Title: Tickle
Fandom: Stargate: Atlantis

Pairing: Rodney/John
Rating: PG-13

Summary: Rodney has an excellent, fool-proof plan that requires John to sneeze.

Notes: Written for day 10 of my 23 Ficlets project to celebrate my 23rd anniversary in the community






Rodney smiled to himself. Ohhh, what power he had now. Of course, he had expected this to work. Given the evidence and observable data on hand as well as his talent for experiment design, he would have been more shocked if it hadn’t worked. He simply had not anticipated that it would work so quickly.




Or that it would work so well for that matter. Sleepily, John raised his hand and swiped at his nose. Then he fell right back to sleep.


Rodney lay beside him in their bed, on his stomach, a fluffy white feather pinched between thumb and forefinger. He waited until he was certain John was asleep again before shifting his weight and reaching over to flick the soft feather against John’s nostrils.


The man’s nose scrunched up a little, and his breath quickened slightly.


Rodney continued tickling until John gave another quick gasp in. Then he dropped his head to the pillow, closing his eyes.


eh-Chihh!” With a sniff, John shifted on the bed beside him. He draped an arm over Rodney’s waist and settled back in to sleep.


Rodney was tempted then to call this whole thing off, to simply dose in John’s embrace. But he had a plan. And Rodney McKay wasn’t one for giving up halfway through a plan, especially when it was going exactly the way it should. So he gave John time to fall back to sleep. It was a light sleep, sure, but enough. He had to bend a certain way and stretch awkwardly to get his hand with the feather in position.


Again, he tickled, watching John’s nostrils flare wildly as the tickle danced around them.


ehh! Ehh!


Rodney pulled his arm in against his chest and braced himself.




His body rocked against Rodney’s, a not altogether unpleasant sensation. Hmm. Maybe there would have to be another hypothesis to test and an experiment at to run on another day. He couldn’t risk muddying the results with his own feelings right now. A scientist had to remain impartial when he worked.


Hnn, Rodney?”


Pretending to be asleep, Rodney didn’t move.


John touched his shoulder, shaking him a little. “Rodney?”


Still, he did not react or respond. He kept his breathing deep, slow, even.


After a few more moments, John gave up and settled back in. Rodney had to wait a while to be sure John was asleep again. The wait was agony, but he knew well enough that valid, verifiable results only came with well-designed experiments and hard work. He couldn’t expect instant success, no matter how perfectly this was going.


When John finally fell back to sleep, he began to snore just a little. Oh, his poor nose. Rodney resisted the urge to turn onto his side, snuggle close and kiss it affectionately. Instead, he assaulted it with the feather again. Just like before, his breath caught and he shook the bed as he sneezed again.


ehh Chuh!


This time, John shook him harder, and Rodney knew he couldn’t pretend to sleep through that. “Mmm.” He opened his eyes and looked over at John. “G’morning.”


“It isn’t,” John told him.




“It’s not good. I keep sneezing.”


“Oh.” Rodney placed a hand on John’s chest. “Maybe you’re coming down with something.”


“I don’t think so. I feel fine.”


“You can’t be fine if you’re sneezing. Believe me, I know sneezing. I’ve got every allergy invented and then some, right?”


John looked confused. He rubbed his nose. “I don’t have any allergies.”


Rodney gave a nod. “Then logic would dictate that you’re sick.”


 “Or that…” He paused, thinking, and Rodney had to admit that look was cute on him. The look of John thinking. Of John trying to work out the logic here. But he couldn’t possibly know what was going on. “Or that you’re gas lighting me.”


Rodney looked shocked, though it wasn’t much of an act. “What?”


John poked a finger at Rodney’s belly. “You were tickling my nose.”


“Frankly, I am hurt that you would accuse me of such a—”


“That’s not a no.” John slid his hand under the pillow faster than Rodney could. He pulled out the feather and gave Rodney a knowing smile. Before Rodney could protest that it was just a coincidence, that that feather could have been there forever, John brought it to his nose and began tickling. It took a few moments. Apparently, he wasn’t as good at it as Rodney was. Or perhaps being awake meant having some guard up. Whatever it was, the flowy white bits of the feather finally tickled his nostrils enough. “ehh-Chihh!” Then he looked pointedly at Rodney. “Spill it.”


Rodney sighed. He knew when to call it quits. At least, usually he did. “If you’re sick, you stay in bed and I stay in Atlantis and I get to work on that experiment Zelenka and I started yesterday.”


John chuckled. “I hate to break it to you, but a cold wouldn’t keep me in bed. Do you remember when we visited Lucius’ planet? Annoying head cold. I could barely breathe.”


It felt like something twisting in his stomach. Rodney hadn’t remembered. How had he failed to consider that critical piece of data when he had devised his initial hypothesis? Rodney face-planted in the pillow. This had been doomed from the start, and he hadn’t even realized it.


He felt John’s fingers stroke the back of his neck, and a shiver ran down him. This touch wasn’t entirely unpleasant either. John’s words came light and breathy against his neck. “But there are certain things you might do to willingly keep me in bed.” Rodney raised his head to see John grinning at him now. “I’m sure a smart man like you can come up with just one of those things.”