We All Arrive By Different Streets

by The Grrrl

Title: We All Arrive By Different Streets

Author: The Grrrl

Author's email: thegrrrl2002@gmail.com

Author's URL: http://thegrrrl2002.slashcity.org/

Archive: Ask first.

Fandom: Stargate Atlantis

Summary: Rodney can't have something he never knew he wanted.

Notes: Thank you to wickdzoot and chelle for the beta and the handholding. And to Tinny, for spotting those remaining typos.

Rodney paced the length of the small, windowless cell, rapping his knuckles on the single clear wall--polycarbonate, probably, maybe reinforced with a clear coating. Unbreakable.

John was going to return, of course. Rodney had no watch, but surely they had had him for hours at this point. Questioning him, although they had both told the truth, over and over again, since their capture. What more was left to say when your captors refused to believe you?

Rodney's stomach growled. He was hungry, and the crap they called food here was hardly edible.

His mind circled round and round. John was never going to return. John would be back any minute. John had escaped. Rodney couldn't slow his brain down, couldn't make those thoughts go away, especially those vivid ones of John being tortured and killed. He was most certainly going to be next. It was all going to end here, for both of them, in this indistinct little cell on an unremarkable little world in the Pegasus galaxy, by humans who somehow believed they were the enemy.

Rodney eyed the half-empty tray of food. What the hell, he might as well eat it, no sense saving it. No sense in dying on an empty stomach. Then he froze, as a sound carried down the hallway--a door opening, and heavy, scuffling footsteps.

"What's the hurry? Why are you pushing me?"

John's voice.

The words were strangely slurred, but Rodney's knees went weak--John was okay, he was alive, they hadn't killed him, thank god. They might just get out of this alive after all. "Major," he shouted, dashing up to the clear wall, trying to catch a glimpse of him.

And there John was, handcuffed, swaying in front of the door as the soldiers unlocked it. "Rodney," he exclaimed, grinning stupidly. "Hi." He shrugged a shoulder as if trying to lift an arm--to wave, probably.

"Oh, thank god," Rodney breathed, taking in John's appearance. He appeared to be unharmed--no new bruises, all body parts seemingly intact, nothing bloody or bleeding. Just oddly unsteady, hair more ruffled than usual, but before he could ponder that any further the door opened, and the soldiers immediately pointed their rifles at Rodney. "Oh right, like I'm going to make a run for it," Rodney said. "What did you do to him?"

"He'll be fine," one soldier told him.

John's face grew vague and unfocused as the guards uncuffed him. "Thank you," he nodded. "You're too kind. No really, you are."

The guards silently pushed him into the cell and he fell against Rodney. Rodney grabbed onto him, trying to hold him upright. His body was relaxed, and felt nicely warm, in contrast to the cold damp cell.

"Bye, Bob," John waved. "Bye Fred. Take care. See you soon. Don't be strangers, okay?"

The waving was too much, throwing them both off balance and against the wall. "Rodney!" John said, as if noticing him for the first time. He slid his arm comfortably around Rodney's waist, leaning against the wall to stay upright.

Rodney had been pulled close enough to notice that John's pupils were completely dilated. "Major, are you drugged?"

John nodded. "I think so." He spoke carefully.

Rodney checked John's arms, which was difficult to do, as he seemed to be tangled up inside of them. But yes, right there, on the inside of John's left elbow, the purplish remains of an injection site.

"Oh, wow," John said, staring at his arm. "I remember that now. It hurt."

A growing surge of anger because damn it, they had nothing to hide, and now the Miellians were sticking needles in John and screwing around with his head. And that wasn't right. "What the hell did they give you? Rodney asked. " Sodium pentathol?"

"Maybe." John tilted his head toward Rodney's, resting a heavy hand on his shoulder. "They wanted to have a talk," he whispered.

"Oh, did they?"

John nodded solemnly.

Despite the situation, Rodney couldn't help but be amused. John seemed to be unharmed, albeit rather endearingly spaced-out. "And did you talk to them?"

John shrugged. "I told them all about surfing, and then football--you know, they don't have football here--the real kind, not that soccer kind." He waved a hand dismissively. "Not either kind. But I don't think that's what they wanted to hear."

"Imagine that," Rodney said. He tried to step back, because John had pulled him up close into personal space territory while trying to remain upright. "Maybe you should sit down before you fall down."

John's arm tightened around Rodney's waist. "Oh, and my favorite movies, too. Told them all about it."

Rodney paused. "Please, not--"

"Yup, 'Back to the Future'. All three of them. In detail. Those were great movies." John grinned. "Admit it, you liked them too."

"Don't get me started, please Major, those movies were wrong in so many ways, I can't even begin--" Rodney stopped, because John's hand was on his ass, and not just resting there, either, but moving, feeling around--almost caressing.

Okay, that was different. "They're just wrong," Rodney finished weakly.

John was still smiling happily at him. "I don't care."

"Your hand is on my ass, by the way," Rodney told him. Clearly, John was stoned; he had no idea what he was doing.

"It's a really great ass."

"I--what?" Rodney didn't know what was weirder, the thought that John didn't know what he was doing, or that John knew exactly what he was doing. Because guys didn't comment on each other's asses, unless they were--

John began to list to one side. Rodney grasped his shoulders. "Why don't we go sit down? We can sit down over here. Just--sit." He pulled John away from the wall and, hand on his shoulders, propelled him toward the lumpy gray mattress.

"Okay," John said, voice cheerful. He stumbled as he walked, bumping against Rodney. "Wow, tired."

"You had a long day," Rodney agreed. "Here, now, lie down, and sleep it off."

"I don't want to sleep." But John sank down onto the mattress just the same. "Sit with me."

"Where else would I go?" Rodney knelt beside him. "Although, are you hungry? I saved you some food--just bread, and some not-too-disgusting meat. You should probably eat--are you thirsty?"

John licked his lips. "Water would be good," he said. "My mouth is kind of dry."

Rodney slid out from under the hand that had wandered onto his knee, retrieved the beaten metal cup and filled it with water. John sat up and swallowed it in one gulp.

"Thank you," John grinned again, that utterly dopey, face-splitting grin.

"You're welcome." Rodney sat beside him on the mattress. John was completed spaced out, and incredibly earnest. Rodney had to resist the urge to pat John's head. Granted, all that fondling was a little unnerving, but it probably just John's warm, friendly nature coming through. Rodney decided patting John's shoulder would do instead. "Thank god you're all right," he said gruffly.

"You were worried about me." The fact seemed to make John happy.

"Of course I was worried about you," Rodney said, leaning back against the rough wall. Such a relief to have John with him again, unharmed. It made their situation feel that much less hopeless. Of course they were going to find a way out, as soon as John recovered. "Now lie down and go to sleep."

Surprisingly agreeable, John obeyed, lying flat on the lumpy mattress, his head next to Rodney's hip. "I like you, too, Rodney."

"That's good to know."

John gazed up at him thoughtfully. "You know what else? I'd totally do you."

"What?" There was something wrong with his hearing now, because Rodney thought he heard John say--

Nodding, John continued, "I'd blow you. Funny, you're really not my type, you shouldn't be so hot and yet you are." He frowned. "I don't get it."

Rodney stared. "Really? You're--"

"Really. I mean--not that you aren't good-looking--and you have a great ass--but usually I get all worked up over more athletic types, you know?" John closed his eyes.

Rodney stared, speechless.

"I'd let you fuck me." John lazily reached over, patting Rodney's thigh. "I'll bet you're really hung. But straight. Not like me. I'm crooked. More than crooked." His voice was slurred even more. "...all wrong, isn't it?" A moment later, his breathing grew deep and regular.

Rodney sat, staring in astonishment. John was gay. Or bi. Or whatever. He hadn't known that, hadn't even suspected. John liked guys. Like to have sex with guys. Which was a shock, sure. But even more shocking--John thought he was hot.

*****

Rodney's eyes snapped open at the sound of gunfire. He had been half-dozing, still leaning against the wall. He looked over to see that John was still asleep, curled under the blanket Rodney had pulled over him.

"Major," Rodney said, a hand on John's shoulder. "Ow," he winced. Crap, his neck and shoulders were stiff from the cold wall.

John's eyes opened. "Huh?"

No longer dilated, Rodney was relieved to see. "Time to go."

John sat up, disoriented. "Rodney? What happened? How did I get back here?"

Hair ruffled, expression dazed--John didn't look any different to him. Funny, Rodney always thought he could tell if someone was gay. John was gay. John still looked like John.

John thought he was hot.

"You don't remember?" Rodney asked. "The drugs?"

"What, I went to a party?"

Exasperated, Rodney said, "Yes, Major, there was a wild party here last night."

There was another clatter of gunfire. Instantly alert, John rose to his feet. "That's a P90. Ford?"

"I hope so."

They both went to for the clear wall, leaning against it, trying to see down the dark, featureless corridor. "The guard is gone," John commented. "Man, my head hurts. They drugged me? What the hell did they give me?"

Rodney shook his head. "I don't know. You were pretty loopy when they brought you back. I assume they were trying once again to extract the truth, I suppose. Interesting, since these idiots obviously wouldn't know the truth if it smacked them in the face."

John pressed his forehead to the wall. "I wonder what I told them."

"Something about movies, apparently."

John raised his eyebrows, but before he could respond they heard an unseen door swing open, thumping against the opposite wall. Ford appeared, trotting easily down the hallway toward them, gun in hand, followed in a moment by Teyla. "I got 'em," he said into his radio. "Major, Dr. McKay--you guys all right?"

"We're fine, Ford. Just get us out of here," John said.

Ford eyed the cell door, then grinned. He reached into his vest, pulling out a package that Rodney recognized as C4. "I'll have you guys out in a jiffy," he said. "Stand back."

Rodney was more than happy to let Ford do his thing.

****

Rodney watched Carson prepare to draw John's blood, despite the fact he hated watching such a thing, because it was better than watching John's mouth, which had become all too fascinating. But then the needle slid into John's arm and Rodney felt a little faint, and he had to look away, back up to John's mouth. And lips. John had surprisingly nice lips. They looked--soft.

"So his pupils were dilated, and he was rattling on, you say?" Carson asked.

"What? Um, yes, yes, he was. Rambling. Nonsense, mostly." Rodney was sure it had all been nonsense, John had been under the influence of some drug. Not necessarily a truth serum. He knew that such things didn't really exist, on Earth at least. Although, he was pretty sure the mode of action was in reducing the person's inhibitions, and if that was what John was like when he was uninhibited--

"I don't remember any of it. Just the injection, and then--" John shook his head. "Nothing. So, Rodney, did I give away my darkest secrets?" he asked, in a manner that Rodney thought might have been overly casual.

"Oh, yes, absolutely," Rodney told him. "You apparently really do think that the technology in "Back to the Future" would work. Truly shameful."

"You mean it couldn't?"

Rodney scowled. "Major," he began.

"Okay, okay," Carson broke in. "We'll see what we can piece together from the breakdown products, if there are any left in your system, Major. You appear to be fine, pressure normal, heart rate--I'm not seeing any ill effects."

"That's good to hear." They all turned to see Elizabeth had entered the exam area, with Bates trailing close behind.

"How are you feeling, Sir?" Bates asked.

"Just a little tired, thank you."

Bates was athletic. Rodney wondered if Bates was John's type. He wondered if John ever looked at Bates in that way, if he had ever noticed Bates' ass. As he had apparently noticed Rodney's. Rodney had never noticed John looking at him in that way, but then again, John was always looking at him in some way or another. John had a response to everything single damn thing he said, so John certainly seemed to notice him. It was flattering.

Rodney's head began to ache.

"So, I gather we can cross the Miellians off the 'possible allies' list," Elizabeth was saying, as John nodded. "It's a shame, they seem to have an interesting level of technology." She looked at Rodney expectantly.

"Circa early 1950's, from what I could see," he said. "Being in a constant state of civil war seems to have accelerated their development. Listen, I'm really tired--Carson, if you're through with me?"

Carson waved him off. "Go, rest, Rodney." He pointed to John. "As for you, Major, I'm keeping you overnight for observation."

John looked disappointed, but Rodney hopped down from the table, glad to make his escape. He had a lot to think about.

*****

"Here," Rodney pointed. "This is the area we explored yesterday." He waved a finger over the outline of the north pier.

"What did you learn?" Elizabeth asked.

"That there are a lot of stairs in that area." It had been a long day.

"Find out anything good?" John frowned as he paged through the report on his laptop.

"Knowledge," Rodney said, folding his arms against his chest, "is neither inherently good nor bad. It simply is."

They stared at him with puzzled expressions, brows furrowed almost identically.

"Well, it's true," Rodney continued. He turned back to the city schematic.

It was true. But, still, knowledge changed things.

It had changed him.

Knowing that John had been thinking about him, that John thought he was hot, that John liked his ass--that John wanted Rodney to fuck him, for god's sake--intrigued him. Rodney wasn't gay, at least he hadn't ever met a guy he wanted to get intimate with, but John--John was different. John was fun. John seemed to make life a little more interesting by just being around.

Maybe it didn't exactly change Rodney. Perhaps it made him more aware of something that had been lurking in the corners of his mind all along. Something that had been brought to the forefront now. Something that made Rodney take his dick into his own hands at night, and instead of thinking of shapely blonde beauties, the person who came to mind had dark, messy hair and a cocky smile, broad shoulders and no curves whatsoever.

John had believed Rodney was straight. John needed to know that he was mistaken, and it was up to Rodney to set him, well--straight.

"What about the room you describe here, on the lower level?" John asked, pointing to his screen.

"Which?" Rodney leaned over his shoulder. "I have no idea. It's strangely configured, with these--alleys, it looked like, but we couldn't activate any of the control panels, or translate any of the symbols."

"No?" asked Elizabeth.

"It was only a sweep," Rodney explained defensively. "No time for a thorough examination. So many rooms, so little time--"

"Maybe I should check it out." John turned to him, face close to Rodney's, so close that Rodney needed only to lean forward and their lips would meet.

Flushed, Rodney straightened. "I have nothing planned for this evening."

"Great." John rose. "It's me and you, then." He looked to Elizabeth, who nodded.

"Just be careful, gentlemen."

*****

"I'm thinking....miniature golf." John peered down the lanes. "See, this is the loop-the-loop, right here, and over there, that is like the pyramid course, you hit the ball inside of it and you don't know which spout the ball is going to pop out of."

"Of course, Major," Rodney said. "I should have known. Thank you."

"See, that's why you need me around. To explain these things to you." John nodded, looking exceptionally proud.

Hell, for all Rodney knew, John could be right. The odd setup had easy, sloping curves, with complicated-looking *things* every here and there, and it wasn't too hard to imagine a golf ball popping out of one of them. The large room was authentically pleasing to look at, done up in blues and greens, in contrast to the golden tones of the areas they currently inhabited. Rodney found the room soothing, aside from the fact that John was in it, leaping around onto the various platforms, looking inside the openings. Watching John move was anything but soothing.

In a good way.

"You know, Rodney," John called out, "This could give us a whole new level of entertainment here in the city. We could make teams, and have a tournament."

"Would be a nice change of pace from all the poker games," Rodney agreed, watching as John mimicked a golf swing, body curving gracefully.

"That's just because you're a lousy poker player." John grinned at him.

"I am not." John did have a cute grin; one might almost call it boyish. Rodney thought he might be playful in bed--he would tease a lot, but then, after things heated up, he would get intense. Rodney had seen John get intense, while on missions, and he wondered what it would be like to be the focus of all that intensity.

"Yes, you are. I can always tell what you are thinking." John jumped off the platform and approached him, with a bit of a smirk.

"Really? You think so?" The room suddenly seemed warm, too warm, and Rodney felt a flicker of excitement.

"So where's this control panel?"

Disappointed, Rodney's shoulders slumped. No, John had no idea what he was thinking, damn it. "It's right here," he said, leading John to the wall. "Radek was pretty sure this is the access to all the power conduits for whatever it is that this room is."

John raised his brows. "Radek?"

"Radek. Radek Zelenka. You know, little guy, glasses?" Rodney circled his finger round.

"You mean the Czech guy whose name you could never remember?" John asked.

"That's the one." Rodney slid back the covering. If he really let his imagination run away with itself, he might think John was jealous. He'd always had a vivid imagination. "Here, now just touch right along--"

John placed his hand on the panel, surprisingly delicate-looking hands, long fingered and neat. Rodney watched as he practically stroked the damn thing--had John always done that with Ancient technology?

The panel lit up with a low hum. "That's great, that's great--what is it doing?" Rodney asked, excited.

John shrugged, looking around the room. "I don't know, it's not doing anything yet, I--" A low rumble began, growing louder, and John's eyes widened. "Uh oh, that doesn't sound good."

The rumble became a gentle roar, and Rodney grabbed John's arm in a panic, wondering what in hell they had set off. "Not good, not good at all." He didn't want to have to explain to Elizabeth how they had blown up the entire north side of the city.

Then water began streaming out of the things, the big contorted things, spraying up into the air in graceful arcs. The lanes filled with flowing water, and Rodney burst out laughing. "Baths?"

"What?"

Rodney indicated at the control panel. "Look at the display now--it's a temperature gauge."

"It is?" John looked around the room, then back at Rodney. "I think you're right. Baths," he said, his voice echoing the disbelief in his eyes.

"More fun than miniature golf," Rodney told him. "Although, not much use against the wraith. Unless we can bathe them to death."

"Well, they are pretty grubby," John said, as if Rodney was on to something.

Rodney radio clicked, and he tapped it, activating it. "McKay here."

Grodin's voice came through. "What the hell are you guys doing? You're pulling a lot of power from the system."

"Sorry--we just activated a room full of pools. Uh, listen, I'll explain later." He clicked off his radio, and said to John, "Power drain. We have to shut it down."

With a disappointed sigh, John waved his hand over the panel, and the room grew quiet. "Too bad. It could have been a lot of fun. I'll bet they had whirlpools and everything"

Something in John's tone made Rodney's heart quicken. It sounded dark, and a little sexy. He took a deep breath. "Major, there's something I need to say to you."

"Really? What?" John sounded unconcerned as he watched the last of the water drain away.

"It's about sex."

"Rodney, you still have questions about the birds and bees? Well, you came to the right guy." John grinned as he returned his attention to the panel, scrolling through the remaining display.

"No, no, no, please--what I'm trying to say is, that if you wanted to, with me," Rodney said, his face growing hot. "If you wanted to have sex with me, I'd like that."

John's hand stilled, his shoulders stiffening. "Rodney, you're a guy," he said quietly.

"So I've noticed."

"What makes you think I'd want to have sex with another guy?" John's voice had gone cool. "I'm not gay."

Puzzled, Rodney said, "But that's not what you told me."

"Told you? When?"

"In the cell. When you were under the influence of that stuff."

"Fuck." John pressed the heel of his hand against his forehead, closing his eyes. "What exactly did I say?"

Not going well, not going well at all. "You said you wanted me," Rodney explained. "Specifically, that you wanted to have sex with me."

"Hey, when I asked, you said I was stoned," John accused. "That I wasn't making sense."

"Well, of course--what heck was I supposed to say? We were in the infirmary, everyone was all around, what, should I have said yes, John, you told me all your darkest secrets, especially the one about being gay?"

"And now you tell me this?" Eyes narrowed, anger radiating out in waves--so not going the way Rodney had planned.

"I couldn't exactly bring it up in casual conversation. Oh, by the way, about that gay thing--"

John shook his head, holding his hands up, stopping Rodney's flow of words. "Just what exactly did I say?"

"Forget it. It not important now." This was always how it went, Rodney thought. He'd think someone was interested, but then he'd bring it up, and get shot down. Every single time. "Listen, I didn't think you were making it up. You sounded like it was what you really wanted, but clearly, it's not. Just forget I said anything."

John pushed himself away from the console, agitated. "I can't forget it. Just tell me what I said."

"That you liked me. You said you suspected I was really hung. Which I am, by the way. And that you wanted me to fuck you." Rodney's cheeks were burning. "And I think there was something about a blowjob in there, too."

John looked mortified. "I said all that?"

"Would I make something like that up?" Rodney hated the way his voice climbed in register. "Did you mean what you said or not? I thought there was something between us, some kind of spark--I feel it, maybe you don't, and that's fine, but if you don't, then why did you say to me what you said?"

"You are straight, aren't you?" John asked.

Rodney shrugged. "I had thought so, but now, no, not so much."

John stared. "Oh, so it's that easy for you? You want to flip a switch--hey, I'm gay now?"

Rodney didn't care to explain, not now. "Just tell me if you meant any of it."

"Listen," John said, "maybe I do, but the fact of the matter is, I am the ranking military officer here, and I am not about to engage in an inappropriate sexual relationship." John spoke the words as if he were reciting them, as if it were something that had been told to him, maybe more than once.

"Inappropriate relationship? You mean just because I'm a scientist, and you're military, you think it's inappropriate?"

"Jesus, Rodney," John shook his head in disbelief. "For a guy who is supposedly brilliant--"

Realization dawned. "Oh, you mean because we're guys? Because you're buying into that whole 'don't ask, don't tell' thing even though we are millions of light-years from Earth?"

John pointed a finger at him. "Bingo."

Anger flared up, sharp and bright, blotting out the disappointment. "So in other words, even though you're interested, you won't do anything about it. Thank you," Rodney sneered. "That's a whole new realm of rejection for me. Usually, they can't stand me, and you know, I can take that kind of rejection. But wanting me and still rejecting me? That's just great. I can get rejected by both genders now. This is not an improvement."

"Rodney," John said, "For god's sake, how can you be so sure about being gay?"

Rodney raised his hands in despair. "How the hell am I supposed to know now? I like you; I want to have sex with you. I'm thinking, yeah, gay. Or I could be, if you'd give me the chance to figure it out."

"Okay, fine." John approached Rodney, crowding him. "You want to figure it all out?" His face grew dark and eyes were cold and hard. This wasn't John, Rodney thought, not the John he knew, the man with the easy smile and playful demeanor. Rodney backed away, heart beating fast, stumbling over his own feet and then his back was against the wall. John reached out and grabbed his crotch, stroking roughly. "Do you like this?"

"Um--" Christ, he was getting hard already.

John smirked, and it wasn't pleasant or charming at all. "You do like it." He curled his fingers around the length of Rodney's thickening cock, squeezing. "Maybe you are gay. Good for you. So, I offered you a blowjob?"

Shocked, Rodney watched John sink down to his knees in front of him, hands busily unfastening Rodney's trousers. "John? This isn't--please," Rodney said weakly. All the air seemed to rush out of the room as John mouthed his cock through his briefs.

"You said this is what you wanted," John told him, pulling on the waistband.

"For god's sake, John." Rodney pulled John's hand away and crouched down. "Don't you understand? It's not about my dick. It's more than that." Rodney took John's face in his hands, pulled him close and kissed him.

John froze and Rodney was afraid he would pull away. Rodney had had enough of that, enough of the no's and the rejection and damn it, he was going to get what *he* wanted now. But then John started kissing him back, his mouth wild and wonderful and desperate. Rodney couldn't breathe, he couldn't think anymore, he just hung onto John and kissed him. This was what they should have been doing all along, from the very start, from the first moment they met.

John jerked his head away, breathing heavily.

"What?" Rodney asked, reaching for him, cupping a hand around his neck. "What? Why'd you stop?"

"I can't do this," John said, sitting back and pushing himself away, looking for all the world as if Rodney had struck him. "This is not right."

"What do you mean you can't do it? We were just doing it, why can't you do it?"

"Stop. Just shut up, okay?" But John looked more scared than angry as he scrambled to his feet. "I-I have to go now." He continued backing away. "Please."

Rodney sat, his chest growing tight as John turned and trotted out of the room. The echo of footsteps, then a whoosh of a door opening, and the only sound was of water dripping from the drained pools. He didn't have the energy to stand, barely had the energy to think, even, to wonder why this was all so difficult, when it shouldn't be.

He sat for a long time.

*****

"Ah," Radek said, waggling a finger excitedly. "Baths. That makes sense, with the way the power is set up, is thermostatically controlled." He leaned back in his chair, nodding. "Another mystery, solved."

Elizabeth seemed amused. "It sounds lovely."

"And yet," Rodney said, "A complete and utter power sink."

John was nodding, looking down at his hands, which were clasped on top of the table. He hadn't met Rodney's eyes once, during the entire meeting.

"Well, Rodney, if we get our hands on a couple of ZPMs, we'd be in business, right?" Elizabeth asked.

"Of course. It will be something to look forward to."

Elizabeth looked at John, as if expecting a rejoinder of some kind. When none was forthcoming, she added, "I'm sure we will. In the meanwhile, Rodney, continue today with your team, on the sweep of the north end of the city. Major, you were flying supplies to the mainland today?"

John nodded. "Teyla and I were going to go."

"Good," Elizabeth said. "Dismissed."

Rodney lingered as the group filed out, paging through his half-finished report. When he closed down his computer, he realized John had moved to the chair beside him. And was looking at him, for a change.

"Yes, Major, is there something I can do for you? Other than 'shut up'?" Rodney asked.

John looked stung. "All right, I deserved that," he admitted. "Listen, about last night--I'm sorry. I'm just--I just can't be the person you want me to be, okay?"

Rodney scowled. "You are who you are, John." It still rankled though. Rejection--Rodney thought he should be used to it by now, and damn it, he knew John wanted him and that made it all the worse. "But I just don't get it. You know, I haven't even had sex with a man yet and I still think I'm more comfortable with being gay than you are. What's so hard about being with someone? Why hold back?"

John's face fell and he looked a way, tapping his fingers on the table. Rodney moved to rise from his chair but John suddenly turned back to him, grabbing his arm. "Seventeen years," John said. "I've been military for over seventeen years. You try that and tell me how easy it all is."

"Your father was military too, wasn't he?" Rodney suddenly remembered.

John released Rodney's arm abruptly and rose from his seat.

"John, you can't keep running from yourself. That's no way to live." Rodney didn't like seeing that look on John's face, so much pain revealed. "You can't be happy like this."

John paused. "Some advice, Rodney," he said, turning to face him. "Do us all a favor skip the pop psychology and stick to physics, okay? You're much better at it." With that, he left the room.

Closing his eyes, Rodney sighed. "You're right, I am, aren't I?"

When he opened his eyes, Teyla was peering into the room, gazing at him curiously. "And what exactly are you, Doctor?"

"A brilliant physicist."

Teyla nodded, amused. "So I've heard. I just wanted to remind you, about sparring tomorrow afternoon?"

Crap. He had forgotten. "If you insist."

"Actually, I do," she confirmed. "As does the Major."

"Great. I'll be there, then." Rodney rose, and hurried after Radek.

 

*****

"Okay, that HURT." Rodney dropped his other stick and rubbed his wrist, glaring. He was hot, he was tired, his shoulders ached and he hated, hated, hated John with a burning passion.

John bounced on the balls of his feet, twirling his sticks. Sweat stained the collar of his tee-shirt but he didn't appear tired at all, just the opposite. "Come on, Rodney, I barely touched you."

"Right, because you're good with the 'barely touching' part," Rodney snarled. John's eyes narrowed and he looked pissed, dangerously pissed. Rodney didn't care. He also didn't care if Teyla heard them, didn't care what kind of undercurrents she might catch. "Touching isn't your strong suit, is it?"

"Rodney, pick up your damn stick and--"

Rodney retrieved the stick at his feet, and strode over to the second stick, which had been knocked out of his hand and sent skittering across the room. He was aware of Teyla's eyes on him. "Can we please stop now?" he asked her, still rubbing his wrist.

"Are you badly injured, Dr. McKay?" she asked, in her typical gentle manner.

"Bruised, thank you very much."

"He's not," John cut in, annoyed. "He's just being a pain in the ass--"

Teyla shot John a look, and he quieted immediately. Rodney continued, "I need this hand for working. For computers. For tapping keys on a computer, for putting things together, because that's what I do. Not fighting. I'm not really built for combat, in case you haven't noticed." His hand was bruising nicely, he noted, a smudge of purple along the bone, broken blood vessels--great, he was going to get a blood clot, it was going to break loose, lodge in his heart and kill him.

Teyla inclined her head. "And do you not also go off-world with us?"

"Yes, yes, yes but that's why I carry a gun." Sweat trickled down his temple and into his eye, burning. As he wiped it away he felt a hard poke at his hip.

"Guns run out of bullets," John said, nudging Rodney again with his stick.

Rodney thought it just might be the most infuriating thing John had ever done, and for John, that was saying a great deal. "Excuse me, I was speaking with Teyla."

John twirled his sticks. "You never know when a little bit of hand-to-hand is going to save your life."

John might have a point, but Rodney didn't care about anything other than wiping the righteous smirk from John's face. "Listen," he said, ignoring John and directing his words to Teyla again. "Why do I have to spar with the Major? Physical combat is not my area of expertise, and I'm not learning anything except how to chase my sticks around the damn room."

Teyla retrieved Rodney's stick from the floor, kneeling and rising again in one fluid, graceful movement. "Go with your strengths, Dr. McKay." She held the stick out to him. "I've seen great improvement in your skills. Don't be discouraged."

John prodded Rodney's hip again. With a scowl, Rodney took the proffered stick, and returned to the center of the room, to face John. John twirled his sticks rapidly, ending with them upright, in an active stance, ready to start all over again

Rodney hated him.

"Now this time, Rodney, focus," John told him.

"I've been focusing." Rodney brought his sticks up into position, and crouched slightly, bending his knees, keeping his weight balanced, as Teyla had taught him. "If I were a laser you would have been disintegrated by now."

"Watch my eyes."

Rodney watched. Dark and boundless--infuriating eyes, but he watched them, just the same, staring into them as if they somehow held the answer to all that was fucked up about the man. Circling, staring, watching for any movement of the pupils to give away where John was going to strike next. A flick to the right, and Rodney swung his right arm down sharply, surprised to hear the smack of wood against wood as he blocked John's blow.

John's brow twitched. "Not bad."

Rodney still hated him.

Circling, keeping his weight focused on the balls of his feet, trying to stay light, knowing it was pointless. His arms were getting tired and his bruised wrist hurt, damn it. A feint to the left and Rodney blocked that one, too, swinging quickly with his right, but John blocked it.

"Nice try, Rodney. Come on, let's put a little backbone into it, okay?" Dark eyes, almost black now, glittering and Rodney couldn't look away if he wanted to. "You know you want to hit me."

"How could you possibly tell?" Rodney feigned a blow to the right. "You don't even know what you want. You have no idea who you even are. That's a sad way to go through life." He struck out with his right as he spoke, then again, and again, stepping closer because it felt good to slam his stick against John's like that, even though the recoil made his arm ache. He only focused on John's eyes, feeling as though he could see right through them, as if nothing were behind them at all and hell, maybe there wasn't anything there after all, the real John was hollow and empty and everything he thought he knew about the man was a lie. Without thinking, he struck again, left, then right, then left again.

John seemed startled by the aggression, and that brought a kind of savage pleasure, so much that Rodney was grinning by time the stick flew from John's hand. John's surprised expression brought a burst of satisfaction, and it felt even better when Rodney slid his left stick down between John's ankles, making John stumble and fall backward, hard.

Lunging forward, Rodney was on top of him in an instant, straddling his hips, a stick held across John's throat, holding him flat against the floor. John's eyes grew even blacker, looking up at Rodney with something other than anger as he wrapped his fingers around Rodney's stick; pushing back. Rodney leaned into it a little more, controlling it completely but enjoying the way it forced John to push back harder.

John licked his lips. "Nice," he said.

"Yes, it is, isn't it?" He kept John in place, on his back, on the floor. It felt good. Exciting, even. "You know, you were right, I think I did want to hit you."

"Nicely done, Dr. McKay." Teyla called out. "I believe you may release him, now."

Still, Rodney hesitated. He liked the way John looked, sweaty, chest heaving, hands gripping the stick tightly. Helpless.

"Rodney?" John asked, quietly.

Rodney lifted the stick and sat back. "Yeah, okay." He heard voices, and looked up to find Bates and Ford had arrived.

"Nice job, Dr. McKay," Ford said. "Really took the major down, didn't you?" He nudged Bates. "Took him right down."

Bates grinned. "I always said McKay was a dangerous man. Did he hurt you, Major?"

John sat up. "All right, that's enough, both of you," he said, jovial as ever, but he shot a searching look at Rodney.

Rodney rose and retrieved his bag, no longer angry, just weary and vaguely disturbed by the feeling stirred up. It was all starting to get to him, the wanting and the confusion and it shouldn't have felt so good to knock John down like that.

"Dr. McKay," Teyla touched his arm.

"Huh?" he said, distracted.

Teyla stood on her toes, and leaned forward, touching her forehead to his.

"Oh, yeah." Rodney had no idea what the move meant, except that it seemed respectful and kind, and at that moment, he needed it. A lot. "Thank you."

*****

Despite Rodney's best efforts to avoid him, John followed him into the transporter.

"Heading back?" John asked, civil as ever as he tapped in his destination.

"Yes, I think it only polite that I shower before I hit the lab." Sweat trickled down his chest, and his clothes clung to him, wet and uncomfortable.

"How's the wrist?" John moved closer, his presence seeming to fill the transporter and all at once Rodney didn't want him so close.

"Bruised," Rodney replied sharply.

"Let me see." John reached for his hand, and Rodney tried to back away, because he didn't want this, didn't want John being contrite. Damn it, he was confused enough.

But John took his hand anyway, lifting it palm up and eyeing the dark bruise spreading along his wrist. He raised his brows in surprise. "Ouch. I really got you good. Think it's broken?"

The thought hadn't occurred to him. "I don't know," Rodney said, eyeing it carefully. "I think it would be more swollen." He wiggled his fingers, even though his hand was cradled in John's.

John nodded. "I think you're right. Just a contusion."

"But it still hurts, okay?" Rodney tried to pull his hand away, but John closed his fingers over it and held on. He made a 'tsk tsk' sound, and then, to Rodney's extreme annoyance, bent his head and pressed his lips to the bruised area. "Oh, thank you, that makes it much better," Rodney snarled.

John kissed his wrist again and then, after a moment's hesitation, brushed his lips along the inside of Rodney's arm, up toward his elbow.

Rodney watched in astonishment--kissing, John was actually kissing the inside of his arm. Soft lips, warm breath, and the scrape of whiskers on delicate skin, and yes, this was more than confusing, it made no sense at all. "John--can I just say, mixed signals?" he managed.

Then John sucked lightly on the inside of his elbow and the hell with signals and traffic lights and stop and go. This might be the only chance he'd get and Rodney just wanted to go, full speed ahead.

John continued working his way up Rodney's arm. Rodney stopped thinking altogether when John started on his throat, pulling down the zippered neckline of his shirt to lick and suck and kiss. Rodney leaned his head back, bumping it against the wall, his hands on John's shoulders--hard, bony shoulders, and he could feel the heat of John's body right through his shirt. John's mouth went to the side of his neck now, nibbling on that spot that was directly connected to his cock, and Rodney got hard, all at once. He buried his fingers in John's thick hair and pulled John's head up, seeking that warm, hungry mouth. John made a small noise, of either surrender or desperation, Rodney couldn't tell which but it was most amazing sound he had ever heard, and then they were pressed up against each other, kissing frantically, hands groping and exploring.

John's body was hard and solid, his ass pure muscle under Rodney's hands. John shoved with his hips, and Rodney could feel John's erection pressing into his thigh. Deliriously happy that he had made John hard, because John so obviously wanted him, really wanted him, Rodney shoved back, rubbing his dick against John's hip, holding onto John's ass, and it was good and satisfyingly straightforward. Then John reached under his shirt, pushing it up, rough hands on Rodney's skin. He found a nipple, tweaking it, and Rodney moaned aloud and all the while John's tongue was licking his, as if he were best thing John had ever tasted.

The transportor swayed gently to a halt, and Rodney realized the doors were going to slide open. "John," he murmured, trying to untangle himself as much as he hated to, because he wanted this, wanted John more than maybe he had ever wanted anyone and, selfishly, the last thing he needed was for John to come to his senses and realize what he was doing.

Because damn it, John had started it, back in that Miellian cell.

John pulled back, blinking and dazed. Rodney took advantage of the moment as the door slid open. "Come on," he said, grabbing both bags and taking John by the elbow. He dragged John out of the transport and down the hallway.

To his delight, John went willingly, maybe even eagerly, all the way into Rodney's room. Once there he pulled his own shirt off and pushed Rodney down on the bed, climbing on top of him and then they were kissing again. Rodney struggled to remove his own shirt, and thought that if this was the result, he was going to knock John down with a big stick more often. Hell, whatever it took to turn him on.

Whatever it took to make him kiss like that, grind his cock against his body like that. John's skin rubbing against his, warm hairy chest, it was intense, it made him hard and aching and needy, his body responding as if it had been waiting a lifetime for this. Then John suddenly rolled off and Rodney panicked.

"Pants," John said. "Get your pants off. Now." He fumbled with his own belt, unfastening it.

"Right. Pants." Relieved, Rodney unzipped his pants, shoving them down, unlacing his shoes and managing to somehow kick everything off at once. He looked up to see that John was naked, too, lean and surprisingly beautiful, shoulders broad, hips narrow, and dark hair everywhere, god, he was a *guy*. It was thrilling to see John's hard cock jutting out, strange and exciting and thrilling. Rodney wanted to touch him everywhere. John sat next to him, watching him, eyes heavy-lidded and lips parted, and so Rodney took advantage and captured his mouth, pushing him down. John spread his legs and Rodney slipped down between them, his cock nestled next to John's.

John grabbed his ass and pushed up. Rodney moaned--so good, that friction was so good, naked friction and skin touching everywhere. He got his arms underneath John and held tight, crushing their bodies together, thinking vaguely that John couldn't possibly get away from him now. John's legs braced inside of his, heels against the inside of Rodney's knees, locking their bodies together. Rodney loved the feel of John writhing beneath him, loved the sounds he was making; it was all so much better than holding him down with a stick, much more exciting. Much dirtier, especially with all the moaning and cursing. He pushed and John shoved, over and over, and the sensitive underside of his cock rubbed on John's skin. Rodney hadn't realized sex could be like this, bruisingly hard and crazy and hot.

"Oh, fuck, Rodney," John said brokenly, sliding his cheek against Rodney's cheek. "Oh--"

John's body jerked beneath him, and then heat flowed onto Rodney's stomach in surges. John gasped for breath, body shaking with pleasure.

"Yes," Rodney whispered, because he'd made John come, damn it, John was his, there was no denying it. Then he was coming too, and oh god, it was heart-stoppingly glorious, the wetness oozing between them, and John holding him tight, so tight he could feel John's heart pounding against his own chest.

When the haze of pleasure faded, Rodney slumped on top of John, pressing against his chest, and John let out a low grunt. "Sorry, let me just--" Rodney murmured, sliding off and stretching out on his side, head propped on his forearm.

John lay still, not answering him, his forearm flung up over his eyes, breathing heavily.

Not a good sign, when John wouldn't even look at him. "John?"

"Rodney, damn it--" John moved his arm, staring up at Rodney, troubled.

With a sinking heart, Rodney looked away because he knew what was coming. "Don't, okay?" he said, as he crashed back down to earth, euphoria vanishing. "Whatever you're about to say, I don't need to hear it. Whether it's, 'this was a mistake, it's not you it's me, this can never happen again,' and so on and so forth. I just don't want to hear it." He climbed out of the bed.

"Rodney, I'm sorry, listen to me, I can't--"

"Please, Major, it's not like I haven't heard it all before. So--shut up." Rodney found his discarded shirt and wiped his dripping stomach. "I thank you for the confirmation of the gayness. Now I'm going to take a shower. Please just leave, okay?" He walked away, leaving John on the bed, silent.

When the bathroom door slid shut behind him, Rodney closed his eyes, throat tight, willing John to leave, not to follow him and insist upon explaining again. After a minute, all was still quiet, so he started up the water, turning the heat up high as he could stand it, his muscles stiffening from the exertion--the fighting, the sex, the anger, all of it.

The hot water felt good, relaxing and soothing, and Rodney stood under it, letting it stream down all around him.

A one-time thing with John was just as well, he decided. John obviously found him hot enough to have sex with, although not quite wonderful enough to have a relationship with and that was fine, because it was more than he usually got out of his attempts. And, anyway, John clearly had some issues. It wasn't a relationship that would ever work, not with John's level of self-loathing, something Rodney couldn't fathom.

He grabbed the soap and began to wash when he sensed cool air swirling around his ankles. Spinning around, he found John was standing in the open door of the shower, naked, belly still streaked with come.

"I don't want to go," John said quietly. He seemed surprised.

Rodney blinked. "Then don't."

John nodded thoughtfully, as if Rodney had said something utterly profound. "Did you like it?" he asked.

Still amazed that John was actually standing there, that John hadn't grabbed his clothes and left at the first possible opportunity, Rodney wondered if he should be happy or not. "Like it?"

"Yeah." John stared at the floor, at the water running down the drain. "The sex, did you like it?"

"Of course I did." John was nuts. Gorgeous, but nuts. "It was fantastic."

Meeting Rodney's eyes again, John asked, "Really?"

"Would you just get in here and close the door?" Rodney asked. "It's getting cold." Backing away from the stream of water, he motioned for John to join him.

John stepped forward, the door swinging shut behind him. He closed his eyes, ducking his head under the spray. "You're telling me it felt all right, even though you're, what, thirty-seven years old and had sex with a guy for the first time?" He wiped his face, blinking the water out of his eyes.

So earnest, and Rodney realized his curiosity was genuine. "Yes, John. For some strange reason, sex with you is a pretty wonderful thing."

A ghost of a smile. "And you're okay with that."

Rodney tried to explain. "Listen. Physics--that makes sense. It's logical. It obeys clear-cut laws. Human nature, not so much. I just go with where it takes me." He picked up the bar of soap from the holder, hesitated, and then raised his head, looking directly at John. "It takes me to you, and that is fine with me. You--you still have to figure out what's fine with you."

John seemed thoughtful, and if the wrinkle in his forehead was any indication, perplexed, too.

Rodney decided that not dashing out of the shower was a positive sign, so, taking a chance, he reached out, smoothing a soapy hand across John's chest. John moved toward him, out of the spray, his head ducked, watching. Rodney went with both hands, spreading his fingers wide against the flat chest, lathering his skin. Up over his shoulders, back down along a sharply defined collarbone, over small, flat nipples--John's body fascinated him. And even more fascinating was the way John closed his eyes and leaned into his touch. It occurred to Rodney that maybe John needed to be touched, truly needed it. Bolder now, he worked his hands down over John's ribs, then around on his stomach, which was a bit rounded, and he found that unreasonably endearing and real.

More soap, and Rodney worked his way further down, over John's thighs, then up along the inside until he was cupping John's balls, and that was a strange thing to be doing with your friend and team member. John's hands went to Rodney's shoulders, and he widened his stance, spreading his legs. Rodney looked up to discover John watching his face intently. Suddenly self-conscious as he fondled John's soft cock, he explained, "Just being thorough."

John looked amused, a familiar expression, one that Rodney recognized. John's hands slid around to his back, pulling him close, and then their slick, soapy bodies were pressed together. "Oh, this is good, too," Rodney told him.

"Just being thorough," John said, nuzzling Rodney's ear. He reached for the soap, and mutual lathering began in earnest, his hands sliding down Rodney's sides, across his back, and over his ass, and down into places Rodney never thought John's hands might go. Really, really strong hands, fabulously curious hands, and when they curved over Rodney's head, shampooing his hair with a slow, gentle massage, Rodney thought he might pass out from sheer bliss.

One final rinse and Rodney reluctantly shut the water off, sighing as John kissed the nape of his neck. John seemed to have relaxed, grown comfortable with the situation, but even so, a tiny ripple of fear wound through Rodney's stomach. He didn't know what was going to happen next. John was so damn flighty--

"Towels?" John asked.

"Over here." Rodney retrieved two annoyingly scratchy AF issue towels, tossing one to John. As they dried off, the tiredness hit him. Too many long nights tossing and turning, plus the physical activity, fighting and sex and distress all added up to his body feeling heavy and leaden and scarcely able to move.

"I don't know about you," Rodney said cautiously as he strolled out of the bathroom, "but I could use a nap." He sat on the rumpled bed, leaning back on his arms, watching John look around the room, arms folded against his chest. He seemed torn, gazing thoughtfully at the clothes piled on the floor, then back at the bed.

Rodney would have tried to look alluring if he only knew how. John probably had things to do anyway, whatever it was Air Force majors did when they weren't out on missions.

Finally, John nodded. "A nap sounds good."

He sat on the bed, then stretched out, inching closer to Rodney. Happy and relieved, Rodney made room for him. They lay on their sides, face to face, sharing the single pillow. John eased in and kissed Rodney, a slow, luxurious meeting of lips and tongue that left Rodney dazed and breathless. Then with a smile that seemed strangely shy, John touched Rodney's chest, brushing a fingertip over a nipple. "You look so good," he said.

The simple, heartfelt statement made Rodney grin. "Even though I'm not the athletic sort?"

John frowned. "What?"

"When you were stoned," Rodney explained, "you told me you thought I was hot, and you didn't know why, because you usually go for the more athletic types."

"I told you that?" Brows raised in disbelief. "God, I'm such a jerk."

As John started to turn away Rodney grabbed his shoulders and pulled him back. "Wait, wait--you did note, correctly, that I have a great ass. And believe me, I have no illusions about being an athlete. I have a scientist's physique. I've worked many years developing it."

John relaxed, a hand resting on Rodney's hip. "I don't know--you were pretty good with the sticks earlier."

Rodney smirked. "I had incentive."

"I'll bet you did." John kissed the corner of his mouth. "And I love the way your mouth does that."

"Really? What's it doing?"

"It goes all--" John waved a finger. "Never mind. I just like it." Another kiss, sweet and slow, and Rodney realized he could get used to this, John's warm body in his bed, hand sliding over his ass, a thigh easing in between his. It was scary how used to it he could get, how he could get used to it and come to expect it.

"John, I have to know," he finally said, "Just tell me, what happened to the 'I can't do this'? Should I be expecting that to resurface soon? Are you going to walk out on me? Which will, by the way, really piss me off."

"Jeeze, Rodney, you don't pull any punches, do you?"

"Should I?"

"No, actually, I think--I think blunt can be good."

"Really?" Rodney was surprised. "I can safely say you're the first person who ever told me that. Especially in bed."

"You don't let me get away with anything." John traced a finger along his collarbone, pressed a kiss to his shoulder, stroked down his arm. He continued to touch Rodney, staring at his body as if it were the most amazing thing he had ever seen. "Listen," he said. "I want you to fuck me."

A change of subject, and Rodney was unbalanced all over again. "You really do?" He was aware that John hadn't answered his question, and thought that perhaps John himself didn't know the answer. But right now, John was in Rodney's bed, and Rodney could work with that. As could his dick, which was very excited over John's request. "I can do that. I really can. Not that I've done it before, mind you, but I'm a quick learner."

John stroked Rodney's cock, wrapping his fingers around it in firm grip. "We'll need lubricant of some kind. Do you have anything?"

"Mmmwhat?" All the touching was distracting, very distracting. He watched John's hand, long fingers sliding around on his cock, thumb circling over the head. "I, uh, what was I saying?"

"Lube," John said. "We need lube."

"I have this lotion, it's sort of greasy, will that do?" At John's nod, Rodney disengaged himself and rolled from the bed. He rummaged through his shelves until he located the jar. "Ah, got it."

Rodney turned and caught himself up short. John was stretched out on his back, his cock hard and erect and it was the first time Rodney had a chance to really get a good look. A naked, aroused man in his bed, of all things. A naked, aroused *John*.

"What?" John asked.

"Admiring the view," Rodney explained.

"You're going to do more than admire it," John told him.

Rodney climbed back on the bed, and when John smiled and spread his legs, the view got even better. "Oh, I think so too," Rodney said, settling in between John's long legs, running his hands up the muscular thighs before taking hold of John's cock--his very hard cock. Damn thing was like velvet to the touch, and Rodney leaned in to taste it, brushing his lips against the tight, silky skin and then sweeping his tongue up the length of it. Encouraged by John's soft gasp, Rodney sucked it into his mouth, as far is it would go, which wasn't very far at all. He worried about scraping it with his teeth, catching the ridge, but John just sighed happily, moving his hips. Rodney licked and sucked until it was wet and slippery in his mouth.

"Rodney," John said softly, as if it were an endearment.

Letting John's cock slide out of his mouth, Rodney nuzzled at the thick base, coarse, curly hair all around, tickling his nose. John touched his hair, fingers trailing down to caress his neck and then his cheek, all soft touches, tender and surprisingly sweet. Finally, Rodney remembered the jar in his hand.

He kissed John's hipbone. "Um, okay, what do you need me to do with this stuff," he asked.

John sat up, taking the jar of cream from him. "I just need some like this," he scooped up two fingerfuls, then leaned back and reached down between his legs, reaching behind his balls.

"Oh, hey, hey--" Rodney watched as John's fingers disappeared. "Can I do that?"

John withdrew his hand. "Hell yeah. It's actually a lot more fun that way."

Rodney grabbed the jar, and a moment later was feeling his way around with slick fingers. "Come here, lift your hips," Rodney said, because he wanted to see.

John obliged, sliding down on the bed to rest his ass on Rodney's lap, hips tilted up, legs splayed. Rodney pushed in an index finger. John felt tight and smooth on the inside, amazingly so. Rodney reached in as far as he could, and John seemed to really like it, closing his eyes and laying his head back. "Gimme more. Come on, Rodney."

Rodney worked another finger in past the snug ring of muscle, and John stretched his arms out over his head, placed his palms flat against the wall and shoved himself down on Rodney's hand. "That's it," he said, voice breathy.

Rodney pulled his fingers out partway, then pushed back in, again and again. John moaned, muscles flexing as he writhed. "Is that good?" Rodney asked. "What does it feel like?"

"It's good. It feels like--it feels like you're about to fuck me." He raised one leg, resting it on Rodney's shoulder and slid his ass further into Rodney's lap. "Do it now. Right now. Please, Rodney."

Such an urgent plea, and there was nothing Rodney wanted to do more, but the logistics were a little confusing--his cock was still fairly distant from the target. Obviously it could be done, somehow, but he wasn't sure. "Okay, let me just--" He got more lotion, applied it to his cock, then rose up on his knees, which seemed to help. "How do I get there?"

John slung a second leg over his shoulder. "Here, wait." He grabbed the pillow and pushed it under his ass.

"Ah, yes, good, very good with the ass placement," Rodney said, and was pleased by the resulting grin. A little more maneuvering, and, with John's hard, hairy thighs pressed against his chest, Rodney was able to get his cock right up against John's hole. He pushed, and watched as John's grin faltered, lips parting and then John moaned with pleasure as Rodney's cock slipped inside.

Rodney pushed harder, sliding all the way in, and oh god, so tight, so warm, John's flesh enveloping him, taking him in. "God, that's good."

"How's it feel?" John whispered, raising his head. "Do you like it?"

Rodney rocked his hips, and a shivery burst of pleasure swept through him. "Oh god." Fucking John--he was fucking John, and if he didn't stop thinking that he was going to come any minute. "Oh god," he repeated, hoping that was answer enough, because he couldn't come up with another damn thing to say.

John reached out to him, and Rodney realized he could shift forward, practically folding up John's body and not lose the rhythm. He could let John pull him all the way down into a kiss, a wet, sloppy kiss, and it was fantastically hot and weird and just plain fucking hot, to be fucking John, to be able to thrust his dick deep inside his body, as if he owned it.

"I wanted you to do this," John told him, his lips moving against Rodney's mouth. "I wanted you to hold me down with that stick and fuck me hard."

A thrill ran through Rodney's body, right down into his cock. "Yes," Rodney said, because he had wanted the same thing. He began to thrust faster.

"I want you to--don't you see, this is what I wanted and I shouldn't want it--" John's voice broke off.

"Stop it." Rodney planted a hand on either side of John's head and kissed him. "Just stop it," he grunted out between thrusts. John turned his head away. Frustrated, Rodney grabbed his hair and bit his neck, hard.

With a low whimper, John began jerking himself off. Rodney wanted to help, but he had his arms full of John's legs, and it was so complicated, too complicated. So he pulled back and let John go at it. If John looked beautiful before--now, with his eyes screwed shut, mouth open and panting, he was breathtaking, and how could John not think this was the most absolutely right thing for them to be doing?

John ground out a harsh moan, then another. His body strained, neck arched and his hand moved faster over his cock. Rodney watched him come, watched his face go tight with pleasure, felt his hips jerk incoherently. And whoa, muscles squeezing his cock, and Rodney didn't know that was going to happen, didn't realize how powerful it would be, that he would feel it all, each surge of pleasure while he was inside of John. "Oh my god, John--that's just amazing," Rodney blurted out.

"Oh yeah." John looked a little dazed himself, Rodney noted with satisfaction.

Hooking his hands under his knees, John drew his legs up against his chest, exposing himself even more. Rodney could look down and watch his dick disappearing into John's body, that tight little space, and he knew he wasn't going to last another minute, seeing that. He grabbed John's hips, dug his feet in and went for it, thrusting wildly until it all blew apart in his brain. He came hard, and noisily, shoving himself up against John's body as if he could climb inside of it. He was trembling when he finished, head hanging down, heart beating wildly and oh yes, possibly the best sex he had ever had.

"That was good," Rodney gasped, astonished. "I mean, really good. Am I right, here? Did you think it was good?"

To Rodney's delight, John didn't retreat. He actually smiled. "It was good." He tugged on Rodney's arms and pulled him close. "Come here," John insisted.

Rodney pulled out and crawled next to him. He found himself enveloped by a hug, and relaxed into it, snuggled against John's warm body. Boneless and spent, legs aching, bruised wrist throbbing, Rodney couldn't remember the last time he'd felt so good. "You *should* want this," he murmured. "You should want sex with me all the time, because clearly, I'm damn good at it."

"Clearly," John agreed. He seemed amused, and then, with a contented sigh added, "Yeah, you are pretty damn good."

"I mean it," Rodney said, already beginning to drift off. "I don't understand this 'shouldn't want it' business."

"Let's not talk about that." John kissed Rodney's forehead. "Old habits die hard."

"Time to make new habits," Rodney insisted. He tucked his head against John's chest. Warm and relaxed, and despite his best efforts, his eyes fluttered shut and he fell asleep.

*****

When Rodney woke, he didn't have to open his eyes to discover that space beside him was empty. Not a huge surprise that John had left him, and he wasn't even angry, just--weary.

Okay, maybe a little angry. He sighed, rolling over, knowing that deep down inside he had expected this, it had all been too good to be true. Rubbing his eyes, he sat up, wondering what the time was. The room was growing dark, it was most certainly dinnertime. Then he blinked at what he saw next--standing there, looking out his window, was John. Gorgeously naked John, looking over his shoulder at Rodney and smiling--smiling at him, damn it.

"I thought you left," Rodney said, more crossly than he should have but John had scared him, badly.

John crossed the room and sat on the bed. "I almost did," he said. "But then I realized, even if I did go, I couldn't go far--well, I live across the hall, and you would know exactly where to find me."

"You're right, I would." Rodney frowned, not sure where this was all going.

"And you would come after me, looking indignant and scornful and sexy and--" John scratched his head, "sexy and indignant--and I wouldn't be able to resist and we'd just end up in bed together anyway."

Rodney had been accused of many things, but irresistible never had been one of them. "Really?"

John nodded. "Why fight the inevitable?" he asked.

"And here I was worried I'd have to go and get those sticks." Rodney grinned, scooted over and wrapped his arms around John's shoulders.

"That would work, too." John leaned back against Rodney's chest. "Listen, Rodney, I can't promise anything, and life here is kind of crazy to begin with--"

"Just one day at time, okay?" Rodney suggested. "That's all I ask."

"That, I can do," John told him. "Now how about some dinner?"

*****

Long day, Rodney thought as he headed toward his room. Eyes burning from staring at computer screen well into the night, shoulders aching from tension, he was tired, dead tired. Power issues--force fields, water supplies, gate travel--they were all taxing the naquada generators. And taxing him, too, along with the rest of his team.

Despite his exhaustion, Rodney paused in front of John's door. It was late. Surely John was sound asleep.

But niggling doubts were there, always in the background. He hadn't seen John all day, and now he felt the need to touch him, to seek comfort in his presence--odd, how quickly he had become used to that, after only a couple of weeks. Hell, he still didn't know if things would work out between them. So much uncertainty, from one day to the next. Maybe he should have more faith, but it wasn't like he was so great at this relationship business either and in a sudden burst of pessimism, he wondered why he even bothered to try.

He turned sharply and entered his own room, leaving it dark. Shedding his clothes, he fell into his own bed, alone.

His sheets smelled like John.

Rodney thought he wouldn't be able to sleep with calculations running though his mind, sticky power distribution issues, software compatibility problems, a finicky Ancients database. Sleepy, his mind grew undisciplined, going back to the feel of John's body against his, the surprisingly shy smile, the way John's body trembled against his when he came, and the thought that maybe it was more wondrous than anything he'd found in the Ancient city.

Sappy, he thought with despair. He got sappy when he was exhausted.

On the vague, disconnected edge of sleep, Rodney heard a sound, something that could have been the sound of his door opening. He held still, eyes closed, listening to the soft rustle of clothes hitting the floor. He wondered if he were already asleep, and he was having a vivid dream. The bed dipped, and that felt real, very real. Then John slid under the covers, curling up against Rodney. An arm slid around Rodney's waist, hand resting on his chest and soft breath puffed against Rodney's neck.

Definitely real.

Content, Rodney placed a hand over John's, and slept.

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