Title: Pecara Eyes
Fandom: Stargate Atlantis
Prompt: Crush with eyeliner - Sheppard/?
Concrit: darkhavens @ slashverse.com. If you spot a typo, please feel free to tell me in comments. I want you to!
Disclaimer: Not mine, never will be. No harm, no foul, no money made.
Notes: Originally scheduled for July 24th, the power outage and work colluded to keep me from finishing this, but I persevered. Rodney McKay in eyeliner is worth waiting a few extra days, right? Written for rounds_of_kink and dedicated to kyrieane.
They'd only been in the village for five minutes when everything got weird. Not the usual 'They're going to run us out of town' weird, or the 'They're going to kill us' weird. No, this was more along the lines of a 'Why are they all staring at McKay?' kind of weird.
And then there was whispering, and huddling, and the occasional hand reaching out to touch - his - their - Rodney.
"Him!" ""Those eyes." "Yes, him!" "Look at his eyes!" "See the colour?" "Pecara eyes!" "He's the one!" "Ask!" "Ask him!" "Please!" "It must be him!" "Run and find Timon." "Timon will ask!" "Timon will know!"
Timon turned out to be the head priest of the village, as tall as Halling, with skin the color of Athosian tea, and smoke grey eyes. Eyes that lit with joy when they got close enough to catch sight of Rodney's.
"So! It is as they said: pecara eyes. Today is a good day for this village!"
The pecara plant was of the utmost importance to the people of Besharam, Timon explained. Every part was used in some way or another. The long, flexible stalks provided fibre fit for weaving fine cloth, highly prized by traders. The fleshy roots were their major food crop, energy-rich and versatile. Even the petals, when dried and ground to a powder, could be used to cure a number of ailments.
The blooms came in a variety of colors, some rarer than others. The rarest of them all being the shade of Rodney's eyes. They had almost given up hope of finding a worthy stand-in and had been only hours from bestowing their worship on a bowl of water drawn from the nearby river.
While John was relieved that the villagers didn't want to pluck out Rodney's eyes or sacrifice him to their god of choice, he thought that what they actually wanted might end up being a hundred times worse.
They wanted to worship Rodney. More specifically, they wanted to worship his eyes, but John feared the distinction wouldn't mean that much to the man peering out through them with barely suppressed glee and hint of 'Finally! People who fully understand my worth!'
Timon stood on a low stage in front of the entire village, everyone seated on cushions on the floor, gathered into groups of family and friends.
"The first to turn their faces to the sun were the pinkest blooms, and we chose Marin's newborn as their avatar."
Timon stretched out his hand to the left and a woman John assumed was Marin held up a tiny pink bundle of squawking joy. Everyone applauded.
"Then came the white blossoms, and so we honored the bones of our most revered ancestor, Kirmar."
A man dressed in robes, equally as long and as beige as Timon's, stepped forward and proudly held aloft a polished white thigh bone, to more applause. John glanced sideways at Teyla and Ronon, who seemed completely unbothered, and wisely kept his 'omgwtf' reaction to himself.
"Next was red, the color of blood, and as such we could do no more than praise Hargea, who spilled his own on the horns of the Gorshacht while protecting his children and ours just days ago."
A man swathed in scarlet-tinged bandages was supported on both sides as he stood to much cheering and clapping.
"We chose Caros, the newest bride to join our village, to represent the golden flowers."
The slight, blushing woman who was urged to her feet at the edge of the crowd by her new family had the longest hair John had ever seen, over four feet of golden blonde tresses hanging loose around her shoulders.
"The fire that comes of burning the needles of the Arim tree gave us the orange which came after."
Timon gestured to the low braziers that bracketed the stage he was standing on, their brilliant flames being fed with handfuls of brown fir-like needles by other priests.
"And so we come to the final flower, the rarest of them all, the blue pecara. Three cycles ago, when they last bloomed, Esevan served the role as he has so many times before, but he was lost when he stood with Hargea against the Gorshacht."
He paused to allow murmurs of loss and praise to ripple through the crowd, and then threw up his arms and boomed, "But the gods of Pecara have smiled upon us!"
The crowd cheered madly, and John tried to shake off the feeling of sitting in a TV audience watching a game show host or evangelist work the crowd.
"Today, through the eye of the gods, came another who bears the same eyes as dear Esevan!"
The curtains of the preparation tent parted on cue, and two more priests led a third person out dressed in the same beige robes, but this one with a hood that covered him down to his chin. It was unmistakeably Rodney.
When the small procession reached the edge of the stage, Rodney was handed off to Timon, who led him up the shallow steps and out to a padded chaise which sat in the center of the dais.
With a flourish, Timon threw back Rodney's hood and stepped aside. John couldn't think of anything to say that didn't include the words 'pretty' and 'wow' and 'fuck', so he didn't say anything, he just thought it really loudly and hoped that nobody could read it in his eyes.
Rodney's lips had been painted with a color meant to disguise them, making them fade into the background of neutral tones that comprised his face and clothing and the tight little cap that covered his hair.
It should have looked silly, but in truth it was barely noticeable. Everyone, John included, was too busy staring at Rodney's eyes, outlined in artfully smudged kohl and pale powder that made them seem impossibly huge and impossibly blue and impossibly mesmerising.
The applause built and built until John could feel it vibrating up through the soles of his boots. It didn't begin to die down until Timon stood and held out his palms as though trying to hold back the noise.
"Please! Restrain your joy! Doctor McKay is our guest, a most fortuitous visitor indeed, and you will each be blessed by the touch of his gaze before he returns to his people. Calm yourselves and enjoy the feast. Be ready when one of the chosen comes to escort you to your blessing. No-one will be overlooked, I promise you!"
Priests carrying trays loaded with food and drink moved though the seated crowds, passing out jugs and mugs, platters of meat and bread and strange vegetables. Others stopped people with a touch to the shoulder and a smile or a quietly whispered word. These were led to the stage in groups of two and three to be presented to Rodney, who lounged on his pillow-laden chaise like he was born to it.
When someone tapped John's shoulder he looked round blankly, not immediately understanding that it was his turn to be presented.
"I'm not sure this is really necessary, thanks. We do already know each other, after all."
"No-one is to be overlooked, Colonel Sheppard, that is the way of things. Please, follow." John followed.
Up close and personal, Rodney's eyes were even more amazing. His lashes had been darkened and looked, unbelievably, even longer than usual. John knew several marines who would kill to know that secret, thankfully most of them female. The kohl that from a distance had looked black was actually a deep rich brown, the color of Rodney's favorite, highly treasured Kona coffee, and pale highlights had been added at key points to make his eyes seem even wider.
"Jesus, Rodney, do you have any idea how-"
"Yes, yes, I'm sure I look positively absurd in all this paint, but they were quite insistent."
Rodney leaned forward and whispered directly into John's ear, completely unaware of what that did to him.
"Do you have any idea how boring this is? They come up, they stare, some of them try to touch my hands and, for some freakish reason, my feet, and then they shuffle off looking awed and the next batch get ushered over. Please," he begged softly, "the next time I say I don't get the respect and admiration and, yes, okay, the worship I'm due as the repeated saviour of Atlantis, remind me of this, okay? I'm terrified of blinking in case it means I've blessed someone above the others, or, worse, damned them."
John bit his lip to hold his laughter in.
"Rodney, you're just the avatar of a flower, okay? There's no blessing, no cursing, no way you can screw up anyone's life like that."
"Really? Oh, thank God for that!"
Rodney blinked several times in swift succession, only stopping when John's hand tightened on his knee.
"Okay, now that - that's something else entirely. That's saying 'fuck me now', and I've just decided you're not allowed to say that to anyone else but me."
The priest standing by the steps gave a subtle cough, its meaning unmistakeable, and John nodded his understanding.
"I gotta go, buddy. Do you think you could get them to teach you how to put that stuff on by yourself before we leave? You are so fucking pretty like this."
Rodney's mouth was still open and his eyes unfocussed when John got back to his seat beside Ronon and Teyla. He ignored their amused expressions, concentrating on slowing his breathing and holding back the panic that came from finally acting on a crush.
The only things that kept him from drawing his sidearm and shooting himself were the little glances Rodney kept throwing his way between audiences; glances that changed with the angle of the sun, from disbelief to stunned amazement to open hunger.
By the time the sun had finally set, Rodney was wearing his classic 'I have a plan!' expression, and John knew he wouldn't be forced to verbalize his feelings just yet, that Rodney had figured him out and summed him up and slotted him into the relevant equations to be solved for 'x', where 'x' equalled 'Sex now, yes please, thank you very much.'
He could work with that.