They hadn't noticed they were together until someone else asked them how long they'd been a couple. They looked at each other in surprise, and then neither of them could come up with an answer.
This prompted some soul searching. Some thought. Checking McKay's obsessive journaling. Standing in their individual quarters and counting how much they actually still had in their individual spaces rather than together. Reading some old e-mails, and finally asking some of their closest friends.
Somewhere, at some point, John had stopped sleeping in his quarters.
Somewhere, at some point, Rodney had cleared out space for John's things in his quarters.
Somehow the Johnny Cash poster had ended up on the wall in Rodney's quarters. Albeit with a post-it note attached that said, "NOT MINE! RODNEY MCKAY, PH.D., PH.D."
Sometime John had started drinking Canadian beer.
Lorne could not remember when he'd stopped heading for John's quarters when he wanted to talk to him in person.
Radek thought perhaps it had been around the time that Atlantis first returned to the Pegasus Galaxy from Earth that he had come to expect that John might answer the door in McKay's quarters.
The return to Pegasus had brought with it a number of changes. Keller had not come with them. Obama had, in his second term, signed an executive order that ended the military's concern with who slept with whom. Sheppard was a full bird Colonel, and Woolsey had stepped down.
McKay had been given command by the IOA, much to the eternal consternation of O'Neill, and Radek took over as the head of the science division.
Teyla had a second child. Ronon married Amelia and she had a child. Considering the skills of both parents in the butt-kicking department, there were high expectations for the child.
The thing was, it hadn't been a conscious decision. It hadn't been official. It wasn't announced. There weren't any declarations of love or devotion or life-long commitment. In fact, they'd continued to bicker and squabble and insult and nag and nudge each other, including becoming so competitive about a new computer game (that oddly mirrored what they'd thought was a game and disastrously wasn't), that they'd at one point ended up standing nose to nose in the mess screaming at each other about their respective megalomanias.
Nearly six years into the return to Pegasus, with the political situation stable, the Wraith finally genetically altered to not feed on humans without dying of complete organ failure, and just the usual natural and man-made disasters to deal with on an on-going basis, scientists and researchers from Earth were regularly coming to do projects in Pegasus.
Then a visiting linguist had turned to John and said, "How long have you and Dr. McKay been together, Colonel Sheppard?"
Everyone in the room had stopped what they were doing. Silence fell over the group. Even Daniel Jackson, who normally could come up with something to say about anything, shut his mouth with an audible pop, and they all looked confused.
It was Torren who finally broke the silence and said, in his sweet high voice, "Always."
Everyone laughed, even John and Rodney, and it was Torren’s turn to look confused, so John ruffled his hair and Rodney changed the subject. But later, when they tried to figure it out, nobody knew.
Rodney, even with his obsessive journaling, had only found one note in his journal that was even vaguely relevant.
Have been looking over Radek’s most recent calculations on worm hole drive. He has made refinements that would, in theory, keep him from destroying everything involved. Clearly God continues to take care of fools and little children, because by all rights his cockamamie calculations should have destroyed the City rather than transporting it to Earth. Obviously fate or the gods or whatever, continues to desire that I remain in the universe generating brilliant work, for surely that's the only reason his idiotic plan worked the first time.
The new calculations remove the element of "miracle" from the mix and appear to deal with the potential atomization of all involved.
Made the mistake of mentioning this to Sheppard, who immediately wanted me to fit a jumper with worm hole drive so that he could make the jump back and forth to Earth for "good sushi in San Francisco."
First of all, if I was going to go to Earth for good sushi, I would go to Japan and not some Americanized, over-priced, tres chic restaurant in the capital of "I'm too cool for you" San Francisco. One too many suicide missions and knocks on the head and returns from the dead have not only affected his ability to make a decent restaurant suggestion, but he has the gall to think that my genius should be used to satisfy his ridiculous food cravings.
I said as much, which prompted him to go into a whine of epic proportions that continued ad infinitum. I do not know why anyone thinks that drawl of his is appealing. It's a whine, and he could give Madison a run for her money and she's a GIRL and she's 12!
Nothing would shut him up. Nothing. I finally turned out the lights, covered my head with my pillow and prayed for deafness.
That entry had been three years after Atlantis had returned to Pegasus, and everyone was very sure they'd been sharing quarters before that.
Also, it started yet another screaming match in the mess.
"That's it? In ten years I get one entry and it's to say I whine like a girl?"
Rodney rolled his eyes. "Some day my journals will be studied! My notes and drawings will be revered in the way that Leonardo DaVinci's are now. I do not want my legacy to be tainted because once again I had to listen to you defend the non-science of BACK TO THE FUTURE."
“Hey, I like that movie. And if it weren’t for me pushing you, you wouldn’t have made half those discoveries, anyway.”
"Oh, please! Without your innate ability to get yourself and anyone in your vicinity into life threatening situations, I would have spent less time pulling genius plans out of my ass and more time working on actual scientific discoveries which would have gotten me the kind of recognition that my intellect deserves. I have out-MacGyvered MacGyver, achieved nothing short of the miraculous, and had to listen to you whine like a twelve-year-old girl the entire time!"
"And yet you mentioned me once in ten years!"
"Oh my God, you're an egomaniac!"
"Pot calling the kettle black!"
For a moment, Rodney looked as though his head would explode, but then Radek turned to Teyla and said, “You see? Torren is right,” and the mess had dissolved into laughter once again.
A month of research and questions and thinking about it, they finally decided that it really didn't matter. After all, before they realized they were a couple, they'd been getting along just fine. Everyone knew where to find them. The fact that John's quarters still existed gave them added storage space. And really, it wasn't like either of them was sentimental enough to celebrate something like an anniversary.
Late one night they took a six pack of beer and went out onto the pier that was kind of "theirs," looked at the stars and laughed and argued and threatened each other's cultures (in the game) with mayhem, and finally fell into the comfortable silence they sometimes had together.
"I should have known I'd end up with you like this," Rodney said.
John cocked his head, "Yeah?"
"God forbid I should have someone sane."
John laughed softly. "Yeah, well, I guess I wasn't supposed to get someone quiet."
They tapped their bottles together and each took a deep swallow of good, cold, Canadian beer and let the sound of the waves fill the companionable silence.