Link to part 1, here.
Warnings: Please see this entry for series warnings.
The next dial-up to earth is canceled for reasons unknown, but Elizabeth's suddenly watching the halls like a hawk and talking to the other prisoners. Late at night, Rodney wakes to find Sheppard seated by the forcefield, listening to Elizabeth with wide eyes, and later, when Rodney pulls him back to bed, John tells him what she told him. She wants out, and she thinks they can do it.
"How?" Rodney asks beneath the masking cover of blankets, closing his eyes against the warmth of John's body. What Sumner's doing to him makes Rodney wary of sex, but it's been two years, and he's just not sure he can hold out against that lean body much longer.
"I'm figuring it out," John says softly, eyes bright, and Rodney believes him.
The upshot is, Elizabeth gets as a roommate the elusive leader of the Athosian terrorists and John takes up permanent occupancy in his bed. The Athosian also offers up the kind of visual porn that was seriously lacking in Rodney's life before John came, and between the two of them, the number of times he's jerking off beneath the covers has tripled. Teyla Emmagen and Elizabeth are weirdly compatible, in that way that women can be when their goals are the same. Every night, Rodney wakes up to hear the two of them work on John, and every day, he listens John make plan after useless plan.
Useless, but interesting. Rodney knows shit about strategy, but what John's doing is the kind of stuff Rodney thinks that most former soldiers just can't do.
"The ATA," John says finally, leaning back, and Rodney pull him back to bed, mostly to feel the lithe body curl around him again, run his hands over too-thin skin and feel the shape of his bones. Sumner's weekly meetings with Sheppard haven't gotten any easier, and Rodney dreads and waits for the mornings he wakes to find John returned to him, crouched in a corner, wild-eyed and simmering. Coax him to bed and feel John wrap around him like a blanket, clinging fingers and soundless rage that beats against Rodney's skin like the feel of his heart.
He wasn't fond of Sumner before, but Rodney's beginning to think that when Earth goes up in a gaseous cloud, Sumner's going to enjoy the view from vacuum.
"What about it?"
"We need it," John breathes against his skin, and Rodney wishes to God John would stop moving his thigh like that. "We can--you know what the Ancients were. What this city was."
"The most secure place in the galaxy," Rodney says, but it's an interesting thought. Rodney turns it over in his mind. "But we can't use it. We need the gene--"
"Carson," John says softly, head pushing under Rodney's chin like a giant puppy. Rodney runs a soothing hand down John's back, feeling him arch into the touch. A few weeks of conditioning and John pretty much lets Rodney touch him whenever he wants. Familiarity, in this case, definitely does not breed contempt. "Gene therapy. He was working on--"
"Right." Carson theoretically has the gene, but not in any useful way. He could make lights come on and that was about the scope of his talents outside the lab. "Hmm."
John lifts his head. "You have an idea."
Maybe. "Not yet. But I'm getting there."
John smiles, curling back up against him, and Rodney resigns himself to a restless night and a quick jerk-off while John's sleeping in the morning. "I like their guns," John murmurs.
"Zats," Rodney corrects absently. "One stun, two kill, three vaporize."
John snickers. "Why bother with stun?"
"It's a question I often ask myself. God. We have to figure out why they're not dialing earth."
John shivers, and Rodney pulls the covers closer over them, thinking of Elizabeth's murmurs of Ori conspiracy, but for some reason, he just doesn't believe it. He's noticed, however, that they're cutting the power to environmentals, conserving energy, which argues that the officials are worried about power, which means they're worried about supplies. And he's noticed they're getting a lot more Pegasus galaxy staples and less exclusively earth foods the last few days.
John's noticed too.
Free time in the courtyard has triple guard, what with forcefields is pretty much the epitome of overkill, but John looks suddenly about as happy as Rodney's ever seen him.
"It means," John says softly as he stretches out on the bench, head in Rodney's lap, like a cat drowsing in the sun, "that they're getting paranoid. And paranoid men make mistakes."
Rodney watches the rotation again, the way the guards jump at unexpected noises, Ford looking that much greyer, and strokes John's hair. "What I wouldn't give for a fucking palm pilot," he says, and John's head tilts back, eyes dark and curious. "For the force fields. They used the lowest level of tech they could," and with so many unstable geniuses, Rodney admits it was probably a good idea or there's a good chance the really crazy ones would blow up the city in a fit of pique, "so it's pretty simple to disrupt." He sighs. It's what comes after that would be the problem.
John nods, eyes closing under Rodney's touch, and from the corner of his eye, Rodney sees Bates limping the far side of the perimeter. Sheppard's head turns sharply, pushing himself up as Bates freezes, then turns toward them, and as John stands up, Rodney resigns himself to a week alone in bed.
On the other hand, watching John beat the shit out of Bates is the kind of masturbation material you just can't turn down. Leaning his elbow on his knee, Rodney watches John and Bates begin to circle and hopes the guards don't stop it too quickly.
Rodney wakes the next week to John crawling into their bed, smelling of disinfectant from a shower in the infirmary and fresh blood. Moving over, Rodney sleepily reaches for John beneath the blankets and his fingers encounter cold, faintly damp metal.
Opening his eyes, he stares into John's glittering eyes. "Just don't ask me how I got it in here," John says, and Rodney wraps his fingers around the palm pilot, reaches for John's face with his other hand, and kisses the smiling mouth, tasting antibiotic and dental regeneration like victory.
John likes guns and bombs and weapons of mass destruction, reminding Rodney a little of Zelenka in his enthusiasm for explosions. Rodney shows John his equations, written in ink when he can get it, pencil when he can't, and blood when that's all he has, the work he's done that's recorded in the margins of his books, the rare paper they let him have, the walls of his cell, the mattress they sleep on, beneath the sheets.
And John *understands*, which makes Rodney begin to think this is all a hallucination brought about by isolation, because no one should be that hot and that smart, sitting naked on the edge of their cot when Rodney's too wired to sleep, quoting master class engineering texts and murmuring the sums of strange particles and calculating fallout in a voice that's made for porn.
Pi naught plus n must equal the sum of kappa plus and epsilon minus, John whispers while Rodney scribbles on the wall with bleeding fingertips, sucking Rodney's blood away with the same soft lips. One planet, two, a solar system, a *galaxy*, and Rodney watches John get hard beneath the sheet when Rodney tells him the death tolls.
Sumner was five days back, and Rodney doesn't even pretend he's going to wait anymore.
Pushing John down on the bed, Rodney finishes his notes on John's bare stomach, sucking down John's cock and gripping his hips to stop the instinctive arch. Pulling up, he crawls the length of John's body, straddling his hips, cock rubbing the math into flaking smudges, breathing sharply at the glazed look in John's eyes.
"Fuck me," John says, and Rodney grins, leaning down to kiss him, tasting blood from a bitten lip, his or John's or both, he's not sure, doesn't even care.
"Not until I'm the only one that does," he says, rubbing into John's skin, soft hair tickling his balls, entwining their hands as he rides John's responsive body. "Not until they're dead and this place--Christ, John, we can have it, we can do it, we can--"
"Yeah," John says, breath catching. "I can--if we do it right--Rodney--"
"We will," Rodney says, ducking his head to John's throat, biting down the curve of his jaw.
"Shift change, third to first," John grunts, arching up. Rodney thinks he could die happy like this. "Thirty off, sixty on, we need--we need--"
"Elizabeth," Rodney whispers, and John's eyes glaze more. Yeah, she's getting to him, Rodney thinks, setting a mental note aside to watch John more carefully when she and Teyla are talking to him. "She can--oh, God. John."
"She wants Atlantis," John whispers. "She's--"
"Fucking nuts," Rodney whispers, just to feel John shiver. Reaching between them, he lines up their cocks, breath catching at the feeling, a shot of heat that rides down his spine, so close, so *close*. Burying his face against John's neck, he bites into the soft skin just below his jaw. "Next time she's up for a chat, let me do the talking." Thinking of the palm pilot beneath his mattress, Rodney shuts his eyes, feeling John's fingers tighten around his, bone rubbing bone. "That's it, come on, come for me, we'll get all of them, we'll save Sumner for last, he can *watch*, you can do anything to him you want, anything at all--" John goes still, shaking, and the burst of heat between them brings Rodney off, too, a rush like falling off a roof or watching a solar system die.
Afterward, he traces his fingers through the come drying on John's stomach, writes his name and his promise into John's flesh with fingers and mouth, loving the way John watches him with naked eyes and sucks his fingers clean.
After that, it goes surprisingly fast.
Elizabeth's a natural organizer, no surprise there, and she has access to the women, passing messages for Carson when he's lucid enough to talk, pulling together a workable plan out of Sheppard's analysis of the guard patterns and the fact that Ford's been demoted to command of third shift.
"He wouldn't notice a landmine under his feet," Sheppard says disparagingly, stretching out on their cot, body relaxed, still too thin but putting on weight again. "There are ten blocks of twenty prisoners each on Atlantis, not including the mainland facilities." Sheppard purses his lips thoughtfully. "We want them?"
Rodney thinks of Grodin and Simpson in the mainland complex and sighs. If he's going to get anything done here, he's going to need his people. "Yeah, we do." Seeing John's mouth turn down, Rodney grins, crawling back up on the bed. "Elizabeth's got people there, too. Limit it to the guards for now. We have plenty of time to work out who stays and who takes a walk through the gate into space after we've secured the planet." John's still tender from Sumner, so Rodney's careful, kissing John gently before relaxing beside him. "You okay?" Regeneration again. Rodney's watched people die before, but he's thinking that Sumner will be the first to give him a taste for it.
"Yeah," John says, eyes dark, and Rodney kisses him again, running his fingers through dark hair. "I just--" John's restlessness is taking sleep he can't afford to lose, and sometimes, Rodney suspects Elizabeth's actively working John's instability, though she can't be stupid enough to set him off when they're still confined.
Elizabeth's timetable has set them for the night before John's next visit to Sumner, which can't be a coincidence, considering how tense John gets the closer the time comes. Watching Ford make rounds, Rodney watches him using John's experienced eyes, and notes the way his hands tremble and the dark eyes dart, his hand near his zat at all times. John watches too, coolly evaluative and weirdly hot at the same time.
Every time John catches him looking, he smiles, though, and Rodney grins back and thinks of the legendary Ancient labs, years in disuse, but waiting for him beyond the walls of his cell, the wide ocean around them, the computers and the databases, the massive collection of Ancient data that no one had ever bothered to erase.
And how when this is over, it'll be his.
During the trial, when Rodney was restricted to the Cheyenne Mountain military base, he'd watched as Zelenka inherited his job, taking command of the remains of the science contingent that hadn't died in the lab explosion that destroyed key records needed in his prosecution. The data had been recoverable, Zelenka working day and night to assure that Rodney never saw daylight again.
Rodney had listened as his lawyers told him in careful words that he was fucked, no deals, listened to the galaxy call him the greatest mass murder in human history, listened as they convicted him to imprisonment, stripping his name from the journals that once celebrated his every word, his awards taken, his work destroyed, his doctorates revoked.
It was like he never *existed*, and when he wakes up in a cold sweat, shaking with hate, he has John pressed against his back, John's voice in his ear, telling Rodney what they'll do with Zelenka when they have him, how many days it will take Zelenka to die.
When he wakes up again the next morning, John rolls him over and Rodney remembers what today is with a rush so good it's almost painful. "Ready?"
Rodney kisses the smiling mouth, biting John's lip hard enough to draw blood. "Yes."