Scenes from a Lesser War Part 3, headers etc can be found in Part 1.
Things settled down, the tension returned to a slow simmer, and John managed to walk around without looking like the entire galaxy had just proved him wrong, leaving him sourly disappointed.
Life, for all intents and purposes, returned to normal, the current Wraith super queen (as John liked to call her) made a move on the chessboard that needed to be responded to with great urgency. It was the sort of lingering threat that meant long hours, desperate measures, and last minute count downs. Through the years, the only thing that had changed were the size of the guns they pointed at each other.
John's team, which had taken some time off, for the duration of the 'social change' assembled once more in front of the Stargate and prepared to take the plunge, so to speak.
Later, carrying Rodney back through the event horizon, John wondered how they'd been lucky enough not to see anaphylaxis shock before now. Still breathing hard, his face puffy, Rodney's eyes looked horribly panicked, even once Carson got his hands on him.
John followed them all the way back to the infirmary, and all John could think was that at least this solved his worry about the sleeping arrangements. Rodney was treated to oxygen and a few other things that didn't seem all that threatening, monitors were hooked up, and by the time Carson said the word stable Elizabeth had joined him.
"It was the tea," John told her. "It had to have been. I brought back samples."
Elizabeth nodded. "Is everyone else alright?"
"Well, none of us fell to the floor gasping thirty seconds after taking our first sips," John snapped angrily before stopping and taking a deep breath. "Not that I can tell. Doc hasn't had a chance to poke and prod us yet."
She stared at him, lips pursed. "Keep me informed. I'm sending Major Lorne's team back out to finish the mission," she said, "with extra rations, just in case."
"Come on, Colonel," Carson said to him, patting the next bed over, "Upsie daisy."
The exam was the usual post mission tap dance with a few extra bodily fluids thrown into the mix. Carson smiled and patted him, and John could have sworn he took extra care with the needles. It was unnerving. "You're just happy I remembered the sample," John said.
"Aye," Carson nodded, "that's it." He patted John on the shoulder. "He'll be fine."
Oh god, he was the wife in the waiting room, and that was utterly disturbing and really kind of scary. He was shown to Rodney's bed and shoved in a chair. "What happened to my own discretion?"
"When you find it, let me know." Carson waved and moved on.
John frowned and turned to Rodney, whose eyes looked like they'd been taped open. "Hey Rodney." His voice did that soft wobbily thing he hated.
"My heart is beating so fast I think I can see it through my chest," Rodney greeted him. "I love this part, I really do."
The urge to say 'fuck it' and crawl into bed with the man, to weigh him down with his own body and soothe the nonexistent vibrations, was alarming in its intensity. Somehow, John managed to resist. "You been gaining weight?" John asked instead. "Because I swear that walk to the gate seemed awfully long."
"You're just middle aged," Rodney snapped, frowning, poking his stomach gently. "Am I... doughy?"
John poked gently, laughing when Rodney's jittering hand took a swipe. "More gingerbread than Pillsbury."
"So," Rodney blinked, "flat but with give?"
"Sure," John agreed, anything to get them off the subject.
"Because I really do have a moderately sedentary lifestyle despite random intervals of mind-bending fear running for my life." Rodney was talking really, really fast. "And it's tough to tone up. Also, extra exercise tends to hurt my back."
John nearly said 'unless there's an orgasm at the end' because oh no, he'd rather have the slightly gay 'am I fat?' conversation than the completely inappropriate public talk about their sex lives.
"What?" Rodney asked. "You're staring."
"Just," John stopped and then sighed. "Just happy you're alive, okay?"
"Well I'm happy I'm alive, too," Rodney said. "Though your happiness does add to my happiness."
John grimaced. "Good to know."
Rodney was kept company for several hours, but as he as doing generally fine, John didn't really have a good reason to stick around and not get things done. He slipped in to visit at the end of the day, but Rodney was finally fast asleep. John took only a few minutes for himself and then slipped back out.
Wednesday was the worst night's sleep he'd had in a long time.
The blood covering their uniforms wasn't theirs. It wasn't anyone's on Atlantis. That didn't make it any better.
Ronon and Teyla had been sent back at knife point. Rodney and John as usual were stuck in a hut tied up tightly.
The knives hadn't come out until later, and by then, the choice had been taken out of their hands. It was pure luck that the head butt had taken and the knife had fallen somewhere near him. Pure luck he'd loosened enough ropes for him to roll and Rodney to scramble out of the way.
The rest was only going to be thought about for his mission report and filed away under 'do not touch'.
The gateroom had gone quiet, muted gasps all around. Rodney just walked out, stone silent. John answered a few perfunctory questions and then said the word "Shower," with such conviction that Elizabeth stopped the next question from coming out of her mouth and nodded.
Rodney was already standing under the spray, steam wafting up from his skin in strange pink curls. He opened his eyes when John opened the door, lashes clumped together in uneven bundles and the whites of his eyes red lined. John stepped in, pushed under the water, and Rodney's skin, slick and artificially red from the heat, was warm against his. They shared, letting it wash over both of them, clean away the dirt and grime, and John pulled Rodney to him, arms folding around him, savoring the feeling.
A mouth, hot and wet and careful, kissed John's shoulder, sucking at his skin. Rodney trailed a path to his chin, small nips that made John's skin thrum with more than the heat of the water. The last one, just at his pulse point, pulled a small, broken sound from his throat. Rodney kissed the spot again, echoing the noise, arms pulling tight, hands reaching for his ass and thumbs stroking in great circles.
This time, it was John who moved in, tilted his head just so until they were kissing, hot wet suction on his lips and tongue, deep and openmouthed and wonderful. One kiss, he was allowed after that. After watching Rodney stick an eight inch knife into someone's gut, face pale and eyes wide with fear and horror. They got one kiss, deserved one amazing kiss to go on, to savor and whimper into and steal their breaths away.
It was Rodney who turned away first, and John hated him just a little for it, but miraculously, there was a tube in his hands, and John wondered if Rodney had known or if it always lived in the shower. It was intense, sliding into Rodney, tight heat surrounding him. Rodney's back arched so that his head rested on John's shoulder, eyes closed tightly.
He couldn't do slow, not like Rodney, couldn't draw it out into long pleasure-filled strokes, making time stop. Instead, he pressed Rodney forward, putting his hands on the wall and thrusting hard and fast, Rodney's low gasps only fueling him further.
Rodney was fine, John knew that, knew it would be that way, but he couldn't help the small release of breath when Rodney stumbled out of the infirmary yelling strange and incomprehensible things back through the doors. It was more than comforting, actually, and John got in one smart remark just for extra credit.
"Hey Rodney, staging a jail break?" John swung a friendly arm over his shoulder, doing a full body squeeze.
"Hey!" Rodney pushed him off, but not before leaning in for a second.
John considered it a win. His side tingled pleasantly from where Rodney had fit against it, and it helped ease some of the ache of a bad night's sleep.
"I have been assaulted enough for one twenty four hour period," Rodney sniffed, straightening his jacket. The corners of his mouth were tilted up, making his cheeks puff out.
Score two. John smiled back, lips spreading wide, teeth out in the open air. It was a ridiculous smile, it was a teenage smile too full of hormones and not enough brains and it seemed to create a feedback loop with Rodney, who actually shook his head before ducking it shyly.
"I have work to do," Rodney told him, attempting to straighten up. "And you have to go somewhere and slouch. God, how did you get out of basic or beginners torture or whatever they call it?"
John didn't press, because any longer, and they'd be doing incredible impressions of sixteen year olds. "You're supposed to be resting, so don't spend too much time down there. One insult apiece and then go."
The tension on Atlantis had segued nicely in to a nice bland everything is going to suck a lot real soon tension. John actually found it comforting in a sick and twisted way and resolved not to tell Rodney because that would probably result in a series of questions about his mental health, that while on a normal day might be fun, wasn't something he was really looking for at the moment.
Major Lorne's team returned halfway through the morning, a few interesting trinkets in hand, stuff that should keep Rodney busy for at least an hour, and few interesting prospects for food and trade. It seemed that watching Rodney collapse and turn red then blue had made their hosts feel bad enough to throw in some good will for free.
"They offered us a place to stay, sir," Lorne informed him. "They feel it's the least they could do for us not coming back and flattening their cute little city for nearly killing one of our people."
"Good will, huh?" John asked. "That's a new one." Even after all these years.
"What about that planet with the that ceremony that--"
"Ah!" John interrupted. "We don't speak of that planet."
John nodded decisively. "Dismissed."
The day was looking up, the prospect of a decent night's sleep looming on the horizon, and a serious plan was starting to form, one that might not leave himself or someone else in serious peril during its execution.
Sometime around lunch, the hairs on the back of John's neck startled to prickle. There had been no personnel moves after the first tussle, John had spoken with them all, drink and some frayed tempers had been blamed. No one wanted to be taken away from their assignment on Atlantis; it was an amazing opportunity and important work. You had to want to come in the first place.
So John had let them be.
'Sheppard, this is McKay, get down to the east pier now!'
Running wasn't the right word for the sort of movement he employed. On the way he called security and Beckett, but he told them to hold back and wait for the all clear.
Skidding around a corner, John found Rodney, another blue clad scientist, and four solid looking Marines who looked mighty pissed.
"What's going on here?" His voice nearly cracked, he bellowed so loud.
"Nothing sir," one of them said, not even turning around.
"These morons," Rodney spoke over anything else that was going to be said, "decided it'd be fun to harass the members of my staff who happen to be in relationships with other people who happen to be of the grunting and scratching persuasion."
Oh Jesus, how could he have been so stupid not to have expected the subtle approach. He'd braced for a full frontal attack, but this? This had to have been going on for weeks. Not to mention Rodney standing there looking pale and tired and just out of the infirmary.
"And right this very moment you decided to hold an intervention?" John asked, unhappy that the soldiers hadn't moved.
"Right this very moment," Rodney said, looking terrified but pissed, "I decided to make sure someone remotely valuable to my department and you know, a decent human being, didn't get hurt."
"Why Rodney, you've grown."
"I have, haven't I?"
"That," jarhead number one said, "pipsqueak turned off our hot water."
"And stole our shoelaces," number two piped up.
"And glued our lockers shut!" There was number three.
John nodded. "Innovative, and I'm sure you deserved it." That, at least, stunned them. "Anything else?" When they shook their heads, John saw the man in blue straighten a bit, a smile briefly flittering over his scared face. So there was more. Nice. "Okay gentlemen, and really, I'm usually not one for formality, but in this instance I'm going to have to insist that you all look at me."
They turned, but didn't come to attention. John let it go because he hadn't specifically asked. He could always hold it against them later. "You know what? I'm going to let the guards behind me take you four someplace where we can separate you and question you while McKay makes sure someone short sheets your beds."
They sputtered and actually fought off the first press of hands wrangling them in, but they went without too much comment. John turned to the scientist, trying to look kind instead of pissed that none of the harassment had been reported. "So, you want to give me the quick explanation--" he looked at Rodney silently asking for a name.
"Call me Johann, Colonel." The man said, his accent very faint.
"Johann, okay. Now what happened?"
"They took it upon themselves to be offended on behalf of your armed forces that I was seeing Lieutenant Peterson." Johann said simply. "They were subtle, for Marines."
John frowned, first because you had to earn the right to mock Marines, and second, because no one had told him. There hadn't been a hint of--well, anything. Other than the generalized anxiety. "So you handled it on your own?"
Johann at least looked a little ashamed. "I have not been here long, neither has Greg. There are many good stories about, about how you're a really nice guy, but then again, I was being taunted by men under your command."
"Why didn't you go to Rodney?" John pressed and then shook his head. "Never mind."
Ignoring Rodney's cry, John looked serious. "You can tell me, tell them all you can tell me." The words spilled off his tongue, and he could have just stopped there, he probably should have, and his heart hammered through it, making him jittery. "I--" he started but couldn't, so he just changed sentences. "You can tell me," he said again.
"You can tell me too," Rodney said, his eyes on John, waiting for his subtle nod. John gave it. "Not like I'm going to be prejudiced against something I've been known to dabble in now and again myself."
That was it. The small crack in the wall from which all his secrets were going to be spilled.
Johann looked between them, and then looked again and then stopped, like the roadrunner had just gone through the painting of a tunnel on the rock wall. "Oh."
Yeah. Oh. John thought he might just sit down carefully and have an aneurism. Rodney sent Johann off--they'd call him when they needed him--and told him to send Beckett's team off too if they were still waiting. Then, when they were alone, Rodney pulled him close and kissed him like they were running out of oxygen.
"What was that for?" John asked, when he was allowed to breathe again. They shouldn't have this conversation here, on duty, out in the open, a nearly critical incident not five minutes behind them. In fact Rodney shouldn't really be doing anything other than resting some more.
"You look hot running down the hallway like that, being aggressive." Rodney said.
"Right." John looked at him. "No really, why?" Because it just seemed so normal and strange, like everyone else. Though really, they needed to set some ground rules if they were going to do stuff like this on a regular basis. The fear came back at the edges of the thought, fast and sharp, nearly physical in sensation.
Rodney's face went from pale and a little smug to pale and a lot worried. "What? You just went really gray. It'd be cool if it wasn't so," he waved his hands around, "unnatural and disconcerting."
"Nothing, just," John shrugged, "I guess I'm just really used to doing things a certain way."
"Well the military is nothing if efficient in hammering in limited thinking based on a known structure."
"They are at that."
It hurt, like a thousand stabbing knives just under his shoulder blade. "Pull," John whispered, voice rough, "now rotate," he instructed, voice getting lower. Providing counter traction on his own really sucked.
A pop felt through his entire body, and muscles everywhere relaxed in the euphoria of lack of pain. It lasted a wonderful thirty seconds before the throbbing started. Dislocated shoulders just got worse on you for hours after they were fixed. John bet that pretty soon the entire arm would be useless. Probably just when he'd really need it, too.
Next to him, Rodney looked about as green as he felt. He reached for the bucket of water their captors had so kindly left them. A few drops of relatively cool liquid actually calmed his stomach enough to think about sitting up. John pushed with his left arm, keeping his right as close to his chest and as unmoving as possibly. Rodney lent a helping hand, all the while babbling about permanent injury and possible future dexterity problems and how he wasn't certified in any of what they just did, so was John sure that all his fingers still worked?
John showed him that at least one was working quite well, thank you very much.
"Next time you can slam it against a wall like they do in the movies," Rodney snapped.
"Duly noted," John eased back against the wall, shivering.
Rodney's hand was tentative against his uninjured arm, asking permission, John stared at it for a long time before nodding. Rodney carefully scooted up next to him, pressing his side into John's injured one. Supporting the arm at the elbow, letting John find the optimal position and then moving closer, Rodney took most of John's weight. Heat suffused the injury, warming the worst of the ache and making the muscles surrounding it relax minutely. Rodney's body was warm, hot even, throwing off unimaginable heat, making John's eyes heavy.
John passed out to the soft *thump thump* of Rodney's heart beat in his ear.
They had enough shit to deal with in the Pegasus galaxy without unnecessarily terrorizing the people who helped save their asses just about every other week in a dull month. The offenders were labeled to be shipped out; let some commanding officer on some post without the life sucking aliens worry about their attitude adjustment.
News on other fronts remained well away from John's ears, and he wasn't sure if he was relieved or brewing stroke. Then the really good coffee started showing up in his office.
At first he thought it was Rodney, but the jealous and hungry look he favored the coffee maker with pretty much negated that idea. It also made John wonder if it was worth being jealous of an inanimate object. He shrugged it off though; at worst, he'd figure out a way to ship coffee ice cream to the Pegasus galaxy and cover himself with it if things got too out of hand.
Somehow, he got pushed up in the DVD pool so he got his hands on newest Star Wars movie months before he'd expected to. Rodney smugly told him that he'd never believed Lucas when he'd assured everyone the prequels were going to be the last.
"Money is a powerful motivator," Rodney said to him, stealing the popcorn.
Mostly it was the little things: his favorite food never running out, not matter how late he ended up in the mess, there was always one last portion. Warm too. Beer, good beer, found its way into his possession, but it was the really awesome down blanket that truly made him paranoid.
"What's going on here?" John asked Rodney.
Rodney regarded him with an amused look. "I think someone, or someones, are welcoming you to the family."
"If I get a toaster, I quit." John said. "Also, I'm not changing my name to Vinnie."
"You're more a Tony anyway, Also, you don't get a toaster, I do. You make my quota."
Either way, it was beginning to make John nervous. It was one of the reasons he didn't like being in charge. It was harder to keep a hand in the pie if you were where the buck stopped. He was forced to rely on other people to keep an eye out and inform him of anything he needed to know. The problem was, other people's opinions didn't always match his own.
His investigation was derailed only a day in when Rodney hauled two of his own into Elizabeth's office so angry he was almost purple. He actually couldn't complete whole sentences and resorted to typing it all into a computer, fingers flying so fast they almost blurred.
Apparently, they'd decided it was a fine idea to harass the military back; the twist was that it was still somehow aimed at the gay officers. John lost the train of logic when Rodney threw the computer across the room. He was fairly sure it wasn't actually logical anyway.
It was subtle, so subtle in fact, that the persons in question hadn't even known until just before Rodney had. All together it could have been chalked up to string of bad luck on the private and seargent's parts, but they'd gotten suspicious and investigated. Apparently part of Rodney's anger stemmed from the incredibly poor job the morons had done in covering their tracks.
"You only get to be arrogant if you're actually that smart." Rodney had muttered.
John was upset because the two instigators hadn't been on his list, but he let it go. They were being shipped back and someone had found that the Planet of the Poisonous Tea had held a mostly charged ZPM deep in its cave systems.
Within minutes of the confirmation of a charge, party announcements were made, subtly of course, rumors and word of mouth mostly. Except botany, who had a banner. John made a note to inspect the new plants again, just in case.
Life wasn't secure, it never really was, but they'd learned to pick their moments. It was rumored Rodney had a probability chart hidden somewhere, with all the possible reasons to celebrate, from extra chocolate in the mess, to all the wraith spontaneously bursting into flame.
It was disturbing that Rodney might be the end authority on party night, but since Rodney was never one to pass up an opportunity, John was at least assured that it was likely they weren't going to be attacked or blow up in the time it took to celebrate and recover. At least, that was, if the rumors were true.
Dinner had *cake*, which somehow balanced out the universe within the confines of chocolate and icing. There wasn't the frenetic energy The Prom had riled up; it was a more subdued joy. Warm and fuzzy all through the corridors of Atlantis, a mellow high that hugged you for hours on end.
Rumor had it that the geologists were holding a bad science movie marathon, and he'd snagged Rodney from the jello shot competition to take a peek. It would be enough to fuel him for weeks of really great rants that John could shut up in various creative ways.
"Colonel Sheppard? Dr. McKay?" Johann found them on the way. "I wanted to invite you over to the light lab."
"With the lasers?" John asked, interested.
"They're not lasers," Rodney corrected, frowning.
"They're beam-like and they make really cool holes in sturdy materials." John smiled sweetly. "Lasers."
"Why do I bother?" Rodney threw up his hands.
"Because sometimes, that's half the fun," Johann smiled. "You don't have to come now, we just wanted to invite you."
"We?" John blinked.
Johann bowed his head. "I believe the American colloquialism is the local LGBTA chapter has issued you and Dr. McKay an open invitation."
Well that was, um, interesting. "There isn't a toaster involved in this somewhere, is there?" John asked dumbly and didn't even complain when Rodney elbowed him in the side.
"Well," Johann said seriously, "we thought it was time you learned the secret handshake." He looked up and somehow became more serious, loosing any thread of mirth he'd had before. "If you want to."
"That's very nice of you," John said carefully, keeping his eyes firmly ahead. "We'll think about that, thanks."
Rodney's hand skimmed his arm on its way up to speaking position. "Is there food?"
"Rodney!" John snapped out of whatever haze he'd fallen into, only the lingering echo of a fast heartbeat remaining.
"What?" Rodney looked at him, eyes as wide and as guileless as Rodney could get. "It doesn't hurt to ask."
Johann looked between the two of them and raised a curious eyebrow. "I'll leave you to your evening, gentlemen. Join us if you have time."
He left, and John's jaw was hanging open.
"Stepping out on me already?" Rodney asked, walking again.
John took a few quick steps to catch up, shaking his head. "Remember that sleeping on the couch thing we talked about a few weeks ago?" He smiled when Rodney narrowed his eyes.
"Then what is it?"
"Nothing," John shook his head. "It's just--" It's just that he was given an out. Johann had thrown it in so easily, so *understanding*. A lifeline so casually and freely given was almost hurtful in its consideration. "The invitation," he finally said with a shrug.
"We don't have to go," Rodney said reasonably. "There's plenty of places we can lose track of time."
There were and they could. It would be easy, and they'd never know if it had just happened or if John had been a big chicken. Jesus, why were the Wraith less scary? That certainly put a whole new spin on the term Wraith Queen.
They were about half a corridor away from Geology when John reached out, grabbing Rodney's wrist -- possibly it was the alcohol already fortifying him from rational decisions -- and pulled him in the other direction. When he felt Rodney stop fighting, he let go, walking silently but determinedly towards the light lab, comforted that Rodney didn't press for reasons.
John didn't know what was expecting; lots of colorful decorations, gaudy music and clothes, or maybe the complete opposite, extra class everywhere, some snuck-in bottles of champagne and hor d'ouvres, but not for it to look like just about every other party thrown by the civilians. Playstation tournament in one corner, drinks in another, maybe a few more wine coolers than in the military shindigs, but that happened with most of the scientists, either they were hardcore drinkers or cheap dates, a bunch of scrounged together couch like things and tables in another corner. All in all, a nice party.
Other than everyone in the room turning to look at them when they walked in.
John waved weakly and it was like the room sped back up to normal speed, Rodney snagged some food and John took one of the premade shot glasses and wandered over to the Playstation. He got into a pretty good position in the rankings; pod racer was a lot like flying a jumper under less than ideal conditions and with shittier stick control.
"…no I think we *all* deserve to know!"
The argument didn't filter into his concentration right away, since he was too busy trying not to fall into a nearby lava pit.
"I think," Rodney's voice rose up above the crowd, "that in the middle of this I think 'we all'," and John could hear the sneer in the repetition of the phrase and possibly Rodney doing over exaggerated quote marks with his fingers, "have forgotten about things like privacy and 'none of our business'."
"What is *he* doing here?" John finally paused the game and looked up to find one accusing finger pointed at him, attached to an unhappy looking scientist. Tall and skinny and angry looking. "Who invited him?" John could tell from the extra lean in his stance and the slight wobble in the finger that the alcohol had been running freely for a long time. Not good.
"I did," Johann stepped up, "on behalf of all of us. Someone has to make a peace offering; we cannot segregate and hold our heads under the sand."
John blinked. It wasn't common knowledge? But then how-- He must have only told a select number of people the entire truth. "He's right," John said, working hard to remember the angry man's name, "and this is a kicking party, so whaddya say Donald, let's all relax and have some fun."
"You expect me to believe," Donald said, "that we're supposed to be okay with you just walking in here like it wasn't your men who harassed some of us?"
"We're not so amazing ourselves," Rodney spit out. "Or did you think Erikson and Gianelli transferred out of here of their own free will?"
"And," Radek Zelenka's voice called out clearly from one part of the crowd as it parted to let him through, "if you are going to be simple minded as to limit your social interactions, I believe I will be leaving now. Because I do not like prejudice, but in your case I am willing to make an exception." John and Rodney both looked at him in shock. Radek just shrugged. "They throw a good party."
"Repressed!" someone from the crowd called, and Radek rolled his eyes.
"Apologies," Johann whispered to him. "It was not my place to tell, especially when you turned such a lovely shade of green about it all"
Ah, that explained it. But what about, "--the gifts?"
"Expressions of gratitude towards a fair and impartial police captain only," Johann smiled.
John tipped his head.
"He's military!" Donald yelled.
"And you're just as moronic as those idiots who were harassing Johann!"
A really stupid idea was forming in John's head, softened by the fact that he'd already spent weeks thinking this moment had come and gone. "Hey, I think I know a way we can solve this," he stepped fully into the circle that had cleared around Donald. "Rodney?" He asked, eyebrow raised, a hint of a smile curving his mouth, heart pounding so fast that his hands were shaking.
"John?" Rodney asked, surprised, lips parting in shock.
He could feel their audience change as some of them were already getting it, possibly that surprised nonsurprise Elizabeth had talked about. "Rodney?" He asked again, adrenaline and alcohol making him giddy. One step, two steps, three and he was inside Rodney's personal space, sliding his hand up his neck, pulling him in gently. Rodney smiled against his lips and then melted into the embrace. Kissing like old lovers, slow and easy and inside each other's skin.
Someone wolf whistled in the background.
Really, other than their hands falling into place with practiced ease, the entire thing was pretty chaste. They pulled apart, and John was immediately a bit dizzy, the alcohol making him flushed and queasy. "We all cool now?"
Donald had a very satisfyingly shocked look on his face.
"We are definitely cool," Radek announced. "Now, Colonel, if I may lead you to your doom at the Playstation?"
"Delighted." John reached for a bottle of water and followed.
Rodney followed too, claiming a spot next to John and looking pretty damn smug and just a little bit proud.
Bent over his computer, arm strapped firmly to his body, John pecked at the keys listlessly, gritting his teeth.
"How's the arm?"
John's head snapped up, and he winced as it pulled on the tendons. "Didn't hear you knock."
"That's because I didn't," Rodney said, unapologetic. "How's the arm?"
"The arm," John said tiredly, "really fucking hurts."
Rodney came around to his back, hand pressing against the injured shoulder firmly.
"Rodney, what--" Thumbs, steady and sure, dug into the cramped muscles, massaging away the stiffness with slow and careful intent. John grunted into it, his entire body flushing with pleasure.
"I bet you're not taking the good stuff Carson prescribed," Rodney continued, working the muscle, edging around the shoulder blade, finding the knot in the center, painful and sharp, suddenly surrounded with the warmth radiating from his hands.
It felt incredibly good, tingles all the way down his arm as repressed blood flow slowly swelled back to its usual nourishing amounts, awaking nerves that John hadn't known were half asleep. John let his head slump forward and to the left, giving Rodney plenty of room to work.
Eventually Rodney worked all the way around the shoulder blade, rolling the tight muscles back and forth. Then he pressed carefully where neck met shoulder, pushing up with the pads of his thumb, small rolls of muscle, little pebbles under the skin making noises inside John's head as each one was rubbed under the skin. It was when Rodney started working down his arm, pushing at his bicep, warming it further, relaxing the whole arm into one drooping noodle that he started thinking again. "What are we doing?"
"I don't know." When Rodney answered, he pressed closer, the back of John's head pillowed in Rodney's stomach when he looked up. The screen of his laptop had gone black, making an inky reflective surface.
John looked straight into it, catching Rodney's eyes. "We should stop."
"And I can't wait to hear the wonderful argument you have for that statement." Rodney's hands moved to John's shoulders and rested there comfortably. "No really, because I can't decide if you're abysmally wrong or," he breathed deeply, voice lowering, "or horribly right."
"I--" but he didn't continue, because he had nothing. "Rodney, this is," he reached up with his left hand, crossing over to his right shoulder, touching the top of Rodney's hand lightly, "*this* is so dangerous."
"I eat danger for breakfast," Rodney said dryly. "That's not a very well reasoned excuse."
"But it is." It slipped out before he had a chance to stop it.
Rodney's fingers moved, pushing up and towards John's hand, weaving between John's fingers easily. "Maybe, and I get to say that because in this room, I think I'm the expert on fear based responses."
Their hands fitted together seamlessly, sitting comfortably on his shoulder. Rodney's thumb stroked aimlessly on his skin. It was all so far past what John had allowed himself in his head. There was a place and a space and they'd never talked about it, but John needed it. He'd just started really caring about his career again in the last few years, he had something to hang onto, and now he was just getting greedy.
"We have to stop," John said again, moving his head, turning away from Rodney's knowing gaze in his computer.
"Not really," Rodney said, "but maybe we should stop."
"Semantics," John said, tugging Rodney closer, feeling his arms fold around John's chest, the right one settling just under the sling.
"Not really," Rodney whispered in his ear.
John felt like an idiot. First, because, oh god, drunken public displays of affection, and Rodney looking hungover and not really giving a shit about his own run to the porcelain god. Second, because people's reactions now that John knew with absolute certainty that they knew, were very distinct. The women kept congregating in corners and giggling madly, and then when they noticed him they'd make moon eyes and sigh deeply. Even the soldiers were starting to creep him out.
"Rumor has it," Rodney told him at lunch, "we've been pining away for each other since that big storm we had the first year we were here, and that when the military finally saw fit to remove that 'horrible and offensive and oppressive law'," and John could tell he was actually quoting, "we could finally consummate our undying true love'."
John was speechless.
"Little do they know, huh?" Rodney elbowed him gently. "Also my rep has gone through the roof."
Chewing and swallowing carefully, John regarded Rodney warily. "Your rep?"
"Oh please," Rodney rolled his eyes. "You really need me to explain why the geek getting the football jock gets me cool points?"
That was-- disturbing, on a number of levels. "You made a chart, didn't you?"
"Histogram," Rodney corrected, putting his hands behind his head and leaning back. "I can't wait for my reunion. I might actually want to go. You can be my trophy wife."
"I'm honored," John said. He was so honored, in fact, that he gave Rodney a friendly head smack. "What if I want you to be my trophy wife?" He had more to say, but the room went deathly silent.
"Oh my God," Rodney said loudly, "have you people missed the fact that this is how we communicate?" He glared at the room in general. "Also?" He flicked John's ear soundly. "Ow."
The noise ramped back up with startling suddenness.
"That was weird," John said, rubbing his ear.
"That was probably the tip of the iceberg."
"I'm laughing at you if they try and stage an intervention."
Rodney laughed. "Same here."
Elizabeth gave him a look when they finally crossed paths that day, a look mixed with amusement and tired resignation. Odd, but not too creepy. Lorne was amazingly normal, discussing status reports, crew redistribution, and supply requests. John tensed up for a few seconds when he moved onto the after effects of last night's party, but he just went on, going over the usual items.
Of course just as Lorne was about to leave his office he turned on his heel and asked when the honeymoon was.
John threw a pen at him.
That night, Rodney showed up at John 's quarters with a really good bottle of cognac and two glasses. "Apparently," he said dryly, "wedding gifts are all the rage."
"They do know we're not actually married, right?" John asked, taking the bottle and nodding in appreciation. "Good stuff."
"I tried to explain," Rodney said, "it just made most of them smile wider. Or cry."
They opened the bottle and took enough to sip, lounging lazily on bed, boots having been kicked off to get comfortable. "This is nice." John said quietly, still surprised he could enjoy Rodney just laying next to him this much.
"Yeah," Rodney's breath was hot on his neck, lips moving softly. It was like electricity across his skin. John put his glass down and took Rodney's and did the same before rolling onto his side and kissing Rodney soundly. Licking his way into Rodney's mouth, his hand found the small of Rodney's back, digging under his shirt.
Rodney hummed happily, flinging a leg over John and burrowing closer, something warm and hard rubbing into his hip. Suddenly, John's body remembered he hadn't gotten any in *months*. It was like a switch had been flipped, and his hips jutted forward, thrusting sharply against Rodney's warmth.
"Oh!" Rodney's mouth ripped away, panting slightly. "Now? Really?" His eyes were bright, pupils wide and dark. "Because that would be," his hips pushed back against John's, who shuddered into the move, "*wonderful*." Said with such breathlessness it was almost catching.
"Now," John said, also out of breath, pushing forward, hips stuttering uncontrollably. It felt so good to remember what this felt like. To feel it again. John shuddered uncontrollably as they kissed again, filled to the brim with pleasure and almost overloading already.
"Really?" Rodney said when they broke apart to frantically tug their shirts off. "Because I'd understand if you didn't want to, I'm okay with--"
John kissed him quiet. "I'm good, really." Then he kissed him again, glad that the babble had slid past asking him if he was okay like John was some sixteen year old virgin. John licked and nibbled his way across Rodney's jaw, tasting, sucking at skin, enjoying Rodney's hitched breathes and addicting little noises. Down his neck and chest to one perfect nipple, already erect. It was so different, this with the time and the foreplay, touching and kissing and stroking. The lube wasn't even out yet, and it just made John hornier, dick pressing heavily at the seam of his pants and into Rodney's heat.
At the first tentative lick of nipple, Rodney gasped, back arching, hands clenching at John's shoulders hard enough to leave bruises. He licked once more and then closed his lips around it, sucking gently, tongue running over the nub inside his mouth.
"Oh! Oh god!": Rodney was trembling around him, leg coming up and curling over his waist. A few more seconds, and his whole body followed, wrapping around John, rocking urgently against his thigh. "Oh, John that's, I--" he gasped loudly, hands threading through John's hair, holding him in place. '"I'm-- can't!"
Rodney froze and then thrust against him in three rough jerks before freezing again and melting into the mattress. Did he just? John let go of the nipple with a wet pop, looking up at Rodney's wrecked face in wonder. Wow, he couldn't decide if that was really pathetic of them, or just really, really hot. Inside John's pants, his dick throbbed helplessly. Hot then.
"Oh my god," Rodney breathed. "I cannot believe I just--" he stopped and swallowed roughly. "Did you?"
John shook his head frantically, rubbing his hips pleadingly.
"Right, okay then," Rodney pushed up and rolled them over onto their sides, propping himself up on his elbow, "let me just--" he moved his leg just enough to work a hand in between them, undoing John's fly and stuffing it inside. John was already wet and waiting, thrusting into Rodney's hand before he could get a proper grip. It was too late anyway, the head of his cock pushed against Rodney's palm one, two, three times before he came hard enough to sprain something.
"Oh, okay," Rodney said, still breathless, lowering them to the bed, "that was really hot."
John nodded in agreement, hands petting any available patch of skin on Rodney he could find. "I think I lost feeling in my toes," he murmured into Rodney's neck.
"I think I lost feeling in my *brain*."
Eventually they got up and stumbled into the shower, neither really wanting to fall asleep and let their clothes glue to their skin. Clean and relaxed, they stumbled back into bed wearing just boxers, Rodney using a pair of John's after making a face that told him exactly how unsanitary Rodney found the whole idea.
"You know," Rodney said once the lights were out, "we didn't actually have sex."
"I think we're going to have to save that for when neither of us is going to need to use our brains any time soon." John kissed Rodney's shoulder, yawning quietly. "Now shut up and go to sleep."
They woke up a few hours later, wrapped around each other, already hard and aching. It was easy to shove their boxers down just far enough for access. The lube was pressed into his hand; Rodney must have snagged it while John was fighting with their clothes. Rodney was still relaxed from sleep, warm and lethargic, and John's fingers popped inside him with ease. Slow preparation, an apology for all the times they didn't slow down, fingers easing in and out until finally Rodney reached back and stopped him.
With an almost steady hand, John coated his cock and guided it to Rodney's entrance, pressing in. They both gasped when he made it past the ring of muscle so easily, and then John braced a lube slick hand on Rodney's hip and pushed, slow and steady until they were flush.
They breathed together, hands moving until they were threaded together. Slow, John went ungodly slow, in and out, nose buried in Rodney's shoulder, kissing and mouth the skin.
Pleasure weaved around them, hot and tight around John's cock, the slick push pull driving him slowly insane. Rodney rippled and held, each push releasing a small stuttering breath. They rocked together, their hands closing over Rodney's cock, letting their shifting hips push it into and out of their welcome grip.
John could feel it, could feel Rodney get close, in the way he breathed and moved and shuddered and closed his fist tighter.
Rodney came with an "Oh, oh, oh!" Long and hard, rippling over John unbearably good. When Rodney had nothing left to give, John pulled out, letting Rodney flop onto his back.
"Rodney," he said roughly, "I need--"
"Yes," he said, already spreading his legs, his boxers having worked their way off sometime earlier, "yes, go."
John moved between them, hooking Rodney's calves over his shoulders and leaning forward, one hand guiding himself, the other braced on the mattress. He was back inside the hot, tight place, he was home and whole, and perfection surrounded until the last threads of his control flew away.
It was wild and insane and God help him, so unbelievably good, thrusting hard into Rodney, looking into his eyes. Pleasure flushed from head to toe, orgasm started at the base of his spine and exploded outwards, intense waves taking over his movements until he was spent.
John fell to the side, dazed. "Happy now?"
"We can never get married, this sex is too good," Rodney said, wiping himself off and then moving to John. "It'd be like, depriving the universe."
"You better not be doing this with anyone in the universe but me," John curled around Rodney, lax and already half asleep.
"Now that's not fair, you up my cool points and now I can't use it?"
"Life's a bitch," John said, yawning again, "now shut up and go to sleep."
"I want a divorce."
"So," Rodney asked, "are we stopping?"
John sighed, leaning back one last time, taking a moment to enjoy the heat of another body. "I think so."
Rodney peeled away, standing slowly. "All right," he said carefully. "Just stop almost dying."
"Goodbye, Rodney," John said, not looking up.
John didn't turn until he heard the whisper of the door closing. "Goodbye," he said again. It was the right decision, he knew that. He turned back to his computer, opening the file back up. He was hopelessly behind, and the next databurst was due soon and the Daedelus visit was only a week away, meaning he had to be more on the ball than usual. John sighed as he started the hunt and peck again; maybe the Daedelus would bring good news when they arrived.