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Mostly Harmless

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The costume party had been scheduled for weeks, but the expedition to YPR-4T3 had come up at the last minute. Elizabeth had apologized, but Evan knew that the job came first.

Ever since Atlantis became more of an independent colony rather than an Earth outpost, everyone's quality of life had changed. And while death still lurked around every corner, be it at the literal hand of a Wraith or some new space plague that only those from Pegasus had immunity to, the people of Atlantis had decided to celebrate life at every opportunity. Elizabeth had instituted monthly parties involving the entire colony to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and other events, and they each toasted out the month, sharing a drink to remember those lost.

This month was David's birthday month. The fact that Evan had to miss the party because he was leading an expedition off-world sucked, but as he kissed David goodnight the day before David smiled at him. "It's all part of the job, Ev." David understood, and Evan couldn't help but kiss him again, trying with his lips, his tongue, the caress of his fingers to tell him just how lucky he was to have David in his life. David's care and understanding were just two of the things that Evan loved about him, but still, the whole off-world trip timing sucked.

As Evan walked closer to the control room, he could hear the party going in full swing. He looked at his watch and noticed that he had about ten minutes before the rest of his team showed up - damn, his penchant for being early. He wanted to poke his head in, but at the same time, he knew that he needed to be ready for his team to go off-world.

Off-world. The thought tickled an old memory locked in the recesses of Evan's brain.

With a smile, he walked up to Stackhouse and touched his arm. "Don't leave without me," he said with a wink.

"Ay, ay, cap'n," Stackhouse replied with a sloppy salute, though Evan mostly missed it as he jogged over to the post-mission showers. It was thankfully empty, so he grabbed a towel and then jogged over to the party. He walked in, immediately accosted by all the laughter and genuinely happy voices from the crowd.

The good thing about dating someone tall was that he could see David towering over most of the rest of those in attendance, even without the deerstalker cap. Evan figured it was a ridiculous hat, but on David, it somehow worked. He's glad that David'd had Kusanagi make it for him. But as he headed David's way, someone reached out and grabbed his elbow. "What the hell're you doing here?" Sheppard asked him.

"Wanted to say goodbye to Davey before I headed off-world." He took Sheppard's appearance in, and it took a second for recognition to set in. "Oh lord," he said, then smiled when he saw McKay nearby. Sheppard wore a rumpled business suit, a wrinkled white shirt, the top button undone, and a tie loose around the collar, with a brown raincoat. McKay was wearing jeans, a dark t-shirt, a button-down shirt that was open midway and had a familiar leather jacket on even though it was somewhat warm. "Cas," he said, looking at Sheppard. "You do know Dean is over there gesturing so wildly that he's spilling his drink."

Sheppard glanced over at McKay, then turned back with a fond look on his head. As McKay walked up to them, Evan felt hazel eyes studying him. They squinted at the towel before a small smile, more sneer than not, curled Sheppard's lips. "Oh my god, you nerd," he said.

"Nerd? What? What nerd?" McKay asked, spilling more of his drink. He seemed to be tipped to the side ever so slightly, the remains of an alcoholic beverage in his hand. He gestured toward Evan. "You? Nerd? Pfft." McKay rolled his eyes, then reached around to put an arm at Sheppard's waist. The act was more affection than either man usually showed, but in McKay's defense, he was a touch beyond tipsy. "Pretty, yes. But nerdy?" He took a sip, then let out another "Pfft."

Sheppard - no, John, Evan forced himself to think - was clearly smitten with Rodney much more than he ever let on if he let Rodney practically drape all over him. There was a fondness there as John rolled his eyes and reached out his own hand across Rodney's back. "Hey, I thought you said I was pretty."

There was a blush across John's cheeks, but Evan would never tell.

Before Rodney could respond, John yelped as he jumped forward.

"I also said you had a really cute butt," Rodney whispered. Or at least what drunk Rodney would consider a whisper. The volume was just over the rest of the group's dull roar, which caused a few folks to turn heads.

"Okay, time to get you home," John said with a smile. He pulled Rodney's hand from his back and interlaced their fingers, then turned to Evan. "Stay safe out there," he said. "And if a Vogon offers to read you poetry, come back early."

"You got it, boss," Evan said, then took off again toward David.

It took a bit to cross the crowd, and of course, David was the center of attention when he got there. His eyes lit up at the sight, and Evan couldn't help but smile. There was so much love there that he had to put a ring on that finger, and soon.

Whatever David was talking about, the story stopped mid-word. "Ev!" he called out, and all eyes fell on David. "I thought you were gone already," he said.

"Almost," he said. "I just wanted to do this," and he pulled the towel from where it was draped over a shoulder and tossed it around David's neck. He pulled on it gently, which pulled David down close enough to steal a kiss.

They ignore the catcalls from around them as their foreheads came together.

"I'll be home in two days, Boo," Evan said. He grabbed one last kiss, then pulled back. "Love the hat," he added, then turned to head back to the control center. He latched onto David's eyes one more time, a bashful look on his face.

"Love you," David mouthed.

Evan winked, then double-timed it back to the gate.