Title: Room for One More
Summary: Rodney, Carson, and the trials a cat can bring. Suppose to be set during the return to earth in "The Intruder".
Extra note: There is yet to be a canon name for Rodney's cat. The one chosen for this fic is in the spirit of an obsucre Doctor Who reference. Oh, and the fic is suppose to be kinda funny.
"Here's the keys. I just have something I need to pick up." Rodney handed Carson the key ring, dropped his luggage by his apartment door, and wandered off down the hall.
Carson watched Rodney out of the corner of his eye while slipping the key into the lock. Rodney knocked and waited outside a neighbor's door. It opened and an attractive young woman greeted Rodney and invited him in. Carson itched a bit in annoyance and jealousy. He turned the key, and opened the door. He pulled Rodney's stuff inside first. He went back out to grab his own when Rodney came out of the other apartment. Immediately Carson felt foolish for his earlier concerns. Rodney came towards him holding a gray tabby cat in one arm, and a box of cat supplies in the other. Rodney was beaming.
"Carson, this is Fred. Fred, Carson."
"Hello." Carson smirked and gave a little wave at the feline.
Fred just blinked at him and yawned wide, exposing a curled pink tongue. "Aw, is little Fred sleepy?" Rodney crooned. He shoved the box of supplies at Carson and cradled Fred into the apartment.
Carson rolled his eyes, balanced the box under one arm, and picked up his suit cases. He kicked the door shut behind him. He dropped his things on the couch and followed the sound of Rodney's voice to the kitchen. Carson set the box of cat goodies on the counter next to where Fred was sitting. Rodney was continuing to talk to the poor animal in sickening tones. "I bet you missed me, 'cause I missed you..."
Carson coughed. "Uh, Rodney?"
Rodney straightened from letting the cat lick his nose. He cleared his throat and finally had the decency to look embarrassed. "Pets respond better to kinder tones. Makes them feel like part of family, and develops a healthier relationship between it and the owner."
"And that includes allowing it sit on the kitchen counter?"
"It allows him to be on a more equal level," Rodney said with such conviction, Carson couldn't help but smile. He grabbed Rodney's hand and pulled him into a kiss.
Rodney slipped his hands up Carson's arms to settle on his shoulders. He pulled away, but only far enough to ask, "what was that for?"
Carson pressed his forehead to Rodney's. "Just for being you, love."
"Okay, I can understand that."
Fred butted his head against Rodney's hand, reclaiming his owner's complete attention. "I'm sorry, I forgot to get food and water dishes filled, and I have to set up your litter box." Rodney nudged Carson out of the way to start pulling the cat supplies out of the box.
Carson watched him for a moment. still recovering from the sudden shift in atmosphere. "I'll um, just put our things in the bedroom then, shall I?"
"Yeah, whatever Carson," Rodney said from the sink where he was filling up the water dish.
Carson went back to the living room feeling ridiculous for having that jealousy return. After all, it was just a cat. He knew going into the relationship how much that cat meant to Rodney. Carson went about opening doors in the apartment, trying to find the bedroom. He found the broom closet, the bathroom, what might had been a study, but looked more like a science major's dorm with scattered books and papers along with food wrappers and (hopefully) empty soda cans. As it always was, the last door Carson opened was the one to the bedroom. It appeared to be the only room Rodney bothered to properly tidy before leaving. The double bed was even stripped down to the mattress.
Carson went back to the living room for the bags. He caught a snippet of Rodney complaining about the military to the cat. Finally having the bags moved to the other room, Carson rejoined Rodney in the kitchen. Rodney was describing some of his more heroic acts to an eating Fred while Rodney brushed his fur.
Carson ignored the stupid twinge of annoyance that popped up again. "Where are the linens?" He managed to ask when Rodney finally paused for breath.
Rodney's hand stilled and he looked up at Carson as if he dared to interrupt the conversation. "The what now?"
Carson sighed. "The linens for the bed, Rodney."
"Oh, right." He put the brush down and led Carson back to the bedroom. Carson wouldn't let himself feel silly for smirking victoriously at the cat before leaving the kitchen.
Back in the bedroom Rodney pulled out a stack of sheets and pillow cases from the bottom bureau drawer. He gave them an experimental sniff. "Eh, good enough." He did the same to the pillows and duvet, and tossed them at Carson. Together they made the bed in a disturbingly domestic scene. It was a pity they bothered to make the bed up so nice and neat when they would only be messing it up again later. Carson was about to mention it to Rodney when a mass of fuzz jumped on the bed and curled up by the pillows.
"Didn't I say he was tired?" Rodney dropped on the bed, jostling the cat who gave him a sleepy squint of irritation. "Actually, I'm pretty beat, too. Gate-lag and all." Rodney took off his shoes and laid on the bed next to Fred. "Carson, could you be a dear and get the shades?"
Carson stood at the foot of the bed, mouth open. This wasn't exactly how he had expected the day to go. Rodney in bed; yes. Just sleeping; not exactly. The cat between them; a definite no. "Carson, that shade isn't closing itself."
"Yes, Rodney." Carson sighed. He went to the window and lowered the shade. With nothing else to do Carson took his shoes off and got on the other side of the bed, leaning against the pillows.
Though he fell asleep with a stormy mood, Carson woke up under far more pleasant circumstances. During their nap the cat left and Rodney attached himself to Carson's side. Much more pleasant. Carson repositioned his arm to rub Rodney's back. Rodney made a small, contented noise and nuzzled Carson's neck. "Hey."
"Hello," Carson answered, fondly.
Rodney moved again, this time leveling himself above Carson. Rodney leaned down and kissed him slowly. It was so nice being someplace together like this, without the lingering threat of Rodney being called away to investigate newly discovered technology, or and off-world team coming back injured and needing Carson's immediate attention. Carson started undoing the buttons of Rodney's shirt while Rodney repositioned himself to get better access at Carson's clothes without having to break the kissing. Then Carson felt the bed dip ever so slightly.
"Why'd you stop?" Rodney asked, a bit breathless.
"Um." Carson titled his head. He watched the cat walk across the mattress to the pillows.
Rodney followed his gaze. "Oh, give me a break." Carson removed his hands from under Rodney's shirt. "Oh, come on, Carson."
"I can't. Not while he's here."
"The cat doesn't care."
"Maybe, but I do."
Rodney sighed and pushed himself off Carson and the bed. "Come on, Fred," he said, picking the cat up, "daddy's boyfriend doesn't like voyeuristic felines." Rodney shut the door, and turned back to Carson, folding his arms. "Better?"
Carson had sat up on the edge of the bed. He wasn't going to admit that the cat's interruption had totally taken him out of the mood. He looked at the clock instead. "I need to call my mum," he realized.
"I don't really think this an issue you want to discuss with your mother."
"I haven't spoken to her at all since we've gotten back."
Rodney's chin tilted up, and his lips were pressed together in a thin line. Carson knew he was fighting the natural impulse to make some scathing comment about Carson's attachment to his mother. But Rodney knew that Carson would then not so innocently ask why it was exactly Rodney and his sister were not on speaking terms. Carson got off the bed. "Does your phone still work, do you think?"
Rodney, conceding the conversation was firmly on that subject alone, left the bedroom with Carson following. "Hope so. You'd think when you risk your entire life and make amazing scientific discoveries for the U.S. government, the least they can do is make sure you can order a pizza... Actually, that sounds really good." Rodney picked up the receiver in the living room. "Got a dial tone. Let's see if my speed dial numbers are still there."
"You keep the pizza place on speed dial?"
"Shut up, it's ringing."
Pizza ordered, Rodney handed the phone to Carson. "You're paying for the long distance."
Carson was nervous listening to the ring. What exactly did one say to one's mother whom you haven’t seen in a year, and can't talk at all about what it was you've been doing all that time? How was she going to react? The last thing Carson needed was to start blubbering in front of Rodney.
Carson smiled. "Hello, Mum."
Rodney looked up from toying with the cat with a fluffy ball on a string. He rolled his eyes at Carson's sappy tone. and headed for the kitchen. The cat pounced after the string he was trailing behind him.
"Carson? My God, Carson! It is you. Oh, where are you, dear? How are you? Are you coming home? Are you - "
"One question at a time. I'm in the United States. I'm fine. No, sorry, I won't be able to come and see you this time. I'm busy, have things to straighten here before I go back to the project."
"Oh Carson, I know what you're doing is important, but this whole government hush-hush has me on edge. Especially since it's the American government with all their secret organizations-"
At that point Carson became distracted. Fred had tired of the fuzzy-ball-on-a-string game, and decided to explore Carson. He forced his way on his lap and started butting his head against the hand Carson was holding the phone with, jostling it. "Will you please get off you nosey little creature!" He shoved the cat away.
"What did you just say?"
"No, sorry Mum, not you. The cat."
"I'm staying with a friend. He has a cat."
"Friend?" His mother's voice perked up considerably. "What kind of friend?"
"As in a friend, kind of a friend."
"Oh, so not as in a boyfriend."
Carson flinched. He hated talking about his relationships with his mother. She had a tendency to get too interested. "Yes, actually."
"Oh, that's nice. What's his name?"
"What?" Rodney came back in the room with a cup of coffee in each hand. He passed one to Carson.
"I'm not talking to you."
"Is that him?"
"Let me speak to him."
"That might not be a good idea." He raised his eyes to look at Rodney who was pacing and checking his watch. He muttered something about the time it takes to make and deliver a pizza. "Rodney doesn't always make the best first impressions." He said it in a low voice, but Rodney heard him anyway.
"Let me be the judge of that."
"What? Why are you talking about me?"
Carson covered the mouth-piece. "She wants to talk to you."
"Oh, I'm not good with the whole meet the parents thing."
"Look, mum..." Then both his mother and Rodney started talking at him: one insisting, the other babbling about nervous hives and the pizza arriving any minute. Frustration taking over, Carson shoved the phone into Rodney's hand and took over pacing duties.
Rodney hesitantly raised the phone to his ear. "Um...hello?" He flinched. "Yes, Mrs. Beckett... No ...Yes... That's a rather personal question." He shot a confused and disturbed look at Carson. "Okay, yes. Oh look, Carson's looking anxious to talk to you again."
The phone passed hands once more.
"He seems like a nice lad. I a little shy maybe."
"What did you say to him?"
"I only asked if you were having safe sex is all."
"Bloody hell, Mum!"
"Anyway dear, it's been the best thing in the world to talk to you and Rodney, but I have to go. My quilting circle starts soon. Be good, stay safe. Miss you. Love you."
"Miss you too, Mum."
"There should be a law against old people talking about sex," Rodney said the moment Carson hung up the phone, "especially old Scottish women who knit. It's just not right."
"How do you know she knits?"
"I've seen your sweaters."
The pizza arrived soon after. the two of them ate together in the living room. Rodney was feeding bits of slices to Fred.
"I don't think that's good for him."
"How would you know? You're not a veterinarian. Besides, I've been feeding Fred pizza for years and it's done no harm. He's got a strong constitution."
Carson's constitution was greatly diminishing as he watched Rodney coddle the cat. It should have been a comfort, it was a side of Rodney no one else got to see. The mean-to-small-children Dr. McKay was in fact very kind to small fluffy animals. "Gotta pee," Rodney announced, getting up and leaving the empty pizza box and plates for Carson to clear away. Looking around the room Carson wondered if it mattered anyway. Just a few more things added to piles already there. His own fussy tidiness got the better of him. He went to the kitchen to dispose the trash, the cat following. Fred hopped up on the counter and meowed.
"What do you want now?"
Fred blinked, and hunkered down, drooping his head over the edge of the counter, as if peering at something on the floor. Carson gave in and looked down, too. There was nothing there but his feet. Cats were strange.
“What are you looking at?” Rodney asked, coming in.
"Huh, okay." Rodney walked around the counter to reach Carson. He put his arms around Carson's shoulders. "Bed?" He asked sexily. He leaned in for a kiss, but Carson spotted the cat sitting there, watching them.
"Rodney, I think we need to talk about this."
Rodney pulled back. "Talk about what? We-" he turned and saw what Carson was staring at. "Dammit, Carson! Stop turning this in to an issue! I will not lock Fred out of where he has every right to be. This is his home, too."
"It's not like I'm asking you to throw him out of doors. He just makes me edgy."
"I won't do it."
"Fine, I'll sleep on the couch then, shall I?"
"Carson, do you have any idea how stupid you're sounding right now? You're asking me to choose between you and the cat!"
"Aye, I guess I am."
"Then I think we both know the answer."
Stubbornness could be a damned thing. Sometimes it got you exactly what you wanted.
Sometimes you ended up on the couch.
It was decidingly unnatural, the devotion Rodney had for that cat. Then Rodney was a very devoted person. Passionate was an even better word; passionate for his work, his own ego. It was why he still carried a torch for Samantha Carter. It never bothered Carson when Rodney would talk about her. He'd go on about her hair, and her legs. It was like a teenage girl's obsession with a movie star. Rodney could lust after her all he wanted, it was never feasibly going to happen.
And yet there was Carson, letting his relationship be threatened by a cat when a beautiful woman didn't give him pause to doubt.
Carson shucked off the blankets, grabbed the pillows. and took them with him back to the bedroom. Rodney was sleeping on his side, the cat curled up against his back. When Carson put the pillows down and pulled back the covers Fred got up, giving him room. Carson got in and scooted over enough to put an arm around Rodney.
Rodney stirred. "Hey."
"Hello," Carson replied, giving Rodney's shoulder a kiss.
"Knew you'd come back."
"You just know everything, don't you?
Carson determined to spend the rest of his time on earth just being away from danger, and being happy with Rodney, not letting himself get bothered with trivial things. Just then the cat came up and curled up on the pillow next to Carson's head, and purred loud.