Rodney never thought that he could feel as close to someone as he did with John. It was something he'd heard other people drone out about and never believed. Hell, it was the reason Jeannie had given him when he asked what was so special about the English teacher. "Love is... It's just real, Meredith," she said.
And as he watched John sleep, he realized that maybe Jeannie was right. Maybe there was something to it.
John opened his eyes, immediately latching on to Rodney's gaze, a smile on his lips. "Good morning," John said.
Rodney leaned down, and honestly tried to respond with the same. But inches away from John's lips, he whispered, "Marry me," and then sealed the proposal with a kiss. He felt John's arms on his, then a hand on his shoulder. Rodney leaned up, searching John's eyes as his heart broke a little more with each microsecond that John remained silent.
It took a second for Rodney to regain his composure. "I'm sorry, I uhh-"
"Yes," John replied.
Rodney searched John's face, but all he found was an outpouring of love.
"Yes, Rodney," John said. He pulled Rodney down into a brief kiss. "Yes, Meredith Rodney McKay. I'll marry you."
Rodney rolled his eyes. "Why did you have to ruin it by calling me Meredith?"
"Hey," John said, then pinched Rodney's backside. "I said yes, didn't I?"
Plans were made. Dates were saved. And as Rodney entered the Mess, he could barely believe that this was the same place that they ate dinner at almost every night. This was the place that Ronon stole food from his plate. And this was the place where he would declare his love for John in front of all of their friends, til death do them part.
Mister Woolsey was tapped to do the traditional ceremony, but Teyla would perform the Athosian binding ceremony first. Ronon stood as Sheppard's best man, and Carson stood in as Rodney's. The tabled had been moved around, and a path of petals and leaves had been scattered from the entryway to the altar. There were a smattering of people standing around chatting, and he started heading towards the group that had Kusanagi and Zelenka when Cadman came to his side. "There you are," she said and grabbed his arm. "We've been waiting for you. C'mon."
Rodney let himself be dragged towards a room in the back, where they were joined by Chuck and a scary Marine named Amelia. "Yes, yes?" he asked.
"You were supposed to come dressed and ready," Cadman hissed.
"I am ready," Rodney barked back.
He watched as three pairs eyes silently judged him.
"What?" he added. "This is my best suit!"
"That's what I was afraid of," Chuck said. He conferred with Amelia for a moment and grew nervous as whispered voices grew heated.
"The pants and boots can stay," Amelia said as she stripped him out of his jacket as Chuck worked on the buttons of his shirt. "Everything else has to go."
Twenty minutes later, Rodney had been primped and coiffed more than any dozen people from a Milan fashion show runway. "Are we done yet?" he asked as the three makeshift fashionistas leaned back and considered him.
Chuck tried to fix a stray hair as Cadman looked at her watch. "I think it's as good as it's going to get," she said. "He's John's problem now. Or he will be in," she looked at her watch again, "thirteen minutes. Let's get him out there, folks."
And with that, and one last collar adjustment by Amelia, they went back to the mess.
When Rodney finally caught sight of John, his breath hitched. Sure, John was the most handsome man he'd ever met. But John, wearing his dress blues, was almost more than he could take. "Hi," Rodney said, waving bashfully.
"Hi," John mouthed back, and then took his place across from Rodney.
The Athosian ceremony passed them in a blur of words and actions because no matter what was going on around them, All Rodney could focus on was John. And before he knew it, Richard started the traditional ceremony. "Doctor McKay, repeat after me. Doctor McKay?"
"Hmm? What? Yes?" Rodney said as he tore his attention back to the ceremony. "Oh yeah. I, Meredith Rodney McKay-"
"Let me start," Mister Woolsey said with a smirk, and then guided Rodney through his traditional vows.
Woolsey turned to John, and announced, "As I understand it, Colonel Sheppard has written his own vows. Colonel Sheppard?"
John stood there, a blush on his face. Ronon held out a piece of paper, but John declined it, so he tucked it back into his pocket. Rodney watched as John glanced around, and then as Teyla reached out her hand to John's shoulder, he cleared his throat.
"One morning, life woke me up when it brought me to you.
One morning, we met, and I knew someone true.
One morning, I got lost in your eyes so blue.
One morning, life woke me up when it brought me to you.
One day, I met someone who with I could keep up.
One day, with a smile, my heart you locked up.
One day, each piece of my life you picked up.
One day, I met someone who with I could keep up.
One night, my life changed, with a solitary kiss.
One night, I finally felt emotional bliss.
One night, I found that one thing that I missed,
Because one night, my life changed with a solitary kiss."
Rodney knew in his heart that John was a lyrical poet, after hearing him strum the guitar quietly late at night, poetic words dripping from his lips. But this was the first time John had ever written anything for him - and it was beautiful. Rodney didn't hesitate; he pulled John to him, placed delicate fingertips on John's jaw and kissed him.
Mister Woolsey cleared his throat. "Doctor McKay. Doctor McKay! We haven't gotten there yet."
"I don't care," John muttered as he kissed Rodney back.
And that was their first moment together as a married couple - doing things their own way, on their terms, and surrounded by love.