pre-slash, gen, ~900 words
Believe in Things You Can't See
"You're late," Donna said when he got in. He thought about reminding her that she was Josh's assistant not his, but it hadn't ever worked before so he let it go this time.
"Sorry," he said instead. "Woke up with the 'flu."
"And made a miraculous recovery on 16th Street ?" she asked archly, trotting along beside him as he walked to his office.
He flashed her a grin. "Something like that." If by 'recovery' she meant mainlining the – mostly in-date – Tylenol and Benadryl that he'd found in his medicine cabinet.
"John," she wined, putting all the emphasis she could into the one word.
"Donna," he mimicked.
"Pharmaceuticals are bad for you. It's been documented. Also, wrong way."
He stopped. "What?"
"Yes, PBS did a documentary on the effects of-"
"No. Donna. Why did you say I'm going the wrong way? My office is thataway." If it wasn't, he was totally swearing off anything but camomile tea for life.
She gave him a look that said she was very disappointed in him; he spared a moment to pity Josh for having to put up with this every day. "You're doing that meeting for Toby, remember? Hence me saying you were late. I wasn't being abstract, you know."
John cursed and turned on his heel.
The meeting had started without him. Ed and Larry were at one end of the table and a man who was presumably the infamous Dr Rodney McKay was at the other.
He didn't look all that infamous, John thought, as he peeked through the glass door. Brown suit (dishevelled), white shirt (twisted collar) and dark tie (knot pulled tight and a couple of inches down from his neck as if he'd been tugging on it). He was solid and balding and flushed, with eyes that were far too blue for anyone above the age of six.
Ed and Larry were looking at him with twin expressions of abject terror so John thought he'd better get in there.
"We need six billion," Dr McKay was saying, hands waving for emphasis. "Not five point five, not the measly five you idiots have graciously agreed to, but six. We can't pull miracles out of our asses on thin air and fairy dust." Fairy dust? John thought, eyebrows rising.
"Sorry I'm late," John said, hurriedly riding over whatever McKay was going to say next; he looked the type who could rant for hours. He held out his hand. "John Sheppard."
Dr McKay's own hands flailed uselessly for a second, halted in their eloquence. "Dr Rodney McKay," he said at last, finally getting control of his hands and offering the right one for John to shake. "And I must say that if the White House is rude enough to summon me for a seven am meeting - and not tell me about it until the night before might I add - you could at least have had the decency to be here on time. The red eye from Toronto is no joke, you know."
"You're Canadian?" John asked. "Why are we funding Canadians?"
"You're not." The idiot was implied. "I was visiting my sister. I'm from the NSF doing research in Hawaii. Have you done any preparation at all for this meeting?"
John looked at his notes. He hadn't but Donna had. He had to buy her a hamper or something someday. And find out who the hell his own assistant was and get him slash her fired.
"Hawaii? Nice." John said, taking a seat closer to McKay than Ed or Larry had apparently dared to and sorting through his papers. "You guys must get some awesome surf."
"Oh, God." McKay said through up his hands. "They've sent me a surfer? I guess the four hours I spent compiling a PowerPoint presentation when I could have been sleeping were all for nothing."
"Give it a go," John said, amused despite himself. "I'll try to follow along as best I can."
McKay's presentation was not quite as mind numbing as John had been expecting. It turned out he actually had some good ideas rather than simply bringing them the usual whine about lack of funds.
The third time John asked a question, McKay narrowed his eyes. "Who are you?"
"John Sheppard," John said, keeping his voice pleasant and his expression neutral. "We've already met."
This time, McKay's eyes rolled. "I mean, what do you do around here?" Around here, like he wasn't in the Roosevelt room of the fucking White House.
"I write speeches. And in my downtime I listen to Canadians tell me why they need six billion dollars."
McKay glared. "Why didn't they send me Ziegler?"
John grinned and tipped back his chair. "I don't think Toby likes you, Dr McKay."
"Yes, well." McKay tipped his head, apparently conceding that point. "A writer though. They couldn't have sent Lyman? At least he would have understood my argument before arbitrarily dismissing it."
John was enjoying himself but probably baiting scientists wasn't what he got paid to do. "I have a math degree, Doctor; I followed your argument just fine." His dream of flying hadn't shattered until his sophomore year and by then he'd been too stubborn and too angry to change his major. It had been a bitch to get into the Harvard English program with that and everything else hanging over his head, but he'd needed a complete change.
McKay looked a little stunned and, internally, John preened. He didn't tend to flaunt his qualifications (around here, they weren't even all that impressive) but the way this guy so obviously thought he'd been palmed off with the White House idiot grated on John's competitive edge.
"From where?" he almost squeaked.
"Undergrad was Berkeley. Post grad was Harvard." He smiled as innocently as he could. "And where did you go, Dr McKay?"
"I-." McKay's mouth opened and closed. "Just shut up and listen," he snapped.
John leaned back in his chair and caught Larry grinning at him. He winked back. Oh yeah, Josh had been right, this really was fun.
#4 ladyoflisquill wanted to know more about Carson's time as a cat in With Bones Like That.
Carson POV, background John/Rodney, ~ 1100 words
The One You Believe
Carson's father always said that he'd like to be reincarnated as a cat. These days, Carson can understand why. The biological imperative to sleep for sixteen hours a day means that Carson is better rested than he can ever remember being, there are no Wraith to worry about, and complicated emotions like fear and worry feel comfortably muted.
Yes, Carson can see why his father would want this life.
Carson's father, however, probably hadn't factored Rodney McKay's sex life into his thinking. In the last few days, since Rodney and his friend stopped shuffling around each other, there has been a lot of inappropriately noisy sex.
Carson has never wanted to know what Rodney sounds like when he comes but now Carson gets to hear it two or three times a day. At least. He's actually a little worried about both their hearts; this much sex can't be good for anyone.
It certainly isn't good for Carson, so he's decided to take refuge under the sofa. The sounds are muffled now and if Carson could still feel relief, he knows he would. Instead, he licks a paw and begins to clean his ear. It feels nice to be clean.
Cleaning his left ear leads logically to cleaning his right ear. And to cleaning his neck. And then it only makes sense to clean his back, his belly and his tail. Fur tastes strange on his tongue but not unpleasant. He hesitates before cleaning any of his more intimate areas, but it's private and dark under the sofa so he decides to go ahead. He really is amazingly flexible.
When Carson is clean, he looks up. There are ankles in his line of sigh. Narrow, female ankles and it feels very strange to look at those and think Rodney but of course, that's who it is.
Carson is just about to come out from under the sofa to see if he can convince Rodney to feed him – the most annoying thing about no longer having an opposable thumb is his inability to feed himself – when he hears Rodney sigh. It's long, drawn-out, gusty and upset and Carson hesitates. Normally, Rodney only sounds like that when he wants attention, but as far as Rodney knows he's alone.
Cautiously, Carson sneaks out from under the sofa and winds himself around Rodney's feet.
"What's wrong?" he asks, although of course it comes out sounding like meow?
Absently, Rodney drops his hand down and lets Carson butt his nose against it. "There you are," he says, sounding tired.
Carson looks up at Rodney, blinking. Rodney is wearing a t-shirt with writing across the front which Carson can no longer read and overly long, grey jogging bottoms. His face – his surprisingly pretty, female face – is pale and big-eyed. He looks as tired as he sounds.
If Carson were still human, he would put his arm around Rodney's shoulders, give him a bit of a friendly squeeze. But the only way he knows to give comfort in this body is to get into Rodney's lap and he isn't sure if that's appropriate.
"Oh for goodness' sake," Rodney says, rolling his eyes. "Come up here."
Carson hesitates but he can't exactly claim not to want to, so he thinks about jumping and lands on the sofa. It's strange, not being entirely sure which parts of his body are being used for the jump, but apparently some things are intuitive.
"What?" he asks again, bumping his head against Rodney's elbow.
Rodney lifts his arm and strokes Carson's back. Carson feels a purr start up in his chest, and curls happily on the sofa by Rodney's side, his head resting on Rodney's thigh. When Carson's human again, they are never speaking of this.
"What do you think of John?" Rodney asks quietly. "Actually, don't answer that. You had sex with Laura Cadman; I'm never trusting your opinion again."
Carson raises his head crossly. His excuse me? comes out as a hiss and he's surprised but mostly satisfied by that. Feeling that Rodney has been suitably chastised, he lays his head back down.
"We should never have come here," Rodney says, sounding like he's talking mostly to himself. "I mean what was I thinking? I've been in love with him for twenty years."
Carson twitches, rolling over so he can look up at Rodney. He'd suspected that Rodney's feelings for John went further than some experimental sex in his new body. Carson remembers one drunken evening with Rodney back on Atlantis when Carson had admitted his fondness for Lieutenant Cadman and Rodney had told Carson of the crush he'd had on a friend at college. It hadn't taken Carson long after arriving to realise that that had been John.
"Do you think I'm being stupid?" Rodney asks. Carson can't remember Rodney ever giving anyone an opening like that before.
Carson does think Rodney is being stupid, but not for the reasons Rodney thinks. He jumps down from Rodney's lap and pads towards the door.
"Oh come on," Rodney complains. "You're not a real cat, you could listen!"
Carson turns back towards Rodney and meows his most authoritative meow.
"What?" Rodney half rises out of his chair. Then he sits back down, huffing. "Oh what, are you Lassie now? Don't think I'm going to follow you."
Carson just stares at him. Smiling to himself when Rodney stands with a huff, following Carson to the door and down the hall. John's bedroom door is slightly open and swings open further when Carson pushes it with his nose.
"What?" Rodney hisses, "How is this answering my question?"
He breaks off and Carson looks up, seeing that John is awake and half-sitting up. The sheet has slipped down to his waist and his chest is bare and almost as hairy as Carson's chest currently is. Carson has an excuse though: he's a cat.
Above him, Rodney makes a noise and if Carson could look smug, he would.
"Hey," John drawls, holding out a hand. His smile is slow and lazy and Carson backs out of the room, slipping through Rodney's feet before he can get trapped in the bedroom and made to witness whatever's going to happen next.
The door swings shut in Carson's face and he swishes his tail, listening for the sound of the bed groaning when Rodney lies back down. With his enhanced hearing, he catches the sound of kisses, and hurries away quickly. He doesn't think Rodney should despair just yet.
#5 And finally... harriet_vane wanted something schmoopy from the Only One Place 'verse.
Jon/Ryan, background Brendon/Spencer, PG-13, ~ 1200 words
Doesn't Matter Where You Go
Paris is seriously the busiest place that Jon has ever been. Jon is from a big city, he thought he was used to them but this, God, this is like something out of a zombie movie or something.
There are people everywhere and in the spaces where there aren’t people – and sometimes in the spaces where there are - there are cars. Jon has learnt that he can’t stand still long enough to take a picture because someone will inevitably bump into him from behind.
Jon is maybe dreaming about next week when they're scheduled to go down to Cannes: sun, sand and Ryan in a swimsuit.
Ryan, obviously, is having the time of his life in Paris. “It’s Paris,” he keeps saying whenever Jon looks at him incredulously.
They’ve been here three days, Jon at least is still jetlagged, and he’s already beginning to think that there can’t be a museum or gallery or concert that they haven’t been to.
He’s exhausted and all he wants to do is nap, so tonight they've taken an evening off sightseeing and come back to the hotel to do just that. Obviously, because he actually has a chance to, Jon now can't sleep.
Ryan is sacked out on the bed, curled in on himself a little, fast asleep. It's Jon's own fault that he can't sleep, he knows. He was drifting off when he got distracted by the tiny sounds Ryan makes when he's dreaming and after he opened his eyes, he found it pretty much impossible to close them again.
Ryan is unfairly gorgeous when he's asleep. And Jon is maybe just a little bit smitten.
Eventually, he thinks that possibly not even the ring on his finger – he hasn't taken it off, not even to shower, but neither has Ryan so he guesses that's okay – is enough to stop the staring from being creepy so he makes himself stand up. The room spins lazily when he stands and he braces a hand against the wall. He's so tired.
Their hotel room has a computer in the corner and internet access for two Euros an hour so he thinks he might as well catch up with what's going on at home.
He has thirty-four unread messages in his spam folder and five in his inbox. He makes a face at the computer; that's kind of depressing.
Four of Jon's emails are from Tom. The first has a photograph of a tree, the second has a photograph of a lamppost, the third is of a guitar and the fourth is of Tom's feet. Jon checks the dates and sees that Tom has been sending him one per evening since Jon and Ryan left on their honeymoon.
Jon sighs. Tom has never been good at living alone. Jon hopes he's okay.
He logs into IM, hoping to find Tom and check he hasn't like escalated into taking pictures into other people's apartments or anything creepy like that but instead Brendon pops up.
Ping! he writes.
Jon can't help it; he grins. hey.
how's paris? ross joined the moulin rouge yet?
yeah, I think that closed down
no! Jon can picture the shocked, faux-scandalised face and it makes him irrationally homesick.
so, Brendon writes, i've got a question and no one here is being helpful – shane laughed at me
too early to add spencer to my facebook profile: y/n?
Jon thinks about Tom, sitting in his apartment alone, sending Jon pointless emails then forces himself not to think about that. It isn't Brendon's fault, isn't really anyone's fault. Brendon's all flushed with new love, it's insanely cute and Jon isn't going to rain on that parade.
maybe ask spence?
There's a pause then Brendon says: he took tom off... it made him sad... i don't want to remind him.
Brendon Urie is possibly the sweetest kid Jon has ever met.
dude. Are you seeing him soon?
Brendon sends Jon a frantically nodding emoticon. It's really creepy. seeing him tonight, making the most of the empty house ;)
It takes Jon a minute, then he nearly breaks his thumbnail typing dude! That's *my* empty house.
:-P Brendon sends then, gotta go, spence at door. thank u! xox
Right, Jon thinks, bemused. Anytime.
He checks his buddy list but Tom isn't online so instead he powers up his camera and snaps a picture of the lampshade on his desk, quickly transferring it to the computer and emailing it to Tom. He'll find a payphone and call Tom tomorrow, he decides. He can't really do it now, what with how his eyes are closing.
It's way more effort than it should be, but Jon manages to shut down the computer and drag himself back to the bed. Now he's sleepy.
He stretches out next to Ryan, stealing half of Ryan's pillow because his own feels too cold and far away. Ryan twitches, breath puffing out across Jon's face and Jon burrows close, closing his eyes.
Jon wakes to lips on his, soft and tentative. “Hey,” he says. He doesn’t open his eyes but he can tell that it's still dark outside his eyelids.
“Hi,” Ryan mumbles against Jon’s chin.
Jon reaches around until his hands are on Ryan’s back. Ryan is poised over him and the soft material of Ryan’s t-shirt meets Jon’s fingertips.
"Okay?" Jon asks. It's a weird time for Ryan to be awake, even with the jetlag.
Ryan shrugs. "I woke up." He shifts like he's going to move away. "Sorry, I should have let you sleep. I'll-"
Jon tightens his hold, drags Ryan back down until Ryan sighs and doesn't-quite-relax against Jon's chest. "Think you can go back to sleep?" Jon asks.
Ryan hesitates then shakes his head. "Sorry."
Jon wants to roll his eyes and tell Ryan that it's fine, randomly insomniac moments are totally not a deal breaker, but Ryan doesn't tend to listen to people telling him things like that.
Instead, Jon pushes up on one elbow and shuffles them both up the bed a little until they're propped against the headboard.
Once they're settled, Ryan puts his head back against Jon's shoulder, which is all Jon needs.
Jon reaches out the arm not now wrapped around Ryan's waist until he finds the TV remote. "We don't need-" Ryan starts to protest but shuts up when Jon switches on the TV. There's some movie playing, in French obviously and without any subtitles.
"Oh," Ryan says and it takes Jon a minute to realise that he recognises this movie; Ryan took him to see it on campus in their first year of dating. "Oh," Ryan repeats. In the light from the TV, his expression is more awake and his eyes are glowing. "Do you mind?"
"Nah." Jon tips his head back against the headboard and closes his eyes. He vaguely remembers the plot of this one, and the hum of voices he doesn't understand is relaxing, but he'd rather concentrate on the feel of Ryan pressed up against him, watching a French movie, in France, on their honeymoon.
It might be the middle of the night and Jon might still be almost unbelievably tired but all in all he's pretty content.