better watch your ace (cinaed) wrote in wondergeeks,
better watch your ace
cinaed
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In The Black (AU, sequel to Scorecards)

Title: In The Black
Author: cinaed
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: SGA is definitely not mine.
Pairing(s): Rodney McKay/Radek Zelenka, John Sheppard/Elizabeth Weir UST
Summary: Rodney really should have known better than to go to a celebratory dinner. Ronon and Simpson were literally fighting over the bread.
Author's Notes: Thanks go out to duckduck and blue_raven for beta-checking this for me. The fic is the sequel to Scorecards, an AU in which Rodney is the worst speed-dater ever.
Word Count: 2,900

Rodney was certain he could convince the police that it had been a justifiable homicide. Well, reasonably certain, anyway. He glowered. “For the last time, Sheppard, that’s my desk. Get out of my chair!”

Sheppard just smiled and spun slowly in the pilfered seat, slouching even more until it was a wonder that he didn’t slide to the floor. “Oh, this is your desk, McKay? I had no idea,” he drawled, and Rodney snorted.

“That has been my desk for three years now. You know damn well -- can you believe this?” he snapped, turning to appeal to his lone ally even as Simpson (the traitor) snickered.

Radek looked up, blinking owlishly, and then rolled his eyes and gestured pointedly towards the cell phone at his ear before he went back to muttering rapid-fire, irritated Czech.

“So much for being my ally,” Rodney muttered under his breath and then refocused his glare upon Sheppard. “Look, shouldn’t you be, oh, harassing Elizabeth or something? I don’t know, maybe even doing your job? I know that’s a difficult concept for you to grasp, but--”

Sheppard lazily waved a thick folder at him. “I have all the numbers for the end of the year. I just couldn’t resist saying hello to you before I went to see Liz.”

Liz?” Simpson muttered in abject disbelief.

Rodney rolled his eyes. “Next time, Sheppard? Resist. Resist with all your might.”

Sheppard just grinned at him for another moment before he rose to his feet and sauntered towards Elizabeth’s office, apparently unconcerned by Rodney’s glare.

At the sound of Radek’s cell phone snapping shut, Rodney turned and folded his arms against his chest. “You could have distracted him for me, you know, introduced yourself or something,” he informed the other man, at which Radek rolled his eyes.

“I am so sorry that I failed in my duties, Rodney.” Blatant insincerity flavored every word. “I am afraid I was distracted by my sister accusing me of being a terrible uncle for not wanting to fly back to Prague for New Year’s to see the demon spawn.” He added something in Czech, darkly, before he tucked the cell into a pocket. “So, who was he?”

“John Sheppard, from Accounting,” Simpson informed him. She made a face. “Did he really say Liz? Please tell me he was joking, McKay.”

“How should I know?” Rodney rolled his eyes. “More importantly than that, why should I care? Though I thought Elizabeth had better taste in men.”

“Oh, I don’t know, Sheppard is supposed to be quite a catch,” Simpson said breezily. “Half of the accountants are in love with him, you know. Teer once told me--”

Rodney raised an eyebrow. “Teer? Wasn’t she the one who joined the cult?”

“Yes,” Simpson said, frowning. “And she was such a nice girl too.”

“Nice and crazy,” Rodney muttered under his breath and ignored Simpson’s glare. Refocusing on Radek, who was watching them with a look of mixed amusement and confusion, he added, “Sheppard’s been the head of accounting for about five years now, and has been flirting with Elizabeth even longer.”

“Nobody knows if he actually means it,” Simpson added. “Or if Elizabeth’s even noticed the flirting.” She smiled suddenly, and Rodney recognized the look as one of pure, unadulterated evil. “There’s a betting pool, if you want in--”

“Oh, please, like Radek’s going to get ensnared by your crazy gambling ways,” Rodney said, though apparently the other man was, judging by the way Radek’s eyes had gleamed with interest at the mention of a betting pool.

The sound of a door opening had all three heads turning towards Elizabeth’s office, and Elizabeth and Sheppard walked out. There was a flush on Elizabeth’s face and a pleased look on Sheppard’s, and either they’d finally resolved that whole sexual tension issue or the company had made a profit for the year. Rodney hoped for the latter, both because of, oh, his salary, and because the fact that Elizabeth and Sheppard actually getting their act together and dating would doom him to a lot more days of Sheppard stealing his desk.

“We’re in the black,” Sheppard announced, still looking pleased with himself (as though he’d had anything to do with keeping them in the black anyway, all he did was crunch numbers). “And to celebrate, I’m treating you all to dinner.”

There was a moment of silence, and then Rodney asked with a roll of his eyes, “Which restaurant is the coupon for?”

Sheppard didn’t even have the decency to look embarrassed, just smiled even wider and said, “Outback Steakhouse. Did you know that their coupons don’t even have an expiration date?”

“Outback Steakhouse?” Simpson repeated. When Rodney glanced over at her, she wore a slightly maniacal smile. “I haven’t been there in ages. First dibs on the bread.”

“The bread?” Radek echoed, puzzled. “What is so wonderful about the bread?”

“Best bread ever,” Simpson informed him, and then proceeded to actually lick her lips in anticipation. God, Rodney was surrounded by freaks. Crazy, food-obsessed, gambling freaks.

“So, does anyone need directions?” Sheppard asked brightly. “We can meet there at seven. Oh, and I was going to invite some folks from Advertising as well.”

Rodney shook his head at Radek before the other man could even open his mouth. “Oh, come on, Sheppard. We’d do better with Mapquest than if we used your crazy directions.” He frowned. “And do we really have to invite more people? Having you and Simpson there will be bad enough.” He narrowly avoided Simpson’s fist and added, “Though at least no one from Advertising has actually assaulted me.”

“Yet,” Sheppard muttered. “And I’ve already invited Teyla and Ronon, so deal with it, Rodney.”

Rodney frowned. “Well, at least with Ronon around, we might get a decent table.” This time, he ignored Radek’s puzzled expression. Radek would understand when he met Ronon.

*


Rodney arrived at the restaurant before everyone but Teyla, who smiled warmly and said, “Hello, Rodney. I have already told the greeter that we need a table for seven.”

“Let me guess, Sheppard didn’t warn the place in advance and the greeter’s now cursing us under his breath?” Rodney commented, and though Teyla’s smile became tinged with ruefulness, she didn’t answer.

One by one, the others arrived, several muttering darkly about Sheppard’s directions. The last to arrive, of course, was Sheppard himself, grinning and waving the coupons at them.

It was another ten minutes or so before they were seated, and a waiter gave them the cutting board and a few loaves of bread, took their drink orders, and immediately vanished.

Rodney rolled his eyes as Simpson and Ronon both lunged for the bread and turned deliberately to Radek. “So, about that quirk in the system we’re--”

“No discussing work, McKay,” Sheppard said and actually shook a finger at him. “This is a celebration, remember?” Rodney glared, and Sheppard smiled serenely as he snatched a piece of bread from Simpson’s grip.

“Anyway, as I was saying--” He yelped as the piece of bread Sheppard had stolen bounced off his forehead and Simpson snapped, “No wasting the bread!”

Sheppard raised an eyebrow. “Would you prefer I use my utensils?”

Simpson just stared at him for a beat of silence and then resumed her apparent battle with Ronon as Teyla sighed and moved her chair a bit closer to Elizabeth’s and further away from Simpson’s.

“Freaks,” Rodney muttered under his breath, rubbing at his forehead and ignoring Radek’s amused look. Then he flagged down the waiter. “Do you remember what drink I ordered?”

“Uh, a diet Coke, I think,” the waiter said, blinking.

“Yes, well, change it to a beer. A drunken haze is the only way I’m going to survive this evening.”

“Rodney,” Radek said with a frown. “How are you going to get home?”

“You’ll drive me,” Rodney said, hoping the implied ‘obviously’ came across loud and clear, and watched the waiter scurry off, presumably to get him the beer selection.

Radek rolled his eyes and folded his arms against his chest. “No, I will not. I will get you a taxi, if you insist on complaining and drinking the entire time.”

Rodney opened his mouth to tell Radek he was a really crappy boyfriend, then noticed Elizabeth and Teyla watching the discussion with interest and scowled instead. “I can hold my liquor.”

He ignored Radek’s disbelieving snort.

*


“I see you hold your liquor very well,” Radek remarked dryly, looking torn between amusement and exasperation.

Rodney shot him a half-hearted glare, half-hearted because he was pleasantly buzzed and couldn’t summon up the proper amount of indignation needed for Radek’s sarcasm. All right, so maybe drinking a beer or two before actually getting his meal hadn’t been the best of plans. It was entirely Sheppard and Simpson’s fault for being insane, anyways. Besides, he wasn’t that intoxicated. Tipsy, really.

“I know that was sarcasm,” he informed Radek and then carefully stood. The floor felt a little unsteady under his feet, but he ignored the sensation, instead smirking in triumph at Radek. “See? Holding my liquor.”

Radek rolled his eyes but didn’t argue. “Not well enough to drive. I will call you a taxi.” He rose to his feet and gestured for Rodney to follow him outside.

Rodney followed-- well, attempted to follow anyway. The ground seemed to shift under his feet, trying to trip him, and so he moved cautiously and ignored Ronon’s deep, amused, “Need a little help, Rodney?”

“I’m fine,” Rodney muttered, still carefully moving towards the door and pretending not to notice Ronon’s skeptical look. The cold night air hit his face almost like a slap, and he winced and wished he’d thought to bring a thicker coat.

“The taxi will be here in a few minutes,” Radek said. When Rodney looked at him, he had on the same fondly exasperated look he’d worn all through dinner. “Is your car locked?”

Rodney nodded and sat down on the bench outside the restaurant. After a moment, Radek sat next to him, heat radiating off his frame. Rodney resisted the urge to lean into the warmth and said instead, voice low, “Come back to my apartment.”

Radek raised an eyebrow, a small smile tugging at his lips. “And pay for the taxi ride, I suppose?”

“Well,” Rodney began, and Radek chuckled.

“See you on Monday, Rodney, Radek,” Elizabeth called. She waved as she got into her car, Sheppard hovering beside it with his hands in his pockets. “Have a good weekend.”

Even without glancing over at Radek, Rodney knew he was trying not to smirk, and couldn’t keep from grinning a little himself as Radek called, “You too, Ms. Weir!” and then whispered, “Think it is too late to get in on the betting pool?”

They watched the others leave, felt the night grow colder as their breath came out in small wisps of steam. It wasn’t until Simpson’s car disappeared from sight that Rodney looked over at Radek and repeated, “Come back to my apartment.”

Radek raised an eyebrow. “I will not have our first time when you are a sloppy drunk,” he said, and ignored Rodney’s protest of “Sloppy?” Instead, he bumped Rodney’s shoulder and added, “Do you always drink so much at work celebrations?”

“No,” Rodney said, and at Radek’s look, added, “Well, not every work celebration.” Just ones that involved being hit in the face with bread or someone doing something particularly stupid. “So, my apartment.”

“What is the phrase? A dog with a bone?” Radek smiled as he said it though, so Rodney decided not to take offense. “I have already told you not tonight, Rodney.” The taxi pulled up to the curb, and Radek stood, offering him a hand.

“Why not?” Rodney protested as some of the buzzed feeling faded and was replaced by mingled disappointment and frustration. “Do you think I’m going to wake up tomorrow and regret it?”

“I think you will wake up tomorrow and not remember half of the night and complain,” Radek said matter-of-factly, and Rodney couldn’t help but make a face, because, well, Radek had a point. Damn it.

“Fine,” he muttered, well aware that he was whining, and fumbled for the door handle to the taxi. “I’ll see you on Monday then.”

Radek sighed. “And now you will sulk like my nephew when he doesn’t get what he wants.” One of his hands brushed Rodney’s aside and opened the door, the other coming to rest lightly between Rodney’s shoulder-blades to usher him inside. “Is there any way to end this evening without you being annoyed?”

Rodney shrugged, ignoring the taxi driver’s curious look, and then blinked as Radek sighed and motioned for him to scoot over. “I thought you--”

“Yes, yes, and I meant it. However, I know you will just fall on your bed when you get there and wake tomorrow wanting to die. I can at least make sure you get home safely, and drink some water and take aspirin before bed.”

“Right,” Rodney said, and then had to smile at Radek’s dry, “And yes, before you ask, I will pay for the taxi.” The smile remained on his face all through the ride to his apartment.

*


Rodney started to open his eyes and winced. There was a dull throb between his eyes and his mouth tasted like he’d eaten from a garbage can instead of Outback the night before.

“I really need to remember that hangovers suck,” he muttered, grimacing and going to brush his teeth and get the taste from his mouth.

His mouth now thankfully tasting vaguely of cinnamon, he glanced at the clock. It was 9:26, which meant Turing was probably starving. Shit. The cat knew how to hold a grudge better than anyone Rodney knew (and that included himself).

Running a hand down his face and trying to shake off the half-dead sensation of the hangover, he headed towards the kitchen, calling, “Sorry, sorry, I’ll get your food in just a second--” He paused, and blinked. Oh, right, Radek had muttered something about not sleeping on his couch, hadn’t he? “Uh, hi.”

Radek raised an eyebrow and gestured towards the kitchen counter, where a glass of water and two aspirin apparently waited for him. “Good morning, Rodney. I have already fed your cat.” He smiled. “I think she would have eaten me otherwise.”

“He,” Rodney corrected, gratefully taking the aspirin and glass of water. It was probably his imagination, but he swore the throbbing in his head started to ease as soon as he swallowed the first pill. “His name is Turing.”

“Turing?” Radek’s voice was neutral, but when Rodney looked at him, his mouth was twitching, as though fighting back laughter. At last, Radek settled for, “Interesting choice.”

Rodney shrugged, well aware that most people didn’t name their pets after scientists, much less ones that had killed themselves. “I got him a few weeks after being hired by Elizabeth, and Alan Turing is the father of modern computer science.”

“Yes, I know,” Radek said, amused, and then rubbed at his jaw, which was already showing signs of a beard. “Did you know that you have nothing to eat other than microwavable meals?”

“I’m not exactly the world’s greatest cook. Which is surprising, since cooking is really a matter of chemistry but--”

Radek snorted. “Yes, well, neither am I, but at least I have cereal.” He gestured, and when Rodney frowned, motioned again, this time towards Rodney’s bedroom. “Go get dressed while I call a taxi. We need to go get our cars from the restaurant.”

Rodney raised an eyebrow and pointedly looked at Radek’s disheveled hair and clothes that definitely looked slept in, which, all right, made Radek still look attractive. Still, it would’ve been nice if the disheveled look had been from spending the night in Rodney’s bed. He cleared his throat, mouth suddenly dry. “You know, I thought you looked like a homeless guy or someone who’s been sleeping a week in his car the first time we met, but now--”

“Shut up,” Radek said, smiling. “And I look like I slept on your couch.” He paused, a thoughtful frown curving his lips. “Which was surprisingly comfortable.”

“Of course it was,” Rodney said, a trace of smugness in the words. He didn’t mention that it’d taken trips to five furniture stores to find that couch and that he’d spent a ridiculous amount of money on it. “If you’re really in the mood for breakfast, we could stop go to, uh, IHOP or something once we’ve gotten our cars.”

“IHOP? Oh, Simpson mentioned that a few days ago. The pancake restaurant.” Radek raised an eyebrow. “Is this an elaborate plan to get me addicted to American restaurants and never want to go back to Prague?”

Rodney just smiled and went to go change into jeans and a sweatshirt.

When he returned, Radek said, “The taxi will be here in about twenty minutes.” He was leaning against the counter, running an absent-minded hand through his hair and looking perfectly at ease, and Rodney felt his face warm and his stomach clench.

Radek made a quiet, half-surprised sound when Rodney kissed him, but a half-second later he was kissing back, mouth warm and eager, arms moving to wrap around Rodney’s waist and pull him closer.

When the kiss ended, Radek’s mouth was red and glistening, his face flushed, eyes bright behind his glasses. He cleared his throat. “So, does IHOP do, ah, takeout?” he asked, voice slightly hoarse, and Rodney grinned and kissed him again.
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