Pairing: Rodney/Teyla (and mentions of Sheppard/Mitchell)
Length: 7000 words
A/N: Huge thanks to miscellanny for making this so much better.
Written for bluejbird for sticksandsnark's Teyla/Rodney Thing-A-Thon.
It wasn't until they were changing planes in Portland that it really hit Rodney that he was taking Teyla with him to the very important - read: planned-his-entire-leave-around - physics conference in San Francisco.
Back at SGC it had made sense. They'd finally finished their endless meetings with everyone and their maiden aunt, Carter had banned him from the labs, Ronon had announced Lorne was taking him ice climbing at Loch Vale and Sheppard had disappeared off with Mitchell.
They had five days leave and even Rodney knew he couldn't leave Teyla kicking her heels alone under a mountain on a foreign planet in a foreign galaxy. And, when he'd used his typical suave manner and James Bond-esque charm to invite her, her smile, the hint of relief in her eyes, had managed to dispel any lingering doubts.
After the 'jumpers, Rodney hadn't expected Teyla to be impressed by the airplane, but wow had he gotten that wrong. She seemed amazed, twisting and turning in her seat to watch first land and then clouds pass by below them, turning to him wide-eyed and strangely joyful when they hit airpockets. She listened attentively to the safety talk, glared at Rodney when he tried to point out exactly how useless the brace position was, and asked questions about everything from how the plane stayed in the air to exactly what was in the chicken surprise they tried to feed them for lunch.
Rodney explained the theory of powered fight and gave her a brief overview of the basic physics of airfoils then pointed out the call button and pretended to be asleep. Luckily for both of them, the flight was half empty and the flight attendants found Teyla charming and didn't seem to mind answering every new question she had.
When they got out of the terminal, the line for taxis was long and Rodney contemplated taking the BART to their hotel instead. Then he contemplated one of his suitcases, the one with all the laptops and thought better of it.
He glanced across at Teyla - who was looking around herself with interest, tipping her head back to meet the sun - and realised that she could probably carry his bags without undue problem, but that was just depressing, so he distracted himself by watching the way sunlight filtered in between the grimy airport buildings, catching on her hair, creating a halo of fall colours in a way he was sure never happened in Pegasus. Except maybe everything was brighter there and he just hadn’t noticed. A feeling of… something rolled through him, something that was possibly homesickness but was hopefully the gatelag catching up with him.
Their hotel was a medium-sized, brownstone complex with tiny palm tree-filled courtyards dotted around between and within the buildings. The man behind the desk greeted them with a bright smile and didn't blink when Rodney explained that he'd picked up an extra guest. Rodney was inclined to like him, he generally liked efficient people, until he noticed the appreciative glances the guy was sending Teyla's way.
Rodney tried to glare, but it didn't have much effect and he found himself wishing they'd brought Ronon along. He felt strangely vulnerable, navigating a planet (even his own) without a P90 on his arm and three other people backing him up. He started to wish he'd let Teyla smuggle her sticks onto the plane.
The bell-hop led them upstairs, slid a key-card into a lock, smiled at Rodney until he'd been given what he considered sufficient tip then said, "The restaurant's still open if you want lunch."
The word lunch was so welcome that Rodney missed the fact they'd only been shown one room, one room with only one bed, until he was standing in it, looking from Teyla to the double bed and back to Teyla again.
"Uh," he said intelligently. Teyla drew in a breath to speak but Rodney held up a finger to stop her. "Hang on."
Downstairs, the desk guy was tapping away at his computer. Rodney noticed that now he was alone, the smile he received wasn't quite so bright.
"You've only given me one room," he said.
The guy turned to his computer and entered a few commands. "That's right. You only booked one."
"Yes, but then I told you how I had another guest," Rodney spoke slowly and wished that Gate Tech Chuck were here. Gate Tech Chuck had a way with things like this.
The guy finally looked up. "Sorry, but we're fully booked." He raised his eyebrows significantly. "The young lady didn't seem to object."
It took a second for the implication to sink in and when it did he found himself rendered temporarily speechless with rage. All right, yes he maybe had been having a few more inappropriate thoughts about Teyla lately, but he'd known they were inappropriate; he wasn't ever going to act on them. Teyla mattered too much for that.
He huffed and marched back upstairs, fully intending to explain to Teyla the numerous ways the world sucked. He found her unpacking her stuff into one of the two dressers in the room. She was holding something in her hand as she turned to greet him and he looked away quickly in case it was something personal and female that he absolutely did not want to see.
His diatribe lost some of its bite when directed toward the furthest corner of the room, so he cut to the chase. "We'll have to share unless you want to look for another hotel." Rodney brightened. "We could do that, we could totally do that. Maybe we could upgrade, I'm sure we could convince the SGC to pay for it, especially if they heard what that idiot downstairs suggested-" He risked a glance at Teyla and saw her eyebrows rise. "Which was nothing, of course."
Teyla touched his arm. "Rodney, it is fine. We have slept in much more confined locations in the past."
Which was true; it had been summer in their little part of Pegasus just before they left and every planet they visited had seemed to be in the middle of a heatwave. It was hard to forget the way the others had stripped to next to nothing to sleep and teased him until he did the same, the way Teyla's t-shirt had clung to her sweaty body and he hadn't been able to look away, so tempting and so forbidden.
"That's not the point," he said, dragging his mind back from the bad place. "They'll think we're- It's already been implied that we're-"
She raised her eyebrows, smiling a little. "Rodney, are you concerned for my reputation?"
Rodney winced. There was never a good way to answer that question. "Yes?" he hazarded.
"I can take care of myself," Teyla said primly, but then her slight smile widened and he sighed in relief.
"So, uh. We'll just-" He waved a hand around the room and tried not to have a heart attack when she nodded. "Oh." He cleared his throat when his voice squeaked. "Lunch?"
They didn't have lunch at the hotel, partly because Rodney was still pissed at the receptionist and partly because Teyla wanted to explore Berkeley.
They ended up getting bagels and ice tea from Noah's, squished together on tiny seats while students buzzed around them. It made Rodney remember his own student days and thank God he'd left them behind.
Sometime between Rodney's second and third bagel, Teyla started asking about his education and that threw him. He pummelled everyone he met over the head with his qualifications; it was weird and slightly unsettling to realise that they meant absolutely nothing to Teyla, that she'd come to rely on him for certain things because of what she'd seen him do, not because of the letters he had after his name.
After lunch, Rodney had fully intended to take Teyla to do fun, touristy things, but then they’d passed a bookstore. Two hours later, when they returned blinking to daylight, Rodney was weighed down with the most promising of the text books that had come out while he was gone.
Telya picked up some books, mainly on religion, though he thought a few of others looked like sci-fi thrillers, and caused great excitement when she got the (admittedly incredibly badly designed) American dollar bills confused and tried to leave a hundred dollars in the tip jar.
They went back to the hotel for dinner and about half way through the 'gate-lag hit them full force.
Rodney ended up knocking half a bottle of red wine all down the waitress' crisp white uniform and Teyla nodded off into her lasagne three times. All in all the restaurant staff seemed insulting pleased to get rid of them. Not that Rodney cared; he was too busy trying to keep his eyes open long enough to get them back to their room and holding Teyla up while she dozed against him in the elevator.
She smelled nice, warm and fresh like Atlantis on a spring day, and he almost missed their stop, just breathing her in.
They didn't speak as they stumbled around the room, getting ready for bed with as little movement as possible. Rodney had never seen her like this; if Rodney were the sort of man who found things endearing, a tired and clumsy Teyla would be somewhere near the top of the list.
By the time Rodney got back from the bathroom, she was asleep, curled in on herself on her side of the bed. Rodney was too tired to freak out, just crawled under the blankets, double and triple folded in that weird way unique to hotels, and slept for twelve hours straight.
Day two of what Rodney had been dubbing "Pegasus Princess does Earth" until he realised it sounded like a particularly promiscuous porn movie, started at some undisclosed time of the morning, when Rodney was woken by an aborted shriek and then what sounded like inventive swearing in Athosian. He rolled out of bed and pressed his ear to the closed bathroom door.
"Teyla?" he asked, knocking uncertainly.
"One minute," she called. There was another curse, and the sound of the shower shutting off.
When the door swung open, it was to reveal a very damp and pissed looking Teyla. She'd wrapped a white towel around herself, covering her body from underarm to mid-thigh but tight enough to leave little to the imagination. Her hair was tied back and beginning to curl from the steam. Rodney felt his mouth go dry.
"I am unable to work this shower device, Rodney," Teyla told him, not seeming to notice his sudden and overwhelming loss of brain cells.
He cleared his throat. "Right, yes, uh." He waved toward the bathroom. "May I?"
She stepped aside to give him room, then followed him inside, arms crossed and glaring at the shower cubicle. Her washbag was sitting open on the floor, shampoo, shower gel, razor and other feminine products spilling out. For a moment, he couldn't help liking the look of them there, the illusion he was sharing his life with someone, before shaking his head, telling himself not to be stupid.
He held the glass door open and poked around with the dial and lever contraption until he got it worked out.
"You turn it this way to increase the temperature," he said over his shoulder, "And this dial increases the, uh, pressure." He wound up stuttering, thinking about Teyla under the shower, water beating down on her strong shoulders, soap suds running down her arms. He stood back hurriedly, ready to beat a hasty retreat and nearly giving himself a heart attack when he stepped straight into her, her chest pressing against his back for an endless second before she stepped back, hands warm on his sides while she thanked him and slid around him to take her place beside the shower.
He watched her for another second, realised she was waiting to get naked and nearly left his shadow behind he moved so fast getting out of there.
By the time Rodney had finished his own shower, Teyla was in the tiny living space, reading one of the books she'd picked up yesterday; it was scifi and she was biting her lip to keep her giggles in. Apparently Arthur C. Clarke was parody to someone from another planet - and, just for that, Rodney was glad he’d agreed to contribute some of his fake scientists to Elizabeth’s let’s-teach-the-Athosians-English project.
Teyla was wearing one of her long skirts, one of the ones with slits up the sides, though who she planned to fight here, Rodney wasn't sure. But while it was a nice spring day, it wasn't Atlantean weather and she'd discarded her laced tops and pulled on one of Rodney's sweatshirts.
She looked hot in it.
She caught him staring and frowned. "Is it all right for me to wear this?" she asked, plucking at the material near her waist.
Rodney swallowed, reminded himself again that Teyla was not someone it was okay to drool over. "No. No, it's fine. You look, uh, you look nice. Good. You look good."
Teyla smiled at him, but "Thank you, Rodney," was all she said. She inclined her head towards the door. "Shall we?"
Rodney checked he had his wallet and key-card and followed her, resigned to spending the whole vacation hard.
He wasn't sure when Teyla had gone from the hot girl on his team, to one of the few women who could stand him, to friend, and then taken the unexpected and disturbing sideways leap to close friend who he kept having inappropriate fantasies about. At first he'd thought it was all that time he'd spent jerking off to Xena reruns in Siberia coming back to bite him in the ass, but now even though he honestly didn't think of Teyla like that anymore, the fantasies kept coming.
He made the whole bookstore experience up to Teyla by taking her onto campus and up the campanile.
The tower was in the north-east centre of campus and even Rodney, jaded by planets dominated by silvery moons or rich purple skies, had to admit the view was incredible.
Apparently Teyla felt the same, which was good; it hadn't occurred to him until they were half way up that having lived her whole life in Pegasus she'd probably seen more impressive sights even than he had. But her eyes were huge as she looked over the bay, face unguarded in ways he only saw when she was truly surprised. He got the feeling this was a good surprise.
"Oh," she said, taking a step closer to the edge. "Your world-" A quick glance at the people around them and a hurried change to "Your country has so many built up areas, I did not realise there was natural beauty so close."
If Rodney were cheesy enough, hell if Rodney were Sheppard, he'd have squeezed her hand and told her that there was natural beauty very close, but luckily for both their digestive systems, he wasn't.
Instead he said, "I should take you to Canada."
And when she turned and beamed at him, he realised he meant he wanted to, and that was when he knew he was screwed.
When they got back to the hotel, he told Teyla he had some work to do before the conference. Teyla didn't seem to mind; truth be told, she was probably relieved to have some time to herself. She grabbed her sports gear out of the wardrobe and went downstairs to check out the gym.
Rodney powered up his primary laptop, just in case she came back early, and then fumbled around in his bag until he found the cell phone someone at SGC had shoved into his hand, just in case they decided to cut short his pitiful amount of leave.
Under 'S' someone, possibly the same someone, had programmed in Sheppard, John and Rodney pressed dial gratefully.
It took Sheppard a long time to answer, and when he did he was out of breath.
Unexpectedly, Rodney didn't know quite where to start. "Hi.”
"Rodney? Where the hell are you? You and Teyla just disappeared."
"We did not disappear," Rodney snapped, momentarily distracted from his romance-oriented freak-out. To be honest, Rodney was fairly impressed Sheppard and Mitchell had stopped violating the Uniform Code long enough to notice they were gone. "We're in San Francisco."
"You took Teyla to your super-geek conference?"
"To the- yes. And she's having a good time, thank you very much." Rodney didn't mention that the conference hadn't actually started yet. And that he hadn't quite considered what to do with Teyla when it did.
There was a pause then, "Do you want something? Or are you just calling to gloat because you're in California and I'm stuck in Colorado Springs?"
Rodney snorted. "Right, because there's anywhere else you'd rather be on this planet. I suppose I should be grateful you've gotten out of bed long enough to take my call."
"Rodney." Rodney could hear the laughter in Sheppard's voice, pictured his tolerant smile, the one that told Rodney he was a jerk, but an amusing jerk that Sheppard was maybe kind of fond of.
There was silence for a minute and then Rodney said - blurted - "I think I'm in love with her."
"No, with the bag lady who sleeps down the street, the one who tells me Jesus loves me when I go past." And hadn't that been fun? Teyla stopping to ask precisely who this Jesus was and when he'd met them. "Of course Teyla."
The silence on Sheppard's ended lasted even longer this time. "Huh," he said at last.
Rodney started to feel a little sick. Not that he'd expected Sheppard to tell him he thought it was a great idea, not really. Except maybe he'd been hoping slightly.
"'Huh'?" he snapped, "What does that mean? What should I do?" It occurred to him the minute he said it that asking Sheppard, the most emotionally unavailable man in two galaxies, what to do was maybe a little foolish. Unfortunately, Sheppard was all he had.
"Relax, Rodney." Sheppard still sounded amused, damn him. "I think you should go for it."
Rodney opened his mouth to explain precisely how insane an idea that was, but what came out was "You think so?" And it sounded quieter, more vulnerable than he’d have liked.
"Yeah," Sheppard drawled, nonchalant caring bleeding across the miles. "Give it a go. You guys'd be good together."
"But do you think she'd? With me?"
He could almost hear the shrug. "Sure. You're pretty hot." A beat. "When you've showered and aren't wearing dinner down your shirt."
"Oh ha ha, Colonel." Rodney sneered, mainly for form's sake, his brain whirring with the possibility that this thing with Teyla was something he could actually have.
"Hey, Rodney." Sheppard's voice cut across his panic. "I gotta go, okay. Good luck."
"Yes," Rodney said, distracted. "Uh, I mean, thank you."
Sheppard laughed. "See you, buddy."
Rodney flipped the phone closed and pulled his laptop over. Sheppard thought he had a shot. And yes, Sheppard was no better at interpersonal relationships than Rodney was, but he did know Teyla.
All Rodney needed was a plan.
Unfortunately, by the time Teyla got back from the gym, his plan was no more detailed than: 1. Get Teyla to fall in love with him, 2. Don’t screw it up.
"Have fun?" he asked when she came out of bathroom, freshly showered and wearing a loose, red sun-dress she had to have got from someone who was trying to kill him. He thought about it: probably Cadman then.
She sat down on the bed beside him. "I did, thank you. The equipment was not as advanced as we have on Atlantis, but it was sufficient for a satisfying work out. And I met a charming man who agreed to spot for me."
"Oh?" Rodney hoped he sounded more casual to her ears than he did to his.
"Yes, he asked me to dinner." She bent down to get something from her bag, apparently not noticing Rodney's heart get intimately acquainted with his intestines.
She looked up at him through her eyelashes, the hint of a smile at the corner of her mouth. "But I declined."
"Oh, thank God," Rodney said, then felt his face get hot. "I mean, uh, you can't go around picking up strange men in gyms. The SGC wouldn't like it."
Teyla nodded solemnly, but her eyes were smiling. "That is what I thought. Perhaps to make up for my disappointment you could take me to dinner instead?"
And Rodney was so busy agreeing that it wasn't until later that he realised just how cunningly he'd been manoeuvred into that one.
The next day was the conference. Rodney spent ten minutes wondering if he should take Teyla, caught between the urge to show off in front of her as much as possible and the worry she’d be bored. She’d proven to be a pretty good engineer when she needed to be, but nobody voluntarily attended these conferences unless they wanted to preen. The problem was solved when one of Teyla’s new gym buddies – a girl this time, bouncing and blonde – had invited her to go horse riding, and not even Rodney’s assurances that horses were evil beasts of Satan had been able to dissuade her.
Rodney started the conference full of scientific fervour. By 11 am he was mostly full of caffeine and irritation. At some point while he was off saving the galaxy, (well, a galaxy) physics seemed to have wandered off down entirely the wrong path.
The man speaking at the moment, Tweed, wasn't someone Rodney had even been aware of before he left, and now that he was aware of him, he was mostly aware that he was an idiot.
The worst thing wasn’t even how wrong these idiots were, because wrong could be rectified even if it couldn't be cured. No, the worst thing was that he couldn't tell anyone how wrong they were. Or he could, and he did, but he couldn't tell them why because it was classified, (and they'd kick him off the stargate program and maybe put him in prison where there would be men called Buba who'd want to make him their girlfriend and Rodney was good at many things, but being someone's girlfriend was maybe not one of them) and he just ended up looking petty.
There were people here that he recognised but no one that he'd been close to; not that he'd really ever been close to anyone academically until he met Radek. It soon became clear that people knew him though, and while that was usually an excellent thing, today everyone seemed to be looking down their noses at him because he didn't publish any more. He heard the rumours, the whispers, about the child genius who'd crashed and burned, so promising at first but what had he contributed in the last few years?
The way they repeated "Government work?" back at him, when he told them what he had been doing, made it sound like "sell out". He decided to skip the last lecture of the day and go back to the hotel early.
He passed a bar on the way back, was briefly tempted, then decided against it. Teyla didn't need a maudlin drunk guy on her hands.
The hotel room was empty when he opened the door and he sighed, shrugged out of his coat and flopped down on the bed. He thought about calling Teyla, then told himself she was perfectly capable of taking care of herself even on a planet as freaky and complicated as Earth.
Besides, Rodney had scared girls away in the past by being perhaps a little too eager, Samantha Carter a case in point. Being accused of stalking a member of his team would really do nothing for his reputation.
He flicked on the TV, discovered a different version of Law and Order on what seemed to be every channel and flicked it off again in disgust.
And then, apparently, he fell asleep. The next thing he knew it was dark outside the room as well as inside, he had a crick in his neck from the truly crappy hotel pillows and he really needed to pee.
He rolled out of bed, used the bathroom and splashed water on his face. The anger and frustration from earlier - earlier? Yesterday? He went to look at his watch and then remembered taking it off - had settled into something dull and heavy and he shook his head, trying to clear it. He found himself wishing for uncomplicated trade missions to uncomplicated planets, where he bitched and moaned and got eaten by every bug known to man, but also - and no one was more surprised by this than him - where he belonged.
He stepped back into the main room and jumped when a voice called his name out of the darkness.
Squinting he made out Teyla, curled up on one of the armchairs, which she'd pulled up to the window. Hidden in the shadows, he wouldn't have seen her if she hadn't spoken.
"I could not sleep," she told him, and maybe she was just trying to be quiet but her voice was slightly flat.
Rodney debated with himself for a moment; women's things - hell, women - weren't exactly his strong suit, but Teyla sounded sad and that made something twist in places Rodney had always tried to pretend he didn't have.
He crossed the room and stood behind her chair. "Are you okay?"
She tipped her head up toward him but he couldn't make out her expression. There was a pause and then she said, "I think perhaps your world is a little more overwhelming than I was expecting."
He started to say - something. Something understanding. What came out instead was a sharply frustrated noise.
"Yeah, tell me about it."
She stood up abruptly, squeezed his arm. "Do you really believe you belong here, Rodney?" There was something desperate in her tone, like there was only one answer and it mattered to her that he got it right. Luckily, Rodney was damn good at standardised tests, and he knew the answer to this one.
"No." It didn't feel as much like a betrayal as he'd thought.
Unexpectedly (and it really was unexpected, the only parts of her she usually offered for touch were her shoulders and forehead) her hand slid from his arm and her arms went around his back, bringing him into a hug.
"Good," she said in his ear. "Good."
He stayed frozen, acutely aware that he was wearing a t-shirt he'd had since grad school and that he hadn't showered last night, embarrassingly grateful that he'd pulled on clean boxers to sleep in.
She put her head on his shoulder, making his stomach take an involuntary dive, and it would take an even colder heart than Rodney's not to respond to that. Tentatively, he put his hands on her hips, then fearing that might be a bit too intimate, slid them up her back and sort of patted her, slowly, awkwardly, but still glad for it.
He felt her smile into his shoulder and, emboldened, squeezed her tighter, the top her head tucking surprisingly easily under his chin.
"Did something happen?" he asked, feeling himself grow cold at the thought of all the things that could have happened to her out there alone, wondering what the hell he'd been thinking.
She pulled back slightly, just enough to look into his eyes. "I am fine," she said. "I was merely curious to see more of the city and I discovered some areas that were like nothing I had expected to see here. People sleeping on the streets like refugees from the Wraith - only you do not have Wraith here, and no one was offering to help them. When I asked Aimee why they were not helped she merely laughed."
Rodney didn't have an answer for that, at least not one she'd want to hear. He'd wave her towards Elizabeth when they got home, get her to smooth it out. But right now he looked down at her and tried to think of something reassuring, something slightly more eloquent than "shit happens" even though, Pegasus native that she was, she knew that a hell of a lot better than him.
The desire to kiss her was strong and sudden and while not unexpected, completely inappropriate. He felt himself flush, felt his expression go soft, thought he probably looked like an idiot. From the way her eyes widened, the moonlight wasn't enough to cover for him.
He tightened his hold on her shoulders, not sure what he'd do if she backed away. Instead, she boosted herself up onto her toes and kissed the corner of his mouth. He remembered the way Sam Carter had kissed his cheek all those years ago and turned his head away. "Teyla, I-"
The next kiss was closer to centre, firm and sure. Her lips were so soft and this didn't seem like a good bye kiss, a you did good now fuck off to Antarctica kiss.
"Oh," he said, and let go of her with one hand so he could touch her mouth, the way it was tilted up toward him, the way her lips curled at the corners. "Teyla, I- Is this-"
She glanced away toward the window, then back to him. "It is whatever you wish it to be."
Whatever he wished? Well he knew damn well what he wished, but…
"Is this a good idea?"
Because she was homesick and he might be a bastard, but he wasn't that sort of bastard.
Teyla's eyes dropped and she moved away from him. "You are right, of course. I apologise if I was forward."
His heart clenched when she moved away, but it wasn’t as if he hadn’t been expecting her to come to her senses.
"No, no. No apologies necessary. That was. I was... it was my fault, I was out of line, I'll just go to bed. Yes, I'll go to my bed and you'll go to well, the same bed, but- uh, yes. Good night."
He got into the bed on his side and stared up at the ceiling. He'd thought sharing a bed with her was going to be awkward before but it had been fine. Now, though? Now it was awkward. Because she'd kissed him and-
Because she’d kissed him.
He sat upright. Turned onto his hip so he could look down at her. Her eyes were open and she was regarding him steadily.
"You kissed me."
She put her hand on his arm. "I did."
"No, I mean you- you kissed me." And he'd turned her down. Which was stupid, really stupid, and Rodney McKay was not stupid.
She sat up, smiled at him. "Should I do it again?"
"Yeah," he agreed, mesmerised by the sight of her face, the light warmth of her breath on his cheek, the smooth taste of her lips. His brain slammed back into action and he wrapped his arms around her.
She felt tiny in his arms, but at the same time powerful, strong. Rodney squeezed her tighter, pressed her closer, trusting that she wouldn't break, while her mouth opened under his and she licked her way past his lips, kissing him long and dirty like someone had flipped a switch in her, dropping her polite façade.
He lost himself in the kiss, didn't come back to himself until they were horizontal on the bed, legs tangled together, rocking slowly against one another through the thin layers of his boxers and her shorts.
He pulled back just far enough to kiss behind her ear, press soft kisses down her neck. Her hands were under his t-shirt - no, his t-shirt was gone and when had that happened? - her hands were on his chest, teasing his nipples, twisting them almost to the point of pain, making them burn and throb and sending heat rolling through him.
He lifted his head and looked down at her. Her skin was flushed and her lips were swollen, her hair mussed up like he'd never seen it before.
He couldn't help smiling at her. He probably looked like an infatuated idiot but she smiled back anyway.
The edge of fragile sadness she'd worn since he met her gone for the moment, leaving her looking soft and warm. She looked young and very beautiful and he wondered what she was doing with him.
Teyla frowned. "Rodney, is something wrong?"
He shook his head. "No, I-" He took a breath, prepared to kiss her again but instead found himself babbling. "I'm not that good a boyfriend," he said. "I mean, I'm good at the, uh." He waved his hands at their entwined bodies, realised what he was doing and stopped abruptly. "But I'm not so good with the hearts and the flowers and the, uh, emotional stuff. I forget things, birthdays and things and I - I'm very smart, but in other areas, maybe not so much of a catch?"
He trailed off, mentally cursing himself, trying to work out why he was sabotaging himself. He suspected it might have something to do with the inconvenient love thing, the wanting her to be happy thing.
Teyla's expression was soft. "Rodney, I have known you for a long time. You do not come as a surprise to me." She touched his face, ran her fingertips gently down over his lips. "And while I have been very patient, I am not without needs," she added, moving her hips up against his, making his neglected cock jump.
"Take you to bed or lose you forever, eh?" he said, feeling his face try to crack against the force of his grin, whispering, "never mind," into the side of her neck when she looked confused.
Rodney woke up early. Teyla's head was on the pillow next to his, one long arm wrapped around his waist.
He shifted onto his side and brushed her hair back from her face. She looked flushed and loose, relaxed, body warm and smelling sleep-sweet. He pushed the sheet down to expose her chest and kissed her bare breast.
She sighed and moved closer to him, arching a little up towards his mouth. He was happy to oblige, sucking and teasing her nipples until she was awake and moaning low in the back of her throat. He kissed his way down her chest, over her tightly muscled belly and, when her legs parted willing, down to the dark curls between them. Then he lifted his head.
She smiled at him, and she still looked half asleep. Last night, when they’d - when they’d made love, she’d still very much been Teyla, the one who was always in charge, who carried the weight of a people on her shoulders; it had been hot, all that coiled power and control riding him for hours until he wanted to sob for release. But now, with her legs spread easily, her body relaxed and laid out for him, she looked like a woman, not the leader of her people.
He licked into and around her, going down on her until she came, moaning and clenching around him, and then he made her come again, just because it was so damn fun.
When she finally pulled him up her body she laughed against his mouth as she kissed him, still laughing when she squeezed his ass and guided him into her.
They fucked slowly, Rodney rolling his hips until he found new ways to make Teyla gasp, the fact he was driving himself out of his mind as well almost incidental.
It wasn't until he felt the orgasm curling in his spine, hot and desperate for release that he realised he'd forgotten the condom, and he only just pulled out in time, coming over her bush and inner thighs.
"Sorry," he said, panted, into her hair. "Sorry, I-"
But she was breathing harshly, worming her hand between them and rubbing his come into herself until she arched and gasped and shook.
Rodney whimpered, burying his face in her shoulder, still coming down from his own high. "God, that's hot."
She didn't say anything, just tipped her head and kissed him. Then she glanced over at the bedside clock, sighing regretfully. "Do you not have to leave to attend your conference?"
Rodney thought about it. Weighed a day spent in conference after conference with idiots who didn't respect him, who had no idea what he'd done for them, against a day spent with the amazing woman still pressed against him, tight and sticky.
"No," he said. "Not today."
Teyla frowned, but whatever she saw on his face convinced her not to ask. Instead she reached down between, them curling her hand around his cock until he was hard enough to fuck her again.
The next couple of days passed the same way. Well, not quite the same way; there were breaks for meals and showers, trips to Santa Monica (where Teyla was clearly the hottest person by miles), even an excruciatingly depressing trip to Alcatraz which left even Rodney feeling strangely quiet, relieved to get back to the warmth of the hotel and their two bodies.
And then it was their last day in California, their second to last day on Earth and Rodney couldn't help feeling he should do something special, something, god forbid, romantic. Except he couldn't think of anything and the idea of phoning Sheppard, getting his opinion and by extension Mitchell's, was faintly horrifying. It would probably see them end up in some sports bar or other, eating onion rings and being sprayed by a million bottles of crappy American beer.
It looked like Rodney was on his own with this one.
"Rodney?" Teyla said, the tone of her voice implying it was maybe not the first time she'd said it. They were back at the beach; Teyla seemed to like it there, had said it reminded her of Athos and then gone quiet, sadness fleeting around her edges.
She frowned at him, but didn't press. It was one of the many things he liked about her. She pointed towards the pier. "Is that one of Colonel Sheppard's, uh, wheels?"
"Ferris wheel," he agreed, nodding. Then he saw her expression. "Oh, do you want to? They're not very interesting really, I don't know what Colonel Adrenaline sees in them. But we can if you-"
Which was how Rodney found himself on a Ferris wheel, spinning slowly up to see the houses of the rich and... richer, then sinking back down to almost touch the waves.
Teyla settled back against the hard plastic seats, serene smile on her face. "Oh," she said. "I like this."
Rodney looked around and realised that in its way, this was the ridiculously romantic conclusion he'd been looking for. It made him realise that he'd forgotten to plan to the rest, didn't know what came next.
Teyla touched his hand. "You are not enjoying yourself?"
The wheel rose up for its fourth rotation; there was no line below so the operator seemed content to let them keep going around. And Rodney found himself confessing.
"I wanted to take you somewhere special," he said. "But I didn't know where. I think it's safe to say this brings us back to the whole not that good a boyfriend thing I was talking about before."
Teyla shuffled over in her seat, ignoring Rodney's squawk when the gondola rocked slightly, and curled up beside him. "I have seen many of your romance movies, Rodney. I do not require that complicated a courtship. All I require is love."
Oh. Well he could do that, he could definitely do that. But, hang on, had she -
"You mean you -?"
Teyla rolled her eyes. "Yes, Rodney," she said, and laughed.
They got back to the mountain two hours before departure. The stargate didn't exactly require passport control and they were hardly likely to be offloaded if they turned up late, but Rodney still didn't like to cut things too fine.
They found Sheppard and Mitchell in the mess, making moon-eyes at each other over cups of coffee. Rodney and Teyla shared a grin and left them to it, moving on to the gateroom where Ronon and Lorne were already back, Lorne with his wrist in plaster and a seriously, don't ask expression, Ronon with a shit-eating grin.
Rodney left Ronon regaling Teyla with stories of the mountains he'd scaled and went to the labs, sneaking around Carter and stealing some lab monkey's laptop, checking to see what they'd been doing with the information he'd brought back from Atlantisand exactly how wrong they'd gotten things.
What felt like two minutes later, the claxon was going, telling him it was time to leave. He hurried to the gateroom, still managing to arrive before Sheppard who slid in just as the first chevron locked, bumping shoulders with Rodney and grinning.
"Hey, McKay, have a good trip?" The glance he sent Teyla's way was entirely lacking in subtle, but Teyla just smiled, curling her hand around Rodney's elbow.
"Thank you, John," she said, "We had a wonderful vacation." She put special emphasis on the wonderful and laughed when Sheppard's eyes went wide.
The last chevron locked, Elizabeth's voice trickled through the gate inviting them back to Atlantis and Sheppard swung his pack onto his shoulders. "Come on people, let's go home."
Rodney rolled his eyes. “We’re not the ones who were making goo-goo -” A quick glance at Lorne who was starring fixedly on the wormhole, maybe whistling a little, determinedly oblivious. “Uh, engaging in macho military bonding and holding things up.”
Sheppard thwapped the back of Rodney's head, making Ronon grin and Lorne roll his eyes. Teyla's hand slid into Rodney's and they stepped into the event horizon together.