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Summary: "Parrish has FINALLY picked his solider." Miller replied distractedly, as if by way of explanation as she turned to watch the show as one of Carson's orderlies walked by, wielding a mop like a firearm and muttering darkly as she poked cautiously at the muddy trail, as though the green-tinged muck might be partially sentient or possibly even combustible.

Categories: Slash Pairings > Lorne/Other, Slash Pairings > McKay/Sheppard
Characters: John Sheppard, Major Lorne, Other, Rodney McKay
Genres: First Time, Humour, Pre-slash, PWP - Plot, What Plot?
Warnings: Adult themes
Chapters: 1 [Table of Contents]
Series: None

Word count: 6413; Completed: Yes
Updated: 19 Feb 2011; Published: 14 Feb 2011

- Text Size +

Story Notes:
Note: Just to be clear, this story is a Parrish/Lorne fiction that has the secondary pairing of McKay/Sheppard.. Therefore this fiction will contain allusions to a pre-slash relationship as well as established slash relationship. This fiction also contains adult language and the misuse of an already OVER used fandom trope: 'The when Lorne met Parrish' story (I couldn't resist).

He hadn't been in the infirmary for all of seven hours when Doctor David Parrish, honestly the last person he had expected to see that day, or night..or whatever the hell the time it actually was, all but exploded into the infirmary.

The man seemed entirely oblivious to the fact that he had just soundly interrupted a rather relaxed, bedside briefing with a small grouping of his senior staff. They were all personnel from the original Atlantis expedition, and now team leaders in their own right, heading their own off world teams despite reporting directly to him as their superior officer.

They were right in the middle of Lieutenant Miller's report when Parrish streaked in, cutting a path through the group of Marines as easily and as cleanly as a hot knife slips through butter.

The tall man spared the others a big, wide mouthed grin and an enthused sounding greeting before he bounced right up to his bedside and began...talking.

The whole conversation lasted only about five minutes. And he wasn't sure if he actually had a chance to say anything even remotely intelligible. But Parrish didn't even seem to notice, chattering on about how he had only just heard, and how excited he was about the new botany lab that had just been cleared for use in the south pier, and how he was already working on submitting a request to be assigned to more off world missions with his team.

The man's hands seemed to windmill and flutter about the more excited he became, and by the time the man had already charged, headlong and fancy free into his third random topic change in under two minutes he had already given up trying to keep up with him.

He was pretty sure the man also mentioned something about pink tomatoes and glow in the dark cabbages somewhere along the line as well, but he couldn't be absolutely sure because his ears were still ringing from the stun blast.

Though if he had, he really wouldn't have been that surprised. The Pegasus galaxy was a strange, ass backwards place. And weirdly, he was beginning to realize why almost everyone he met actually liked it here.

With one last fussing tug on his bed sheets the man straightened, tucking his chin into his chest as he muttered something that sounded suspiciously like "having to nurse-maid fully grown men" before he promptly invited himself back to visit closer to dinner time. Already murmuring to himself about water to soil ratios and the physiology of the Encephalartos Woodii as he sailed off in the same elegant, if not slightly ungainly whirlwind he had entered in, leaving a muddy trial of size thirteen boot prints in his wake.

He just kind of..blinked. Feeling shell-shocked in an entirely different way then he had only a few minutes previously.

He was already half convinced that he had just hallucinated the whole thing, when after a long, measured beat; the silence was abruptly broken as Sergeant Stackhouse blew out long, disbelieving breath.


"I don't believe it..." Captain Karpoff said with a low and strangely admiring whistle. Something that in itself admittedly sounded a bit strange when you took into account that it was coming from a two hundred and fifty pound, six foot six Green Beret, who had probably seen some of the weirdest shit known to mankind before he had even heard about the Stargate program.

"It'z finally happened." Sergeant Cartman butted in, the man's Italian accent thickening noticeably as he pivoted on his heel just in time to catch the tail end of the botanist as he bounced out the infirmary doors and into the crowded corridor.

"I don't...Wait. What?" He asked, somehow feeling as though he were missing out on something drastically important.

"After all this time." Lieutenant Miller piped up, sounding something close to awed as she shook her head, her thick brown ponytail nearly smacking Stackhouse squarely in the face as he turned towards her.

"Out of everyone...Damn. Who would have thought?" Karpoff finished, still eyeing the infirmary door with his head cocked to one side, as if scientists and their antics were entirely beyond the depth of his understanding.

"And a Zoomie to boot! Ah well no accounting for taste eh sir? Er..No offence sir." Sergeant Stackhouse added quickly, rocking back on his heels with a suspiciously satisfied air.

"WHAT?!" He repeated. Shifting in the bed with something close to annoyance, as his aching head whipped back and forth from the officers ringed around him as though he were watching a tennis match.

"Parrish has FINALLY picked his solider." Miller replied distractedly, as if by way of explanation as she turned to watch the show as one of Carson's orderlies walked by, wielding a mop like a firearm and muttering darkly as she poked cautiously at the muddy trail, as though the green-tinged muck might be partially sentient or possibly even combustible.

But he was too stuck on what Miller had just said to appreciate the sight. Because really, as far as he was concerned, that hadn't been an explanation at all.

"What?!" He snapped. All too aware that his voice was edging dangerously close to the plaintively whining side, but found that he couldn't even bring himself to care. His head ached, he was partly concussed, confused, and was already inwardly cursing the fact that he had been on Atlantis for a full month and had apparently not caught on to a goddamned thing.

Looking faintly irritated she turned around, fixing him with a narrow eyed glance as she sized him up in a way that made him vaguely uncomfortable until Cartman cut in and gestured at him.

"Second wave." He reminded as if this explained everything, nodding respectfully, yet somehow dismissively towards him, as though those two words alone were the sole answer to her unformed question

And in spite of himself and his rising annoyance, he couldn't help but privately agree. Being a part of the second wave on Atlantis was akin to being a rookie fresh out of basic training, who had just gotten short sheeted, jumped with a short arm inspection and thrown right into live battlefield combat. All in the same day.

"Thought he never would..not after Richal passed." Karpoff commented, yarding on his uniform collar irritably as he turned his attention back towards the conversation.

"What? That ruddy Irish red head? Nasty left hook?" Cartman asked.

"Yeah, died in the siege." Stackhouse replied, his eyes clouding slightly as he nodded in response to the others as they made sympathetic noises in response.

"He was a good man." Miller agreed nudging shoulders with Stackhouse until the smile reappeared on the younger mans face, effectively rousting him from whatever memories still haunted the farthest reaches of his conscious thought.

And distantly, he found himself wondering just who the sandy haired man had lost that day...

"But they never really hit it off you know? You could tell. Richal tolerated the Doc just as much as the Doc tolerated him. Especially after Richal stepped on that..whatever that plant was, the holy grail of Bignonias or whatever?" Stackhouse added, a sudden grin lighting up his features as he chuckled lightly.

"Oh right, I heard about that! He nearly had a fit. Parrish angry, it's like a misnomer. I would have paid to see that. I heard Richal nearly shit his tighty-whiteys." Miller replied, her tone morphing into something he could only discern as one of fondness, something that seemed entirely at odds with her usually stern, nonsense demeanour.

This time he didn't even attempt to go as far as opening his mouth. Knowing that he would probably have better luck trekking to the gate room and having a temper tantrum right in the middle of the control tower for all his demands for explanations were getting him.

And it was probably just as well anyway because after throwing him a distracted salute the four of them wandered off, already deep in discussion about how to shift the mission schedule as to pair him with Parrish again. Apparently he had no say in the matter what so ever. It wasn't like he was planning to complain or anything..but yeah.. Awkward.

The whole thing left him more confused then he had been before. Something that in his opinion, especially considering the entire conversation he had just been forced to sit through, was actually saying something.

He watched them go incredulously before closing his eyes and thumping his head back against the pillows. An action he immediately regretted as his head throbbed reproachfully.

And he had a sneaking suspicion that there was a nice little sexual identity crisis brewing admist that confused jumble of thoughts as well. But he decided that since he was technically still concussed, he had a temporary out in having freak out about it too much. Yet.

He blinked up at the ceiling blankly, not really paying attention to how the brightly lit, sapphire tiles flickered down at him encouragingly, or how the light shining directly above him dimmed down to a level that somehow lessened the headache that was building between his eyes.

He groaned into his pillow in frustration, entirely ignoring the disapproving look that earned him from the orderly still determinedly scrubbing at the floor a few meters away. Because really, he was beginning to feel like he should be used to the curve balls by now, because the excursion to P3M-736 wasn't the first or even the second time he had met the man.

It had actually been the third.

The first time he set eyes on Doctor David Parrish was about five minutes after he had beamed down from the Daedalus, eager if not slightly weary (especially after reading over both the Atlantis and SG1 team mission logs) to take up his post on Atlantis. In fact, Parrish had been the first thing he had seen, save for Atlantis herself, when Sheppard had ushered him out of the gate room and into the main hallway for a tour.

They had just rounded the first corner when they politely made way for troop of jogging Marines. Sheppard had been halfway through explaining that they were on their warm up leg, and heading out towards the mostly deserted east pier. But halfway through his CO's explanation he was distracted by a flash of long, colt-like legs, and a messy thatch of sandy, auburn-tinged hair that looked uniquely out of place admist the hard planes of over worked muscle and close cropped hair of the Marines surrounding him.

And there he was. Flying tall and proud in the center of the pack, wearing a ratty old University of Pittsburgh t-shirt, and a pair of knee length gym shorts that flashed a startling metical green in the blue tinged lights, a battered looking Ipod strapped to one arm, and audibly blasting some obscenely loud rock song, the throb of the base weirdly in sync with the deafening thud of over a dozen feet hitting the floor in near unison as the group flowed easily past.

At the time, he remembered being impressed and somewhat bemused that a civilian and a scientist to boot, was not only running with the soldiers, but keeping up with them as well.

That had been his first day on Atlantis.

The second time he met the man, which was actually the first if you really wanted to get technical, as they had never actually met in the first place, was two weeks later at a science and senior staff briefing regarding the months upcoming off world missions.

He had only known the man directly for all of about thirty minutes by that point, and despite having not even so much as spoken to him face to face, he was already convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the man NEVER stopped moving. He had the frenetic energy of a five year old, constantly moving, and bouncing all over the goddamn place with so much enthusiasm that he was already tempted to invest in one of those springy child leashes that his sister had for her overly rambunctious, three year old twins.

And as Weir, Sheppard, his team, and most of the senior department heads listened to Parrish's presentation on P3M-736; his mind couldn't help but wander, becoming slightly distracted as he took in the enigma of a man who was currently pointing rather enthusiastically at a ultra light index chart.

The man was a hot mess of long arms, lean legs, big, delicate hands, and freckles. It was mind boggling.

And in spite of himself, he had been immediately, if not somewhat reluctantly taken in by the mans benevolent, energetic, and all around good natured personality. His unrestrained enthusiasm for apparently anything and everything was down right infectious.

Even Kavanagh, whom he had already figured out was something of an..acquired taste, seemed to rein himself in a bit during the debating portion of the meeting, with the taller, long haired man arguing that a visit to PR1-54T, a planet that had already been dubbed by the grunts as a "Geeks paradise" should trump anything that the 'softer sciences' had planned.

But for the sake of his continuing mental health he was willing to write that one off as a Pegasus galaxy induced hallucination. Because really, there was only so much a guy could take in a given day.

It didn't take him long to deduce that David Parrish was the kind of person that could effortlessly charm the pants off anyone within a fifty foot radius without even trying, while at the same time remain innocent enough to turn around the next moment and be completely baffled as to why everyone save for himself was completely naked below the waist.

It was actually kind of...endearing.

Long story short the meeting ended with Doctor Weir granting the enthused botanist a go for his first off world mission, scheduling it into the rotation for the next week, as she serenely ignored the mirror noises of indignant spluttering from both Kavanagh and McKay as she bumped back their playtime on the planet of "Uber Geekdom" to the following week. Something that resulted with even Zelenka, who was undeniably charmed by the woman, to affix her with a series of growingly irritated and faintly betrayed looks.

'Score one for the Botany department. Because the 'hard sciences' just got schooled.' He remembered thinking, biting back as grin as Sheppard began slowly inching his rolly chair away from Doctor McKay's, clearly scenting danger on the wind as the red faced scientist seemed to be rapidly regaining full motor control.

Flushed with the victory Parrish had left in a burble of happy sounding noises, and a perpetual whirl wind of motion as he gathered up flow charts and life cycle models and banged his way out the door, chattering excitedly to Katie Brown as he bid everyone a quick goodbye over one deceptively lean looking shoulder.

He had left the meeting grinning like an idiot. Not even noticing as McKay and what appeared to be the entire senior staff of the science department rounded on Elizabeth, clearly already well on their way to what promised to be a series of truly impressive temper tantrums.

The third time he saw the Doctor was actually on purpose. When he had finally managed to track down the elusive man, tucked away in a deserted corner of Botany lab three a few days after the briefing, and about a week and a half before their scheduled mission to P3M-736.

He had been eager to get some one with the man, especially considering that rapidly approaching mission. Call him quaint and old fashioned but he generally liked a fully informed heads up as to what he might be dealing with come mission day. Besides, he figured that in the Pegasus galaxy there was no such thing as over preparing.

Armed with directions from the lovely Katie Brown, he had thought the lab doors open without even looking up, distractedly thinking about what his chances were in coercing the man into taking a few, basic firearm training sessions before they were scheduled to go off world.

So that was why he found himself quite abruptly, and altogether suddenly, all but crotch level with the man raised rump. A very nicely packaged, lightly muscled rump.

Well. At least he finally found him.

After doing some quick and somewhat acrobatic back steps he halted at a safe, and far more graceful distance then he had entered with. Already flushing an irritated pink at the near disaster, mind racing as he struggled to come up with some sort of apology that would merit being nearly sexually accosted by a senior military official in ones own lab.

Only Parrish, god bless his light brown, spiky haired head, didn't even seem to notice that anyone had actually come in, in the first place.. Score.

Sometimes he loved scientists. Really.

The man was elbow deep in a massive wooden trough of shockingly red coloured soil, leaning down with his face all but pressed against the dirt as he inspected the acrid looking dirt.

"Doctor Parrish?" He greeted, his tone going audibly tentative towards the end as the man still didn't seem to register his presence. He had to stop himself from shaking his head in disbelief; the doors on Atlantis were exactly quiet after all.

"Major!" The man startled, somehow managing to look surprised yet distracted at the same time as he cocked his head over his shoulder, twisting himself in a way that made his own back twinge just thinking about it as the man turned to look at him, while still remaining hunched over his massive basin of alien dirt.

But instead of the warm, open smile he had received in the briefing room, frown lines rippled snake-like in its place. Something that was only reinforced when man gave him a flinging wave in greeting, entirely oblivious of the fact that the rapid motion caused a clod of dirt to come flying off one of his gloves, going pelting across the smooth metallic floor like a pebble skittering across ice.

He felt the hints of a genuine smile tug at the corners of his lips, and he forced himself to rein it in it. Scientists..

Instead he pulled his thoughts back onto safer, and far more familiar topics, focusing instead on the rather distracted, and confused look that had taken up residence on the man's face, taking in the mans distracted demeanour even as he walked to the side of the wooden basin to take a look.

Outwardly, despite the rather unique color he didn't see anything outwardly fascinating, confusing, or even interesting. But then again, perhaps that was the reason why he played with rocket launchers and machine guns rather then garden spades and watering cans. So he supposed he wasn't a very good judge..

"What is it doc?" He asked, dropping down on his haunches so that he was level with both the man and the trough of dirt, brushing shoulders with him momentarily as he centered himself against the edge of smooth wooden container.

"I could have sworn..But that's not possible. There is no discernable root is just a soil sample..I mean..But still, I thought I saw ..." The man replied, distractedly waving around a pair of pruning scissors in his left hand as he made vague jabbing motions towards the soil, punctuating the unfinished end of his sentence.

And predictably, that was the precise moment that a tiny, mud-streaked purple flower zipped up from the soil and spat a large billowing cloud of sparkling, day glow, fuchsia coloured pollen squarely in their stupefied faces.

The pollen filled the room to bursting and after a lot of flailing, coughing and a good amount of overly familiar man handing from the both of them as they tried to get numb, tingling fingers to press against the door controls, the whole thing suddenly became absolutely hilarious.

And that was how Sheppard, Carson and McKay, all dressed in full decontamination gear found them a few hours later. Sitting hip to hip and rolling helplessly around the floor, stoned high off their gourds, with both their pant legs rolled up to the knees and feet buried up to the ankles in the reddish soil as if they were chilling at the local beach.

They were still singing random bits of Sublime horrendously off key, and laughing uproariously in between the chorus' even as the three men hauled them off to the infirmary. And somewhere along the trek, as he hung somewhat precariously off his CO's shoulders, probably in between passing the mess hall and watching Parrish squirm out of both Carson and Rodney's grip in order to give the massive, and rather questionably tempered looking marine on guard duty outside the gate room a gigantic, overly friendly hug, he decided that he was going to like it here.

Sheppard and McKay had bickered heatedly over coming up with an appropriate name for the overly exuberant flora. However, in the end McKay ended up winning, partially by default and partially by sheer volume, because about twenty minutes or so into the initial testing Parrish decided that he didn't want to lay down on the infirmary bed anymore and led everyone save for himself, Elizabeth, and a few wide eyed nurses on a merry chase around the entire sickbay. Twice.

By the time Sheppard decided he had had enough of chasing after the errant botanist, who was surprisingly fleet, and suspiciously agile on his feet, the younger man was on his fourth pass around the room and almost everyone save for Carson, Sheppard and Stackhouse who had been chasing after him from the beginning, had collapsed in staggered increments around the room, winded and desperately trying to stifle giggles.

It wasn't until Stackhouse and Sheppard teamed up and went opposite ways around the room, effectively hemming in the over excited botanist, that Sheppard was finally able to gently dive tackle the taller man into the side of one of the medical supply cabinets. Parrish hadn't been overly amused by that, squirming rather indignantly and growingly creatively in Sheppard's firm grip until Carson, and his orderlies were able catch up and squash him back into the gurney.

But since the man was still grinning, his doped up smile, still impossibly wide and good humoured despite the dive tackling and restraints, he decided not to get too fussed about it. Besides, he was starting to get sleepy by that point anyway.

By then it had been all but decided. McKay had dubbed the flowers "Stoner Daisies," and had proceeded to embark on a truly impressive tantrum where he ranted on about botany and pollen, and all manner of probably very insulting things if said rant was ever directed at a Botanist.

Which, all things considered, he was pretty glad Parrish never actually heard, because by then, the man had decided to conk out over his shoulder right in the middle of Carson's poking and prodding, which predictably sent the Scotsman into conniptions, and in turn ended up provoking another increasing high pitched rant from McKay.

Sheppard had just watched. Fondly.

The fourth time he saw the man, which was actually the ninth or tenth time, give or take a score of random lunches and chance hallway meetings, was two weeks after his hospital stint, and the giant cluster fuck that had been their mission to P3M-736, and he was nearly beside himself.

He hadn't seen head or tails from ANY botanist in over two days. Specifically Parrish, but he still wasn't dealing with that growingly obvious fact right now. Thank you very much.

He just couldn't.

So instead he had decided to shift the blame on M7A-549. An uninhabited little dust ball of a world that had practically sent all the botanists on Atlantis into near orgasms of joy. All because the stupid ferns from the planet that seemed to harbour NOTHING but over grown foliage, might be able to cure cancer or something.

Somewhere around the evening of the second day, the second full day where he had just so happened to notice that the man never seemed to make it back to his quarters for the night. (Not that he was paying attention or anything..) He decided that he had finally had enough and set off towards the main Botany wing with his hands shoved petulantly in the depths of his pockets and a determined look painted over his agitated features.

Sheppard hadn't said a word as they had passed in the hallway, but that was probably because he was too busy shepherding his own scientist to a late dinner, entirely ignoring the irritated Canadian's somewhat intelligible babble about radical, ionic parameters, and his growingly expressive miming of wanting to go back to the labs to retrieve his computer tablet. Sheppard was having none of it however and the last he saw of them was as the rounded the corner and out of sight, Sheppard all but towing the man by the shoulder of his science blues.

He eventually found Parrish slumped over a long metallic trench of meticulously re-potted plants, dead to the world and snoring softly into the thin tendrils of a remarkably ordinary looking baby fern.

Not like that meant anything in the Pegasus galaxy obliviously. For all he knew they not only cured cancer, but glowed in the dark, and was partially sentient as well. Though he had to admit, after all the hype he had heard about them over the last few days, he had initially pictured something..well.. 'cooler.'

He was hunched down at the mans side, one hand skirting the slight hollow where the man's shoulder met his neck before he could even so much as think the action through. Two fingers fluttering towards his pulse unconsciously as he watched the closest fern shiver with every deep, even breath the man took.

Carefully shaking the exhausted man awake, he watched as the man began to stir, one dirt streaked hand pressing into the yielding soil as he reluctantly levered himself back into a sitting position.

"Com'on Doc lets get you back to your quarters." He murmured, not even waiting for the man to reply as he hooked his hands underneath the rumpled man's armpits and gentled him to his feet.

He had to half-support the man as the botanist listed dangerous to port, rubbing tiredly at his face as he yawned hugely, something that served to only smear the gardening soil further across his already smudged face.

"What..I mmph?" Parrish slurred, wobbling in his grip as he took in his surroundings amicably, eyes going fond as he looked down at the tidy line of newly planted ferns.

"Sleep." He clarified, shifting the majority of the mans weight to his elbows as he began slowly hustling the man forward with his own, slightly ungainly momentum.

"I was..." Parrish murmured, the words coming out partially muffled and somewhere around the vicinity of his left armpit as he abandoned all attempts of standing on his own power and all but melted into his arms.

"In your bed." He replied firmly, his teeth clenching spasmodically as the long, lean length of the man pressed fully against him. With the rub of fabric and the occasional brush of skin on skin starting to do things to him that he had promised himself he wasn't going to start thinking about. Ever.

"But..the seedlings.." Parrish fussed, already making vague, fumbling motions with a dirt splotched arm towards the plant strewn lab.

"The seedlings have babysitters already." He pointed out, eying Katie Brown, and another a sable haired man with an Australian patch who were already wrapped up in their own sleeping bags on the opposite side of the room, incredulously shaking his head.


"Right now, we need to get you to bed." He continued, willing the door open effortlessly even as his mind raced. Forcing him to face that small, niggling little emotion that was now humming happily somewhere deep in his chest as Parrish allowed himself melt even further into his supporting hold.

The man had forgotten to sleep. Who did that? Well other the Rodney..and Zelenka, and...Okay...So maybe it was a geek thing. But still. How had the man even functioned before he came along anyway?

Halfway to Parrish's quarters, the man seemed to remember that he actually hadn't said anything in response to his last statement other then physically acquiesce to the action.

"Oh....Okay..." The man responded rather belatedly, blinking up at him with a few slow and doe-eyed little glances and a tired smile that was so innocently trusting that it made a part of him he hadn't known even existed until that very moment; ache a little bit in his chest.

God help him, but he nearly dropped the younger man in shock. Because as he met the mans eyes, that niggling, troublesome little emotion that had been building his in chest gave up humming in favour of thumping. Insistently.

He spent the next three days avoiding everyone and quietly having that long overdue panic attack he had promised himself over a month and a half earlier. Something which probably would have continued on into the foreseeable future if Sheppard hadn't swung by his own, rarely used office took one look at him and dragged him off to go get beat up by Ronon.

And during that period, probably sometime in between getting his ass royally handed to him and the point were McKay walked in and proceeded to spew verbal insults at Sheppard until the man abandoned sparring entirely and followed the snarky man out the door, bickering like an old married couple the whole way down the corridor, he realized that the whole thing was actually remarkably simple.

He nearly tripped over himself in his haste as he all but flew through the training room doors, leaving Ronon alone on the rumpled mats with a rather satisfied look on his face as he hopped into the nearest transporter and mashed the buttons that led to the Botany wing with unaccustomed impatience.

He found the man hip deep in acid yellow shrubbery of some sort, making encouraging noises at a bunch of seedlings languishing in a nearby incubation chamber. The man was covered in soil, smelt like a forest, and had a smudge of dirt rubbed clear across his long freckled nose.

His heart may or may not have actually skipped a beat at the sight. It was racing too fast for him to really tell..

And he knew that he probably didn't look or smell much better because he could already feel the salt crusted edges of partially dried sweat congealing over his skin, even as the sure signs of what promised to be a few, quite spectacular looking bruises thumped sluggishly somewhere underneath skin of his right cheekbone and third rib. Merit badges from sparring with a man that spent years of his life, literally fight to keep it.

But the man flashed him that bright, heart flutteringly powerful smile regardless. The one he had been seeing increasingly of late, which probably could have powered a ZPM and then some if McKay could only figure out how to harness it.

Except this time, for the first time since he had listened to the man babble on about radiation and ultra light indexes.. A mind boggling mess of long limbs, clean cut lines, cow-licked hair, and all but vibrating with excitement, he hardly even noticed.

He didn't even give the man a moment to react, because in a span of about five seconds he had the taller man pressed up against the seedling incubator. And before he could even think the action through, he had one hand braced against the viewing glass and the other tentatively, but steadily curling around the curve of the startled man's hip.

The loamy, mineral-rich tang of gardening soil filtered through his senses like oxygen. Something that was somehow not overwhelming enough to offset the growing pressure in his groin nor the steadily firming sensation of a budge that mirrored his own, pressing insistently back into his thigh through the warm, soil dampened material of the man's regulation tan slacks.

It felt a lot like he was about to have heart failure.... He hoped that the feeling never stopped...

Their noses bumped softly, once and then again as he pressed in impossibly closer, exulting in the heady feel of the man's smooth, stubble roughened skin as it brushed across his own, the sensation zipping down his spine like an electrical charge as the strangled groan he had been holding back for what felt like forever broke past the barrier of his lips and echoed into the open air.

So different, yet so fucking good..Jesus.

He was practically shaking with the power of it, with the overwhelming power of just being able to feel freely for once. Indeed, he was so distracted by it that he almost didn't even notice as a gawky, mixed up little hybrid of an emotion, something that he could only artlessly describe as a sort of awkward confidence hit his blood stream at 260 rpm and started trickling through his veins like liquid napalm.

His palms were sweaty, and his breaths were gusting out far too loud in the crushing silence, almost mirroring the deafening beat of his racing pulse as it echoed, the throbbing beats thrumming at his temples even as he realized he had absolutely no idea where to put his hands.

And yet despite it all, he felt a thrill of..something flip flop in his gut as he listened to the lowering pitch of the mans rapid breaths, and the way he seemed to relax, infinitesimal inch by infinitesimal inch into his loose embrace, his nimble tongue darting out to unconsciously moisten his dry lips.

It was something that told him more then he knew he could ever hope to express, even on canvas. Indeed, even the very idea of a few mere brush strokes, whether done with paints or a smudge of charcoal, seemed to pale in comparison to this. To what he had in all but trembling in his arms right at this very moment..

And when the man finally met his gaze, he couldn't help but gulp helplessly for air. His skin sparking as long fingers wrapped firm and insistently around the cuffs of his expedition jacket, curling underneath to trail along the naked skin of his wrists as those heated eyes peered through the spiky fringe of his sandy, auburn hair.

And as the man's round, pleasure darkened eyes stared up at him, flooded with just the right pitch of hopeful anticipation, warmth, and disbelief, he found that he couldn't help but lean in and kiss him.

The clatter of the man's gardening trowel hitting the floor was deafening. But neither of them really even noticed.

It wasn't like any kiss he had ever experienced, mostly for a few very obvious reasons. As the burn of stubble in the place of soft, feminine skin made the reality of the situation far too conspicuous to miss.

In much the same way, the angles of the man's face pressed up against his own came out feeling different, angular rather then rounded, and firmer rather then fine-boned and delicate. And it was something that was only becoming all the more apparent as the solid, masculine strength of the man buckled against him, pressing more insistently into his embrace as the man's long limbs tensed, sculpted with a musculature that he could feel, hard and clearly defined under his hands.

But all he could think was just...yes...This.. Because it felt so fucking good that he didn't even know how to describe it. All he knew was that it felt right. Like it had been there all along and he just hadn't seen it.

And god..wasn't that a thought?

The rasp of lightly chapped lips dragging across his own blitzed across his lips like the fourth of July. And he nearly swallowed his own tongue when Parrish moaned into his mouth, nipping experimentally at his lips as long arms and grabby hands sought to defy all known laws of gravity and physics as the man tried his best to climb into his skin.

In a way the kiss was entirely imperfect. It was chaste in a way he hadn't experienced since his first year of college, with the occasional brushes of cheek and chin in place of fully centered kisses, and nibbling teeth rather then the hint of an inquisitive tongue. Yet solely for those imperfections, it was also the most perfect kiss he had ever had, ripe with the lingering promise of something more trailing innocently, yet entirely devastatingly in its wake.

A throaty whine broke from his lips, and his fingers scrabbled for purchase across the narrow expanse of man's slim hips as one of Parrish's hands buried itself in his short hair, scratching across his scalp in a way he never realized he liked until it all but unmanned him right there, pressed up against the warm, steadily thrumming plant incubator.

Jesus. Freakin'. Christ..

When they finally broke apart, desperately panting for oxygen in the heavy, moisture laden air, it seemed only natural to pull him in closer and rest their foreheads together as they slowly caught their breaths.

And it was only when Parrish started tugging at him, yanking impatiently at his belt loops as he all but dragged him out of the lab, making a series of obscene, desperately insistent noises that went straight to his dick, that he realized that for the first time in a long time, probably ever since he had been shoved the back of that armored limo and driven all the way to Cheyenne mountain, things had finally started to make sense again.

Chapter End Notes:

*Encephalartos Woodii: Is an African tree that is now extinct in the wild. It is considered to be a 'modern' extinction.

*Zoomie: Is a nickname for pilots in the Air force.

* Short Sheeted: Term for when your bunkmates mischievously make up your army bunk so that the top sheet is folded in half so that their victim can't extend their legs.

* Short arm inspection: Term for when the Medics' surprise a barracks in the middle the night for an exam aimed at testing the troops for VD symptoms.