Summary: "May the best man win? That's the best you could do?” What happened after that conversation between Rodney and Ronon? Tag to season 5 ‘Tracker’.
Spoilers for: Season 4 The Last Man, Season 5 Trio, The Shrine, and of course Tracker!
Disclaimer: In an alternate reality I do own SGA ... it’s a thriving enterprise contracted to appear every week for the next five years and I’m writing all the scripts. Oh – and there are movies too – in my reality we get both! In this reality? Well you know the drill!
I am unfortunately not associated in any way with the creators, owners, or producers of Stargate or any of its media franchises. All publicly recognizable characters, settings, equipment, etc are the property of whoever owns them. Any original characters, plot, settings, and anything else I made up are the property of me, the author. No copyright infringement is intended.
Copyright (c) 2008 ShaViva
Act 1: In which Sheppard sticks his nose where it doesn’t belong ...
"You have to make a decision," Sheppard looked at Dr Keller with a bland expression, more interested in her reaction than the fact that she was currently stitching a cut under his chin from one of Ronon's lucky hits.
"About what?" Keller asked distractedly.
"Ronon or Rodney," Sheppard grinned at the blush that appeared on her face.
"I don't know what you're talking about," Keller turned away, busying herself with preparing a small bandage now the stitches were complete.
"Sure you do," Sheppard insisted. "Ronon's not exactly Mr Open but Rodney's pretty obvious ... plus neither of them would have volunteered to go to M33-985 with you for any other reason."
"So?" Keller folder her arms across her chest and looked at Sheppard dismissively.
"So you need to make a decision," Sheppard wasn't put off by Jennifer’s manner. "They're good men, both of them and they deserve to know where they stand. Besides, I can't afford to have two love sick goons on my team. For my sake at the very least you need to resolve this."
"And what if I don't want to choose either of them," Keller looked at Sheppard pointedly.
"Oh," Sheppard frowned at an idea he'd obviously not considered previously. "I just assumed you'd have to like at least one of them ... is there someone else?"
"That's none of your business Colonel," Keller said sternly. "And neither is my relationship with Rodney or Ronon."
"It isif it starts affecting the performance of my team," Sheppard was suddenly very serious. "Look Jen, I know this isn't what you came here for, that you're busy, that you've probably got a million excuses for ignoring this but that'll only work for a while. Eventually one of them is gonna put you in a situation where you have to choose. I don't want to see anyone get hurt over this."
"You realise this is incredibly embarrassing right?" Jennifer looked down at the ground for a moment before looking back to Sheppard. John watched her without responding, not exactly comfortable with the conversation himself. "Fine, I'll think about it. Happy now?"
"Getting there," Sheppard hopped down from the infirmary bed. "Don't take too long okay." Before Jennifer could respond he'd walked from the infirmary.
Act 2: Where Rodney talks to himself ... a lot ...
"May the best man win?" Rodney paced his quarters in agitation, going over his recent conversation with Ronon. "That's the best you could do? Anyone looking at the two of you is gonna know who that is and it isn't you Doctor Meredith Rodney McKay!" Oh Great, now he was talking to himself.
He was actually surprised at his own audacity ... that'd he'd take such a bold step as talking to Ronon about his intentions towards Jennifer. He knew Ronon pretty well but in many respects the quiet Satedan remained a mystery, a frankly scary mystery you wouldn’t want to read before going to bed. But Jennifer was special ... beautiful ... and just really, really ... nice and he didn't want to see her hurt. Not that he was any more qualified not to hurt her than Ronon would be - just look at his performance with Katie!
"Oh don't go there McKay," he muttered under his breath. The last thing he needed was to be thinking about his mistakes with his last relationship ... he hardly had enough spare capacity with all the time he was spending thinking about Jennifer.
"She could choose you," Rodney's hopeful side offered internally.
"If she wants someone to fix her laptop, sure," his grimly pessimistic side countered. "If she wants someone exciting she'll choose Ronon hands down - I mean just look at the guy!"
"Hey, you and Jennifer have shared a few ... moments," hopeful Rodney protested. "After the hole in the ground thing she asked you to go for a drink."
"You think that was a date?" pessimistic Rodney asked incredulously. "Hah! She was just being nice because you almost dislocated an arm saving her. She's been learning sparring with Ronon - how many ‘moments’ do you think they've shared?!"
“Didn’t Sheppard’s 48,000 year old holographic McKay tell him you and Keller eventually married?” the hopeful Rodney tried again.
“Great, so all you need to do is dispose of Ronon and then lock yourself up with Keller for a few months and you’re all set,” pessimistic Rodney bit back sarcastically, reminding Rodney that in John’s version of the future Ronon had died.
"Right ... right," the voice of hopeful Rodney was small and meek ... even his internal optimist didn't have a comeback for that!
"This is nuts," Rodney shook his head, pushing the disturbing thoughts from his mind and walking purposefully out the door. No one had contacted him with a problem so he'd just have to go out and find one ... he needed something to occupy his mind ... right now!
Act 3: In which Jennifer and Rodney share a conversation over lunch ...
Rodney had held himself in check for a couple of weeks, watching carefully just waiting for the confirmation he knew was coming. Just waiting for someone to mention that Ronon and Keller were an item. As far as he could tell nothing had happened ... not that he was a good judge for that kind of thing. Although usually that was because he just wasn’t interested – this time he completely was.
The more Rodney thought about things the more he realised his chances with Jennifer in the romantic sense were less than zero. Still he couldn’t help but torture himself a little bit more by trying to confirm that.
"You liked sick Rodney, didn't you?" Rodney asked the question without looking at Jennifer directly, easy to do since they were sitting in the commissary having lunch together. It was busy and there were plenty of people still around for him to focus his attention on.
"What?" Jennifer's voice was shocked.
"You know, before our little trip to the Shrine ... everyone's told me how nice I was - the new and improved dying McKay," Rodney said self depreciatingly. "It's okay if you did - I've heard enough to decide that even I like him better although I don't really remember much. Pity we couldn't keep him around without the whole ... you know, dying thing."
"Don't be silly Rodney," Jennifer said firmly. "That parasite didn't make you a different person or any more likeable than you are now."
"So you ... like me?" Rodney asked hesitantly, almost little boy timid as he waited for the answer.
"Of course I like you Rodney," Jennifer was frustrated at having to reassure him. "We talk all the time – we’re having lunch together right now - you shouldn't have to ask!"
"Just not as much as you like Ronon," Rodney muttered, resolving to be happy with the fact that he did believe she liked him just the way he was.
"This isn't a competition Rodney," Jennifer looked anywhere but straight at him. "I count myself lucky to be friends with both of you. Now if there's nothing else -,"
"Oh come on," Rodney interrupted, hardly aware of what he was doing as he grabbed Jennifer’s hand to stop her walking away. "You're not that obtuse! You know what I'm asking here. Are you and Ronon involved ... romantically?"
"I don't see how that's any of your business," Jennifer refused to make eye contact, holding herself stiffly but not trying to pull her hand away. She glanced around nervously, wondering how many people were observing the two of them.
"You just said we were friends," Rodney protested. "Isn't this what friends talk about? I'm not gonna give up on this so you might as well just spill it."
"Ronon and I are friends," Jennifer stated firmly. "I didn't come here to get involved with anyone... I'm still finding my way as CMO and we all know how poor my off world performance has been. I don't have time to focus on anything other than improving so I can actually be effective here."
"That's a cop out," Rodney was angry now, convinced she was trying to spare his feelings. "I can take it you know - if you and Ronon are a thing. In fact it'd be a relief because then I could devote all the brain power I’m currently using thinking about it back where it belongs - on my work."
"I'm sorry if my being around is causing you problems Rodney," Jennifer said stiffly. "I don't know what you want from me."
"A decision," Rodney deflated suddenly. "But you know what? I think you just gave it to me." With that he got up and walked from the mess hall. If he'd looked back he would have seen Jennifer staring after him, her arms clenched tightly around herself and her face shocked.
But he didn't look back.
Act 4: In which Sheppard offers Rodney some very cryptic advice ... and Ronon says much with very few words ...
“What do you think I should do?” Rodney followed Sheppard through the underbrush of the latest planet they’d Gated to, this one supposedly with a host of suspiciously armed natives. If the weapons turned out to be Earth based as they suspected an additional mission to confiscate them would be in order.
“About what?” Sheppard looked over his shoulder impatiently, wishing he’d split the team up so Teyla would be the one hearing these questions. Instead she and Ronon were approaching the village from the other side.
“About Keller,” Rodney said impatiently.
“What do you want to do?” Sheppard knew where Rodney’s feelings were headed, he just wasn’t sure what he personally should say to help.
“Convince her to pick me instead of Ronon,” Rodney said miserably. “That’s not gonna happen so I just ... I wondered ... I ... you know what? I don’t know why I’m even talking to you about this. You probably never had someone you like more interested in the other guy. Just forget it.”
“You’d be surprised,” Sheppard dismissed Rodney’s statement modestly. “I can’t tell you what Keller’s thinking McKay. And the last place I want to be is anywhere nearthe middle between you and Ronon – I seriously can’t have an opinion about this. All I can tell you is ... don’t assume.”
“Do you know something?” Rodney perked up at the thought.
“No,” Sheppard replied impatiently. “But things don’t exactly go as you’d expect around here ... and according to your holographic self you and Keller did hit it off once you were given the chance.”
“You mean once the ever impressive Ronon Dex was out of the picture,” Rodney muttered. “I think I’d prefer to win with Ronon still around thank you very much!”
“If you behaved like this when it was time to save the day we’d all be dead,” Sheppard growled irritably. “Think about it McKay ... and start acting like yourself!” Sheppard turned to glare at Rodney, his expression clearly telling the other man it was time to shut up. “Let’s pick it up – I want to get to the village some time this week!”
“Fine,” Rodney mumbled under his breath, his overly active brain already trying to work out what Sheppard had meant.
"Doc," Ronon manoeuvred to be the last member of Team Sheppard still in the infirmary after their post mission check ups. That proved unusually easy because instead of lingering to talk to Jennifer, Rodney had practically ran from the infirmary as soon as he'd been given the all clear. Ronon had silently observed McKay's nervous glance at Jennifer before he'd made his escape, and the way Jen watched him leave with a puzzled and somewhat wistful expression.
"Ronon," Jennifer smiled at him casually. "Was there something else you needed?"
"You wanna get something to eat?" he asked casually.
"Sure," Jennifer looked at her watch before giving her assent. "Just let me finish up here."
Ten minutes later the two of them were sitting in the commissary together having a late lunch ... the place was deserted giving them more privacy than Jennifer would have liked. Ronon was hard to read but she could tell he'd had something specific in mind when he'd issued his invitation.
"So you like McKay," Ronon said unexpectedly, watching Jen blush as the meaning of his words sank in.
"What?" Jennifer carefully failed to make eye contact. "No!"
"Yeah you do," Ronon insisted. "You should tell him."
"You're not ...," Jennifer trailed off, not sure how to word her question.
"Dissapointed?" Ronon asked easily. When Jennifer nodded with another blush Ronon smiled. "Sure. Devastated? No. You guys probably have more in common anyway."
"You're a good man Ronon," Jennifer reached out and put a hand over his. "And a good friend."
"Tell Rodney that the next time I accidently hurt him during his training," Ronon suggested with a grin.
Jennifer smiled back, feeling the dread she'd been carrying around inside dissolve away. Ronon was important to her, his friendship and his guidance a crucial part of her feeling safe on Atlantis. It was nice to know there was no danger she was going to ruin that because of what was going on between her and Rodney. Now all she had to do was actually work out what was going on between her and Rodney!
Act 5: Where Rodney puts his cards on the table ... face down and with some kind of encryption on them ...
"Why didn't you tell me?" Rodney's unexpected question from the doorway made Jennifer jump.
"Don't sneak up on me!" she turned to glare at him before turning back to her laptop. Her office was small and Rodney's presence more commanding that he probably realised ... suddenly there wasn't quite enough space, or air, leaving her feeling off balance and ... nervous.
"Why didn't you tell me?" Rodney asked again, taking a step into the small space.
"About what?" Jennifer stubbornly continued to work ... well, give the appearance of working anyway.
"Day 6," Rodney dropped that one into the room with no preparation, making Jennifer’s heartbeat ramp up and her stomach drop.
"You saw?" Jennifer said weakly, mind buzzing as she tried to work out why Rodney would even mention it.
"Hacked into the files," Rodney admitted without guilt. "Something Sheppard said got me curious. To be honest I wasn't what I expected, especially the me from Day 6."
"I didn't tell you because it wasn't you," Jennifer said simply. "I didn't think it would be fair to say anything." “Didn’t think it would be fair to expect you to live up to words you didn’t know you were saying,” Jennifer thought to herself.
"If things had gone like they were headed and I had died would you have passed on the things I said about the others?" Rodney's question threw Jennifer and she finally swivelled her chair around to look at him.
"I’m not sure where you’re going with this Rodney,” Jennifer admitted.
“My goodbyes to John, Teyla ... Ronon,” Rodney explained, looking at her intently. “You know, where I said Sheppard was the best friend I’d ever had. Stuff like that. Would you have told John I said that?”
“I ... suppose,” Jennifer said hesitantly.
“Because you wanted to make him feel better or because you believed what I said?” Rodney’s eyes pleaded with Jennifer to understand what he was saying.
“That’s completely different!” Jennifer protested. “Everyone already knows you and John are friends ... you acted like friends before that parasite began to affect you.”
“Didn’t you say that being sick like that didn’t make me into a different person?” Rodney tried a different approach.
“I did,” Jennifer could feel herself getting boxed into a corner she wasn’t quite ready for. “But you were scared Rodney and I was there with you for hours at a time. It’s not uncommon for patients to become ... attached to their doctors in situations far less stressful than that. It’d be entirely understandable for you to express ... feelings to a level well beyond their true degree.”
“You’re not Florence Nightingale!” Rodney protested. “And while I may not remember what I was thinking the whole time I was sick I certainly remember how I felt beforehand.”
“You need to give yourself time to get back your equilibrium,” Jennifer said in her best CMO’s voice.
“I asked the wrong question the other day,” Rodney ignored her completely. “Instead of asking you if you were involved romantically with Ronon I should have asked if you wanted to be romantically involved with him.”
“Now really isn’t the right time for this conversation,” Jennifer said dismissively.
“It never is,” Rodney said insistently. “It’s after hours, you should be off duty and the place is deserted. It never gets more right than this.”
“I’m kind of surprised at you,” Jennifer looked at Rodney with a frown. “You haven’t ingested any alien substances today have you?”
“No,” Rodney said in an insulted tone. “Why?”
“Because you’re a lot more ... articulate than usual,” Jennifer pointed out not unkindly.
“Because I’ve been thinking about this until I can’t see straight, not because I’m drugged!” Rodney said impatiently. “Could you just answer the question? I promise I’ll leave you alone after that.”
“Fine,” Jennifer agreed somewhat angrily. “Ronon and I shared ... a moment I guess you’d call it, during the quarantine ... he’s attractive and mysterious and ...”
“Yeah, yeah,” Rodney grumbled. “He’s the Pegasus Man Power all in the one person ... can we move on to where you actually answer the question?”
“No,” Jennifer said simply. Rodney waited for some kind of explanation or clarification but Jennifer stuck silently to her one word answer.
“That’s it?” Rodney asked in amazement.
“It’s the answer to your question,” Jennifer pointed out casually, “and that’s all you’re getting from me tonight, so if you don’t mind?”
She got up from her desk, walked around him and out her own office door, leaving Rodney staring open mouthed behind her.
And if she had a slightly smug smile on her face? Well there was no one around to see it.
Act 6: In which Rodney has some sense smacked into him ...
Rodney was at a loss. He had the information he’d been after but it was strangely unsatisfying. So Jennifer wasn’t interested in Ronon romantically? So what? It didn’t mean she was interested in him. If anything he was more confused that he’d been before he spoke to her.
“It really shouldn’t be this hard,” Rodney muttered to himself.
“What shouldn’t be this hard?” Ronon’s voice came from above the control console Rodney was currently trying to fix. Rodney tried to raise himself up, forgetting where he was and smacking his head ... really hard.
“Ouch!” he yelled, pulling himself into a position where he could see Ronon enough to glare up at him, forehead clenched in one hand. “Could you not creep around like a ninja?!” Rodney pulled his hand away, glancing down at it casually. He blanched at the sight of blood on his palm. “Now look what you made me do,” he complained weakly.
“You should get that looked at,” Ronon advised without apology.
“I will,” Rodney rose slowly until he was standing in front of Ronon. The Puddle Jumper was difficult to work in at the best of times – with Ronon taking up all the available space it was practically impossible. “Did you want something – other than to watch me attempt to knock myself out?”
“Sheppard wants to know when you’re gonna be finished,” Ronon replied. “Lorne’s team have requested some help getting the last of those villagers to give up their guns.”
“Oh,” Rodney put a hand to his ear, realising he’d actually forgotten to put his radio on that morning. “No radio,” he pointed to his own ear apologetically.
“We know,” Ronon grumbled impatiently. “How long?”
“Ah ... an hour?” Rodney estimated, reaching around for his laptop and checking on the status of what he’d done so far.
“I’ll let Sheppard know,” Ronon turned, but hesitated instead of walking away. “What’s too hard?”
“Um ... women?” Rodney offered uncomfortably.
“I spoke to Jennifer,” Ronon volunteered abruptly.
“You ... you did?” Rodney’s eyebrows shot up in surprise. “Ah ... and?”
“And we’re friends,” Ronon said simply, trusting that Rodney would understand what he was trying to tell him. “Get that checked out,” he added, pointing to Rodney’s head before walking silently from the Jumper.
“That was weird,” Rodney muttered. Strangely though, the uncomfortable exchange had achieved more than an entire conversation with anyone else would have. Ronan and he were cool and he felt somehow lighter knowing that he didn’t have to worry about egos or disappointments ... apart from his own of course.
“What did you do to yourself this time?” Jennifer looked at Rodney in exasperation when he walked into the infirmary a few minutes later.
“It wasn’t my fault,” Rodney protested, letting Jennifer guide him to sit on one of the examination tables.
Jennifer did the whole doctor thing with a meek Rodney McKay watching her every move. She cleaned and bandaged his wound, which didn’t require stitches, and then pronounced him ready to return to work.
There was nothing blatant in her behaviour but it was as though a veil had been lifted from his eyes and Rodney couldn’t help but stare at her dumbfounded.
It was there in the way her eyes reflected personal concern for his wellbeing, in how she rested a caring hand on the back of his neck when pressing the last piece of tape on his bandage, in how she looked into his eyes for just a few moments too long as though forgetting where she was.
She liked him back! He was almost sure of it.
Act 7: Where we discover that simple villagers really shouldn’t play with guns ...
Of course having that great epiphany and turning it into a situation where he could take advantage of it were two entirely different things. Rodney trudged along after the rest of his team, back on the ‘armed and dangerous natives’ planet to help Major Lorne, thinking about what to do with his new found insights.
“Are you going to be joining us today McKay?” Sheppard’s sarcastic voice broke him out of his reverie.
“Huh?” Rodney looked up to find everyone else’s eyes were on him. “Sorry,” he mumbled, “must be the head injury.”
“Or the Doctor who treated it,” Sheppard said under his breath.
“Mock me if you will,” Rodney tried to sound impervious, wanting to head off Sheppard’s teasing before he got too close to the truth. “I lost a lot –,“ Rodney stopped talking abruptly, his hand going to his chest in shock. Looking down at himself he looked back up in confusion. “Sheppard?” he asked for something, his focus narrowing down to two things - the excruciating pain he was feeling and the dazed worry in John’s eyes as he crumpled to the ground.
“You’ve been shot,” Sheppard grabbed the gauze being thrust at him by Teyla and pressed down hard on the wound. “Just hang in there – we’ll get you back to the Gate in no time.”
“Oh ... okay,” Rodney replied almost childlike, missing the worried glances being exchanged by his two team mates. He heard gun fire close by being answered by the distinctive sounds only one mans weapon could make. Oh good - Ronon was taking care of their little armed and dangerous villager problem. His mind began to drift, taking him somewhere outside his body, which was handy since he was pretty sure he should be feeling a lot more panicky ... and where was the pain he’d been feeling?
“Rodney!” Sheppard’s insistent voice drew his attention back to himself for a moment.
“We really should have taken those guns away the first time we were here,” Rodney laughed at his own bad luck.
“Next time,” Sheppard growled. “You with me?”
Rodney tried to nod, tried to keep himself there with John but it was too hard. With an unspoken apology shining from his eyes he let himself drift again, no longer hearing the loud demands to stay awake.
“No regrets,” he thought to himself.
“Are you kidding?” that pesky sarcastic side of himself protested. “You’ve got so many regrets you could die of old age and still not get through contemplating them all.”
“Not important,” he thought. Most of his regrets, if brought out into the light of day, were petty and not worthy of being considered if he was about to die. In the end there really was only one thing he could think of that was worthy. Jennifer. “I really should have tried harder to convince her I do love her,” he thought.
And for once his sarcastic side had no comeback.
Act 8: Where our hero awakes and is greeted by his fair lady ...
“Rodney?” his first waking moment was a pleasant one ... Jennifer’s voice calling his name. “Rodney?”
“Hmm?” he mumbled, wondering why his eyelids weren’t working.
“McKay!” a different voice ordered him to get himself into gear.
“Can you keep it down?” he croaked, finally getting his eyes to work. “Some of us are trying to rest.”
“About time,” Sheppard’s relief was written all over his face, even though his tone was relaxed and faintly teasing.
“What happened?” Rodney looked from Sheppard back up to where Jennifer was standing just behind his team.
“You took a bullet to the upper chest,” Jennifer explained briskly. “Luckily it missed all the vital organs ... you did lose a lot of blood and it’s going to take you a while to recover but you’re fine.”
"Who shot me?" Rodney asked like he fully intended to go back to that planet and complain ... as only Rodney McKay could complain.
"Doesn't matter," Ronon said in satisfaction. "I took care of it for you."
“Oh," Rodney was suprised at how happy that made him ... clearly he'd been spending way to much time with Ronon. "Tell me we took those guns away this time,” he begged.
“We did,” Teyla said graciously. “They will not be accidentally shooting anyone else.”
“You mean it wasn’t even intentional?” Rodney looked horrified at the idea.
“One of the guns went off by accident,” Sheppard said almost apologetically. “Count yourself lucky – if they had been aiming at you we might not be having this conversation.”
“I’m never gonna live this down,” Rodney muttered. “You get the macho fist fight and I get a stray bullet? That is so typical.”
“Next time I’ll try and arrange a manly beating for you,” Sheppard said in exasperation.
“Gentlemen,” Jennifer reprimanded them sternly. “I think it’s time you left my patient to rest. You can visit him again tomorrow.”
Rodney lay against his pillows as his three teammates took their leave, still preoccupied with the level his bad luck had sunk to. Jennifer had gotten halfway across the room before he realised she was leaving.
“Jennifer,” he called out urgently.
“Yes,” Jennifer froze at her name but didn’t turn back to him.
“Ah ... can you ...,” he trailed off miserably, unable to think of something to get her back to his bedside.
“What is it Rodney,” Jennifer was suddenly there, looking down at him in concern.
“I know this is the wrong time, wrong place, just wrong everything,” Rodney grabbed her hand and held on to it grimly. “But I was thinking about regrets back there on the planet ... you know, when I was out of it and I thought I was gonna die ... and I realised something. I realised what my only regret would have been if I hadn’t made it back here.”
“What?” Jennifer couldn’t help but ask.
“You,” Rodney said simply, desperately hoping she’d let them have this conversation this time.
“Rodney,” Jennifer looked away uncertainly.
“What I said on that tape ... day 6 ... I meant it,” Rodney rushed out, “and not just on day 6. Day 1, day 50, day 5089 ... day minus 100. I meant it ... mean it on all those days too ... every day.”
He watched as Jennifer seemed to deflate in front on him. Her eyes glinted with the hint of tears as she looked at him silently. She sank down to sit in the chair beside his bed, putting her other hand over the one he still held.
“Day minus 100?” she finally spoke.
“Yeah, you know ... before I got sick,” Rodney explained hopefully.
“Oh Rodney,” Jennifer said tearfully, putting her head down on their joined hands.
Hesitantly Rodney reached towards her, laying a gentle hand down on her hair. “Is this reaction a good thing?” he asked uncertainly.
Jennifer sat up suddenly, leaning over and kissing him quickly before putting herself out of reach again. “You scared me today ... when they brought you back through the gate too quiet and covered in too much blood.”
“Sorry,” Rodney apologised even though he hadn’t exactly asked to be shot.
“You need to rest,” Jennifer stood, squeezing Rodney’s hand before reluctantly letting him go.
“Okay,” Rodney agreed, still confused. Clearly she now believed his feelings weren’t just the remnants of a really scary illness, but her feelings? Rodney was still in the dark about those.
“Get some sleep,” Jennifer ordered, turning to walk away again.
“Jennifer,” Rodney called out to her.
“Yes?” she looked back at him expectantly.
“You never said ... ah ... are you interested ... do you feel ...,” Rodney was suddenly back to that stuttering inarticulate person Jennifer had missed the last time he’d done this.
“When you get out of here you can ask me out on a real date,” Jennifer said with a smile. “Let’s not skip to the end before we’ve even done the beginning.”
“Yes!” Rodney grinned happily, more than happy with that.
They were going on a date!
I'm aware Shep didn't share what he found out about the future after The Last Man ... I took a bit of artistic license with this one because I liked the idea of how frustrating it would be to know the potential was there but not be able to translate that into reality. That would drive Rodney mad!!