Leap Day

by darsynia

Notes: Comment fic for sheafrotherdon's 'John Sheppard and Rodney McKay, would you just get married already?!' festival. Written 2/29/08.

"Did you know our six month anniversary falls on Leap Day?" John said, falling in a somehow graceful slump to sit beside Rodney and his laptop on the balcony bench. "Well, if you take into account the different solar cycles, that is."

Rodney winced. "I thought we weren't doing anniversaries," he said, though his fingers stilled on the keys and he couldn't help stealing a glance at John, for whom the whole anniversary moratorium had been instituted in the first place.

"I didn't say we were doing anything for it, Rodney, I just thought it was worth mentioning." John sounded a little defensive, which was promising. Rodney hadn't had much occasion to have anniversary sex in his admittedly sparse dating career, and John had been so touchy about such obvious relationship milestones that he hadn't dared to be overt about possible plans for those days in particular. Being covert hadn't helped, either—for someone who professed to abhor romantic minutiae, John Sheppard always knew, and it irritated Rodney to no end that he could offer to fulfill his lover's most secret fantasies on any day of the year but the significant ones. It suddenly occurred to Rodney that John must have kept careful track of that day in particular, because their calendar at Atlantis was shot all to hell, and with the move to the new planet and everything—

"Hang on a minute," Rodney said, the computer on his lap momentarily forgotten as his mind raced through a few computations. "It really does, doesn't it?"

"Your faith in my—"

"Why do you know that?" Rodney blurted out, turning to look at John with a look of discovery on his face. "I mean, I thought you really hated that stuff, but—" It was John's turn to wince.

"I don't hate it, I just thought it was a little too... junior high," John interrupted, scratching his back as he squinted out across the ocean in the casual way that Rodney knew meant he was nervous.

"All this time I thought it was a defense mechanism," Rodney said incredulously, shutting his laptop and setting it aside. "Like it was too real if—" He broke off as John dropped his right hand from his shoulder and took Rodney's wildly gesturing left one on the way down to land, palm to palm, on Rodney's thigh. He didn't move his gaze from the horizon, however.

They'd hardly ever held hands, and Rodney was tempted to make a sarcastic remark along the lines of, 'Now who's in junior high,' just to prove his point. But then John moved his sweat-damp hand up, fingers extended to slide warmly between his, and the pleasure that sparked from the simple contact skidded right past junior high and firmly into the realm of adult-only.

"It's just that February 29th is, I don't know... A lot of people look at it as a special day—not that, you know," John struggled, clearly having bypassed the boyfriend censor before saying that last bit, given its implications. Privately Rodney decided to cut him a break, which absolutely did not have anything to do with the tingling in his hand, or the way the friction of their palms moving together reminded him of other things.

"Go on," Rodney said loftily. Okay, half a break. A stammering John was too fun to miss. To his surprise, John did go on, hand stilling on Rodney's as he spoke again.

"There are traditions, and things," John managed, adding quickly, "Though, most of those have to do with marriage proposals, actually, and women being able to ask the man, and something about bad luck—"

"Did you just —?" Rodney faltered. John's brow furrowed, and he finally turned his head toward Rodney, hazel eyes confused and curious, and maybe even a little vulnerable.

"What? Oh," John said, catching on a little late. "It's not Leap Day today."

"No, no. Of course not," Rodney said, sure John could feel the way his heartbeat had doubled through their joined hands.

"Of course..." John dangled nonchalantly.

"Yes?" Rodney said a bit breathlessly, before the other man could continue. John squeezed his hand tightly, a long breath leaving his body as he stared intently at a spot on the floor just past Rodney's knee. He somehow managed to look completely relieved and incredibly tense, all at once.

"That is, unless you— I mean, there are a lot of considerations..." Eyes still fixed to the floor, John's cheeks started to turn pink.

"Oh," Rodney said. "Ohhh." He'd just— He'd actually— Then Rodney thought of something. "Wait, doesn't that make you the girl?"

"Did you just ask me to marry you by accusing me of being a woman?" John said, all bluster, shooting him an accusatory look. The tiny sparkle of mischief in his eyes was the only hint that he was teasing as he pulled his hand away in a gesture of outrage.

"I—" For a long, disbelieving moment, Rodney was genuinely speechless before he recovered to say, triumphantly, "Nice try, Mrs. McKay, I know what I heard." Granted, when he'd said 'yes' earlier, he'd just been encouraging John to say more, but John didn't need to know that, and the answer still stood.

"Besides, like I said, it's not Leap Day today," John said, shrugging on his usual carefree demeanor as he stretched and stood up, walking over to lean on his forearms against the balcony rail.

Rodney took a deep breath and, hating himself, he said, "Are you sure? I mean..." he tried not to gulp. "—the Air Force..."

John turned his head to look at him, eyes darkening in the familiar way that sent shivers up Rodney's spine.

"I think everyone in Atlantis knows by now just how I feel about following orders when something important is at stake," he said in a low voice. "Get over here." Rodney went. John turned to fit an arm against Rodney's shoulders, fingers tangling in the hair at his nape, and Rodney slid a hand from John's hip up under his shirt, thighs brushing as they kissed softly, hungrily. Rodney couldn't help but marvel (as always) at John's ability to simply touch him and melt away the uncertainty. Minutes later he'd shifted to silently thanking the Ancients for building balconies that were blocked from view to the rest of the city when a thought struck him.

"So... were you going to... ask me to... on Leap Day?" he said between short, hot little kisses, his fingers tangled in John's waistband at his back.

"Guess I'll have to come up with something else," John pulled away and murmured, his breath hot on Rodney's ear.

"I knew it. You're so the girl," Rodney said, grinning smugly into John's shoulder, prompting his fiancée (or fiancé, depending on whom you asked) to show him all the ways he was absolutely not a woman.