A Brief Moment

by The Grrrl and Chelle

Title: A Brief Moment

Authors: The Grrrl, Chelle

Authors' emails: thegrrrl2002@gmail.com, mmmchelle@gmail.com

Authors' URLs: http://thegrrrl2002.slashcity.org/, http://chelle.slashcity.org

Archive: Ask first.

Fandom: Stargate Atlantis

Pairing: Sheppard/McKay

Summary: It's laundry time. And what the hell is that in John's laundry basket?

Rodney leans his forehead against the washer. He wishes it was one of those earth clothes-washing machine with the window, so he could see his clothing swish around and around. It's early morning, his brain is fried, but he's too wound up from a night of trying to fix a simple little power distribution problem to get any sleep. He really just wants to see his clothes tumble and swirl. He doesn't have the energy to even look up when the door opens and someone else enters the room. But he recognizes the footsteps even before he hears the voice.

"Good morning, Rodney," John sings out.

John sounds perky and awake, so much so that Rodney's shoulders tense further. "Maybe for some," he says, without moving his head.

"Long night, huh? But at least the power's back up." John slaps him on the shoulder as he passes.

"Yes, yes it is." Rodney gathers enough energy to turn and glare as John slidesopen the machine next to him and begins to load it. "Thanks to a brilliant, dedicated team of scientists, led by--oh wait, who can that be? Me."

With a grin as bright as the morning sun, John says. "Good job, Rodney."

"Thank you," Rodney replies, then blinks--what the hell? He rubs his eyes, and yes, they're still there, it's not a trick of too much caffeine and staring at grids and screens and listening to Radek grumbling under his breath in Czech.

It had been a long night, and John can't possibly be the owner of a pair of red boxers decorated with little blue airplanes.

Rodney looks one more time, then marches over to John's basket and plucks them out. Holding the brightly colored underwear gingerly between a thumb and forefinger, he asks, "So, do they distribute these to all Air Force Lieutenant Colonels?"

John tilts his head to the side and grins. "Only the special ones."

"I see, so it's some sort of award, is it?"

"More of a reward."

"For?"

John leans in close and whispers in Rodney's ear. "It's classified."

John's breath tickles Rodney's ear, and the resulting fluttery sensation in his gut irritates him further. He's sick of John making him feel like some kind of lovesick teenager. "Right," Rodney says. "I'd like you to know I have clearance at the highest levels. Not that I have any interest in the sordid details." He lets the underwear drop.

"I'll have you know that nothing about my underwear is sordid."

John's amused and an amused John is irritating. Rodney opens his mouth to speak but John beats him to it.

"Not that I've *never* done anything sordid. It just didn't involve underwear."

John is grinning again, all charming and flirty, and Rodney can just imagine some of the sordid things he's done.

And it's just not fair, because Rodney hasn't done anything even vaguely sordid in a long time, at least nothing that didn't involve his own right hand. "Thank you oh-so-much for sharing that," Rodney says, instilling his voice with every ounce of sarcasm he can muster.

John just keeps on grinning at him. "You're welcome."

Rodney shakes his head, and stalks over to his washer, which is now beeping quietly at him. Thank god the wash/dry cycles are quick. The ancients at least knew how to apply their technology in a practical way.

"So how about yours?"

John's soft voice startles him--he had no idea John had followed him across the room. "How about my what?" he snarls.

"I showed you my underwear," John says, arms folded across his chest. "Now you show me yours."

Rodney stares at him. Maybe he's hallucinating, but after giving it all of thirty seconds consideration he's certain he isn't. Demanding to see his underwear is exactly the kind of thing of John would do, because under the handsome exterior John is weird. Rodney's known Nobel winning physicists who were less weird than John.

Unfortunately for Rodney, he finds weird attractive, but that doesn't mean he's showing John his underwear. "They're in the machine."

John is undeterred. "Which just went off."

Rodney crosses his own arms. "There is nothing interesting about my underwear. Plain white briefs, a few pairs of boxers, no planes, no stripes, no equations."

"Prove it."

"Prove it?"

"You claim your underwear are boring. Prove it."

Rodney's mouth drops open, and he snaps it shut before telling him. "Colonel, you're--you're just--" He turns, sliding open the machine to pull out his clothes and drop them into his basket. "Take my word for it, okay?"

But John of course isn't taking his word for it. He's crouched over the laundry basket, holding up the occasional brief or boxers as Rodney tosses them in. "You're right, these *are* boring, Rodney." He straightens. "How about the ones you're wearing right now?"

Rodney freezes in mid-drop. "What?"

"Listen, I know what it's like, all the practical ones are dirty, so you have to dig around and find the less-than-practical ones to wear while you do the wash." He takes in Rodney's aghast expression, and his face lights up. "Unless, unless--you aren't wearing any." He's grinning in sheer delight, as if he's made the discovery of a lifetime.

"I..." Rodney can feel himself flush. There is no way he can lie, and he isn't about to give John the satisfaction of admitting it, so he turns his back on John and reaches into the back of the washer for the last of his laundry.

"That explains the lack of wrinkles," John says and Rodney freezes. John is staring at his ass. And Rodney has had enough. Enough flirting. Enough staring. Enough teasing.

Standing, he tosses the last of his clothes into the basket, and turns to look at John, who takes a moment to lift his eyes. Flirt. "What about you? You're doing laundry too." He takes a step closer to John. "So which is it? Less-than-practical or none at all?"

John's eyes meet Rodney's, and he spreads his arms invitingly. "Why don't you find out for yourself?"

The tone of his voice makes Rodney's breath catch in this throat. He's sure he's never heard anything quite like it and suddenly the meaning of the term "bedroom voice" is crystal clear. He doesn't even realize he's moving his arm until his hand settles on John's hip.

He's touching John, right in the middle of Atlantis' laundry room.

John's body is solid under the soft cotton of his pants, and his half-amused, 'you can't possibly say no to me' expression, which Rodney can clearly see since John's face is inches from his, doesn't change. With a deep breath Rodney slides his hand over and cups John's ass. He squeezes, rubbing his fingers against cloth and hard, tight muscle.

One layer of cloth. There's nothing between John and his pants.

There's nothing between Rodney and his pants, either, and he's rock hard from touching John. One touch and what feels like a lifetime of wanting, that's all it took.

John reaches around and places a hand on Rodney's ass, startling him. "It's only fair," John says and Rodney nods.

It is only fair. He touches John and John touches him. That's fair. Perfectly fair.

Not only is John touching his ass, John is actually caressing it. Then John's eyes dip down, and Rodney knows that there's no way John could miss the bulge of his erection. All the air seems to have left the room, because Rodney can't breathe, can't draw any air into his lungs as John smiles again. It's a genuine, happy smile this time, and it's warmth washes over Rodney.

"Rodney," John says, but he doesn't finish. They hear the voices in the hallway at the same time. Rodney jumps back a microsecond before the door swings open, his hand sliding away from John's ass. He backs away, face hot, wondering what hell just happened.

John shoves his hands into his pockets and wanders over to his clothesbasket, looking desperately casual as he nods to the marines carrying their laundry sacks.

Rodney takes advantage of the moment to snatch up his basket and hurry off, nearly running as he escapes the room, ignoring John, ignoring the marines. The trip back to his room seems eternal, but at last, he gets there.

The door to his room slides shut behind him and Rodney leans against the wall, still holding the laundry basket in front of him. As though he still needs to hide his erection, which he doesn't because he's alone in his quarters.

And still hard.

They'd been nearly caught by Marines. The adrenaline shock alone should have taken care of his hard on but it hadn't, and neither had the hurried walk back to his quarters, even though he'd bumped the laundry basket a couple of times.

He had touched John's ass.

John had touched his ass.

They'd touched each other. Every time he tried to process it, his brain sort of skittered off-line into "I touched John's ass," and "Wow, John's ass is solid and tight."

When the knock comes on his door, he knows exactly who it is.

Dropping the basket, he pushes the door release. "Jo--" Rodney starts to say, falling silent when his brain registers that he's looking at a disheveled and annoyed Radek Zelenka.

"It broke again."

Rodney closes his eyes for just a moment.

"McKay."

Rodney opens his eyes. "Coming." Over Zelenka's shoulder, Rodney can see John approaching, still carrying his laundry basket.

Some days it just doesn't pay to go without underwear.

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