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[personal profile] eccentricweft
Wow, back in July I certainly didn't think it would be three months before I had time to post again! Since then I've been out of the country for two and a half weeks and had five sets of houseguests (!) and a killer sinus infection.

But I'm all better now and I finished a little story, hurray!

This is a sweet bit of fluff for [ profile] semielliptical, who asked for John, Rodney and a scarf. She has a thing for scarves, and I have a thing for pining!John. :) PG, I think, and no spoilers.


"Hey, what's this?"

John was poking unabashed through the mountains of clutter that passed for decor in Rodney's room. Journals, report printouts, Ancient gadgets (both intact and disassembled), DVDs, half-eaten powerbars, empty coffee cups, and piles of laundry (thankfully clean) littered the bed, nightstand, desk, and most of the floor.

There was a pause before Rodney registered John's question. He was glued to his laptop and no closer to shutting down and coming to watch a movie than he'd been 20 minutes earlier. "What?"

"I said, what's this?" John held up a dark blue scarf he'd disentangled from a stack of paper halfway under the bed.

Rodney dragged his attention away from the screen long enough to glance in John's direction. "That, um. That's the scarf Jeannie made for me after she was here." He poked at his keyboard distractedly. "I told you she sent that, didn't I?"

"Oh yeah," John said absently, studying the scarf. He remembered asking Rodney about Jeannie's care package, but he'd imagined the scarf as some giant woolly monstrosity, bulky and scratchy. The kind of thing your great-aunt knit for you and your mother made you wear all winter long, even though Aunt Grace lived five states away and wasn't going to know you hated it.

But this scarf was... nice. Really nice. Midnight blue, just like John imagined Rodney's eyes would look in a dark room. Only he totally wasn't thinking that. The yarn was fine and pliable, with a sort of sheen to it, and incredibly soft. There was a complex geometric pattern in the texture of the stitches. John slipped it around his neck. It fit neatly under the collar of his leather jacket.

He caught a glimpse of his reflection in the glass door to Rodney's balcony, and wondered whether Rodney would notice that John had swiped his scarf.


John wore the scarf every day for a week and the thing was, Rodney never did notice. Which was kind of funny, the longer it went on, but also kind of not, because it was a little discouraging.

It wasn't like Rodney didn't have a chance. John had been waiting for him to notice through eleven meals, five lab visits, two missions, two movies and three games of chess. Not that he was counting. But Rodney carried on with his usual activities -- insulting John, bawling out his staff, making peevish remarks to Ronon and speculating whether the Nobel committee would recognize the intrinsic superiority of Rodney's contributions to physics over Samantha Carter's -- all without missing a beat or seeming to register anything unusual at all.

Of course, if he did notice, he'd probably badger John into giving it back, and John didn't want to give it up, exactly. If he couldn't have Rodney, at least he could have Rodney's scarf, right? And he totally wasn't thinking that, either.


"Colonel!" Rodney shouted, hysteria in his voice. John spun around from his surveillance of the jungle path behind them to see McKay, five hundred yards ahead, up to his shins in mud.

"What is it?" he called back, starting forward, but before Rodney could answer, John realized what the problem was. In just those few seconds, the mud had reached Rodney's knees.

"Don't struggle!" he yelled, dodging vines and tree limbs as he ran. "You'll make it worse!" He slapped the radio at his ear. "Ronon, Teyla, turn back. Double-time it. We've got a problem."

"Don't come too close!" Rodney shrieked as John skidded to a halt nearby. The mud was up to his thighs now. John could see the trail of Rodney's path through the muck; he must have been moving fast, eyes on the scanner. Momentum had carried him fifteen feet from solid ground before the mud took hold and began dragging him relentlessly downward.

"Don't struggle," John repeated, willing his voice to stay calm and even. "Lean forward as far as you can." As he spoke, John unclipped his P90 and stretched out on the ground, as close to Rodney as he dared. He extended the weapon as far as he could, straining forward, but it wasn't nearly far enough. "Damn it!" The mud was nearly to Rodney's waist now.

"Oh my God, I'm going to die," Rodney babbled. "I'm going to die in mud." His eyes were wide and panicked. "Sheppard, don't get too close, you'll get sucked in too--"

"You're not going to die!" John ground out, but his own chest was tight with fear. He couldn't lose McKay, not like this. Not any way. He looked around wildly, searching for something to tie to the P90, and a flash of dark blue caught his eye. Rodney's scarf. He yanked it off and tied the end to the strap of the P90, then flung it toward Rodney like a fishing line, holding the weapon by the barrel.

"I've got it! I've got it!" McKay gasped, the fingers of one hand tangled in the end of the scarf. The mud was up to his chest now. John could see the pressure was making it hard for Rodney to breathe, and John's shoulders were past the edge of the pit now. If they didn't get some help soon, he'd be dragged in himself. Unless he let go, which wasn't going to happen. John took a deep steadying breath.

"Relax, buddy. Just hold on. Teyla and Ronon will be here any second." Rodney nodded frantically, his breath coming in short gasps. The mud was almost to his shoulders. A few seconds later they could hear the rest of their team crashing through the undergrowth.

"John? Rodney?"

"Over here Teyla!"

Ronan and Teyla dashed into sight. Ronon flung himself to the ground, grabbing John's legs to keep him from sliding further in, while Teyla pulled a climbing rope from her pack and swiftly tied a loop in the end. "Rodney," she called. "When I throw out this line, put your free hand through the loop and let me tighten it around your wrist."

In moments they had a secure line on McKay. Rodney let the scarf go, holding tight to Teyla's rope with both hands, and the three of them hauled him -- slowly, agonizingly -- out of the grasping mud and across to solid ground.


John grimaced as he dragged a pair of sweatpants up over damp skin. Showering away the mud had taken forever and he'd done a sketchy job drying off because it hurt to move. Every muscle from waist to fingertips was strained and sore, and it felt like his shoulders had been yanked out of their sockets. He pulled a t-shirt over his head, wincing, and decided maybe a powerbar would be easier than going down to the mess for dinner.

The door chimed. John sighed -- no rest for the weary -- and turned toward the door, thinking it open. Rodney stood on the other side, a white bundle in his hands.

"Can I - come in?" he asked. He sounded strangely awkward.

John raised an eyebrow. Rodney usually didn't ask, he just barged right in. "Uh, sure." He waited a moment, but Rodney hung back at the threshold. "You okay? Come on in."

Rodney stepped in, the door swishing shut behind him. "I'm fine, yes. Mostly. Keller wouldn't give me the good drugs but I took two more Tylenol while she wasn't looking."

John's lips twitched in amusement. "Yeah, feels like I've been stretched on the rack. We might even be taller now."

Rodney smiled weakly at that. "I, uh. Wanted to say thank you. For saving me. And, and I'm sorry I wasn't paying attention. On the trail there."

John shrugged one shoulder. "S'okay. I know how you are when you're working. I shouldn't have let you get so far ahead of me."

"Well." Rodney looked down at the small cloth bundle he was holding. "You left this in the infirmary." He offered it to John tentatively. Wrapped in a white towel was the muddy, bedraggled blue scarf.

"Oh. Yeah. That's, uh. Yours, actually, Rodney."

"I know. You were..." Rodney's eyes were confused, and beseeching. "You were wearing it?"

John felt his face heat up. "Yeah, just. You know. Trying to be funny. Waiting for you to notice."

"I - wasn't paying attention," Rodney said hesitantly. "I think, maybe, I've been missing a few things. Important things." His eyes searched John's. "I have, haven't I?"

John's throat tightened up. God, he'd been waiting for this so long, he'd almost stopped hoping it would happen. "Maybe. Yeah, um. You have."

Rodney dropped the bundle and took a step forward. He was still uncertain, moving slowly enough for John to back away if he wanted, but that wasn't going to happen. John moved into Rodney's space, and strong arms pulled him even closer.

John brought his arms up around Rodney's back, holding him tight, and the burn in his shoulders felt like heaven.


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