"Oh my God," Rodney says the next day. "I cannot believe you drank all my Labatt Blue."
John looks up from folding laundry on his bed, not surprised to see Rodney's appeared in his room. He stopped using John's door chime after their first week in Atlantis.
"It was only two bottles." John's hands are full of socks, so he makes a head motion toward the empties on the dresser that means throw those in the recycling bin, hmm? Rodney knows his gestures by now, so he complies, scowling. "When you didn't show last night, I figured you were too busy celebrating with Katie. You shouldn't leave your beer in my mini-fridge if you don't want me to drink it."
"Our mini-fridge. You just talked me into keeping it here."
"So take your half to your room."
Rodney plops on the edge of the bed. John tosses him some socks to pair up, but Rodney just sits there. "Aren't you going to ask me how it went?" he says finally.
No. No, John is not. He doesn't want to hear how much Katie liked the ring, and how they're going to set a date soon because Katie wants red-haired freckled children right now! If that makes him a bad person or a bad friend, he's prepared to live with that.
"Here," John says, shoving undershirts in Rodney's direction. "Fold."
Rodney does. Half the laundry's his, anyway. They used to bump into each other so often in the laundry room after missions that after a while they'd started shoving their clothes together in the huge Ancient washing machines. Eventually they just started pooling laundry every week; odd weeks, Rodney does the wash, even weeks, John. It works out pretty well, and at least Rodney always has clean underwear this way. John isn't convinced he would, left to his own devices. From time to time John toys with idea of making laundry a team thing, but Teyla is female and presumably has female unmentionables, and who knows if Ronon even does washing. John has certainly never seen him near the laundry room.
"I didn't propose. Well, I sort of proposed, but then I took it back."
"You took it back," John repeats.
Rodney nods sort of miserably. John is hit with a wave of such overwhelming relief that he nearly pairs a black sock with an argyle. He shakes himself to get past the sudden head rush. He'd thought he was okay with the prospect of Rodney marrying Katie. Turns out he really, really isn't. Huh.
He almost misses what Rodney says next. "I told her I wasn't ready to get married."
Well, that's certainly true. That must be why John feels so happy suddenly; why he's sure to the marrow of his bones that Rodney made the right decision. Rodney McKay--married? The idea is ludicrous. Sure, John loves the guy--as a friend loves another friend--but he can't see him in a partnership with an actual living human being. Besides, if Rodney got married, then he and his wife would be doing laundry together, and sharing a mini-fridge; someone else would be bringing him coffee in the lab and making sure he gets enough sleep. John can't quite put his finger on it, but there's something very wrong with that picture.
Rodney still looks kind of unhappy, so John bumps him on the shoulder as he hands over Rodney's laundry basket. "You did the right thing."
"Yeah?" Rodney's smile is brilliant like the sky and John feels warm inside.
"Yeah," John says. "You shouldn't try to share your life with someone until you're really sure."
The clothes are folded, so they head out. Rodney leaves his laundry in John's quarters, of course--half Rodney's stuff always seems to migrate there. John doesn't mind; he has room. They walk down the corridor--Rodney on his way to his lab, John to the armory. And hey--with all the proposal rigmarole John nearly forgot it was Thursday. "You up for a movie tonight?"
"Sure," Rodney says. "My turn to pick. I'll stop by the DVD exchange later."
"Cool," says John. "I'll pick up something from the Mess on the way home."
Rodney walks off humming happily under his breath. John watches him go. Nah, Rodney's not ready to get married. John knows--he wasn't ready either, and look how that turned out. Truth be told, John's still not ready for the kind of partnership commitment that marriage involves. He's not sure he'll ever be ready, but that's okay--he's got good friends. He and Rodney'll just have to be old bachelors together.
He makes the turnoff to the armory, smiling at the thought.