Title: Celo
Fandom: Stargate Atlantis
Warnings: Tiny bit of car/pedestrian related trauma, no one gets really hurt
Summary: “‘Uh, a little… help?’ John asked weakly, head poking up from a tangle of tentacles and an oddly shaped little body.” – in which John and Rodney accidentally adopt an undersized cephalopod, and somehow fall in love along the way.

Chapter Three

Two weeks after Celo finally got his name, the Wraith came: two large battle cruisers were scarily close to Atlantis. It took lot of time and effort from the entire staff for them to fight off the invasion, as well as a fairly timely rescue from the Apollo. John and Cadman had both suffered the loss of one of the jumpers in the battle against the Wraith, but no one from the colonies on Atlantis or the mainland were killed or culled. The aftermath left everyone on Atlantis bubbling with excitement and adrenaline.

For Rodney, however, the week around the invasion had been exhausting. He’d barely had time to stop for food, and had taken to napping on his couch. He hadn’t had any time to spend with Celo, and whenever he saw John in the corridors or in meetings the pained, hollow look in his eyes made him feel worse. John was managing a few hours with Celo at night, but Rodney was certain the baby Cephalopod was suffering.

He hadn’t realised how badly until he had stumbled, still exhausted, into John’s rooms the day after the invasion and had finally seen the young Cephalopod. He was listless and deflated looking, bobbing disconsolately in the small pool on the fourth wall. John had pushed his bed over to the wall, and was sprawled across the bed fast asleep, one tentacle wrapped tightly around an outstretched arm.

He sighed and pushed off his fleece jumper and shoes, crawling onto the bed beside John. John shifted and mumbled, but Rodney shushed him before he woke up fully, and stroked Celo’s tentacle. He frowned at how dry it was, but before he could do anything, the Cephalopod’s head bobbed up and he hauled himself out of the water, flinging himself at Rodney. He landed with a soft ‘oof’ on the bed, holding Celo close to his body. He drifted off to sleep only a few moments later, barely feeling John curl into his side.

* * * * *

“What do you mean, I have to move in?!” Rodney cried incredulously, staring at the woman from Xenobiology. She stared back implacably.

“You came to me, Doctor McKay. I’m just giving you my professional opinion about the best way forward for your Cephalopod.” Dr West replied with a forced kind of patience in her expression.

“How is my moving in supposed to help him?”

“He’s been ill for several weeks now, you told me yourself. I have examined him and compared his current readings to those we took when he first arrived. As far as I can see, there is nothing physically wrong with him, and he has been perfectly happy in that pool. Right up until the Wraith came and you, Doctor McKay, his mother, disappeared. He is an empathetic creature and the loss of your mind pattern from his life for an extended period was seriously damaging. The little time you do give him isn’t enough to help him recover from that and, I’m sorry, but I don’t think you would be able to give him more. Moving in is the only thing I can think of that would give him enough access to you.”

“C’mon Rodney, it’ll only be for a while, until he’s feeling better.”

Dr West coughed awkwardly. John shot her a quelling glare, but it apparently wasn’t enough to shut her up, because she said, with a wry little expression, “once you’ve moved in, moving out again would probably make him sick again.”

Rodney spluttered incoherently, face reddening. John wondered how long it would take him to give in.

* * * * *

Surprisingly, Rodney capitulated fairly quickly. John figured it showed how worried he’d been about Celo that he’d listened to a woman whose ‘science’ Rodney barely respected on a good day. At first Rodney has been all bristles, demanding that he could keep his room as a study and moving around far too much of John’s things for his stuff. But he settled happily, especially when they carried the final boxes of Rodney’s things in and found Atlantis had spontaneously expanded into the neighbouring empty space and created a study room for Rodney and a separate bedroom so they could make the main room into a common living space. Celo was going crazy enjoying the extra space, and they had found smaller tanks on the walls in the bedroom and study so Celo could come and stay with them when he wanted. Rodney was particularly attracted to the glazed wall in the bedroom that gave a wonderful view of the stars and darkened to block out the light when they were trying to sleep.

Now if only Atlantis would give them separate rooms. Or at least separate beds.