Catch Your Breath
When John steps through the wormhole, everything changes.
Rodney remembers this, remembers those times John would light up like this, rare and precious, stored memories that three years didn't dim, never faded, taken out and touched on the rarest nights, when he'd wander his city and feel its loss like his own.
That restless, endless *anger*, something eternally missing, the discoveries that he couldn't share, the worlds that he couldn't see, the universe he'd touched and lost. The city hums around him and he's waking up with it, the buzz of adrenaline and hope and sheer, unrelenting *relief*.
This is Atlantis, Rodney thinks, watching John in the middle of the mess, civilian uniform as a civilian contractor, surrounded by scientists and military alike, Elizabeth and Teyla and Ronon, old friends, acquaintances, survivors who never forgot him, would never have him go, won't ever let him go again. It's like discovery all over again, fresh and shocky, like being high, too bright and too intense, like waking up on Saturday, but better, because John's all the Saturdays in the world rolled into one.
Like they've all been waiting, grieving for what they missed, now rejoicing in its return.
When John looks at him, sun bright and alive like no one Rodney's ever met, Rodney forgets to breathe.
"What?" John says, the dying Atlantean sun behind him like an orange-red halo, too desperately, ridiculously romantic for words to describe.
Before Rodney reaches for him, pulls him into a kiss that silences the room, touches him like they're alone, he realizes.
This is how you fall in love.