Atlantis city

SGA fic: Coping Mechanisms (various pairings)

Title: Coping Mechanisms
Word Count: 3300
Pairing: All canon or canon-ish couples at the end of season five (McKay/Keller, Teyla/Kanaan, Ronon/Amelia)
Rating: PG-13? R? Very little actual sex is being had, but there's a whole lot of talking about it.
Summary: There's not much else to do while they're all stuck off the coast of San Francisco.
(Yes, I know there's a really well-known McKay/Sheppard story that uses this title, but it's the one that fit! I tried to change it and it just wouldn't change.)






It was late at night and the corridors of Atlantis were deserted, thank God. Still, Jennifer tried to argue Rodney back to sanity one last time.

"Rodney, seriously," she whispered as loudly as she dared, helping him limp to the transporter. He hadn't given her time to get her bra on, so she was wearing nothing underneath her biggest, bulkiest sweatshirt; she just hoped no one looked too closely. "You don't need the infirmary for this. You really, really don't. I'm a doctor, remember? Just let me put a little iodine --"

"Iodine! Do you fail to realize that this is a very important part of my anatomy?" In total defiance of her own attempts at stealth, Rodney's voice rose in a squeak that was nothing like quiet, and Jennifer sighed as the doors of the transporter closed behind them; for his sake more than hers, she hoped that the sound hadn't carried into the residential quarters along the hallway. "Some doctor you are," he added as he jabbed at the infirmary level on the map, with the hand that wasn't holding a wadded-up towel to his crotch, pressing on top of his hastily-donned BDU pants. "I'd rather let Hannibal Lector --"

"I haven't done this before, I told you," Jennifer snapped, losing her own vocal containment just as the doors slid open on the infirmary level. She jumped, but the coast was clear. "You're the first boyfriend that I let anywhere near my -- I mean, I am a doctor, and the sanitary issues alone -- Look, it's not my fault I'm not that experienced!"

"I'm not asking for professional quality, just for a minimum level of skill and less teeth!"

Who was on duty tonight? Brucker, she thought, which was another small bit of luck; Brucker was discreet and, perhaps more important, easily intimidated. "Rodney," Jennifer hissed into his ear, "unless you want our sex lives to be the talk of the base tomorrow, shut up for a minute."

Thankfully, he did, at least long enough to get him through the door of the infirmary. Jennifer took a quick look around, but the place was still as deserted as it had been when she'd left for the evening. Anyone in need of intensive care after the crisis had been transfered the SGC, and all the patients with less acute injuries had been treated and released to their quarters.

Brucker was in her office, reading a paperback book. "Ma'am!" he said, dropping it. "I didn't expect to see you this late. Uh, is everything all right?"

"Everything's just fine, Dave," Jennifer said, "I know these shifts can be long, so why don't you go down to the mess and get a cup of coffee and a sandwich? I'll cover for you. Take your time."

Brucker's eyes went from Rodney, with a wadded-up towel jammed against his groin, to Jennifer in her rumpled sweats and bare feet, her hair down around her shoulders. "I think that would be a great idea, ma'am," he said, and, grabbing his book, beat a hasty retreat.

Jennifer helped Rodney up onto a bed and pulled the curtain halfway, far enough to cover him but leaving a gap so that she could see the door of the infirmary, just in case an actual patient wandered in. "Just wait 'til I grab some supplies and I'll see about getting it disinfected. Unless," she added, unable to twist the knife a bit as she headed towards the supply cabinets, "you really don't trust me as a doctor, in which case I could call Dave back again."

"I trust you fine, as long as you keep your mouth away from the proceedings," Rodney griped behind her. "Still bleeding, by the way."

"I told you, there are a lot of blood vessels there." She stood on tiptoe; Sanjay must have done the stocking again. Why did the man always put the most commonly used supplies on the top shelf?

"Am I going to need stitches? I am, aren't I?" Rodney asked anxiously. "What if it heals up wrong and, you know, looks funny? What if it scars? Oh God! What if it gets infected and has to be amputated?"

You knew it said "hypochondriac" on the box when you bought it, Jennifer. "That's why I'm cleaning it, and no, no stitches, just a bit of disinfectant and maybe a Tylenol."

"You'd still love me if I didn't have a penis, wouldn't you?"

Jennifer wondered if normal, sane couples had conversations like this. Too bad she didn't know any to ask. "Yes, Rodney," she said, carrying her tray of supplies over to him. "Of course I would still love you without a penis. I would love you even more if you'd settle down and let me treat it so we won't have to find out. Uh," she added, looking up at him, "that was a joke."

"Your sense of humor is worse than your fellatio, and that's saying something," Rodney grumbled, and planted a hand in the middle of her forehead as she bent over to get a closer look. "Hey, that's close enough. Keep your mouth where I can see it."

"Oh for God's sake, Rodney, as if I'm going to be seized with a sudden, violent urge to give you a blowjob in the middle of disinfecting your foreskin."

"It could happen! I didn't realize you were part vampire, either, until you tried to take a bite out of it," he grumbled.

"It was a love nibble," Jennifer said, as loftily as she could manage with her head practically in his crotch. "I read" -- on the Internet -- "in a medical textbook that drawing the teeth across the foreskin is supposed to feel good to an uncut guy."

"You did? What kind of books do you have in here? And for the record, it probably would have, if you hadn't used the bottom teeth too."

"You were moving! It slipped!"

She had completely failed to pay attention to the open infirmary door, so when Ronon called across the infirmary, "Hey, anyone here?" she jumped and very nearly spilled an entire bottle of iodine into Rodney's lap.

Footsteps were coming closer. Rodney yanked the towel over his lap; Jennifer straightened, wiped her loose hair out of her face with the back of her hand, and tried to look composed and professional as she peeked around the curtain. "Hi ...?"

It wasn't just Ronon, but also Amelia, wearing what looked like one of Ronon's shirts, judging by the way it came down almost to her knees. She did have pants on underneath, but she was barefoot and so was Ronon. He was also naked to the waist, and holding a wadded-up towel against his side in a way that very definitely did not make Jennifer think of Rodney with the towel in his groin. Not at all ...

"Hey, Doc," Ronon said, and grinned sheepishly. "Tore my stitches."

"Have you been sparring? Tell me you haven't been sparring. I told you light duty only --" Then Jennifer registered Amelia's blush, and the fact that the neckhole of the shirt was down around Amelia's very bare shoulder, revealing that she, too, was a member of the "no bra" club this evening. "Oh," Jennifer said.

"I brought him down here as quick as I could," Amelia said, rather defiantly meeting Jennifer's eyes as if daring her to say anything.

"Yes," Jennifer said. "I can see that."

"It's not bad," Ronon said. "Coulda waited 'til morning. If you've got another patient back there, I can wait."

"No, no, I was just --" Jennifer realized that she still had a piece of gauze in her hand. "Just finishing up. Actually, I think I was done. We were done," she added, around the curtain in Rodney's direction.

"What, that's your idea of personalized attention? Next time I'm having Brucker do it," Rodney grumbled, sliding down and pulling up his pants.

Ronon looked intrigued. "Is that McKay? He all right?"

"I'm fine," Rodney snapped, appearing around the end of the curtain as he fastened his fly with utmost care. "What'd you do to yourself?"

"Sex injury," Ronon said, and if Amelia's blush had been any redder, blood would have been shooting out her ears. Rodney went bright pink too. From the look on his face, he clearly wished he hadn't asked.

"Why don't you lay down," Jennifer said hastily, pushing Ronon towards a bed. "I want to get you under the scanner and make sure you didn't tear anything. What were you doing when this happened?"

"I don't think I want to hear this," Rodney said, but he made no move to leave.

"The usual," Ronon said, compliantly settling on his back. "Oh, and the ceiling thing."

"The ceiling thing?"

"Yeah, there's a bar in my quarters that I usually use for chin-ups --"

"I think she gets the picture, Ronon," Amelia said, very fast, and to Rodney, who was hovering and very ostentatiously not listening, "What did you say happened to you, Dr. McKay?"

"None of your business, unless you want to work night shifts for the rest of your life."

"Uh-huh," Amelia said, with a quick glance at Jennifer's bra-less torso. Apparently the sweatshirt wasn't concealing enough.

"It doesn't look like anything's torn," Jennifer said, sliding the portable hand scanner over the healing injury and thinking, Next time, don't ask. Just don't ask. "I'm going to repeat my instructions to avoid strenuous activity and hope that you listen this time. Rodney, since you're still here, could you hand me that box of sutures, please?"

As Rodney obliged, with very theatrical limping, there was a soft throat-clearing noise from the doorway. "Doctor Keller?"

"Come in, Teyla." Collect the whole set, Jennifer thought, noticing Teyla's rather diffident stance. All they needed now was for John to show up with some kind of embarrassing medical problem, and her evening would be complete.

"I needed to pick up some more of Kanaan's medication," Teyla said. "I am sorry to bother you so late."

"Sure, don't worry about it." She tried to think back to what Kanaan had been taking; there had been a ton of different health issues with the hybrids in the weeks following their cure, and each of them had been different. "Which one is it that you need? I can get it for you as soon as I'm done with Ronon."

Teyla's slight pause should have been enough warning to jog her memory, but then it was too late, when Teyla said, "I believe it is called Viagra?"

Oh, shit. She could see Rodney's ears perk up. One of the many side effects of the hybrids' treatment had been sexual dysfunction, though they'd found a few Earth drugs that were effective, and why didn't she ever think before opening her mouth? "I'll be right with you," she said weakly.

"Viagra," Rodney said.

Out of the corner of her eye, Jennifer saw Teyla give him an obvious "you are standing on my last nerve" look. "Rodney," Teyla said.

"Viagra? I didn't know anybody under the age of fifty --"

"Rodney, do not start or I will have to ask why you are standing that way," Teyla said. "I seem to recall a similar stance when you were shot with an arrow. It would be a terrible shame if such a thing were to happen again."

Ronon raised his head. "Is that what happened, McKay? Someone shoot you in the ass again?"

"No, that's not what happened! Though," he added under his breath, with a resentful glance at Jennifer, "it certainly bled like it."

Okay, that was the last straw. "Look, Rodney, I told you, foreskin injuries bleed a lot!" Jennifer snapped, and then thought, Oh shit, that was out loud, wasn't it? At least she was pretty sure it had been out loud, from the way they were staring at her. A flaming blush climbed up Rodney's face, which was actually sort of cute, except that he was probably going to open his mouth any minute.

Ronon beat him to it, though. "You mean you guys leave the foreskin on?" He sounded (and looked) utterly flabbergasted. "On Sateda, we take it off as a public health thing. In infancy. I didn't know any planet -- that's barbaric. And disgusting."

"Canadian, hello," Rodney said weakly, blushing harder. "And, seriously, TMI, major TMI, Ronon."

But now Teyla was staring at Ronon. "You cut it off? A perfectly healthy part of the body, vital for sexual pleasure? Are you saying that all of your men --"

"You don't?"

"We would never dream of doing such a thing," Teyla said. Ronon still looked disgusted, but she looked horrified. "That's unnatural."

"There, all done!" Jennifer said brightly, and very loudly, patting Ronon's chest next to the healing scabs of the feeding mark. "And no more, uh, ceiling things for a while, okay?"

Teyla frowned as Amelia helped him off the bed. "Ceiling things?"

"Yeah," Ronon said, "there's this bar attached to the ceiling in my quarters --"

"I don't think anyone wants to hear about that," Amelia said, and towed him out of the infirmary with a hasty, mumbled "Good night" directed to no one in particular.

This left Rodney and Teyla standing awkwardly and not looking at each other, while Jennifer cleaned up her medical supplies and tried not to look at them. Finally Rodney said, "I'm, uh, sorry about making a big deal out of the Viagra. I really am. It's not funny and it's not my business and I'm, well. Sorry."

Teyla gave him a little glimmer of a smile. "I am sorry for bringing up the arrow situation. I know it's ..." Her smile grew wider. "... a bit of a sore point with you."

"Oh, ha," Rodney said, but he was smiling too, and gave her arm a little squeeze.

"Here's the, er. Medication." Jennifer handed it over, and Teyla pocketed it. "I gave you some extra, since we're on Earth and I'm not sure how much longer --" She drew a breath. "Anyway, I gave you extra."

"Thank you," Teyla said. Her smile was sad. She turned and drifted out of the infirmary.

That put a damper on the conversation. After a moment, Jennifer went back to cleaning up the infirmary. "So," she said, trying to tiptoe around the topic of Earth, which loomed like the unspoken elephant in the room. "You and Teyla."

"Me and Teyla?" Rodney said, with the baffled expression that usually meant his speeding train of thought had just derailed.

"You seem to be -- I mean, were you ever -- you know?" She waved a hand, realizing even as the words left her mouth that she was probably better off not knowing. Rodney had to work with Teyla, after all.

"What, me and Teyla -- that? Oh, no, not at all. Not like that."

He didn't seem to be covering anything up, just genuinely baffled. "So you're friends?" Jennifer said, stretching to put the box back on the top shelf. She'd seen Rodney eating meals with the team, and hanging around with John individually, but the thought hadn't occurred to her that he was more than just co-workers with the rest of his teammates on a one-on-one basis. She couldn't imagine Rodney and Teyla having anything in common, let alone Rodney and Ronon. She wasn't really jealous, just ... puzzled.

"Uh, sort of? I guess? She still seems to like me even when I'm an ass to her. Is that friendship? I don't know." Rodney sat on the edge of the bed that Ronon had vacated, looking unhappy and a bit lost.

Jennifer tossed the towels in the bio-contaminant bin, and came to sit next to him, leaning against his shoulder. "Hey," she said, nudging him. "I'm sorry I ruined our evening with the whole ... biting thing."

"You didn't," he said, and then added, "Much."

"I wonder if Brucker is ever coming back?"

"Probably not," Rodney said. "I think we scared him away pretty good."

Jennifer laughed, and after a moment Rodney joined in. Just when she was starting to relax, Carson walked into the infirmary. He stopped, seeing them. "Oh, hello."

"Please," Jennifer said, "please tell me that you don't have a -- an STD, or that you didn't throw your back out having acrobatic sex, or something."

Carson's eyes went very wide. "Uh, no. I can't sleep, and I came by to see if that lad on duty -- Brucker, is it? -- wanted to take the rest of the night off. I may as well make myself useful rather than lying awake, dwelling on things that can't be changed."

"Excellent," Rodney said, hopping off the bed. "Good night, Carson, see you in the morn -- ow." Jennifer, rather than following, had dragged him back by the hand she was still holding.

"Are you all right, Dr. Beckett?" Jennifer said, and gave Rodney's hand a pointed little shake. "Do you need to talk?" Hopefully not to me, she managed not to add, because she still hadn't quite gotten over being intimidated by Carson Beckett Mark 2, and she was also pretty sure that she was entirely unequipped to deal with his extensive (and weird) traumas. But he was Rodney's friend, damn it, and on her watch, Rodney was going to be a sympathetic friend if it killed him.

"No, I'm fine. But thank you for asking." He patted her on the shoulder. He didn't look fine -- he looked tired, exhausted even -- but she'd tried, anyway.

"You really are okay?" Rodney said, finally getting with the program.

"I am, yes. Just ... too much to think about right now, that's all."

"You can call," Rodney offered. "Anytime. You know."

Carson quirked a little smile. "Thanks, Rodney."

"And Dr. Brucker should be back soon," Jennifer added. "I expect he's just taking as much time as possible over his -- okay, now what?" as John limped into the infirmary.

John stopped dead in his tracks when he realized they were all looking at him. "Uh, what?"

Rodney pointed at him. "Sex injury?"

John whacked his hand away. "No! Jogging injury. Think I pulled something. Why are we all hanging out in the infirmary at two a.m.?"

"But jogging at two a.m. until you pull a muscle is perfectly normal and healthy, is it?"

"Colonel," Carson said, and put a hand on his back. "These two were just leaving. Why don't you get under a scanner, and we'll see how bad it is."

"Well," Jennifer said, as soon as they'd said their goodnights and were out of the infirmary. "At least they can talk to each other, maybe. They have some of the, um, same trauma, anyway."

"My God, we're all a bunch of basket cases," Rodney said, punching the level of her quarters. "It's amazing that any of us can manage to get up in the morning, rather than just crouching in the corner and gibbering."

"Judging from how quickly the communal condom supply goes down, a lot of us are coping through plenty of sex," Jennifer said, as the doors opened on the familiar hallway.

"Okay, now I'm having unpleasant visions of Ronon's 'ceiling thing', so stop."

Jennifer giggled. "Are you too sore to try anything else tonight?"

"Yes," he said testily. "Besides, there's an eight a.m. meeting with the IOA, and contrary to opinion, I do need to sleep. I'm not as young as I used to be."

He looked tired too, she realized -- even more tired than she felt. She didn't think of Rodney as old exactly, but tonight he looked every day of his forty years. Jennifer slid her hand down his arm to lace her fingers through his. "We could just sleep, then."

"No biting."

"No biting," she agreed, and leaned into his shoulder.

This entry is also posted at http://friendshipper.dreamwidth.org/257835.html with comment count unavailable comments.
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Hilarious! Embarrassing for them all, but funny! I love how Ronon just blurts it out while everyone else is trying so hard to be subtle
Thank you! Yeah, Ronon would totally think it was ridiculous that everyone was tiptoeing around what they all knew was true.
Waaah, that was perfect! So funny and cute (and sometimes a little bittersweet, too). Great character moments. And Ronon's ceiling thing, lol.

Jennifer wondered if normal, sane couples had conversations like this. Too bad she didn't know any to ask.

*g*
The whole fic is eminently quotable.
You knew it said "hypochondriac" on the box when you bought it, Jennifer.
Jennifer wondered if normal, sane couples had conversations like this. Too bad she didn't know any to ask.

Ahahahaha!

Well, at least Ronon got everything out in the open, so that everyone could stop pretending!

The terrible thing is that I'm now racking my brain to try to figure out exactly what he'd have been doing with the ceiling bar during sex. I probably really don't want to know.
Thank you! Heh, yeah ... I don't think any of them want to know (but he really shouldn't be doing it while recovering from surgery *g*).
...this might be the cutest story about sex I've ever read. *laughs* Thank-you for sharing!

(Man, I need an SGA icon...)
This is fun. Ronon's openness was a lot of fun, but what I particularly liked was that he and Teyla had completely different perspectives on circumcision — countering the whole "all of Pegasus thinks X" representation that's so common.
Thank you! Yeah, I really like doing that kind of thing with Ronon and Teyla. I think it's easy to forget (for the show's writers to forget, for that matter) that they come from two cultures which are pretty nearly polar opposites in many ways. They might see eye to eye on some things (they both understand growing up under the shadow of the Wraith a lot better than the Earth people do) but otherwise, they have a lot more differences than similarities.
Really funny, but thoughtful too. I love this, seriously love this.

Edited at 2010-06-09 05:32 am (UTC)
Thank you very much! Yeah, I started out aiming for funny, but realized pretty quickly that there's an awful lot about their current situation that isn't funny, and ended up dealing with that too.
Erm...

I just discovered you had a new story in my updates box, and read it without looking at the information at the top first...

And was more embarrassed than I care to admit. *blushes furiously at the terminology in story*

I'll just go and hide while everyone is staring at me for laughing and blushing so much, shall I?

*slinks off to corner closest in room, hoping never to be seen again*

Oh, and before I forget, it WAS a good story...just...

Highly, highly embarrassing for someone who forgot to read the summary. Should've known better, really.
Yeah, always a good idea to read the headers, heh! Hope you weren't too embarrassed!
not to embarrassed...more taken by surprise than anything, I think. *shrugs*

BTW, awesome artwork of Teyla! I really liked it! Seemed rather awesome and talented! :D
Mrs Slocombe raises a toast to this one and did I just make an unintentional innuendo somewhere ther or do I just have a dirty mind? :D
Is that a good or bad thing? ;-)

Oh and post grad app sent off, will let you know if I'm successful :D
That was a very fun romp, love the balance of humor and touch of biter sweet. It's are to find a story that deals with sex without needing to show it. I also thought it a nice touch that you brought up cultural differences and Kanaan's need of medication after what he went through.
Thanks! I don't have that much interest in writing explicit sex, but I definitely find sex interesting as a way of exploring character, if that makes any sense. And I'm glad you liked it!
This was both funny and sweet, but I especially liked the little glimpses of all of them through it - Jennifer getting more of an idea of Rodney's relationships, Rodney able to take them almost for granted, Ronon being the only one in the room not embarassed at all, and most of all, Teyla and Ronon finding a point of so much difference - that tiny detail goes to a lot of thoughts about Pegasus and culture differences and how much is taken for granted even by those who know better.

Also, I half-believe John and Carson were having a pre-arranged meeting of the sex variety, and all these people with their problems got in their way. (I don't actually ship John/Carson. It just seems inevitable.)
Thank you very much! I really enjoyed writing this, exploring the characters through their sex lives and attitudes towards sex, because it isn't an aspect of their personalities that I explore very often.

(And even though John/Carson is not a ship of mine either, I really like that idea. Who knows? *g*)
oh AWESOME! every character is written so well, especially jennifer.
This is hilarious and sweet. I love Ronon' bluntness, and I adore Jennifer's wry sense of humor - it's what that I like best about her, and I like how you highlighted it in this story.
Thank you very much! I am tremendously fond of Jennifer's quirky/goofy side.