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Title: Perchance to Sleep
Author: shaddyr
Recipient: hanorganaas
Pairing: McKay/Cadman
Rating: PG
Word Count: ~2100
Warnings: Het
Summary: It wasn’t like he was her type. Not that McKay was completely unattractive, but between his insufferable, condescending attitude, and his general disdain, she should have had him firmly in her don't-go-near-with-a-10-foot-pole bucket.

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~*~ LC ~*~

Laura scowled in the mirror. It was her day off, and all she wanted to do was sleep in, but there was no chance of that happening lately. She ran the brush through her hair, annoyed at the thoughts she was unable to drive out of her head.

It wasn’t like he was her type. Not that McKay was completely unattractive, but between his insufferable, condescending attitude - “And do you have a degree in physics, hmm? Well, what about mechanical engineering, huh?” - and his general disdain for her - “I have had some experience with these systems; more, say, than a tap-dancing explosives expert!” - she should have had him firmly in her don't-go-near-with-a-10-foot-pole bucket. Honestly, she wouldn’t have looked at him twice before she got stuck in his head.

She sighed as she dropped the brush on the counter top and grabbed an elastic to pull her hair up into a ponytail.

It wasn’t like he was treating her any differently - well, no. Actually, he was treating her very differently, with the skittish behaviour and sidelong glances and then the accusation that she might be a Trust operative of all things! But other than that, there were no outward signs that he even found her tolerable to be around.

She’d been attracted to Carson, but after a few dates, things between them had fizzled, the spark simply gone. On the other hand, despite the fact that Rodney was a total jerk and didn’t even seem to like her, Laura often found her thoughts turning to him these past few weeks. The quickness of his mind while she’d been there, feeling him work, immersed in the song of higher maths and physics beyond her expertise; the jumbled complexity of emotion he kept bottled up inside, like he was experiencing everything intensely and all at once; the moment when she realized he wasn’t going to willingly let her slip into nothingness, the steely determination that had sizzled through him as he’d mentally refused the option and entwined himself around her, even while his brilliant mind found the solution in the Stargate. And now she wondered if being wrapped in his arms would be as warm and comforting as the embrace of his mind had been.

“Goddammit, McKay…” she grumbled as she tied her shoelaces, then stood up to go for a run. “I got out of your head. Why the hell won’t you get out of mine?”



~*~ MRM ~*~


Rodney yawned and reached for his coffee cup. He lifted it to his lips, then stopped short in dismay as he realized that all that remained was a thin film of congealed cream. He glanced longingly at the lab coffee machine, but it had been turned off many hours previous. Turning back to his laptop, he blinked as the simulation playing out on the screen went all fuzzy.

“Oh, come on!” he protested as he attempted to adjust the display, but couldn’t seem to make it any clearer. He glanced at his watch and groaned as he realized it wasn’t the display that was the problem..

“How the hell is it 5:37 a.m. already?,” he moaned rubbing his face with one hand and giving in to another yawn. It was either head back to his room and try to grab 2 hours of sleep before 8 a.m. staff and then deal with Sheppard hazing him for being dopey while he struggled to stay awake during the meeting, or brazen it out with more coffee, deal with Sheppard hazing him for being over-tired and loopy during the meeting, and collapse for a couple hours afterward. He let out a snort. More coffee it was.

Besides, he mused as he rinsed his cup in the lab sink before heading to the mess, a short nap while he was overtired was almost guaranteed to produce strange and vivid dreams about a certain strawberry blond marine with a sarcastic wit and a gift for blowing things up . Since the avoiding these dreams was at least partially to blame for him being up so late in the first place, he didn’t really want to invite them in right before he had to go pretend to be functional around a bunch of his peers.

The first time he passed it off as nothing. Cadman was as sexy as she was annoying, so he wasn’t really surprised he’d dreamt about her. But it wasn’t like other dreams he’d had about women - he’d dreamt about talking with her, snuggling and cuddling, not just straight up sex. And then it happened again, and again, always with the cuddling and holding her until he finally realized that he was feeling *protective* of Cadman! She was a Marine, for God’s sake, and fully capable of kicking his ass. If he made one wrong move, let one asinine remark slip out that made her think that he thought she was a need of protection, he’d be in a world of pain. Not to mention he was more than a little freaked out that these stupid dreams just kept happening.

He walked into the mess and found a handful of military personnel having breakfast and a few scientists who, like himself, were still up from the night before, but other than that, it was quiet. Rodney filled his mug, grabbed a fresh muffin and wandered over to a table along the rail by the windows with a clear view of the city. He absently watched people walking by on the mezzanine below as the city slowly began to awake, the fresh infusion of caffeine working its magic and waking him as well.

Suddenly he recognized a lithe body with a shock of blonde hair cut across his vision at a rapid pace, jogging up the stairs to the mess hall entrance rather than taking the transporter.

“Laura,” he breathed, feeling his heart skip a beat as the object of his dreams approached. He glanced around as his field training kicked in; he could almost hear Sheppard’s nasal voice drawling in his head. “Rodney! When unarmed, and a potentially hostile force approaches, retreat or take cover!” Unfortunately, there was only one entrance, and no way to get out before she came in. But it should be fine, he reasoned. After all, he’d been awkward around her ever since the body sharing incident, and he’d made it even worse with his accusations about the Trust - god, the things he came up with when he was trying to deny he was attracted to someone! Which no, he certainly was not attracted, he was just a strangely fascinated with someone who had been stuck in his head, and really, who wouldn’t be? After all, how often does that happen -

“Hi, Rodney,” came Laura’s voice, like a shock of cold water, snapping him out of the whirling thoughts spinning around in his head. He looked up, eyes locking with hers, frazzled and off guard as she sat down at the table across from him.

“Uh! Cadman, hi,” he mumbled back, tearing his gaze away to glance down at his watch. 6:02 a.m. “Oh, look at the time,” he said, wincing at how very lame that was. “Reports to write, always paperwork to be done. For my meeting. Yes, big meeting this morning. Huge. Need to go get a report ready on, on, uhm, a thing. That I’m working on. In the lab. Very important.” He stood up, mug clenched in one hand.

“Right,” came the reply as he took a step away, and something was just… off. He stopped, blinked, then pivoted on one foot and looked back at her, really looked this time..

Cadman was tired. Not just the plain old didn’t-get-enough-sleep tired, but exhausted, grey and washed out, unhealthy pallor tired. Rodney cocked his head over to one side, then without really being able to say why, he slid back into his seat.

“What’s wrong with you?”



~*~ LC ~*~

Laura did a double take. She had no idea what had possessed her to walk up to McKay when she saw him sitting there. Worst idea ever, she told herself when she walked in, but against her better judgement, she’d done it anyway. Unsurprisingly he’d jumped up and made to rabbit out of the mess hall, and she had suddenly felt completely exhausted by it all. She was sick of feeling like a leper around him, and tired of the fact that it actually mattered to her. It was a surprise he’d noticed anything was wrong, and a shock he’d said anything. Of course, he’d been a complete ass - that was just Rodney - but he’d noticed and asked Who’d have seen that coming?

She met his eyes and wondered if the thoughts whirling around behind them were as frantic and fevered as they’d been when she’d been there. She mustered up a smile and wondered if it looked as brittle as it felt. “Got a lot on my mind,” she replied with a mirthless chuckle. Namely you.

McKay’s eyes went round as saucers. “You.. what?”

Laura stared at him. “What?”

He shook a finger at her. “You! You just said, you said ‘Namely you’, as in me. Me? I’m the thing on your mind?”

Laura felt the blood draining from her face. She hadn’t meant to say that out loud. “No, no, no, that’s not what I meant,” she denied, leaning back in her chair, shaking her head as she looked down at the table. “I’m just tired, slip of the tongue, just ignore-”

“You’ve been on my mind too!” McKay blurted out, then gasped, looking somewhere between sick and terrified that he’d said it out loud. Then, looking defiant and frightened at the same time, he continued. “I can’t stop thinking about you,” he confessed. “I’ve been working late and avoiding sleep because you’re always in my dreams!”

“Really?” she asked, before she could stop herself, sitting forward, leaning toward him across the table, hands braced on the table’s edge. “Honestly, McKay? You better not be making this up to mess with me.”

He flashed her his patented ‘You’re-such-a-moron-how-are-you-still-breathing’ look.”Are you kidding? Do I look like I’m insane? You’re a Marine and I am well aware you can kill me in a multitude of unpleasant ways.”

She let out a huff of laughter and loosened her grip on the edge of the table, instead bringing her arms up to wrap them around herself. “You’re not wrong.”

They sat there, the moment spinning out awkwardly between them, Rodney looking at her expectantly as he drummed the fingers of one hand on the table in a nervous, staccato rhythm while the other hand clasped tightly around his coffee mug.

“Look, are you going to say something?”he finally asked, desperation evident in his face. “At least tell me you’re not going to kill me for admitting this. Or torture me, or make my life a living hell in any number of ways! I can’t help what I dream about!”

She took a deep breath, then reached out one hand to settle it over the one he was using to tap on the table top, silencing the beat and stilling the movement.

“Did you miss the part where I said that you’ve been on my mind?”

He blinked. “Yes. I mean no, I didn’t miss it. I heard you say that, yes, right.” He blinked again. “Really?”

She was a little bemused by how earnest he was - where was the McKay bravado? The prickly outside had all been peeled back, and what was inside was almost shy, and unexpectedly sweet. she felt a rush of warmth toward him. “Yeah, Rodney,” she said, nodding. “Really. A lot. It’s been distracting. And hard to sleep.” She watched a slow smile creep across his face till he was beaming with what could only be termed as joy, and it made her smile in return.

“So... uhm…” he fidgeted slightly, apparently struggling for what to say, and Laura chuckled quietly. It wasn’t often anyone got to see Rodney McKay at a loss for words. Unexpectedly, he yawned, relinquishing his coffee mug to raise and hand to cover his mouth even while turning the hand she’d covered on the table palm up to grasp hers. She couldn’t help yawning in sympathy.

He looked at her, a little abashed and a little nervous, glancing down at their entwined hands before meeting her eyes again. “Sorry, I’m just… really tired,” he said, giving her hand a gentle squeeze.

Laura squeezed back. “Yeah, I got that. I think I might know a little bit about how that feels.” She gave him a sly smile.”I’m sort of thinking about going back to bed.”

She watched him parse that, going from confusion to disbelief to elation to disappointment as he let out sigh of frustration. “I really do have to go get ready for a meeting this morning,” he said, regret colouring his tone.

Laura laughed, shaking her head at the irony. She got to her feet and gave his hand one last squeeze before relinquishing it. “When it’s over, you know where to find me,” she said. She shook a finger at him. “Don’t leave me hanging,” she warned.

He shook his head. “I wouldn’t dream of it.”


~fin

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