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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation


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sgafic: all brand new, sequel to amireal's close encounters
sheppard is pretty
seperis
Title: All Brand New, Sequel to amireal's Close Encounters
Author: jenn (jenn@thegateway.net)
Codes: Sheppard, Sheppard/McKay
Rating: NC-17
Spoilers: none specific, second season-ish
Summary: And if Rodney had been pissy *before* about what he saw as John's flirtatious behavior, there are all new levels of insanity to achieve when Rodney has exclusive access.
Author Notes: Thanks to the incomparable amireal, who asked and audienced and told me I was pretty as often I asked, lierdumoa for a last minute preread, and basically for the very dregs of my teenage music collection. Eighties power ballads, Roxette, and Madonna. Mmm.

For reference, Close Encounters by amireal



John thinks sometimes that he's actually hallucinating his life, after a few too many hours spent with the engineers at McMurdo: bitter, miserable bastards building stills and distilling what has to be jet fuel into a semi-consumable liquid.

There's been just a little too much surreality recently.

The gay sex--new, strange, scary, but hey, he's a flexible guy, and he allows himself ten minutes a day to stare into the mirror and wonder what the hell. The boyfriend--God, don't think that, don't think that, *don't think that*--okay, new, strange, scary, but it's *Rodney*, so it's not like it could have been even the gay equivalent of normal anyway. Whatever that is. The slow accumulation of orphaned hard drives, Rodney's third favorite laptop, hidden caches of t-shirts, and comic-book character boxers in his quarters--new, strange, but kind of cool, since John steals the boxers sometimes, and it always, always ends in very good orgasms in the supply closet off Rodney's fifth favorite lab. It's not like any of this was going to be news--John pretty much knew what he was getting into with the first dip into the Rodney side of the dating pool. He gets to be called an idiot and then given orgasms, the kind of reinforcement that John doesn't actually need but is pretty much resigned to anyway.

Still, though.

"I am *not a virgin*," John hears himself say blankly, watching Rodney stare in appalled horror at the mound of what appears to be armor and, if John squints, an axe. "You did explain that? Better question--why exactly were you and the Prime Minister discussing *me* at all?"

Gay sex. Good to go. Gay boyfriend. Okay. Comic boxers. A greatly underappreciated aphrodisiac. But this--

"Will you shut up and help me figure out how to put this on?" Rodney snaps, turning a brighter shade of red, the kind John would usually associate with impending heart attack or, possibly, explosive decompression. "In case you didn't notice, *Colonel*, I'm about to engage in some barbaric custom of fighting for your nonexistent honor--"

"Not getting any points for that one." Dropping on the bed, John takes in the lovely round tower room about seventy feet above ground level, solid ten feet of stone all around, the bed, the single chair, and the rusting pile of metal in the middle of the floor. It feels almost inevitable, in that way that only the Pegasus galaxy makes crazy things normal and this, this feel like something that he almost *deserves*, for letting Rodney wander off unescorted and manage to fall into a duel.

A *duel*.

Rodney answers with something both filthy and anatomically impossible, stomping to the bed to glare down at John with narrowed eyes, like this entire situation is all John's fault. "You know what? They can *have you*. Because you're more trouble than you're worth, and oh my God, I am going to duel for your *honor*." Rodney more or less stumbles onto the bed, but John's gotten practiced at the avoidance of the lumbering Rodney--he who comes to John's room at two in the morning, apparently forgetting he has quarters of his own, and falls into bed without caring much that John's kind of already *there*. A quick twist, a frown that Rodney ignores, and John sits up, staring down at Rodney, struck anew that he's seen Rodney naked more times than he can count and still gets a tiny charge out of the view of his sprawled body.

"Do I even want to know how we got to this? I left you with the prime minister for *five minutes*--"

Rodney huffs out a breath, but he's reddening again, and John watches the rare sight of Rodney speechless. He's making all the right gestures, though, and John translates the motions for a running theme. It seems to be, shut up, with a side of, your fault, and a little, oh God, why did I come to the Pegasus galaxy when I could be watching porn alone on my TV with my cat?

It's very Rodney, all things considered.

John waits until Rodney's hands fall still, then drops on his hands and knees--a move that never fails to utterly incapacitate Rodney's speech centers--and crawls the length of way-too-large bed between them, finally resting on all fours above him and watching the flush recede. Sitting back, he makes himself comfortable and thinks that so many of his combat teachers would shit to know he'd found far more useful applications for the professional pin.

Rodney's hands automatically cup his hips, warm and sweaty and familiar, and John grins down at him. "So. You're defending my honor."

Rodney's mouth twists. "Cute, Colonel."

"Is this have anything to do with Prime Minister Junior and his not-so-casual groping?"

Rodney thinks that the entire Pegasus galaxy is after John's ass, which is usually funny and kind of weirdly cute, because this relationship thing is completely unexplored territory. He's never had anyone who worried if he didn't eat and checked him for injuries after working out, who disabled the entirety of the Atlantis PA and internal comm system one memorable morning to give him three more hours of sleep after a rough mission, or scared the shit out of anyone in a thirty foot radius who even looked at John in a way that could be interpreted as interested. And who, apparently, somehow managed to accidentally start a duel.

Rodney's eyes narrow. "Okay, first off? If you'd just *shoot them* when they start getting hands-y--"

"Hands-y."

"Shut *up*. Shoot the first one, word would travel. We wouldn't have these problems."

John stares down at Rodney. "It says a lot about the both of us that I know you mean that. Okay, leaving off homicide for unwanted sexual advances--what. Happened?"

Rodney turns his head away, classic sulking that the universe is not as he wants it to be and he still doesn't get why. John waits, because time is on his side. Rodney's constitutionally incapable of not talking for more than three minutes, no matter what he's doing. Which John appreciates, for so many reasons.

"He said you were easy," Rodney snaps, then heaves a sigh, put-upon and so patient with stupid people. "And other--things."

John waits.

"About you being--" Rodney's hand lets go of John's hip, making a gesture reminiscent of murder by knife in a dark alley. "Available."

"So he called me a slut."

Rodney doesn't answer, but he doesn't need to, and John shakes his head, bracing himself on his elbows over Rodney, close enough for a slow kiss. "You are so my hero."

Rodney rolls suddenly, John's balance thrown, and John grins as he spreads his knees wider, letting Rodney fall comfortably between them. "So you said I was a *virgin*?"

Rodney sighs. "Quasi-medieval societies place a premium on virginity, or so Anthropology 101 seemed to imply." Fingers digging into the blanket, he gives John a helpless look. "It seemed like a good idea at the time!"

"Like punching him was?"

Rodney pauses. "Maybe I should have shot him," he says with terrifying earnestness, and John considers Elizabeth's reaction to that change in policy and shudders.

Rolling off him, Rodney settles against John's side, staring up at the ceiling. "I don't know how to use an axe."

Two hours ago, John was eating something that was so close to chicken that he pretended it actually was, avoiding the way-too-grabby hands of two overdressed matrons, hiding behind Ronon from the Prime Minister's son, and negotiating a trade agreement. One hour ago, he was staring down the barrel of his gun at the house guards while Rodney shouted how they were all morons between protestations of this being totally, totally not his fault over the body of the Prime Minister's aforementioned grabby son. Thirty minutes ago, they were locked up here with a pile of armor and an axe.

Basically, John can't even be surprised anymore by how the universe turns.

"Yeah," John says. "Me either."

*****

The thing is, this is not the first time, which makes it just that much more surreal. The duel, yes, new thing, and hopefully, that will stay strange and unique and not something they'll be revisiting anytime *ever*. But they do go to different planets, and once there, they trade with strange people, and for some reason, the strange people tend to think various members of the teams are trade items.

And if Rodney had been pissy *before* about what he saw as John's flirtatious behavior, there are all new levels of insanity to achieve when Rodney has exclusive access.

There was the Planet of the Goats, where Rodney practically slept on top of him in an effort to protect his chastity from roaming bands of what he claimed were feral women bent on sexual conquest, with Teyla and Ronon camped outside the door, and John still hasn't figured out how on earth he got them to do that. There were the negotiations on the Planet of the Friendly Crocodiles, where they met with semi-reptilian beings for trade and Rodney spent the entire time standing right behind John's shoulder looking what Rodney thought was menacing and what the delegates took to be extremely constipated. There was that time that John woke up to being almost-stoned for engaging in sexual congress before marriage while Rodney, flagrantly naked and waving a power bar, promised that he'd blow up their planet with chewing gum and a hairpin if they didn't leave John alone *right now* (and it worked, too, which was the cool part), and there was that one time that Simpson smiled at him and Rodney put her on third shift watching moss grow. Watching. Moss. Grow. And documenting it.

And there's now, where Rodney's staring balefully at armor and an axe because someone said something mean about his boyfriend. John has no idea whether to be utterly horrified or flattered as hell.

Turning on his side, he considers the man sprawled uncomfortably beside him, annoyed and cranky but not actively terrified yet, probably because, like John, it's all just too ridiculous to comprehend.

"So, dawn, right?"

Rodney stares harder at the ceiling, like he's willing it to open and a rescue puddlejumper to appear based on the sheer strength of his mind. "What is it with archaic traditions and the ass end of the morning?"

John glances out at the noonday sun. Eighteen hours, give or take. Right. "Teyla and Ronon were allowed to go back to Atlantis. We should hear from them before your tragic display of manliness." An axe. John just can't get his head around it. An *axe*. For a duel.

Rodney snorts something that sounds uncomplimentary, but John ignores it, because honestly, there's that part of him he really wishes would stop piping up, muttering words like 'romantic' and 'sweet' and 'oh God, I am so fucked and I still haven't fucked him', a situation that Rodney has not yet commented on, loudly, but John figures it's only a matter of time before natural progression brings them to the place where someone is going to be rolling over, and considering the experience gap between them, it's probably going to be John.

He's been thinking about it.

"We should get some sleep," John says finally and is rewarded with an incredulous look. "It was morning Atlantis time when we arrived at this planet's afternoon. We haven't slept in twenty two hours, and frankly, it's not like there's anything else to do." Which is all true, but it's not like either of them don't know how to function sleep-deprived. First year resident doctors have nothing on the Pegasus galaxy for triple and quadruple shifts. Sitting up, John shifts to pull up the thick blanket, then sighs and starts pulling off his boots and vest, sighing a little as he slips beneath the covers.

Rodney's still staring at him, wide-eyed and incredulous, but his mouth snaps shut and he struggles with his own boots, throwing them off the bed before sliding in beside John. Even now, there's a slight hesitation before the first touch, like somewhere in his head, this still isn't allowed, so John makes it easy, shifting back until he's flush against Rodney, and an arm goes around his waist, warm breath tickling the back of his neck.

Lacing his fingers through Rodney's, John closes his eyes, lulled to quiet sleep by the steady breathing, the warm hand sliding beneath his shirt to settle with comfortable heat against his stomach, and the fact that these things, familiar as putting on socks, only scare him for ten minutes out of every day.

*****

It's just a surprise to John, every day, that no one's guessed. He feels like it's written onto his face for anyone to see, marking him like Rodney's fingers and mouth have marked him beneath his clothes. Three lightheaded, terrified days of wearing a hickey on his shoulder and thinking everyone had to know, getting inappropriately hard every time he moved the bruised muscle, body memory flashing on Rodney rubbing off against him, slow and luxurious, impossibly filthy words dragging against the skin of his neck. Between shift supply-closet meetings that he leaves for briefings, facing a room full of Marines and Caldwell, still tasting Rodney on his tongue, feeling Rodney's fingers pressed into the back of his neck. Rodney's mouth on his cock when he's sitting at his own desk, giving orders between clenched teeth.

They're too old for this shit, but all it takes to get John hot is knowing Rodney's in walking distance. It's all the intensity of an early adolescent crush, obsessed and needy and desperate, except they're in their thirties and God, shouldn't they at least pretend that they're not kids getting high on each other?

It's never been like this, even in high school, and it's dangerous, so fucking dangerous that they can't control themselves except at the most basic, defensive level. He could wonder about that, but he's had his ten minutes and there's a decent chance Rodney just might have to put on that armor and go fight an idiot with a wine-loosened tongue and no idea who he was talking to if John doesn't pay attention.

Rodney's arm tightens when he moves, murmuring into the back of his neck, like every morning since they began, words that John can't hear and isn't sure he wants to, not yet. It's enough to know they're both junkies--a whole other thing to admit it, even to each other.

Settling back, he feels Rodney relax, the leg between his hooked around his ankle, this silent command to stay, don't go, don't leave, and it's warm and scary and something John's never had, never even knew how to want. Rodney brings him trays when he's working and fights with him when he's angry and touches him like he's as starved as John is for contact, fingers on the back of his neck, the curve of his jaw, the small of his back, pressed between his shoulder blades and gentle on his thigh.

It's not just the sex, it's not even mostly the sex, and that thought could bring the ten minutes along way too early. John shifts again, pushing his shoulder back into Rodney's, eyeing the dark grey of post-sundown out the only window. "Wake up."

Rodney makes a rude noise and burrows closer, and John twitches at the feel of teeth brushing against the bare skin at the knob at the top of his spine, soothed with a warm tongue, wet and careful. "You have got to be kidding, McKay."

But he's really not. Rodney's serious about sex the same way he's serious about a Nobel Prize. John thinks that's flattering. Thinks being the operative word.

"Seriously, cut it out." Swiping a hand back, John rolls away when Rodney squawks about a black eye, finding the floor with his feet and shaking his head as Rodney glares. "We are not--"

"Dead man here? I think I'm entitled to a last request." Rodney tries to leer, but he's caught in the middle of a yawn. John sees the dried remains of drool on one cheek, and wishes, suddenly and painfully, that he hadn't already been conditioned to find any state of Rodney endearing, because this is just pathetic.

"You're not going to die." Though the view of the axe on the floor does bring a faint flutter of worry. There has to be a way out of this that doesn't include Rodney's death by bronze axe. And bronze of all things--haven't they even developed steel yet?

"I'm sorry, am I suffering from amnesia and actually know how to use an axe?" Well, yes, there's that. "I have two options. Outright panic, now, or outright panic with a soothing post-coital glaze, later. You choose." Rodney sits back against the pillows, arms crossed, a sleep line still curving over one cheek, sulky and angry and still sleepy. "Colonel?"

John sits on the edge of the bed, beyond the maximum reach of Rodney's best lunge. "We're going to get out of here, and you're not going to die." But he lays a hand on Rodney's bare ankle, because he hasn't figured out how to be this close and not touch. "If worst comes to worst--"

"You mean, if they lead me to death by primitive bronze weapon--"

"You really just want to skip straight to the sex, don't you?"

Rodney nods. "Yes."

Another glance out the window confirms nightfall. Sitting up on his knees, John pulls off his shirt, watching Rodney's eyes widen. This part never gets old, never stops making him smile, never stops getting him high. Just this, thin cotton peeling away, and he's got Rodney's undivided attention.

It's taken him a while to realize he's had it for a lot longer than they've been having sex.

*****

Rodney had called it a crush, and it *is*, in that way that it's nothing like one. It's hot and electric and embarrassing, fourteen and Ginny Rogers the senior cheerleader, vaguely ashamed and hard to breathe and stupid as shit. It's sneaking into rooms in that way he just goes openly and doesn't care who sees it, and leaves in the morning, passing people in the hall, knowing he's supposed to care but not quite able to get around to doing it. It's in the lab where he hangs over Rodney's desk and watches him work and can't take his eyes off him in briefings. It's dinner every night and missions every week and shared naps on Atlantean weekends where they're nothing but warm, sleepy bodies, touch for the sake of touch, tangled and quiet and peaceful and right.

It's why John gets ten minutes every day to freak out, because while the sexuality aspect is an issue, it's nothing compared to everything else.

Rodney sits up, blue eyes flickering over his body, and every time, he gets that look, a flickering second of bewilderment; Rodney, who can rewrite the language of the cosmos with a laptop and a crisis, who believes in nothing and no one the way he believes in himself, not quite believing this.

"Are you just going to watch?" John asks, reaching for the buttons on his pants, but Rodney's already there, hand on his jaw tipping his head into a fast, messy kiss, fingers hooked in the waistband of his pants, a flare of shivery heat like the first second of interface with the puddlejumper. Vivid and hyperreal and too close, and John gives himself that one second--a guy, a man, rough skin and hair and flat chest, cock pushing against his hip, new, strange, scary--but it's Rodney, and he lets it go with barely a thought. There's no one else he'd do this for, be pushed back in this huge, soft bed, open his knees so Rodney can settle between them, open his mouth to tongue or fingers, skin or cock, listen to Rodney's murmured instructions and promises and encouragement against his ear. Rodney learning him while he learns this, and sex is the least of the things that Rodney's teaching him.

"John," is murmured just below his ear, breathless and private, rubbing against him slow and easy. Warm post-sleep sex, less about want than need, connection, grounding in touch and taste and feel.

"Nice," John says, closing his eyes at the shivery warmth of Rodney's mouth, gentle and precise on his throat. Curving his head back, he smiles, thinking of Rodney staring down at the Prime Minister's incredibly stupid son with an appalled look on his face at the knee-jerk reaction that he'd probably never seen coming. Reaching down, he pulls Rodney's hand up, mouthing the still red, slightly swollen knuckles, wondering if it'll ever stop being cute, that Rodney knows, *knows*, that John can take care of himself and he still can't stop himself from wanting to protect him. "I like you, you know."

Rodney's teeth press sharply against the skin of his throat, marking his place, and lifts his head, staring at John like he's lost his mind. John grins back, huge and a little scary and happy. Life's so much easier when you live under the philosophy that anything can happen and probably will. "What?"

John turns his head to the window and his grin widens when the universe falls into place.

"I know how we're getting out of here."

Rodney follows his gaze. "You have got to be kidding me."

*****

"Somehow, I always forget you're crazy," Rodney says wistfully while John stares in the mirror.

"And somehow, you always forget not to use your teeth," John mutters, turning his head and feeling like a teenage girl when he catches himself pulling at the collar of his t-shirt. Like Elizabeth is going to give him detention for showing up with a hickey. John shivers at the idea of Lorne's reaction, which will start with amused looks and end with questions about vacuums. John supposes he deserves it after leaving him with two months of backlogged personnel paperwork after Lorne made the mistake of suggesting a game of poker to decide who did it.

Or maybe John's the one that suggested it, but the point is, the man carries grudges to a ridiculous length.

"Colonel? If you could stop admiring your reflection for a moment, life and death here?" Over his shoulder, he can see Rodney, fully dressed and still pre-sex flushed, caught between disparate instincts of oh God, we are going to die, oh God, we have to get away, and oh God, John is such a fucking cocktease. The last two are true, so it's not like he's really all that wrong. "Point here? Death by defenestration?" He waves to the window, like John needs the reminder. "Death by sharp objects?" A glare at the axe. "I'm not seeing an option for survival."

Turning around, John picks up his vest and goes through the compartments. Guns, taken, of course, knives, taken, great. "I'm working on it," John says, crossing to the window to look down. Seventy feet, maybe eighty. Not too bad if he was on his own. He's come down from higher for fun on the mainland.

Rodney has a thing, however, about heights, and it's not like that's even a surprise, really. It comes with the paranoid package that is currently alternating glares at him from horrified glances at the armor.

"You don't really plan to--" Rodney's eyes flicker to the window, and he gulps. John tries not to stare at his mouth, still too-red and swollen from all that foreplay that John's brilliant idea had brought to a screeching halt. "No."

"Hey, you ever met Mr. Axe? Feel free to get to know each other. Or. We can *escape*."

Rodney scowls. And John knows, just knows, that he's lost it completely, because even that's cute, funny and warming and so Rodney. Flickering through more pockets, John flips his vest around and feels along the lining. Got it. Grinning, he pulls out the length of rappelling cord, last used a week ago rock climbing with Ronon on the mainland while Rodney talked loudly about sunburn, heat exhaustion, and the waste of his time while in breathing distance of the puddlejumper, just in case John slipped.

He watches Rodney's eyes widen in horror as John crosses the room, fingers closing over Rodney's belt. "Oh no you're not."

John snaps the clasp open and tries not to kiss him. "It'll be fun."

*****

It's a perfectly gorgeous night.

"I hate you so much."

Fat red moon, fatter blue moon, it's just a rainbow of moons on the horizon, a planet in the middle of the Pegasus galaxy, where anything can happen. Where John can be almost-seduced in a big, terribly romantic bed in a tall, terribly romantic tower; where his terribly possessive boyfriend tries to beat up diplomats for calling John terribly rude names. Where Rodney would rather face down a man with an axe and a wine headache than do what he's doing now, going down the side of a tower wrapped around John like a second skin, head buried in his shoulder, working against every instinct and believing in John more than he believes in himself.

"I will never sleep with you again."

Feeding out the cord, John presses his feet into the stone, going down as slowly as he can--because it's hard to work against instinct, and he likes it fast, likes it dangerous, would go down this thing in two minutes flat, but he has Rodney and so it's slow, and it's careful, and John tilts his head back and grins up at the star-thick sky and think life just does not get any better than this.

"I will never speak to you again. Oh God, is the rope breaking? Is it breaking?"

John turns his head enough to rub a soothing cheek against Rodney's hair. "It could pick up a jumper."

Rodney snuffles something against his throat about lowest bidder contracting and American manufacturing, but John ignores it and keeps going, slow and steady, no sudden adrenaline-jumping jerks, no quick falls and quick stops, just smooth pressure, letting gravity do its job of getting them down. John's job is just to make sure they get down in one piece.

"This wasn't on the list," Rodney mumbles.

"List?" Glancing down, John considers they're probably about halfway down.

"Of the myriad ways I could die. This wasn't there, and considering the gate is in a tower, it should have. It really should have."

Huh. "We're almost there."

"You are lying so I'll sleep with you despite the fact that the PTSD resulting from this will doubtless render me incapable of interacting rationally with society--"

"How is this different than normal?"

John feels teeth and sighs. "You are mocking the crazy man. Laugh it up, Colonel. When I manifest symptoms by running naked through Atlantis screaming the butterflies are going to get me, you won't mock then."

"Actually," John says, eyeing the ground, where a small group of well-armed knight-types are gathering to watch them. "I think I will. Hey, keep your head down, okay?"

It's not like there was a danger Rodney would lift his head anyway. John measures the distance between them and the sharp, sharp spears, the distance back to the window, and the likelihood that Rodney will eventually notice they aren't moving.

"You know, you should come climbing with me more," John says, swinging gently to the left and watching the knights follow with creepy rapidity, staying just under them, spears waved threateningly. Interesting. "Maybe I'll make it part of your training."

"You *wouldn't*." It's gritted through teeth against his throat, and John winces.

"I might," John says, gently swinging back, watching the group run again. Very interesting. "Hey, question. Do you get motion sickness?"

Rodney hands tighten in a way that assures John will lose blood circulation. "Don't--"

John grins, adjusts his grip, shifts them five feet to the left, watches the knights gather beneath them again, and drops their weight, letting gravity do its thing.

And this is always fun, even if Rodney just stopped breathing and fingernails are carving his skin like a Thanksgiving turkey--it's speed and it's skill, but at least a third of the high is the fact Rodney's going to kill him later, and John laughs even as the first almost-knight realizes that he's about to be hit with about four hundred pounds of mass at a rate of eighteen feet per second. Fast, but not fast enough to break bone, unless John kicks them, which he does, bracing Rodney while wishing to God he'd done more stretching exercises with Teyla last weekend instead of blowing it off for a jumper ride to the mainland, because oh my God, this is going to hurt tomorrow.

Luckily, the nice knights break their fall wonderfully. John feels the shock of pain from instep to groin, burning molten beneath his skin when he takes both his and Rodney's weight on the landing, and knows that in about five minutes, his life is going to suck so much.

But that's still five minutes and a life or death escape away, so he'll worry about it later.

Unfastening Rodney, John gently pushes him into the tower wall and blocks the first punch, snapping a fist into a very vulnerable nose. Three almost-knights down, two to go, but neither are exactly engaging all that much, probably marveling that anyone, especially them, would be stupid enough to stand directly under two men trying to escape.

Seriously, John sometimes has a sneaking suspicion that the people of Atlantis often survive more on the sheer stupidity of their enemies than due to their own efforts.

While they mill there, looking uncertain, John glances behind him and sees Rodney finally turning around, sulky and unhappy, before the blue eyes drill into John like an indictment. "You just always have to save the day, don't you?"

John grins. "Hey. Let's run now, okay?"

*****

Teyla and Ronon, with a battalion of amused Marines, are waiting at the 'gate when John and Rodney courageously outrun their spear-wielding attackers, Rodney muttering about how he could have totally taken them if John had just *said something*, and John thinking of how much he needs a hot shower before the muscle he so spectacularly overstretched in his thigh tries to crawl out of his skin to twitch and die on the ground. All in all, it's pretty much standard, so John doesn't worry, just gets a spare sidearm from Teyla and turns to fire a shot a precise six feet in front of their pursuers.

"Okay, done now." They come to a stuttering stop, and John sighs, thinking of their weapons back in the castle, and that really good kind-of-almost-a-plum wine, and how Lorne and his team are going to handle this before John curls up in a tiny ball and cries until Carson gives him a muscle relaxant. "You," he says, pointing at spear-carrier number one, "just--drop the spear." Drop the spear. God, he loves his job. He can *say* things like that and be totally serious. "You," he says to spear-carrier number two, "you--"

"Apologize," Rodney interjects grimly, and John watches fondly as his boyfriend--yes, boyfriend, fine, they can go with that--inserts himself into the moment, arms crossed, staring at spear-carrier number two with utter disgust. "You will apologize *right now*."

John blinks and takes in the swollen left eye of the poor, bewildered spear carrier and gets it.

Prime Minister Junior stares at them blankly. "I will not--"

"You will apologize," Rodney says steadily, eyes narrowing. "You will or--" Rodney stops, obviously aware of the lack of gum and hairpins to create small incendiary devices, "or--"

"He will kill you," John says solemnly, not daring to look back at Teyla or Ronon, who are probably enjoying this just as much as he is. "He was trying to spare my delicate nerves, but--." Then behind Rodney's back, he carefully aims his gun and raises his eyebrows encouragingly. "I'd suggest you do what he says." John lets the guy see his finger on the safety as Rodney stalks several feet forward, looking a little like he might be up for another round of Ultimate Scientist smack down. If only they had the time.

The swollen eye tries to widen and fails, then he takes a step back. "I--"

John motions gently with the muzzle and the guy spits out a flow of words that combine an apology for calling John a slut, for locking them in a tower, and for something else that sounds vaguely like he's sorry he was touching Rodney's things--

Okay, John is willing to be defended, but he's still a guy. "Run now?"

The guy takes off, and John jerks his gun back down as Rodney turns around, looking smug. "No axe necessary."

John shoots a glare at his Marines, who know very well that John can and will sic Ronon on them at six am if they so much as *smirk*. They look solemn. "Yeah. Who knew?"

Then his leg gives out, and as Rodney lunges to catch him, shouting about early heart attacks and concussions, John thinks of how being a fainting damsel in distress is just about right for a day like this.

*****

Carson has John on his back in a very good and completely asexual way, while Carson administers a local and makes sounds about torn ligaments and then it's all morphine and the glossy place where everything shines and John didn't pass out in front of his Marines from a torn muscle.

He's there for a long time. It's a very, very good place.

Rodney leaves the infirmary under protest and rigs the sensors to tell him when Carson's out of range, sneaking back in with the help of a maliciously amused Lorne and the nurse John accidentally hit when Carson tried to make him stretch his leg out. Sitting on the edge of the bed, he looks at John's bandaged leg and sighs, ready to work this into a dramatic moment in television that right now seems like a really good time. Of course, staring at the air particles also seems like a really good time, so John's judgment may be a little impaired.

"You're lucky you didn't break your leg when we fell--"

"Controlled fall," John says lazily, watching the air glitter and draw rainbows around Rodney like a halo. It's pretty, and it's also disturbing. Very, very disturbing. "I know how to fall." And he really does, he thinks, smiling at Rodney with what is doubtless the most stoned expression in Atlantis, if he doesn't count the junior botanist and her secret nursery project on the eighth level down. Life is good. "Not so hard to fall." And just because he feels that good, he tilts his head and turns his good leg against Rodney's knee. "Not with you."

Rodney sighs again, reaching to gently pat John's shoulder, the perfectly correct and completely friendly thing to do, which cannot be misconstrued as anything, except John feels good about the universe right now and a little misconstruing is in order. Still smiling, he reaches up, hand landing somewhere on Rodney, and jerks him closer.

Rodney says something filthy, both arms suddenly braced on either side of John's head, staring at him for a second before John's hand finds soft hair, tugging until Rodney's close enough to kiss. Not that Rodney does, but shock and all, John thinks charitably, lifting his head just enough for a brush, warm and sweet and fleeting. John drops his head back to the pillow and sighs. "Five minutes," he says, closing his eyes, and there's a tentative brush of lips to his temple, a tender hand against his face. "I don't need ten."

Rodney's breath is warm against his throat. "You're stoned."

John turns his face into Rodney's hand. Maybe two a day. At most. "I know."

*****

The thing is, maybe he doesn't need any minutes at all anymore.

"Okay," John says, when Rodney opens his mouth to start the sex, what sex, but since you brought it up conversation, the one where Rodney doesn't say, I really want to fuck you, but gets out a PowerPoint presentation about prostates on his laptop. In Rodney's world, there is nothing that cannot be remedied with a pie chart and quantum mechanics.

"Okay?" Still in shirt and uniform pants, though terribly mussed, Rodney gives John a look of uncertainty before his eyes narrow in suspicion. "What do you mean, okay?"

"I mean, okay. Supplies, there," he says, pointing to the drawer. "Me, here." With three pillows and everything. "You--doing your thing."

Rodney stares at him. "You are such a romantic. Doing my *thing*?"

"This from the man who told me I needed training." John pulls his shirt off, watching Rodney's eyes follow the arc of material, then fix on his skin with extremely gratifying intensity. "Nervous?" Because Rodney's started doing that twitching thing, where he looks like he's about to make a really huge announcement on the how to save Atlantis, or tell someone they are going to die because he's going to kill them and get them out of the gene pool before their stupidity spreads.

"No! I'm just--" Rodney frowns, sitting back with a faintly disgruntled expression, the way he looks when people agree with him immediately even though he has some great arguments ready to go. John reaches for the buttons of his pants, and Rodney's hand moves instantly. John hasn't had to unbutton his own pants in so long it makes him wonder if he still knows how to do it.

John kisses the frown off Rodney's face, kisses him until Rodney softens under his mouth and hands, warm and soft and achingly gentle, pushing John back against the pillows so slowly he doesn't even know he's down until he opens his eyes and sees the ceiling high above him. Careful of his still slightly stiff leg, Rodney settles on him, lips moving against his throat, and John makes himself relax into the slow touches, the build that starts as a pleasant buzz he can feel in every inch of skin, faintly shivery and awake, coaxing him to relax and let Rodney do anything he wants to, and if that includes fucking, well, John can go with that.

Closing his eyes, he lets Rodney's hands move him, mouth on his collar, his throat, his shoulder, Rodney's back trembling a little under John's slowly stroking hands, and it makes John want to say something reassuring, but he gets the feeling Rodney wants to be the reassuring one, so he'll go with that, sighing into each kiss, arching into the skid of fingers on his chest, his hips, hissing when Rodney rubs a slow thumb up his cock. "Tease," he murmurs, grinning into Rodney's mouth, wet and warm, tongue pushing away words and thought.

When Rodney pulls away, John frowns, opening his eyes long enough to get a view of Rodney looking at the lube with a stoic expression before flipping it open. It makes John--suspicious maybe. Lifting himself onto his elbows, John watches Rodney slick two fingers with mathematical precision before he realizes John's watching and almost drops the bottle. "You. Stay down."

John smirks, feeling himself begin to flush at the way Rodney looks, sitting there between his spread legs, the way Rodney looks at *him*, because sex always looks a little silly except for when you're doing it. "Nervous?"

Rodney's eyes widen in outrage, then the hand on John's hip tightens, and Rodney takes him in his throat so suddenly that John makes a humiliating sound in the back of his throat. Collapsing back on the pillows, John gasps instinctively, chest tight, cock suddenly completely invested in the proceedings, and oh God, he'll never tell Rodney, but no one's ever been this good, no one makes it look so easy and effortless to drive John out of his mind, and he may love Rodney for Rodney, but he's fucking *obsessed* with Rodney's mouth.

Faintly, he's aware of pressure, slick movement, and then the sudden, sharp sensation of movement pressing inside him, opening his eyes on the ceiling swimming above him, surprised and distracted, trying to divide his attention between Rodney's ungodly amazing mouth and that pressure, slowly stroking in and out, not bad but different. John relaxes into it, adjusting to the movement, slow and still slick, Rodney as gentle with him as he is ruthless with his cock. The second finger he almost doesn't notice, stretching him slow and easy, he's used to the feeling, nothing terrifying here. "Rodney," he breathes just as Rodney goes down hard, with that little twist of his tongue that feels dirty and impossibly hot, the two fingers twisting at the same time, coming up against something bright and burning and so good John stops breathing.

For a second, he can't even think, fingers tightening on the blanket beneath him, the coiling tension uncoiling in a jerk of *God yes* and John comes like he's blacking out, shaking from the release of pressure, Rodney's hand on his hip holding him to the bed, swallowing him down before his head slowly comes up, easing John through into the warmth after, boneless and relaxed and not even caring there are three fingers up his ass.

When he pulls off, John feels like he's on morphine again, glossy world and glossy Rodney, bracing his hand by John's shoulder, leaning down for kiss as warm and glossy as the world around them. "It'll be easier," Rodney whispers, brushing his lips against John's ear, teeth grazing the skin beneath. "If you're relaxed." Then he pulls a pillow away, and John obediently lifts his hips so Rodney can shove it under him.

"Mmm."

Distantly, he's aware Rodney's fingers are moving again, faster, opening him up--for his cock, John thinks contentedly, not even trying to decide if he should panic or not. Then the fingers pull out, and John frowns, feeling weird now without them. "Relax," Rodney murmurs, but John's pretty sure he's talking to himself now, the hand on John's hip tightening briefly before John feels a sudden, blunt pressure.

Then a stretch that he can feel, down the back of his calves and his thighs, his knees pushing toward his chest when Rodney pushes in, and oh.

"Oh," he whispers, shutting his eyes to concentrate on relaxing. It's *different*, and he can feel Rodney come to a sudden stop--and hell, that's impressive in itself, John can't imagine stopping mid-coital for anything short of a nuclear strike in instant radiation-death vicinity. He feels Rodney's hand on his thigh, then thick fingers slide into his, pulling his attention. And a kiss, sloppy and heartfelt, hot breath against his cheek, Rodney saying…something.

"--breathe, relax, sorry, sorry, sorry, just--breathe, tell me when you're ready, John, look at me, let me see--"

…and Christ, if Rodney keeps bending like that, no power on Atlantis will keep him out of the infirmary with a permanently arched spine.

"Fine," John says, opening his eyes. "I'm fine, just--" Wait a second. Breathe, good idea. "Okay."

Rodney blinks twice and John shifts his knee enough to give Rodney a nudge in the side. "Now," he clarifies, and Rodney pulls back, just a little. It's--not bad. John tightens his fingers in Rodney's. Relax, relax, relax, right. "Okay."

"Okay," Rodney whispers, flushed and sweating, and John can feel the hand in his trembling.

"John," he murmurs, pushing back in, setting off tiny and not unpleasant sparks, coming close to that spot again, and John tries to figure out the angle, taking the pressure off the back of his thigh, pressing his heel into Rodney's back. Rodney makes a breathless sound, pushing back in abruptly before he breathes out and starts to really move. Still slow, but steady, an easy rhythm that John's body can follow all on its own, the hand on his hip directing him how to shift, Rodney watching him like he expects John to scream and run for the bathroom or shatter if he so much as breathes wrong.

A brush against that place inside again, enough for sparks, and John shivers at the feeling, moving into it the next time and getting a firmer pressure. Sucking in a breath, John closes his eyes again, and Rodney shifts their joined hands up the bed and uses them to brace his weight, fingers twisting through John's.

"Look at me, I need to--" Rodney draws in an unsteady breath, eyes going unfocused. "God, you--" And he shifts John's hip up with one hand and then pushes in.

*Oh*.

Right there.

"John," Rodney breathes, staring down at him, and John feels himself starting to get hard again--and he's way too old for this, but nothing about Rodney is ordinary, so why would sex be any different? He catches his breath on the next thrust, and suddenly it all falls into place; the easy stretch of his body and the way Rodney feels inside him, the look on Rodney's face, like he's just figured out how to build a ZPM with bubblegum and a hairpin, the glittering edge of pleasure that rides his spine with every thrust. Reaching up to hook a hand around Rodney's neck, John catches his mouth in a sloppy kiss and whispers promises into his mouth that he's not afraid to keep.

Rodney's hand closes around his cock, and it's like overload, too fast and sharp, Rodney panting against his mouth like he's about to die, and John comes at the next pull, thumb circling the head just at the end.

Oh God. Yes. "God."

A shift of the galaxy later, Rodney's a sweaty, panting muddle on his chest, pressing distracted kisses against any available skin before slowly pushing himself up, giving John a weirdly intense look before glancing down. John winces as Rodney pulls out, catching the hiss between his teeth while Rodney disposes of the condom.

Even so, Rodney looks a little freaked out, and there's a terrifying moment he's almost sure that Rodney's going to call Carson to come make sure that nothing's been damaged during this very special moment. "Fine, I'm fine," John says quickly, ignoring how much his muscles ache when he closes his knees, the sudden sharp burn in his ass, and the fact that Rodney still looks a little freaked out. Post-coital glaze is still working in his favor. He almost thinks he wants a drink now. "Lay down."

Rodney hesitates, and it hits John all anew, and he wants to tell Rodney, it's just sex, not a bullet, or it's just sex, not a Wraith. He doesn't, because it's not just sex, and it doesn't scare him anymore. Rodney stretches out beside him like he'll break, hand palming his stomach. With a tendon snapping, slow motion stretch (he's going to just take the next workout with Teyla like a man and listen when she says to cool down properly), he rolls his head to see Rodney watching him.

There are words for this moment that could easily come out of a Jude Deveraux romance novel. John hopes to God that Rodney has no desire to use any of them.

"So," Rodney says, hand still and light against his skin, and John finally grins, unable to help it.

"Yeah." John yawns, wondering if it's worth the effort to get his boxers. Leaning over, he takes a quick kiss, soft mouthed and friendly, before rolling onto his side and fumbling for the blanket, but Rodney beats him to it, pulling it over them both, strangely quiet as he settles behind John, breath warm against his shoulder.

After a few minutes of uncomfortable synched breathing, John sighs and shifts backward, enough to feel Rodney warm against his back, his startled shiver, and John reaches back to pull Rodney's arm around him, letting that say everything.

"So," Rodney says, voice too high, and John sighs, but it's not like it's a surprise. Rodney is not a fan of nonverbal communication; clarification is everything. "Okay?"

John shuts his eyes, lacing his fingers through Rodney's. "Yeah. It was good."

And just like that, Rodney stiffens up, hand flat against his skin, and a thousand long years of outrage fill his voice. "Just *good*?"

John turns onto his back, ignoring his unhappy thigh, no longer pristine ass, and looking into Rodney's scowling face, he feels it again, laughter bubbling up effervescent like champagne, dizzy and lightheaded and utterly content. Rodney's mouth snaps closed over whatever terribly filthy words were hovering on his tongue, and John grins then, leaning up and kissing him into a smile.

It's the Pegasus galaxy and anything can happen. He may never need any minutes again.

the end


Holy GUH! This was fabulous.

That was fantastic, just warm and wonderful. I can't think of anything intelligent to say. Just, yay!

laughter bubbling up effervescent like champagne, dizzy and lightheaded and utterly content

That totally describes my reaction to this story. It's utterly happy-making. Your John? I almost fall in love with your John, his priorities and controlled freaking-out and intense -- if unspoken -- feelings. Also? He's *funny*.

And we've reached the part of our show where I quote favorite lines:
who disabled the entirety of the Atlantis PA and internal comm system one memorable morning to give him three more hours of sleep after a rough mission

There is no greater love. I want me a McKay of my very own

"You are mocking the crazy man. Laugh it up, Colonel. When I manifest symptoms by running naked through Atlantis screaming the butterflies are going to get me, you won't mock then."

Bwahahahaa!

Seriously, John sometimes has a sneaking suspicion that the people of Atlantis often survive more on the sheer stupidity of their enemies than due to their own efforts.

Not only funny, but so, so, so true.

John shoots a glare at his Marines, who know very well that John can and will sic Ronon on them at six am if they so much as *smirk*. They look solemn.

Bwah! I love the level of control he has over the guys in his command.

Aww, thank you sweetie!

And yes, Rodney would totally look innocent as the PA system went down while calmly ramming a screwdriver through the crystals or something. Totally cool. He's a very good boyfriend.

Oh god, I loved this. Rodney defending John's honor from the grabby hands is so very romantic :)

And there's now, where Rodney's staring balefully at armor and an axe because someone said something mean about his boyfriend.

Awwwww. Best line ever.

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I loved this story so much! John and Rodney were great and I loved how John is still kind of freaking out about the relationship and yet is competely unable to stop. thanks so much for sharing.

I love this possesive streak in Rodney, especially when he's so worried about John and his cute ass!

And the final sex scene was just so hot! I'm always amazed at how each author can convey so much using so many different words... it was very sensual and I loved it that John gave himself to Rodney.

BTW, I'd give anything to see Rodney carry an axe with his chest all puffed out!

Cute, funny and sweet :)

Possessive!Rodney just--does something to me. He's so *intense* when he's his version of relaxed that--wow. Yeah.

Thank you!

Oh! I loved how John took ten minutes a day to freak out. That was far too great.
And the ending... *melts into puddle of goo*

Oh, I just adored this, baby.

I loved the original fic, and this is a terrific follow up. Funny and sweet. Jealous Rodney and slowly less freaking out John are fabulous. This is a definite treat. Thanks.

Thanks so much! *hugs* I like Jealous!Rodney. He is scary.

Oh my God, I'm in love with this. I'm grinning like a mad thing and my face hurts because I've been grinning like a mad thing since the axe first appeared.

Your John is just - so much love. So, so very in love and not scared of it at all, really. And funny. His sense of humour is great. Also, he fell on a bunch of knights. And then beat them up. After proclaiming Rodney his hero. He is so cool!

I love Rodney's possessive streak. And oh, the cuteness of John and the threatening-the-President's-son behind Rodney's back...love. Just love.

This is one of those fics that makes me yearn for the debriefing.

*grins* I loved him falling on the knights. It's a very John solution to the problem.

Oh my God the debriefing. *facepalm* Elizabeth will be drinking *during* it. One each for her and Teyla while Ronon asks about their supercool swords.

*loves* OMG *LOVES*

This is wonderful, John and his minutes, it's just perfect.

Thanks so much! *hugs* I'm glad you're enjoying the fandom, chica.

I love this so much. Sweet and funny, with great characterisations.

*saves to memories*

You're so pretty!

You sparkle and shine and you are totally bunny worthy!

Though.

Incomparable? *narrows eyes suspicious like*

It was a compliment! Really!