Summary: Tag scene for Hot Zone. McKay is cold.

Categories: Slash Pairings > McKay/Sheppard
Characters: John Sheppard, Rodney McKay
Genres: Episode Related, Hurt Comfort, Pre-slash
Warnings: None
Chapters: 5 [Table of Contents]
Series: None

Word count: 18878; Completed: Yes
Updated: 13 Mar 2005; Published: 28 Feb 2005

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Spoilers: Hot Zone (The story won't make a lot of sense if you haven't seen the episode)

Author's Notes: I finally took the plunge into Atlantis fic. This sprang up from a comment on the McShep group list involving giant spiders under someone's bed, and Rodney showing up at John's door with a pillow and blanket. Couldn't get the image out of my head. Except there's not actually any spiders in this.


John regretted that he'd left his weapon in the armory before going to bed, because he wanted to shoot whoever was banging on his door. It had been dark when he laid down, it was still dark, he still felt like shit warmed over, and someone was going to experience his boot from a whole new angle in about three seconds.

He stood in front of the door and it opened obediently, leaving him face to face with Rodney, who shot him an irritated glance and shouldered past him into the room.

"Took you long enough, Major. Glad it wasn't an emergency or anything, or I could have died in the hall waiting for you to drag your ass out of bed."

John turned slowly, and said, "McKay?" in the tone known to make Marine lieutenants quiver.

"Don't even start," Rodney said, folding his arms and sticking his jaw out in that stubborn way the Major was already beginning to see in his sleep. "I know it's late and believe me, I am every bit as tired as you are and probably more, seeing as I'm the one who got to almost die today, not to mention fight off some alien engineered nanovirus with a gene that I wasn't even supposed to have. And let's not forget the added bonus of watching lots of people die and knowing I'm next, because hey, that's always fun."

It was around then that he noticed Rodney had a pillow tucked beneath one arm, a blanket slung around his shoulders, and was wearing a pair of sweat pants ending in socked feet. He tried to suppress a smile. But not very hard. "And you're here because...?"

Rodney sighed and then yawned pointedly. "Must we discuss this now? Carson has ordered me to get some sleep, and you know how I hate to disobey orders."

"Of course you do," John said. He leaned a shoulder against the wall, folded his arms, and waited. This was bound to be good.

"Fine," Rodney muttered. "Storm damage, flooding, environmental systems out of whack."

"Out of whack?"

"I'm simplifying for you."

John rolled his eyes and waved for him to continue.

"Anyway, the temperature controls in a lot of the living quarters have gone completely haywire. I think my bed currently has frost forming on it." He gave a little shiver for emphasis. "The engineers are working on it, and I was trying to help, but one of Carson's lackeys caught me and threatened to have me escorted to the infirmary and sedated if I didn't find someone to bunk with."

"And naturally, you chose me."

"Don't flatter yourself, Major," Rodney said, but John didn't miss the way his eyes cut to the side, toward the bed. "It wasn't just my quarters that were affected. A lot of people are doubling up and my choices were limited. I figured you were my best chance of not being smothered in my sleep."

"But Rodney, why would anyone want to hurt you?" he asked, because this was too good an opportunity to pass up.

"Envy, I'd assume," Rodney said briskly. "So? Are we sleeping or what?"

"Oh sure. Don't bother to, you know, ask me first. Just make yourself at home."

Rodney faltered, but only for a moment. "Thank you," he said, drawing himself up. "I'll do that." Then he crossed to the bed, flopped down, and arranged his pillow and blanket to his liking. Propped up on one elbow, he raised his eyebrows at John and twirled a hand. "Well?"

John stared at him, and shook his head slightly, smiling. "I'll get the lights." He thought them off, which never failed to make Rodney roll his eyes, and felt his way to the bed, climbing in and rolling until they bumped together. Rodney went stiff for a moment, then settled against the mattress, his arms folded tightly over his chest.

"So," John said, looking up at the dark ceiling. "Comfy?"

Rodney sighed. "Maybe we could do the relentless teasing thing later, and the sleeping thing now?"

John shrugged and fell quiet, because it had been a long, crappy day for him too, and sleep sounded like a good plan. Rodney's breathing was quiet and steady, but he kept moving slightly, rubbing his feet between the sheet and the blanket, giving little twitches and shifts. John poked him in the side. "Hey. Quit it."

"Quit what?"

"Moving. You're keeping me up."

"Sorry," Rodney muttered, and he actually sounded sheepish, which was an odd tone from him. "I'm trying to get warm."

"You're still cold?"

"Was I not clear earlier about the environmental problems? Freezing, Major. Free-zing."

John watched him curl on his side, his legs drawn up, then he stretched his own leg out, feeling Rodney's feet with his knee. "Jeez, ice feet much? What do you have, like no blood circulation below the ankle?"

"Hey, you brushed up against me. Not my fault."

"Didn't say it was," John countered. He turned and scooted closer, his chest fitting against Rodney's back, which was warmer than his feet, but not exactly toasty. He brought his legs forward, Rodney's heels resting against his shins, chilly even through the thick socks he still wore.

Rodney cleared his throat. Nervously. "What are you doing?"

"Quiet. Trying to sleep here."

There was a pause, but Rodney gave a little shrug that seemed to mean 'what the hell' and relaxed, leaning back against him. John slung an arm over his side and closed his eyes. There was a little sticky circle on Rodney's shoulder, where his chin rested, and he realized after a moment it must have been where an electrode had been attached. While they monitored Rodney and waited for him to die like the others.

Yeah, John decided. Crappy day.

Rodney shivered again, his breath catching momentarily, the skin on the back of his neck prickling against John's cheek. John exhaled on it, warm breath, and Rodney sighed. He wriggled a little, edging toward him, and John drew the blankets more closely around them, wrapping them in a warm cocoon.

"Mmm," Rodney said, a low, sleepy sound.


"Getting there." A few breaths, and then, "Thanks," muttered so low he barely heard it.

"For blowing the generator and killing the virus, right?"

McKay tilted his head, glancing at him, his eyes a barely visible glitter in the dark room. "Of course."

"Of course," John echoed. Rodney gave his odd little sideways smile and wriggled again, burrowing into the blankets. Into him. His breathing grew slow and deep, his body heavy, warm, and solid.

"Thanks," John whispered, his breath stirring the hair at Rodney's nape. Then he closed his eyes and slept.