Word count: 464
Summary: Written for mcsheplets Challenge #48: Hope Springs Eternal. "Write a sunny spring afternoon" they said, and I can't really sum it up other than "John and Rodney enjoy a sunny spring day."
Author's Note: Titled for and directly inspired by the song "One April Day" by Stephin Merritt.
The tree was probably decades old, if not centuries. The trunk was at least six meters across by Rodeny's estimate. The light that filtered through the broad, flat leaves was tinged green. It was cool in the shade, and there was a slightly salty tinge to the breeze. John had seen the shoreline when they did the flyover, although they couldn't see the water from where they sat.
Casting a glance at the Puddlejumper, John leaned back against the tree and took a bite of the bright yellow fruit he'd picked earlier. Rodney wrinkled his nose in distrust.
"I already showed you," John said while he chewed, "it's like an apple inside. Not citrus."
"But it's yellow." McKay's distaste was almost tangible.
"So's the sun."
Rodney snorted. "Like that's safe."
John gave a half-smile and nudged Rodney's shoulder with his own. The brief contact made Rodney start. They leaned away from each other, but neither man thought about moving more than a few inches at most.
This was the first calm, cool, relaxing day they'd had in... well, probably since they arrived in the Pegasus galaxy. No one was shooting at them. They weren't running to or from anything. There was no imagined clock ticking down the seconds to Certain Doom. Sheppard made a mental note to bring Teyla and Ronon here now that they knew it was worth it.
This planet ("Planetoid" as Rodney kept pointing out) was too small for anything other than a small ocean, some land, plants, and some atmosphere. There were insects, of course. Little, wispy, butterfly-like things that pollinated the plant life. The bugs weren't interested in them, though. They just fluttered in the distance, doing their little bug things and leaving them to do their thing.
Which, at the moment, was nothing. Really nothing. Not even the usual stream of consciousness from McKay.
John shot Rodney a sideways look and immediately recognized the expression he saw: furrowed brow, mouth compressed into a thin, hard line, and cheeks slightly puffed with the air of an unexpressed thought.
Uh-oh, thought Sheppard.
"You know, Sheppard... John... I've always... well, not always, but for a while.... And not like a long while, but for a short but reasonable amount of time long enough for me to be sure that it wasn't just some sort of a passing, y'know, thing...."
"Rodney," John warned.
"Oh fine. I li-love you. I love you." Rodney's back went rigid and he tipped his chin up slightly, defiantly. "Sort of. In a way."
Sheppard laughed quietly and grabbed Rodney's flailing hand. He pinned it to the ground between them, then slid his hand so that only their pinkies were linked.
"Oh," said Rodney, and they both leaned in just enough so that their shoulders were almost touching.
Listen to One April Day by Stephin Merritt.