Title: In Need of Handling
Author: Jilly James
Fandom: Stargate: Atlantis
Characters: John Sheppard, Rodney McKay, OCs
Genre: Implied slash
Word Count: 1,000
Summary: The new expedition leader has a bad habit. A really bad habit.
Warnings: No beta, murky timeline, fuck canon, second-hand embarrassment of doom, arguably kind of cracky
– – – –
John entered his quarters and immediately leaned back against the wall, pressing the heels of his hands against his eyes and groaning.
“I know that look,” Rodney remarked idly from his place at the table. “So, how was the meeting with Griffin?”
Edwin Griffin was the current bane of John’s existence. He was the new Atlantis Expedition Commander and he was driving John slowly insane. “It was two hours,” he griped as he dropped his hands and glanced at his partner.
Rodney made a face. “God. Was he doing it the whole time?”
“Without. Remit,” John enunciated slowly, appreciating how Rodney’s expression twisted with distaste. He gratefully accepted the beer, letting himself be led to the couch.
Sitting down with his own beer, Rodney asked, “I guess the Marines’ plan isn’t working?”
“No!” John let his head drop back. Officially, he was discouraging the plan, but he secretly had hoped it would have some effect. “I mean, I expect a certain amount of ball handling from any guy, but his unremitting picking at his crotch is making me insane.” He’d never encountered anything like it. The guy absentmindedly picked at his crotch constantly. Almost like a nervous tic. At first it was more what-the-fuck than anything else. It was briefly amusing. But after two months of meetings with incessant crotch grabbing, John was at his wits’ end.
People tried being subtle about drawing Griffin’s attention to the issue. Some of the team leads mirrored his behavior by picking at their own crotch—and, yeah, when Teldy was doing it, it was funny as hell—but Griffin never seemed to catch on.
The Marines took it as a personal mission to get back at the guy and started leaving medicated creams in his office, pamphlets regarding the importance of personal hygiene, copies of Marine regulations for health and hygiene—even though Griffin wasn’t military—and a horrible print from the ‘net about “how to tell if you have crabs.” But nothing worked. The guy wouldn’t quit mauling his balls.
“Someone has to say something,” Rodney said firmly.
John just groaned. No one wanted to do that. Even Rodney, as blunt and direct as he could be, was hesitant to ask Griffin what the fuck was wrong in his pants.
“Ronon will do it. Happily,” Rodney offered.
“No. I’m not passing the buck. I’ll do it. I mean, I can’t believe I have to do this, but no one can stand a meeting with him. It’s actually having a negative effect on productivity around here. I’ll do it after tomorrow’s staff meeting.”
Rodney got a speculative look on his face. “Our new CMO arrives on the Daedalus in the morning–”
“No,” John interjected. “I’m not making that be the first thing the woman has to deal with. It would be great if we could keep a CMO for five minutes. We’re not running this one off because of some weird groin-related habits.”
“I hope this one has some staying power.”
“Well, she’s older and has actual military experience, so I doubt she’s going to be a pushover.”
Rodney glanced over. “You sure we can’t pass this one on to someone else? We’ve saved the world… arguably, a few of them. Shouldn’t that get us a pass on the most awkward situation known to man?”
“I wish,” John remarked as he took a swig of his beer, trying not to think about tomorrow.
– – – –
Everyone settled in for the senior staff meeting, and John was seated between Rodney and their new CMO, Dr. Madeline Gates. John had met her earlier in the day and found her straightforward and almost brusque. She was 52, though she looked at least a decade younger despite going prematurely and completely grey. She wore her hair military short and was nearly 5’11. John actually found her kind of intimidating and hoped that she wouldn’t find Pegasus too much for her. They’d been through entirely too many CMOs in the last eighteen months.
They were barely twenty minutes into the meeting when Dr. Gates suddenly said, “Excuse me, Dr. McKay, but I need to interrupt for a moment.” She looked to the city commander. “Mr. Griffin, are you unwell?”
He blinked at her in confusion. “Unwell?”
“Yes, unwell. Is something wrong with you?” she rephrased.
“No, I’m perfectly fine,” he replied, sounding completely bemused.
“I see. Dr. McKay, please continue.”
John exchanged a look with Rodney before the meeting proceeded.
At the end of the interminable ninety minutes of incessant crotch manipulations that John tried desperately not to pay attention to—and really, why did Griffin have to lean back in his chair with his legs spread—he really wanted to escape, but he knew he needed to suck it up and have the conversation.
Unexpectedly, Dr. Gates said, “Mr. Griffin, I’ll see you in the infirmary in five minutes, if you please.”
“Excuse me?” He looked completely baffled.
“You heard me. The charter says I can require a physical for anyone when needed. I would like to see you immediately. After all, you’re the base commander, so you first. I’ll work through the rest of the senior staff in short order.”
All the department heads were staring in fascination, so John took it upon himself to herd them all out of the room. Griffin and Dr. Gates squared off for a few minutes, but she got her way and he headed to his office to drop off his stuff before going to the infirmary.
When it was just John, Rodney, and Gates, he offered, “I planned to discuss it with him today. I wasn’t going to dump this in your lap.”
Gates snorted. “I appreciate the sentiment, Colonel, but I have six brothers and was raised by a single father. I’ve told more than one man in my life to get his hand off his dick.” Then she was gone.
“That was… easy,” Rodney said, sounding confused.
“None of this was easy. Frankly, I’d rather fight a Wraith.”
– – – –
The Big Short is a short-story challenge on Rough Trade based on thematic or character prompts. The maximum word count for themes is 1k, for characters it’s 2k. They are not beta’d. I re-read them looking for errors but that is all.
Each short story is complete as is. They will not be expanded on, there will be no sequels, they are probably not connected to anything else, and they are not intended to prompt other writers. If you find inspiration in them, that’s lovely, but please write your own thing. My works are not up for adoption.