aren't any pressure suits?"

"Haven't you heard anything I've been saying?" Rodney walked over to the far wall and ran his hand over a sensor. A door opened and cold air flooded in. "There's a shield protecting the compound. We can walk."

"I'm still not seeing the downside here, McKay."

"Fine. I'll explain it in tiny little words, just for you." He held up a finger and started counting down. "One: there's no heat out there. The air is roughly the same temperature as the water, which is below freezing. Two: it's on the other side of the compound, which is roughly the same area as Atlantis. Three: all we have for light is that--"

John cut him off. "Jesus, McKay. I get the damn picture."

"I haven't gotten to the best part yet. The emergency escape vehicle has to launch into water. That means we have to turn the shield off, and, so far as I can tell, we can only do that from here."

John gaped at him. "That's one hell of a design flaw."

Rodney snorted. That was a bit of an understatement. "I think I can set it to turn off the shield at a delay, but if we run into any problems..." He trailed off and clapped his hands together. "Smash."

"Have I ever mentioned how much I hate the Ancients?" John sighed. "Do it."

Rodney pressed his lips together and nodded. He entered a code on the console, then took a deep breath and set it running. "We have roughly two hours."

"Right." John grabbed the lantern and set out the open door.

*

Rodney shivered and tried not to trip in the muck. The very top was dry, but right beneath that was silt that was full of freezing cold water that must have seeped in from the surrounding sea. He refused to let himself think about what that said about the state of the power-depleted shield.

Rodney rubbed his arms. "I can't feel my toes."

John's jaw clenched. "Hurry it up." He held up the life signs detector Rodney had calibrated to lock onto the faint energy signature of the escape vehicle. "Only a little bit further."

"We're running out of time."

"We wouldn't be if you'd just move a little faster!"

Rodney clenched his fists and tried to walk faster. The muck made for slow going. Something squelched under his boot and he slipped, flailing his arms out. John reached out and grabbed him before he could faceplant into the mud.

"Okay there, McKay?"

Rodney nodded and John dropped his hands like Rodney was on fire. Rodney glared at him. "Okay, I have had enough of this. What the hell is your problem?"

John didn't look at him and kept walking. "Gee, we're trapped under thousands of feet of water and Ronon and Teyla are missing. What do you think?"

Rodney snorted. "That's not what I'm talking about and you know it."

John turned his head back and glared at him. "There's no other problem."

"Right, yes, of course, that's why you've avoided me for a week and can't stand to touch me."

"We are not talking about this right now."

"Or ever, apparently." Rodney cocked his head. "I know I'm fantastic in bed, so that's not the problem."

John choked. "Jesus Christ, Rodney."

Rodney struggled forward against the muck. "You were great, if that's what you were worried about."

John's voice was strained. "Rodney. We are not talking about this."

"Yes, we are, because you can't run away and hide right now. At least tell me what I did, John." Rodney shivered and hugged his arms close to his chest.

"Rodney...."

"Talk, John. I know it's physically painful for you, but push through it."

John's hand clenched into a fist. "We were drunk. It shouldn't have happened."

Rodney rolled his eyes. "We weren't that drunk."

There was a long pause. Rodney trailed behind John in the muck. He really wished he had snow shoes. Mud shoes. He watched as John's hand clenched even tighter. His knuckles were getting disturbingly white.

John breathed out and his hand relaxed. "You're still dealing with your break-up with Jennifer."

Rodney stopped and stared at him. "I broke up with Jennifer six months ago!"

"You were dating for two years. You were engaged!"

"And we mutually agreed to break that off! It was a mutual break-up!" Rodney had never noticed how angry John sounded about that before. Interesting.

John was quiet for a moment. His fingers were digging into his thighs. "...you're straight. I didn't want to deal with the fallout."

Rodney couldn't help it. He laughed. "Seriously? Did you come to that conclusion before or after I blew you?"

John's jaw tightened. He was going to give himself TMJ the way he was going, which he completely deserved. He soldiered off in the mud and Rodney hurried to catch up with him. John mumbled something under his breath.

"What? I couldn't hear that."

"I shouldn't have let my control slip! But you and your stupid beer and your stupid smile and." John shook his head as if trying to shake something out of it and kept walking forward in the dark.

Rodney stared at him. His stupid smile? His smile? Well, that was a new and interesting data point. He suddenly remembered the way John had glared at Jennifer and the way he smiled at Rodney and something clicked in his brain. He pointed at John's back. "You've been in love with me for years!"

John stopped in the mud.

Rodney grinned. "You have! Oh god, has this been going on since before Jennifer?" John's shoulder's tensed. "...since before Katie?" The back of John's neck was starting to flush. That was impressive, given the cold.

John turned around. "Rodney, I."

Rodney cut him off. "You! You, you moron!" He slapped John upside the head. "If you'd just told me this years ago, we could've...."

John's watch started to beep, and his eyes widened. He grabbed Rodney's face, slamming their lips together. Rodney flailed and grabbed the back of John's coat, pressing into him. Rodney squeezed his eyes shut, waiting for the press of 500 atmospheres worth of cold water.

It didn't come. He opened one eye and looked out at the shield. It had started to flicker, but it wasn't down yet.

John grabbed his hand. "Run!"

They dashed ahead, sliding in the muck. The building they needed to reach was finally starting to come into view. Rodney fell and John pulled him up and kept running, almost dragging Rodney behind him. The shield was starting to flicker more above them, shrinking down around them just as John frantically waved his hand in front of the door of the building. It opened with a groan, and they ran in, their boots sliding on the floor.

Rodney tugged John into a left and practically skated down the corridor. They came to the end and Rodney placed his hand on the wall, opening a door to the side. They ducked in and scrambled into what looked like a small, round puddlejumper, its hatch already standing open.

John slammed his hand against the hatch close button and sat down in one of the two chairs, activating the HUD. A shield flashed into existence and Rodney sagged in relief against the back of the chair. John was still gripping Rodney's hand. Barely a moment later, water crashed into the side of the little jumper and Rodney tightened his fingers around John's, half-expecting the pressure to crush the ship like a bug. But the shield held steady, and Rodney let out a breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding.

"Let's not do that again," Rodney said, breathing hard.

John nodded and activated the thrusters, starting the craft's slow ascent. He rubbed his thumb against the back of Rodney's hand. "If I'd told you we could've what?"

Rodney blinked at him. "What?"

"If I'd told you that I had...." John stopped, then pressed on. "That I liked...." He stopped again.

Rodney took pity on him. "That you'd understandably fallen madly in love with me?"

John glared at him, then looked away and gave a jerky nod.

"God, you're a moron. Do you know how much sex we could've been having? I was single for over a year between Katie and Jennifer!" Rodney paused and stared out the window. The flickering fish lights were weirdly pretty. "Besides, I. You have to know that I've been rather fond of you for years. You're, ah, you're very important to me."

"Oh." John breathed out, like he was letting go of something heavy. "Oh."

"Yes, oh. You idiot." Rodney lifted their still entwined hands and lightly whacked John on the head with them. John glared at him, but didn't let go.

"Col... ...epperd... ...copy?" A voice came over the little jumper's radio. Rodney reached over to boost the signal. "Doctor McKay, do you copy?"

John flicked on the microphone. "We're here," he said, his voice completely steady. "McKay and I had a bit of an adventure, but we're in a sub and should reach the surface in about..."

Rodney took a quick look at the ascent data. "Three hours."

"What McKay said."

"...a sub, sir?"

"We'll explain everything when we reach the surface, Major."

A new voice came over the radio. "John? Are you and Rodney all right?"

"We're both fine, Teyla," Rodney answered her. He squeezed John's hand and smiled at him. John ducked his head and squeezed back. "Just fine."
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