"To Catch A Thief" by Bone
Title: To Catch A Thief
Author's E-mail: email@example.com
Author's URL: http://www.mrks.org/~bone/
Fandom: Stargate Atlantis
Date: September 19, 2005
Series universe: Revelation
Archive: Ask first.
Pairing: None, really; implied Ronon/John and a hint of Ronon/Rodney
Notes: A late entry to slodwick's Worst Case Scenario challenge. My prompt is here. Thanks to slodwick for the cracktastic challenge idea, and to crysothemis for the Insta!Beta. Set in the same universe as the Revelation series, but not really a part of it.
McKay's good. Very good.
Ronon's been watching him from the shadows for awhile now, and he's finally figured it out: McKay uses his voice as a sleight of hand, distracting his prey, mesmerizing with words while he moves in for the kill.
The woman McKay's scamming seems nice enough. She's listening to McKay intently, her eyes riveted to his face. He raises one hand, pulling her gaze left, while his right hand robs her blind.
The science stuff goes over his head, but he can't help admiring a man who can steal a woman's sandwich right off her plate while she nods her head and fawns a little.
Not much he can learn there, unfortunately. McKay's technique will never work for him—too much talking involved.
McKay walks towards him, his latest acquisition hidden somewhere. Ronon runs his eyes over McKay from head to toe, looking for it, concentrating on McKay's pockets. McKay hesitates, then stumbles as he reaches Ronon's table.
Ronon's hand darts out, rights him before he takes a header into Ronon's lap.
"—the hell?" McKay splutters. He drops his tablets and whatever on Ronon's table, brushes Ronon's hand off his hip.
"Sorry," Ronon says, getting in one quick swipe across McKay's pockets before sitting back in his chair. He raises his eyebrows. "You okay?"
McKay frowns at him, his cheeks flushed. "Fine."
When McKay collects his stuff, he knocks over Ronon's cup, spilling water across the table and onto the floor. By the time Ronon gets the mess mopped up, McKay's gone, and so's Ronon's pudding.
Son of a bitch.
If that's the game McKay wants to play, Ronon's up for it. He may not have McKay's smooth moves, but he's a hell of a tracker.
If Ronon were in the wild, he'd find some way to blend better with the landscape, but there's no point here. Everyone knows him, he towers over almost all of them, and they still tend to avoid him, parting to the sides in his path like he's a moorcat in a herd of delk.
Since stealth isn't really an option, he gives McKay plenty of room. He keeps him within hearing range, which isn't hard since McKay talks both loudly and pretty much constantly. Ronon stays to the shadows as much as he can, keeping McKay in sight. He knows better than to intercept him in one of the public areas—the noise alone would attract too many people.
McKay winds his way through the halls, ending up in a deserted lab near the east pier.
Ronon approves of his choice. If you're going to steal food, you've got to find a place to stash it, and a lab, with all its drawers and cabinets, is the ideal place.
Ronon knows where his bread is buttered, so once he's sure McKay's entrenched himself in the lab, he tracks down Sheppard in the jumper bay.
"What's up?" Sheppard says, fiddling with something that hums softly and throws off warm light as soon as his hand touches it.
Ronon recognizes the impulse.
"McKay stole my pudding," he says.
Sheppard stops what he's doing, lifts his head and squints at Ronon. After a minute, he says, "You're a big boy, Ronon. Take it back."
"Can I use force?" Ronon asks.
Sheppard seems to think it over. "Was it butterscotch?"
Ronon nods so hard his braids bob.
"Go for it," Sheppard says, going back to his work.
"Thanks," Ronon says. He turns to leave.
"Ronon?" Sheppard calls after him.
"Yeah?" Ronon says, looking back.
Sheppard grins at him briefly. "Be sure you're set to stun."
Ronon sketches a salute. "Okay."
He corners McKay in the lab, closes the door behind him.
McKay looks up from whatever he's fidgeting with. He seems surprised to see him.
"Ronon? What are you doing here?" he asks, his attention already returning to the control panel.
"I think you know," Ronon says quietly, advancing on him.
McKay's hands still and he looks up again, his mouth dropping slightly open.
Ronon stalks closer, hovers near enough that he can smell McKay's breath. He already ate the sandwich, the thieving bastard. Ronon leans toward him, sniffs again. No butterscotch. Maybe he's in time.
"You know what I want," Ronon says.
McKay swallows convulsively. "Does Colonel Sheppard know what you're doing?"
"Yup," Ronon says.
"Okay, okay, but shouldn't we go somewhere more private? I mean, there are windows…" McKay says, his voice getting higher and thinner.
"You're lucky I don't turn you upside down right here and shake you until you give it up," Ronon says, growling at him.
"What?!" McKay gasps.
"You heard me," Ronon says, leaning on the console. He brackets McKay with his arms, blocking any attempt at escape.
"You want me to—Right here." McKay's mouth opens and closes. He looks like a fish. A really smart fish.
"Hand over the pudding. Now," Ronon says in his best don't-fuck-with-me voice. Then he looms a little, puts his hand on his gun.
McKay goes so still Ronon wonders if he went too far. Maybe he…scared him to death, or something.
"You want the pudding?" McKay finally says, scorn mixed with disbelief.
"Um. Yeah?" Ronon says.
"Oh." McKay collapses a little, waves his hands. Ronon knows better than to follow his hands; McKay would probably end up with his gun.
Ronon raises his eyebrows. "Well?"
McKay pushes against Ronon's chest until he backs off enough that McKay can turn around. McKay's shoulders drop, then lift again. When he turns around, he's holding the pudding cup.
It looks a little worse for the wear.
"Sorry," McKay says. "It's probably warm."
Ronon shrugs, takes the cup from him. "That's okay. Got a spoon?"
"Since when have you needed a spoon?" McKay asks snidely.
Ronon looms some more, makes a move like he's going to search the spoon out for himself, and McKay backs up, produces one from somewhere.
"I'm trying to fit in," Ronon admits, taking the spoon.
McKay barks a laugh, then sobers when Ronon takes a step toward him again, spoon hand raised.
"You could try being a little less intimidating," McKay says.
Ronon thinks about it.
"Don't steal my food," he says. "Please."
McKay nods. "There. That wasn't so hard, was it?"
Ronon frowns at him. "Don't. Steal. My. Food."
McKay backs up again, bounces off a piece of equipment. "All right, I won't. Jeez."
Ronon leaves him still fuming, and lets the smile he's been hiding break out as he heads back to the jumper bay.
Sheppard likes pudding.
Maybe he should have made McKay cough up two spoons.