It isn't necessary to know West Wing canon for this bit. John is Deputy Communications Director (Sam Seaborn's job) and Rodney is... something equally high ranking, that I haven't quite decided on yet (I'm hoping those people who offered minion services will help me out there.)
No spoilers for either show.
ETA: And because I apparently fail at life, I completely forgot to mention that the line about the President's Nobel came from shrewreader because she rocks.
The Best Defence Is An Eight Foot Giant
It was on the way back from Senior Staff that John noticed the cup of coffee sitting on the table outside his office. It was still hot, little wisps of white steam escaping through the air holes in the lid.
“Sweet,” he said, picking it up.
The move Rodney used to knock his hand away from his mouth would have been illegal in most football games.
“Hey!” John snapped, putting the cup back down and licking hot coffee off of his fingers.
“Are you crazy?” Rodney hissed, grabbing John’s hand and jerking it away from his mouth. “You’ve no idea who left that there; it could be poisoned.”
John put on his thoughtful face, hoping that if he looked like he was taking Rodney seriously, this could be over quicker. “Yeah,” he drawled, “I guess it could.” He paused. He was going to leave it there but his hand really smarted. “Assuming someone decided to brave a dozen guards with really big guns so they could deliver a poisoned cup of coffee to a speechwriter.”
Rodney’s mouth worked soundlessly for a moment. “You’re not a speechwriter, you’re the deputy communications director,” he finally came out with, which judging by the look on his face was not actually his point at all. He glared at John and stalked off, taking the coffee with him.
John looked helplessly at C.J. and Toby who’d been walking with them but had stopped several steps away when Rodney apparently went crazy. Toby rolled his eyes and went on his way; C.J. grinned at him brightly and waved over her shoulder before disappearing into her office.
John debated for a moment, before sighing and heading away from his office, following the corridor towards Rodney’s instead. In the eight months they’d been together, he’d learned to let Rodney’s dramatics slide, but John was curious about what could make Rodney voluntarily spill coffee; something he normally put on the same level as the Constitution on his list of Things That Should Not Be Destroyed.
Rodney was obviously in his office, John could hear the furious clack of laptop keys from out in the corridor and Laura, just coming out as John reach the door, mimed strangulation at him as she passed.
“Hey, Rodney,” John said, stepping into the office and shutting the door behind him. “Wanna tell me what’s up?”
Rodney continued typing for a minute, hitting the keys so furiously that John considered staging an intervention. With a final, angry stroke, Rodney got up, pushed John down onto the desk and glared at him. “Do you have any idea how many death threats you got this year?” he demanded.
Internally, John sighed. Every year, the secret service produced a report detailing why they’d been useful that year. And every year someone leaked the contents. “Forty?” he hazarded.
“Oh.” Rodney looked suddenly deflated. “You already know?”
“Lucky guess,” John promised him, swinging his legs and trying to look nonchalant and unthreatened. “Last year it was forty-one; I must be getting more popular.”
Rodney’s glare didn’t relax, if anything it got more fixed.
“Hey,” John said, leaning forward and touching Rodney’s arm. “Josh gets that many a month; they’re not serious.”
Rodney huffed. He’d been looking tired lately and John wanted to sit him down and kiss away the shadows and lines that hadn’t been there before they made him take this job. But they didn’t do that at work so he contented himself with sliding his hand down Rodney’s arm and squeezing his wrist.
“Seriously, Rodney, there’s nothing to worry about. If they thought I was in any danger they’d give me protection. That’s what they do.”
At that and unexpectedly Rodney’s eyes lit up. “Yes,” he said, sounding excited and already reaching for his desk phone. “You should get a bodyguard.”
Just as quickly, John leaned across the desk and grabbed Rodney’s hand, bringing it back from the phone. “We have Lorne and the gang,” John said, waving his hand in the vague direction of the security checkpoint where Marines stood guard all day and night.
“Oh good.” Rodney rolled his eyes. “Lorne. As long as no one tries to shoot you above shoulder height, he’ll be very helpful. Honestly, shouldn’t bodyguards be eight-foot hulks?”
“Lorne’s great, Rodney,” John promised, hopping down from the desk. “Now, I’ve got a speech to write. See you later, okay?”
“Hmm,” Rodney said.
John reached the door, but stopped, turned back. Rodney was bent low over whatever he was working on – after the small incident with the nuclear weapons and Congressman Cowen John was no longer allowed near policy until it was written and signed off on – and as John watched, an extra frown line popped up between Rodney’s eyes and his mouth quirked into a crooked, unhappy line.
John crossed back to Rodney and ducked down, kissing the corner of his mouth. “I’ll see you for lunch,” he said.
Rodney smiled slightly. “Yeah,” he said. “Okay.”
It was nearing lunch time when John heard footsteps in his doorway. Hoping it was either Rodney come to demand feeding or Bonnie with more work for him to do – anything really, which wasn’t the speech he was trying and failing to write – John looked up.
And up. He felt like one of those penguins who fall over backwards looking up at airplanes.
The guy in his doorway had practically become his doorway. The top of his dreadlocked head was maybe an inch short of brushing the top of the frame and his folded arms blocked out all light from the corridor behind.
“Uh, hi?” John said, standing up. John was about six foot and this guy towered over him. John briefly wondered what he’d look like next to Leo or the President.
“Dex,” The guy said.
“The name’s Ronon Dex. Your new security.”
John frowned at him. He did look like a bodyguard, just, John’s body wasn’t all that in need of guarding. Then: “Oh,” he said, “I’m John. You’re probably looking for Josh; he’s down the hall.”
Ronon uncrossed his arms long enough to look at something written on his hand. “John Sheppard?” he asked.
“Then I’m here for you.”
A horrible suspicion crossed John’s mind. A really horrible one. “Did Dr McKay ask you to come here?” he asked, mentally preparing himself for just how humiliating this could get.
Ronon shrugged. “I just go where I’m told. Heard you’d got some threats.”
John groaned. Oh yeah, this was Rodney’s work alright. “Come with me,” he told Ronon. The guy lumbered to attention immediately behind John and John couldn’t help feeling kind of pleased about that. Pissed at Rodney but still kind of pleased.
“Rodney,” John yelled when he reached the outer offices. Rodney’s minions looked up, took in John and his hairy new friend and all looked away quickly, clearly sniggering behind their hands. John hated everybody. “Rodney!”
Rodney appeared in his office doorway, he’d lost his jacket and had his shirt sleeves rolled up, John took at brief moment to be turned on before reverting back to pissed. Rodney meanwhile had spotted Ronon and beamed. “Oh good,” he said, rubbing his hands together, “That’s much better.”
John pointed silently at Rodney’s office and followed him back inside. Ronon of course came too.
“Rodney,” John said through gritted teeth. “I told you everything was fine.”
Rodney nodded happily. “It is now,” he agreed.
John smacked his head back against the wall. “Listen,” he sighed. “I cannot have my own bodyguard just because my boyfriend is an over protective worrywart.”
“Worrywart?” Rodney mimicked. “No wonder the mothers of America like you, you speak their language.”
“My mom likes him,” Ronon rumbled, merely raising an eyebrow and looking depressingly unthreatened when John turned to glare at him.
“Thank you,” Rodney said, looking pleased. He turned back to John. “And it’s not just me; the President agreed.”
John sighed again - at this rate he was going to run out of oxygen. “That’s because the President likes you, Rodney, not because he thinks I’m in any danger.” It was true, President Bartlet had taken to Rodney the way he never really took to new people, though God knew why. He seemed to find it amusing when Rodney corrected his math on a regular basis and informed him that an Nobel in Economics wasn’t a real Nobel.
Rodney just looked at him. It was kind of look that said let the man mountain follow you around or I will never give you another blow job. John closed his eyes, utterly defeated. His only hope was that this would be one of the whims that Rodney got over quickly, rather than the time he decided C.J. had a crush on him and spent the next three weeks alternately hiding from her and trying to convince the Post to bring Danny Concannon back from abroad.
“Fine,” John said. He thumped his head back against the door (again). It hurt (again). “Fine. As long as you realise you’re robbing me of my street-cred.”
“Please,” Rodney scoffed. “You’re a queer English major with stupid hair and complete boxsets of Buffy, Battlestar Galactica and Dr. Who; you have no street cred.”
“English and PoliSci,” John grumbled under his breath. He turned to glare at Ronon. “Come on then, let’s get this over with.”
It might have been John’s imagination, but he was certain that, as they left, he saw Rodney smile the smile of a man who was truly content with his life. Bastard.
Back at John’s office, Ronon loitered outside as though actually considering taking up position there.
“Oh, no,” John snapped, tamping down on the urge to wave his hands at Ronon the same way he would a stray dog or a slow-moving pigeon. “Not in the corridor.”
Obediently, Ronon lumbered inside and slouched down on John’s sofa. John thought he might possibly be smirking.
“So,” John said when he’d sat back at his desk and brought up the speech he was writing for the President to give in front of the Young Democrats of America next week; it was just as blank as it had been before his trip to Rodney’s side of the building. It was at about this point, with nothing written and no idea what to say, that the procrastination skills he’d learned in college really came into their own. “What about that Bears game, huh?”
Ronon looked up, tipped his head a little, and went back to contemplating his nails.
“Wow,” John murmured to himself, “And people say I’m quiet.”
“People say that?” Ronon rumbled. This time, there was no doubt that Ronon was mocking him.
John sighed. He missed Lorne. “I miss Lorne,” he said. “He was into football.”
Another silence. Then: “I surf.”
John had almost been on the brink of writing a word. He sat up quickly. “Yeah?” he said. “Tell me more.”