Not Like Years Ago

~800 words :: Stargate: Atlantis :: John/Rodney :: 8/31/07
The first time he met Coach Sheppard, Rodney was ready to write him off as just another pretty-boy jock, no different from the dimwitted assholes in high school who’d done their best to make his life a living hell all those years ago.


The first time he met Coach Sheppard, Rodney was ready to write him off as just another pretty-boy jock, no different from the dimwitted assholes in high school who’d done their best to make his life a living hell all those years ago. The fact that Sheppard was also teaching math – and not just pre-algebra or anything, but calculus – only served to make Rodney vaguely suspicious. People who liked sports weren’t supposed to like math.

And he did seem to like it, if the animated look on his face during class was any indication. Not that Rodney spent a lot of time lurking outside the door to Sheppard’s classroom or anything. It just happened to be on the way to the teachers’ lounge.

In fact, it looked like he not only liked math, but actually liked teaching it as well. And the kids liked him, too. Rodney wasn’t jealous. He didn’t need his students to like him; he’d rather they use what few brain cells they had to learn the material. Even his AP students were depressingly mediocre this year.

The hulking idiots on the football team seemed to love him, too. They laughed and joked with Sheppard, who didn’t just stand on the sidelines and order them around, but actually got in there and showed them what he wanted. Sometimes without a shirt on.

Rodney only noticed this because the football field was on the way to the parking lot, and he only waved because Sheppard waved first. His grin was infectious, too. Like a disease.

“What’s this?” Rodney said, waving the flier in Sheppard’s face.

Sheppard looked up from grading papers and frowned. “What’s it look like?”

“An invitation for a Super Bowl party.”

“Well, there you have it,” Sheppard said, the corners of his mouth twitching up. “Mystery solved.” He ran his fingers through his annoyingly messy hair and Rodney didn’t think about how long they were or what better use they could be put to. He never thought about things like that, and certainly not when Sheppard was making fun of him.

He huffed and said, “I don’t know why you thought I’d be interested.”

Sheppard looked down and shrugged, picked up his pen and started grading again. “I invited everyone.”

His voice sounded flat and Rodney felt like he was missing something.

Rodney ended up going anyway. After all, it was free food, even if it did mean spending all evening with his mental inferiors watching the most boring game ever invented. At least he managed to snag a spot at the end of one sofa, which meant his personal space was only being invaded on one side. Unfortunately the other side was Sheppard, who was apparently Mr. Touchy-Feely. His elbow and shoulder were constantly brushing against Rodney, and, more than once, he laid a hand on Rodney’s thigh, squeezing tightly when his team scored a touchdown.

After a while, Rodney got up to stock up on brownies again and go to the bathroom, and ended up shutting himself in the bedroom for some peace and quiet. It didn’t bother him that no one noticed he was missing. Fiddling with his iPhone, which he’d finally been able buy himself for Christmas, was much more interesting than anything the living room had to offer.

He was most of the way through an episode of Doctor Who when a familiar voice said, “That’s not how I’d pictured you in my bed.”

“Well, excuse me for not living up to your expectations,” Rodney snapped. “Wait, what?”

He didn’t remember hearing the door open, but there was Sheppard, leaning against the jamb, thumbs in his pockets and hips jutting forward and oh God, Rodney was pretty sure he must have fallen asleep at some point, because there was no way Sheppard was actually flirting with him.

“When I pictured you in my bed,” Sheppard drawled, “you were definitely wearing less clothing.”

Definitely asleep, then. Possibly come down with some sort of fever, though Rodney had felt fine earlier, if a little sick from all the brownies.

“Shouldn’t you be watching the game?”

“Halftime.” Sheppard shrugged. He pushed himself away from the jamb and reached behind himself to pull the door shut. “Figured I’d come and see what got you held up.”

He sat down onto the bed next to Rodney, too close, and leaned in even closer to peer at the screen. “New Who, eh?” His hand was on Rodney’s thigh, much higher than it had been back on the couch. “I liked the Fourth Doctor better.”

Rodney was going to say “me, too”, but Sheppard was kissing him, and maybe it wasn’t a dream, because his mouth tasted like beer and Doritos, and Rodney was pretty sure even his feverish hallucinations wouldn’t subject him to that.

With the iPhone still playing on the bed next to them and Sheppard fumbling at his fly, Rodney said, “How long does halftime last?”

Sheppard grinned. “Long enough.”