reen212000 (reen212000) wrote,

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Five Times Mr. Woolsey Thought He Saw Something and One Time He Did

Pairing: Rodney McKay, John Sheppard
Summary: As a long-time observer of human behavior, Richard Woolsey couldn't help being intrigued. It was either that, or break up the inevitable brawl.

A/N: I'm having one of those rare slashy moments.


As a long-time observer of human behavior, Richard Woolsey glanced around the conference room. He had no idea how the expedition would receive him; so far the only thing that appeared unhappy was The City. Her residents accepted their new leader begrudgingly, but seemed to tolerate him. Granted he wasn't the frighteningly intelligent Sam Carter, nor was he the compassionate negotiator Elizabeth Weir, but he felt he had something to offer.

It was either him, or someone that even he didn't trust.

No, Atlantis deserved a fighting chance. These people had held down their fort, their home, even with the recent turmoil in the galaxy.

Taking a deep breath, he decided to call the briefing to order. As people found their places around the table, Woolsey noticed Colonel Sheppard and Rodney McKay enter last. Both looked exhausted and rumpled, leaving the new leader to wonder if they'd slept at all. Woolsey raised a brow, and unsurprisingly received an answering brow from Sheppard.

“Sorry we're late,” the colonel said quietly. “We had a... thing.”

“Yes,” McKay murmured, distracted. “Late night.”

Tipping his head slightly, Woolsey gestured toward a chair with a flourish. “Thank you, gentlemen. Now we can get started,” he said over the chatter. Everyone seemed to still as soon as the colonel sat down. As a lawyer, Woolsey likened it to a courtroom being called to order.

Shifting his focus off the colonel, Woolsey glanced at the far end of the table. Teyla nodded solemnly, and rose; her people were a constant fascination for him. The remaining Athosians had settled on a new planet, and the father of her child still recovering from Michael's genetic tampering. As she spoke, Woolsey let his glance fall back to the colonel and the scientist.

Sheppard had written something down, then tapped McKay on the wrist. Glancing down at the pad, the Chief Scientist smiled fondly and returned the tap, only softer. The colonel scribbled over it with a wistful smile. He scooted slightly closer to McKay, setting his face into an expressionless mask as his friend gave him a sidelong glance. Leaning to the left, McKay and Sheppard were nearly shoulder to shoulder, occasionally writing on the pad of paper, smiling.

After the overlong meeting, Richard moved around the room, hoping to get a peek at the page filled with scribbles. The other items he couldn't make out, but one was a game of tic-tac-toe, and another was a very long equation that ended in zero. Woolsey immediately dismissed his jealousy; Colonel Carter would understand this string of numbers and letters and symbols, and perhaps know what to do about it.

Turning on his heel, Woolsey shook his head. Maybe he was reading too much into their interaction, but the two men were inseparable, and now he found out they had a secret language.


They were coming in hot. Woolsey never understood the gist of that colloquialism before working with the Stargate Program. Ostensibly, he wished he never knew what it meant. Four bedraggled people came crashing through the 'gate. A medical team waited just to the side; apparently, someone had the foresight to contact them.

The colonel had his arms tightly around McKay, who struggled to remain upright. Sheppard's eyes were a hard green; Woolsey was sure he'd never seen the man's eyes turn that color.

The scientist was pale, dragging his feet as Sheppard half carried him toward a waiting gurney. With extra care he helped lift McKay onto the gurney, hands pausing at the bloody wound. Sheppard's fingers lingered on his friend's chest, as if needing to feel the heartbeat. His eyes immediately softened as McKay's eyes fluttered open. “Close one, Rodney.”

As Woolsey came closer, he heard the prone man snort. “Still got me, didn't they?” When Sheppard drew his hand away, McKay caught it, his eyes clear and intent on the colonel. “Don't get how you get, okay?”

“Whatever,” Sheppard said, his voice low and raspy. They whisked McKay away, and the CO stumbled forward.

Woolsey held out his hand, hoping to stop the colonel, however Sheppard's eyes turned hard and cold again. “Ah, Colonel -” He found he couldn't say anymore; Sheppard's expression made him freeze. Drawing his hand back slowly, Woolsey wondered briefly if it would have remained attached had he actually touched the man.

Sheppard stalked away, and Teyla stepped between him and the new leader.

“We will brief you very soon, Mister Woolsey,” she said, smiling apologetically.

“Certainly, Ms. Emmagan,” Woolsey replied, straightening his shoulders. As Sergeant Ritter collected weapons and tac vests, Woolsey spotted a stray jacket dropped near the 'gate. Judging by the blood, he thought, it must belong to McKay. Retrieving it, he marched toward the infirmary.

Drawing closer to his destination, he heard raised voices.

“I need to see him!”

“I'm sorry, Colonel Sheppard. Not right now. Doctor Keller needs to check him out first. You know this.”

“Casey -”

“No, John,” came the gentle, but firm reply. “He's going to be just fine; it was a shallow wound.”

Coming around the corner, Woolsey saw Nurse Weber lay a hand on the soldier's arm. In his earlier observations, the new leader had noticed that not many people touched the colonel. The fact that he didn't flinch once while the nurse smoothed a hand down his arm didn't go unnoticed.

Awkwardly, Woolsey fully entered the waiting area, and was subsequently nailed to the spot by Sheppard's intense glare. Again.

The man stood and paced the triage entrance like a caged cat; Woolsey suspected that - were he to believe in reincarnation or past lives – John Sheppard would be a sleek black panther. Shaking off the analogy, the expedition leader tried for a sympathetic smile, lifting the stained jacket like a peace offering.

“I believe this belongs to Doctor McKay.”

Sheppard's expression softened once again as he reached for the jacket. Collapsing into the nearest chair, he held the jacket with shaky hands. Closing his eyes, the colonel murmured his thanks.

“Yes, thank you, Richard,” Teyla repeated, smiling diplomatically, ignoring his curious expression.

“Of course,” he said, finally able to move again. “Is everything all right?”

“Took us by surprise,” a low voice rumbled from behind. Woolsey was barely able to cling to his composure as Ronon spoke again. “They wanted to keep Sheppard. McKay said no.”

As if that explained everything, Woolsey thought, exasperated. “I heard he wasn't mortally wounded. What kind of weapon was used?”

“The Kenka use a ceremonial knife in all negotiations,” Teyla explained, trailing a hand across the colonel's shoulders. “Since they did not get what they wanted, they decided to eliminate the obstacle.”

“Which was?”

“Me,” Sheppard said, barely audible. Rising slowly, he left the infirmary, clutching the jacket. Ronon followed.

Looking to Teyla, the leader frowned. “I thought you said they wanted the colonel.”

“Yes, but they did not need him alive. Doctor McKay stepped in front of the knife.”

Nodding, Woolsey clasped his hands behind his back. “Perhaps tomorrow we can talk about this.”

“Of course, Richard.”


Curiosity got the better of him as Woolsey returned to the infirmary later at night. It was certainly past his bedtime, but questions had kept him awake.

“Don't stay too long, John. You both need to rest, especially Rodney,” Jennifer Keller said firmly.

“Promise,” the colonel said, smiling.

Woolsey found a perch near the doctor's office, not wanting to intrude. He observed the two men staring at each other, before they finally laughed together.

“I told you not to do that thing.”

“I don't know what you're talking about,” Sheppard answered.

“Yes you do, Colonel. Did you sleep at all?”


“Did. You. Sleep?” McKay enunciated.

Keeping his distance, Woolsey stood stiffly as the air intensified again around Sheppard. Why were they always arguing?

“It doesn't matter.”

“Of course it matters, John,” Rodney said softly. “Tell me the truth, or I will call Teyla.”

To his surprise, Woolsey watched the colonel visibly crumble. “No, I haven't, and you know why, Rodney. No one should get hurt on my watch, especially not step in front of a bullet!”

“It wasn't a bullet,” the scientist pointed out.

“A knife, or whatever, McKay! You shouldn't have done that.”

Waving a dismissive hand, McKay adjusted the blanket higher. The colonel rose automatically, fixing the other man's pillow. When he sat down, he found his friend staring at him. “What?”

The scientist was about to answer as his gaze slid toward Keller's office. He finally spotted Woolsey standing at the entrance.

Clearing his throat, the leader stepped forward, smiling sheepishly. “Sorry to intrude. I was hoping to gain some insight on why –”

“On why I came back with a hole in my side?” McKay interrupted, ignoring how the colonel stiffened at his side.

“Ms. Emmagan explained that someone wanted to keep you, Colonel Sheppard?”

Before Sheppard could answer, his companion let out a displeased sound. “His eyes. They had never seen anyone with his eye color before.” The colonel moved as if to leave, but McKay grabbed his wrist. “I find that hard to believe, but they were barbarians.”

Sheppard shifted, trying to reclaim his arm. “Rodney –”

Woolsey noticed the scientist tighten his grip, keeping the colonel silent. Sheppard reluctantly obeyed, his gaze wandering from irritated to concerned. The new leader clasped his hands behind his back and walked to the foot of McKay's bed. Better to be blunt with these two, he reasoned. “So, Doctor McKay, you felt the need to protect a fully trained soldier from a few natives?”

Once again, McKay's grip tightened as he paled. His eyes were a clear and cold blue as he smiled cruelly. “Since you have yet to go through the 'gate, I suggest you stop passing judgement on those that do. Situations change so quickly, there isn't time to think. Yes, I acted on impulse. But I don't regret it.” Sighing, he closed his eyes, suddenly very tired.

When he released the colonel's wrist, Woolsey imagined there would be a bruise if it weren't for the ever-present black band covering his wrist. His gaze caught something in Sheppard's eyes, however, it was shuttered away before he could identify it. Again. Was it exasperation or fondness? So many times Woolsey had seen that expression, often while there was a crisis.

Watching Sheppard settle quietly back into his chair, Woolsey noticed that McKay wasn't the only one who looked exhausted. “Noted, Doctor. I certainly look forward to your report. I hope you both get some rest this evening.”

“I agree,” Jennifer chimed in, appearing from nowhere. “In your quarters please, Colonel. The chairs here were not meant for sleeping.”

John shrugged, pouting just a little. “Oh, I don't know, Doc. They're perfectly comfortable to me.”

“Oh please,” Rodney snorted, shifting down further on the bed. “You'd say ice-covered spikes were comfortable if it got you what you wanted.”

“That's not –”

“Don't think I haven't seen you limping around here, John,” Keller smiled evilly, interrupting another debate. “If you'd like to be my guest tonight, I can certainly get you a bed.”

Smiling back, the colonel's eyes glinted dangerously. “I get your point, Doc.” Squeezing the patient's knee, John let his hand linger a bit longer. “I'll see you tomorrow, Rodney.” Then he was gone.

As Woolsey followed, he heard McKay sigh.

“Finally. You know he'll be back in the middle of the night, Jennifer.”

“Yep. Ronon's on it.”


Another day, another mission gone awry, this time due to weather. As Major Lorne's worn and muddy team exited the 'gate room, Richard wondered when there would be more good than bad missions. Reflecting on Elizabeth Weir and Sam Carter, he thought about their observations and reports. The war with the Wraith and the Asurans had drawn a line in the sand; sometimes Atlantis was on the wrong side of the line.

Checking his agenda, Woolsey found a note to himself about Atlantis' power and shields. He needed to see Doctors McKay and Zelenka to get a handle on the matter and set up a proper schedule. Striding purposefully through the corridors, Woolsey heard raised voices coming from his destination.

Once again, the colonel and the scientist were at it; McKay standing defiantly, and Sheppard smirking.

The lab was nearly empty, except for Zelenka, who sat at his desk rubbing the bridge of his nose. “Just admit it, Rodney. He is right,” Radek said with a smile.

“I don't have to admit anything,” Rodney sniffed haughtily.

“Well, you are a little off your game, McKay,” Sheppard said, placing the marker on the whiteboard. Stepping closer to the scientist, he put his hands on either shoulder, gently squeezing. “When was the last time you got a good night's sleep?”

“Honestly? When I fell asleep at your place.”

Woolsey could see McKay's composure falter as Sheppard frowned. Hazel eyes measured blue as they were locked in some sort of silent showdown. McKay finally crumpled, slouching down to a stool.

“Fine. I suppose you're going to make me eat dinner, too.”

Happily, the colonel smiled. “Yep. And then I have a treat for you.”

“Really? Or are you just saying that just so I would have dinner with you?”

Sheppard snorted. “As if I needed to bribe you.”

Listening to their banter was like verbal tennis. Woolsey thought he should probably leave before things got personal (and he had a feeling they would), when Zelenka spotted him.

“Hello, Mister Woolsey. What brings you to our humble lab?”

The former lawyer recognized a sardonic tone when he heard one. “Well, I wanted to schedule a meeting with yourself and Doctor McKay to go over these reports on power consumption and shields.”

“Ah yes. Rodney?” Zelenka tilted his head toward the leader. “Tomorrow afternoon, perhaps?”

McKay dropped his eyes, and Sheppard let him go. “Yes, yes, that should be fine.” Sheppard not so discreetly cleared his throat; McKay smiled. “After lunch?”

“Of course,” Woolsey replied, somewhat puzzled by their interaction. The two men slipped past, leaving Woolsey standing awkwardly in the lab. Straightening his uniform, he tipped his head toward the open door the CMO and CS just exited. With the men gone, Richard felt his curiosity bubble up again. “Is there something I need to know, Doctor Zelenka?”

“They are always like that,” he shrugged.

“Arguing over whiteboards isn't the norm in my experience.”

Laughing, the Czech gathered his laptop. “That was quiet debate. You should hear when they really argue!” Shaking his head, Zelenka gestured back toward the board. “They were working out a theory.”

Woolsey tried and failed not to be surprised. “A mathematical theory? Colonel Sheppard has been working on a math equation with Doctor McKay?”

“Oh yes. With them, it is like dancing. The colonel is very good with numbers. Very good.”

“Interesting.” Woolsey smiled curtly, dismissing himself. As he exited, two figures caught his eye near the end of the corridor. Sheppard and McKay stood face to face; Richard was pretty sure he had never seen that smile on the colonel's face before. They laughed together, then continued walking down the empty hall.

Colonel Sheppard steered his charge with a hand at the small of McKay's back.


Today involved another rousing debate with Doctor Morton. Woolsey ruminated on his favorite composer – and topic of the debate – Mozart. His thoughts were interrupted by a remote controlled car tumbling into the main corridor.

“You cheated!”

“I did not. You're just jealous.”

McKay and Sheppard. Again.

“Why would I be jealous of a cheater?” McKay's voice echoed in the neighboring corridor.

“I didn't cheat. I just used the laws of physics – Hey!”

“Give me that!”

When the sounds of a struggle reached his ears, Woolsey hurried around the corner. Would he finally have to break up the inevitable scuffle? Why did they always fight?

The two men were wrestling over a controller when McKay got the upper hand, executing a perfect takedown.

“Ha! I win!” the scientist exclaimed, straddling a surprised Sheppard. Laughing, his arms up in the air in triumph, McKay held the device out of the colonel's reach.

“Well, somebody's been practicing,” Sheppard muttered, crossing his arms. “You can get off me now.” When McKay refused, the colonel bucked, flipping the scientist on his back. Leaning over him, Sheppard began laughing, and lay down beside McKay as they both succumbed to giggles.

Blinking, Woolsey nearly turned and left. Involuntarily, his body took a step forward, waiting for their laughter to subside.

“Hey, Mister Woolsey,” Sheppard said, amusement stamped all over his face.

“Hey,” McKay said, wiping tears from his eyes. “What brings you down here?”

Neither man seemed inclined to rise, making Woolsey feel like a principal breaking up all the fun. Straightening his jacket, he smiled; their obvious happiness was a bit contagious. “I was just speaking with Doctor Morton. We were having a stirring debate over tea.”

“Morton...” Sheppard tilted his head in askance toward McKay. “Beethoven?”

“Mozart,” the scientist replied, eyes crinkling with humor. “She likes a good debate.”

“I'll bet.”

“Yes, well... It was stimulating nonetheless.” Fighting the urge to shove his hands in his pockets, the former lawyer bid his farewell. “I hope you enjoy the rest of your day off, gentlemen.”

“Thanks,” they answered in unison, finally making their way off the floor.

As Woolsey made his way to the nearest transporting unit, he heard their raised voices again.

“That's ridiculous! There is no such thing!”

“I just invented it. Sheppard's Law of Motion.”

“You are such a smartass. Show me your math!”




Once again, Atlantis demonstrated her – its – ability to be persnickety. Mister Woolsey walked to the edge of the balcony, peering at the tower he originally asked for in the transporting unit.

With a sigh, he turned around, exiting the remote balcony. As he approached the unit, the doors remained resolutely closed.

“Well of all the – all right. Fine.” Woolsey said aloud, frowning. “You've made your point.”

Turning on his heel, he began the long walk to his missed destination. Thanks to The City, Richard got to know the layout of Atlantis rather intimately. Voices ahead carried through the adjoining corridor. Why did he always run into his CMO and Chief Scientist in the oddest places?

“What do you mean?” McKay demanded. “Why in this galaxy – no, two galaxies! – would I do that?”

“I don't know,” Sheppard answered, his voice quiet and rough. “You have a good chance with Jennifer, and –”

“And?” McKay's voice deepened, impatient. “Why are you acting crazy?”

“I'm not! Look I –” The colonel stopped, sighing heavily. “I just – You know what? Nevermind.”

“Stop!” McKay's voice had the cadence of command that Woolsey had never heard before. “Stop right there, Sheppard!”

Peeking around the corner, Woolsey thought for certain the two men would come to blows this time. Smiling only slightly, Richard surmised curiosity would definitely be his downfall. He was quite determined to get to the bottom of the McKay-Sheppard insanity.

The two men stood at arm's length, staring intently at one another; the tension was palpable in the narrow corridor. To Woolsey's surprise, Sheppard was the first to look away. McKay stepped closer, right into the colonel's space. When Sheppard tried to step away, the other man caught his arm. The colonel struggled for a moment, McKay held on with both hands until he stopped.

“What is this really about? You and me?” the scientist's asked quietly, rubbing his hands gently up and down Sheppard's arms.

The colonel cleared his throat, sighing again as he faced his friend. “This – thing – we have... I just think your life would be easier if –”

“Easier if you weren't in it?”

Shrugging, Sheppard crossed his arms. “Well, yeah. It's not like we can be out in the open. At least –”

“I can do that with Jennifer,” Rodney concluded, nodding. “Yes. You're right about that. Maybe I'll just throw away all those years we've become friends – more than friends – and all those nights of friendship sex –”

“Friendship sex?”

“Shut up.” McKay squeezed Sheppard's arms, pulling him closer. “You know what I mean. There aren't many ways you could've gotten this close to me, and I suspect vice-versa.” Taking a deep breath, Rodney pulled John closer still, moving his hands slowly down until he hooked his fingers in the colonel's belt loops.

Blinking, Woolsey tried not to gasp. He knew there was something going on with the two men, but his imagination failed when it came to romantic relationships. Especially between two men who were so opposite in disposition. Deep down, Richard was strangely relieved, knowing they wouldn't actually turn to fisticuffs in order to solve a problem.

“You know, you're going to have to be more of an idiot to get rid of me. Although, you were well on your way –”

Sheppard suddenly bracketed McKay's face with shaking hands. “Stop talking,” he whispered, smothering the arrogant scientist's words with a kiss.

Covering the involuntary gasp (not that he was a prude, just surprised), Richard backed away from the sounds of kissing (were they always this loud?). Resisting the urge to cover his ears, he made his way back to the stubborn transporting unit. Laughter floated through the corridor, stinging his ears.

“You smell so good.”

“Didn't I say stop talking?”

“I am genetically predisposed – mmph!”

The doors of the unit opened obligingly, and Mister Woolsey stepped inside. Blindly, he pressed a destination as he leaned heavily against a cool wall. Pulling off his glasses, he pinched the bridge of his nose. “Why me?”

Closing his eyes, Woolsey saw images of his two senior staff members happily in each other's arms. There was no way to erase what he'd seen, even if he thought of himself as fairly tolerant of alternate lifestyles.

The doors opened, depositing Richard into a busy corridor near the mess hall. Tea seemed to be in order and boy, did he need a cuppa. Sighing, he sat near a window, gazing out across the ocean. The Athosian tea was bracing, yet pleasant as he sipped, watching the two largest moons rise. As much as he wanted to pretend Atlantis was a tiny island on Earth, there was no way around the alien surroundings.

Reflecting on the past events involving his staff members, Richard came to a realization. He was a long way from home, and happy, quiet times were few and far between.

Glancing around the large open room, he spotted Doctor Morton sipping a hot beverage in the corner. Smiling coyly, she stared back with a twinkle in her eye. Refilling his mug, Richard wandered over to her table, trying to think of another topic for debate.

For all its hectic, dangerous beauty, Atlantis was growing on him. Just a little.


The End.
Tags: fiction, john, rodney, slash, stargate atlantis

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