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Fic: Paradigm Shift (SGA; Keller/McKay, Keller/OMC, McShep; PG)

Title: Paradigm Shift
Rating: PG
Pairings: Keller/McKay, Keller/OMC, and, yes, McShep
Disclaimer: Not mine (except the mistakes), no harm meant, except maybe to the McKeller.
Summary: How did a sweet kid like Keller turn John into such a-

Paradigm Shift

John's trying desperately not to laugh. The marine, Tom Wright, is genuinely injured, if not remotely in danger. Wright's the youngest of his soldiers, and everybody, from himself, to Lorne, to the kid's teammates, to the mess cook who bakes him cookies, treats him like the baby of the family. It's absurd, because he's almost as big as Ronon, and a third generation Marine, and he's got nerves of steel. He'd have to, because he's messing with McKay's girl.

Keller's patching him up with infinite care. She's seething. It's adorable.

The only thing that really gives John pause is the guilty look on Rodney's face. "It wasn't intentional," he hisses. "It's his gene! Everything overreacts around him!" Actually, even that's pretty funny. True, too. John's seen Wright try to fly a jumper.

To be honest, John doesn't think Wright would be dumb enough to make a move on Keller. It's just that he knows her - she used to babysit him (Wright's really young) - and they get on well. Keller doesn't interact much with the Marines outside the infirmary, but she stops to talk to him when they're off duty. It's not his - or her - fault that everyone immediately started saying what a cute couple they'd make.

So it's pretty funny. Except. Keller leans in as she finishes stitching, and Wright stiffens. He bites his lip, and closes his eyes. It could be pain, but John doesn't think so. And as Keller pulls back, she looks up just as he opens his eyes.

If there weren't five other people and a city-sewer-system-load of tension in the room, that, right there, would be a first kiss moment.

Rodney sees it, too, and John's ready to pull him out the room when he explodes, but he doesn't. He just turns and walks out of the infirmary, the expression on his face so defeated that John hates himself because he still, still, thinks it's kind of funny.

How did a sweet kid like Keller turn John into such an asshole?

He hates that Keller's so right for McKay, in ways that Katie Brown never was. She's smart, not just intelligent, and she likes Rodney because he's such an insensitive jerk, not 'despite his weaknesses'. She loves him for his graces, his so-well-hidden sweetness. John hates that she sees that, because he can't just settle into hating her.

Arguably, she's a better fit for McKay than for Wright, because barring their youth, that glow of American Mid-Western Youth that surrounds them, she and the marine have nothing in common.

It doesn't stop him being viciously glad that Rodney saw that little swelling strings moment in the infirmary.

~

He finds Rodney in his lab, standing in the middle of the room staring at the wall.

"I'm sorry." He places his hand on Rodney's back, smooths the space between his shoulder blades. He feels the sigh that Rodney releases.

"Yeah, well, it was inevitable, wasn't it. She-"

"No. No," John repeats. "I'm sorry because I just don't care." He could have phrased that better. Rodney stiffens, then whirls round to face John.

"Oh, well, I'm sorry if my freefalling love life bores you. Or is this one of your red-blooded American soldier code things and I'm just supposed to suck it up and not talk about it?"

Wow, he really screwed that up. "No!" Then he screws everything up, because he steps forward and catches Rodney's face in his hands, and kisses him. Softly, lips closed, chaste, nothing like he'd -

John pulls back. "I'm sorry."

"Wuh-" Rodney stares at him. He looks like his brain has been derailed, which has always been a good look for Rodney, so John steps in and kisses him again, bolder, fiercer. It's not like the situation can get any worse. When he stops, Rodney says: "Um," and seems to be searching for a word. He settles for: "Kissing?"

John nods, and then shakes his head. "Actually, I think I need to sit down and have a good solid panic attack."

"Oh. Okay."

The chairs suddenly seem far away, so John sits on the floor. Carefully, not in any way that might suggest he's on the verge of falling over.

"What, here?"

"Yeah."

"But, but, this is my lab!"

In between the ohgodohgodohgod and the mmmcoffee and the waitthat'swhatyoutakefromthis?, John finds room to think that Rodney's kind of missing the point.

"You can't panic in here. Where do I panic?"

John pats the floor beside him. Rodney's eyes narrow. "You're not panicking at all. You're just-"

John opens his mouth to speak, and nothing comes out, so he closes it with a snap and settles for raising an eyebrow at Rodney.

"What? C'mon, that doesn't even- and you're all- why would- it's-" Rodney stops, mercifully. "Are you - you?" he asks.

"Rod-ney."

"Okay, so you're you." Rodney takes a step back, crossing his arms and adopting a quisitorial expression. "Kissing? Really?"

John nods. "Kissing. And - stuff."

"Wow, Sheppard, you really suck at this."

"Hey!"

"Oh, not the kissing. I'm not criticising that, just everything else. Timing, for one. And, and - stuff."

"See? It's harder than you think." Oh, he did not just say that.

Rodney sits down abruptly, facing John so that their legs are parallel, but not touching. John pulls his knees up and drops his head.

They sit like that for a few moments, and then John feels a tap on his knee. He looks up, and Rodney's staring at him with something like concern. "Is this a - new thing for you?"

John drops his head again, and starts to laugh.

"What? It's a perfectly valid question. I know I'm not supposed to ask, but I'm pretty sure we're past that."

"No, Rodney, it's not a new thing for me."

"Huh."

Rodney prods his knee again. John ignores him. "So, I'm on the rebound. And you're a whole new level of emotionally stunted, if one kiss has you curled up on the floor weeping."

"Two kisses. And stuff." Mostly the stuff. "And I'm not weeping."

"What stuff?"

"Thinking."

"Now, that doesn't surprise me. Leave the thinking to-"

John looks up. "What do you mean, you're on the rebound?" Rodney scowls at him.

"Jennifer? With the Marine? In the infirmary? You were right there, Sheppard."

"Yeah, but dumped doesn't necessarily mean 'on the rebound', so..."

Rodney just looks at him like he's an idiot.

"It was all of an hour ago."

Rodney rolls his eyes. "And now I have a new paradigm."

"Okay?" Yeah, the thinking's escaping him again.

"Kissing."

Oh. "Oh," says John.

"And then stuff."

"Oh." John's starting to feel better about stuff. "Okay."

~

"Great, now I have to feel guilty about breaking Walker's air-con."

"You mean Wright."

"You really broke your brain, didn't you? 'You mean right'. You mean well. And I don't."

"No, his name. His name is Wright."

"Oh."

~

"Do we have a Walker?"

"Yeah."

"Oh."


Coda, because I couldn't let it lie: Three weeks later...

A/N: It started all serious, but then it got pretty silly and I couldn't work my way back to the angst. Probably should have forcibly disconnected them...

Tags: ,

Comments

you're a whole new level of emotionally stunted

And they're a whole new level of verbally incoherent! *giggle*

Very cute!
Thanks!
Loved the tag on the end! Poor Walker - does he realise he was sabotaged?
Thanks!

I'm pretty sure the Marines are used to it by now...
LOL, awesome! I love John and his panicking.


teeny typo Arguably, she's a better fit for McKay than for Wright, because baring their youth, that
barring, not baring.
Thanks! And he was going to be all stoic and manly...

(re: typo, yeah. I swear, I fixed that at least twice before I posted. *sighs* )
hey, Jennifer, a little bit o' cradle robbing there, eh?

and Rodney rebounded really quickly! all in all, I'm glad you went for the comedy. It worked, and an angsty version of this would have needed to be three times as long...
What goes around, comes around, right?

It was absolutely my intention to go for the serious issue drama, but no...
Hee. That's pretty much exactly the level of communication I expect from these guys!
Yeah, well, y'know, it's - stuff. Stuff is complicated, and makes sentences difficult.
This is hilarious! You do have a talent for dialogue.
And this is just how I pictured it, actually. Both of them just sit on the floor and amicably freak out, not really stringing together coherent sentences.

"You can't freak out here. Where am I going to freak out?"

Yup, you got it in a nutshell.
Thanks!
OMG! I love this to itty bitty pieces.
Thank you!