Codes: McKay, Sheppard, Sheppard/McKay, Sheppard/Kolya (McKay/Teyla, Sheppard/Teyla (implied), Teyla/Ronon)
Rating: NC-17, AU, prostitution, drug use
Summary: The first time Dr. Rodney McKay met Special Agent John Sheppard, he wasn't Dr. McKay and John was Michael Torres. This was balanced, in Rodney's view, by the orgasms. The second time was a lot trickier. It also didn't involve any orgasms at all.
Author Notes: This is mostly complete but not completely edited, so I'm not sure how many parts it will cut into for livejournal. I've been mentally calling this "The One Where John's an FBI Rentboy and Rodney's Very Confused", but that's a little long for a title. Plausibility is so overrated.
Warnings: Please see this entry for warnings.
There is really no way to adequately subtitle this: "Where a Lot of Stuff Happens and Some of It Involves Chaya and Aliens. And Sex. And Leather." Maybe?
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7
"I thought you'd be taller," Rodney says.
Chaya jerks, shoulders straightening abruptly; when she turns around, Rodney takes in the elegant silk suit and heels, the expensively cut hair and perfect make-up. Her eyes flicker behind him, then to the silent alarms from her pathetically inadequate security system.
Her bedroom is all of a piece, white on white and wicker, expensive and clean and elegant, screaming money and power. It kind of makes him want to yawn and kind of makes him want to kill her.
"It must have been hot," Rodney says, borrowing John's lazy lean against the doorway. "Also, pick up that phone and the FBI will find enough blow downstairs for you to practice your first profession for women much larger than you."
Chaya frowns, then reassembles herself into a professional sneer, letting her eyes travel over him in barely concealed disgust. Rodney lets her look at the jacket he picked up ten years ago from Goodwill, the jeans that saw a better century, and the boots he taped up just for her. "McKay?" she says lazily, crossing her arms. "Any reason for the--visit?"
Rodney takes a great deal of pleasure in leaving muddy boot prints on her spotless carpet. He gives himself an entire minute to really grind it in before he gets an elegant and deeply white desk chair and turn it, straddling the seat. "I know you," he says, crossing his arms over the back.
She stares back; she's almost as good as John, but she can't quite stop that slight twitch at the corner of her carefully reddened mouth, the flicker of her eyes. "Is there something you want?" she says. The cultured voice betrays a tremble that pleases Rodney immensely.
"I keep thinking about it," Rodney says, resting his chin on his crossed arms. "You get this buttoned up FBI agent and what he wants to know is how you live your life. In his neat little suits and with his spotless war record and his family name. It was hard to take him seriously. At first, it was just to fuck with him. You really didn't think he would take it seriously, did you?"
Chaya's fingernails push into the lavender silk, but she doesn't so much as twitch.
"You wanted to shock him, but it was harder than you thought. He wasn't just an guy with a good name and a lot of friends. He was a soldier. He survived a week on his own in hostile territory and killed more people than you've had between your legs. He watched his friends die around him. He knew exactly who he was."
"Get to the point."
"I am." Rodney rubs his soles into her immaculate floor. "I had some time to think about this. He's so good, Chaya. You're right; he's the best there is. You kept scraping around his edges, trying to make it hurt; how did that work? He went out with you and you had him pick up a trick? You thought that would do it, might crack him a little when he got the money after, when you made him feel it, what it was like to have your entire value be what you could do on your knees. And he didn't. Even. Twitch."
Chaya's jaw tightens. "I said he was the best I ever trained."
"But you didn't really. You could show him what to do and how to do it, but the rest of it was just him. It's *sex*--did you really think someone who cut throats for duty would give a shit about giving up his ass for the greater good? He'd take a shower and go pick up something for dinner. That must have been killing you."
Slowly, she backs a step, sinking onto the bed.
"Is that when you came up with Michael?" Rodney says softly, watching her face. Chaya closes her eyes.
"You sound crazy."
Rodney frowns. "That's not new. But it's interesting. How did you do it?"
Chaya's stubbornly silent, but Rodney knows she wants to tell him. She wants to so badly she can taste it; she took a guy with no issues and built ones out of thin air. It's genius. It's possibly the sickest thing that Rodney's ever witnessed.
"Michael's a junkie," Rodney whispers. "So John learned how to snort. Michael needs the heroin to deal with what he does. John probably googled for a day and showed up with all the toys and shot up beside you. Michael takes drugs because he hates what he is; until you got him, John didn't hate himself at all. But you told him he should, and he believed you and let you keep bending him, watching him, telling him not to enjoy it, Michael wouldn't, Michael *hates* this, John, but you like it, don't you? Why do you like it, John? What kind of person *likes this*?"
Chaya's head jerks up. "He made it nothing," she whispers, voice low, cultured softness stripped away. "He slummed around and thought it was a game. He thought it was *fun*." Her eyes narrow. "He wanted everything so he could play the part. It wasn't hard to find some friends to show him everything."
Rodney stares at her for a second, trying not to imagine it; a room somewhere, Chaya shooting him up, pushing him inside and closing the door. "How many were there?"
Chaya tilts her head, a slight smile curving up one corner of her mouth. "I lost count."
He can't kill her; he can't even hurt her, not really, not right now. Unclenching his hands, he's surprised to see curved half moons of blood trailing over the heels of his palms.
"And then he was sent off to Columbia."
Chaya pales. "I didn't know why he--what he needed it for. Sumner didn't tell me why John--why he wanted to--"
"And you wouldn't have cared if you'd known." Rodney looks at the delicate, trembling hands, the tight mouth, and wants to hurt her. She's jagged and slick; there's nothing he can do to her that she can't do to herself. "When he showed up at the club fresh out of detox, you must have thought he'd come for you."
"Did you really think you could get away with it?"
Chaya leans back. "Do you think he'd ever admit what happened?" Smiling, she shakes her head. "You think you can fix him, McKay?" she asks in John's slow drawl, sharpened and bitter. "Are you going to heal him with the power of love? Or fuck him until he learns to like it? McKay. He's *straight*. His first man fucked him against a dumpster and spit on him after." She laughs softly. "And the best thing is? He can't ever admit that at first, he liked it."
Rodney stares at her; she's amazing. "Wow." When her smile fades, Rodney can't really help it. "I thought you were good at this. I was completely wrong."
Pushing off the fragile chair, he goes to the door, thinking of the piles of junk mail currently rushing toward her front door. It's crude, but it entertains him while he thinks of something really *good*. Something that will hurt.
He's half-way down the wide staircase before he hears her voice again. "You didn't come here just to tell me what we both already know."
"I did, actually. I have a simulation running and needed something to eat. You were on the way." At the bottom of the stairs, he gets his cell to check; Zelenka's sending him pictures of his latest tattoo. Rodney flips it sideways but can't quite figure out what it's supposed to be. "Right. I also came to tell you that you're stupid."
Chaya's footsteps stop abruptly.
Turning around, Rodney studies her, the house, the pieces of John she'd copied for her own, because she wanted what he was so badly she thought she could take it away from him. "He knows exactly who he is," Rodney says, flipping his phone closed. "Also: when did you visit John's apartment?"
She grabs for the banister. "Get the fuck out."
"Get a better security system." Opening the door, Rodney pauses, pushing in a quick sequence in the pad. Instantly, every alarm goes off, and the magnetic lock snaps on as soon as the door closes behind him.
He wonders when she'll realize he cut the phone lines. Whistling, Rodney runs down a cab.
Rodney's final analysis of the brooch is as useful as xeroxing the earlier reports; he flirts with Simpson long enough to get her supply of gel pens and spends an hour drawing graphic pornography involving Chaya and a variety of wildlife on every page before sitting in a corner to sulk.
"This is the saddest thing I've ever seen," John remarks when he drifts into the lab. Picking up the brooch, it lights up instantly, and Rodney hates John so much he throws the blue pen at him. John catches it without even bothering to look up. "You left early."
"Radek keeps making decaf," Rodney answer bitterly. "It's disgusting. Why are you up? You're supposed to be *sleeping*."
John squints at him, sitting fluidly on the lab table. He's still too thin, but he looks a lot more in the way of alive and vaguely healthy. Picking up one of the reports, he studies it, slowly turning it sideways. "Is that stick figure fucking a bush?"
"It's a chicken. I saw your prostitute ex-girlfriend. She put me in a bad mood."
John's eyebrows arch. "Chaya wasn't my girlfriend." John goes methodically through the stack, and though he tries to keep his lazy-too-cool-to-show-human-emotion expression, his mouth keeps twitching. "I went to get some shooting in," John says, and Rodney's eyes drift down to the thigh holster. He's not ashamed of the fact that it shows up in a lot of masturbation material. That's just hot.
"One hundred percent?"
John smiles wide and with teeth. "I don't miss."
Of course not. Standing up, Rodney shakes the deep and blissful rage away and takes the papers from John, stealing a quick kiss with a flicker of tongue. Ah, that's what his day was missing. Miserable *and* hard. "I can't figure this out," he admits, picking up the brooch before dropping it in John's lap so he can remove it very, very slowly. "I don't know any more than I did when this started. I want to learn to use a gun." He looks up at John with John's wide-eyed hope and John laughs so hard that he almost falls off the lab table.
After he recovers--somewhat--John finally looks at him again, red-faced and bright with energy. "Why?"
Rodney shrugs and doesn't think of Kolya. "Why not?"
John gets a sidearm for Rodney by dint of so much charm that Rodney's a little awed. He even shows him how to put it on, and Rodney would think it was some kind of John-specific foreplay with all the buckling and smoothing, but John does this to himself every morning.
"We could move on those labs," Rodney tells him while John ruthlessly polishes his shoes on the floor of the living room, where the TV now has its own wall. John looks up at him, leaning back into the leather couch, looking surprisingly young and extremely fuckable. It's all Rodney can do to keep systematically wrecking Sumner's credit score one luxury purchase at a time.
"They don’t have it," John answers, going back to his polishing. Rodney thinks of the condo that Kolya purchased for him, the blank faced servants that wander around in spotless elegance while John tries to look like his life's achievement is being able to match his shirt to his pants. It's horribly depressing.
"How do you know?"
John shrugs. "Call it instinct. He's got another one. I just can't figure out where."
Rodney hesitates briefly, then licks his lips. "What if you asked?"
John drops his shoe on one of the not-quite-white-anymore towels that survived Rodney's destructive streak the other day. "What?"
"I know the entire--thing--is based on you pretending like you can't speak a multiple syllable word, but what if you--pushed?"
John goes still, eyes blank; Rodney wonders what's going through his head. The strictures of Chaya's training slamming hard and fast against John's instincts. Up to now, John's got his information through careless confidences, cell phones, unsecured laptops, intimate access to Kolya's life as he slowly shifts it more into John's presence. Passive, letting the role dictate the actions, letting John keep the sharp differentiation between Michael and himself. This is different. Rodney stares at his laptop screen and pretends his heart isn't in his throat.
"I could," John answers slowly. "He's suspicious, but he also thinks Michael's an idiot. A very pretty, very well-cared for idiot."
Something in John's voice makes Rodney look up. John's pushed everything to the side, knees drawn up, staring at a point somewhere about three feet away. "He wants me to fall in love with him," John says finally. "It drives him crazy, because he knew what Michael was when we met. But he--he thinks if he just buys me what I want, that will do the trick."
Rodney lowers the lid of his laptop and shifts it to the floor. John's coiling up without so much as moving, still and steady and edged with all those things that Rodney's felt every time he touches him; conflict and yearning, anger and shame, but curiosity above it all. John's never fucked a man as himself, but he's fucked a lot of women, and he must have loved at least a few of them.
Maybe Kolya, too, in the part of him that broke in Columbia and never quite figured out how to put himself back together again.
Rodney must move, though he doesn't know it until John's eyes flicker to him, fixing with a look that Rodney remembers from the club, the anger peeled away for curiosity, interest, cool speculation, like watching a bug on a slide. Getting up, John crosses the distance between them, and Rodney sucks in a breath at the casual sensuality John dresses himself in between one blink and the next, the body that turns into a promise of sex in the time it takes John to kiss him.
It's nothing like making out on the floor of John's room, or the couch; it's not like sex with Michael except in all the ways it is. John's had sex with more people than Rodney can count, learned what they taught him and took it for himself. Michael's beautiful and sexy and broken and angry, hating everything he is, giving himself up to get whatever he'll be given; John just *takes*.
"John," Rodney breathes when John licks wet and slow over his bottom lip. John's eyes come up, clear and focused, predatory interest filling swimming beneath the surface. "It's not about--Jesus," Rodney breathes when John scrapes his teeth against the side of his jaw, pressing his lips to the sensitive skin below. "I just--"
John's hands skim below his shirt, breath cool against wet skin before he opens Rodney's mouth with a gentle insinuation of tongue. Rodney's never had anyone focus on him like that, turning a kiss into a promise and a warning both; this is what you can have, from me, from this, but only if I let you. Chaya's training layers every touch; it's nothing like the pillows in John's room, the warmth of his body beside Rodney in bed, sleeping off his exhaustion.
Once upon a time in a far off land, John traded his body to Kolya for his safety, for Teyla's; once upon a time, John let himself blur into Michael too far and killed half a cartel before he walked away. Rodney's not sure who's touching him, but while it's not Michael, he doesn't think it's John.
Rodney closes his eyes, grabbing for John's hands. "John, I don't want--" The words vanish as fingers brush over his nipples, bringing them almost painfully erect while John licks his ear, sparkling arousal running along every nerve in Rodney's body. John's thigh presses against his cock, a touch just firm enough to feel, not close to what Rodney's body is screaming for. John nips his throat, uses his tongue to offer comfort when Rodney jumps, closes his teeth over his collarbone and press enough to leave the marks of his teeth behind.
Rodney's teased out of his shirt and on his back on body-warmed leather, and John slides his hands up Rodney's arms, stretching them above his head, circling his wrists with a squeeze that orders compliance before the long fingers slide back down. Rodney laces his fingers together to keep from reaching for John, shivering when John's lips settle on one nipple, circling with a pointed tongue before pulling it into the wet warmth of his mouth.
Rodney's body learns quickly as John offers rewards for obedience, withdrawal for every slip; his fingers are digging into the leather so hard he feels a fingernail tear from the pressure, obeying the bite on his inner thigh that parts his legs, one foot guided to rest on John's back when John licks up the length of his cock. He resists pushing up into John's warm, wet mouth by a scratch of stubble against his belly, aware of the hands cupping his hips, sliding over his ass, but mostly, he just knows he's going to die if John doesn't let him come before he has a stroke.
This isn't sex; it's art, what Michael offers as payment and John wields like a gun. Rodney struggles to keep his eyes open, fixed on John's face, watching him measuring and thoughtful, learning how to make Rodney give up and give in, and Rodney knows he's telling John things he'd probably kill himself before he'd ever have admitted, to keep that mouth slowly working his cock with lips and tongue, keep those hands touching him, keep that attention that's a focused spotlight of promises, and the worst part is, he means every fucking word he says.
Then the asshole *stops*. Rodney watches John pull off with an indecent wet slurp, licking his lips, damp blond hair clinging to his face and eyes clear and calm, like they were carrying on a conversation about *curtains* or something. Panting, Rodney hates the way his body arches up for John, silent pleading that he's about five seconds from turning verbal.
Rodney blinks the sweat from his eyes. He hadn't realized he was shaking until now. "John--"
John wraps a hand around his cock, bracing himself on an elbow by Rodney's hip. "Tell me I'm pretty."
"Yes. You are. Jesus, John…." The excruciating slowness doesn't dampen the flaring arousal. Rodney stops moving with a single chastening stroke of John's hand, a pause in the rhythm on his cock, but nothing can make him stop shaking.
"Tell me you want me."
"More than--God," Rodney breathes when John adds an encouraging twist. "More than anything."
"Now tell me you love me."
Above the rush of blood, the promise of release hovering bright and teasing just beyond his reach, above even the sound of his own breathing, like he ran a few miles carrying a piano and swam half the Atlantic, Rodney hears something new. He'd known John could be ruthless. But he hadn't known John could be cruel.
Helplessly, Rodney stares into hazel eyes and feels the words form on his lips.
Before he can get the breath, John shifts back between his legs, and the blond head bends, engulfing him in heat, wet and warm and tight, and Rodney stops processing anything but John's mouth and his cock and the holy union between the two. He starts coming before he remembers how to breathe and is coming forever after, John drawing out the aftershocks into sharp pain he wants because John wants that, too.
He has no idea how long he lies there, afterglow coaxed into honey-gold softness that stretches timelessly, but eventually, he's aware of John, still dressed in his moderately priced jeans and a worn t-shirt, chin resting on Rodney's hip and somewhere along the line, John got Rodney dressed and cleaned up without Rodney noticing a thing. Unclenching his hands from the leather, Rodney winces at cramping fingers and the way his back protests when he moves.
A part of Rodney that thinks making a break for the door isn't the worst idea he's ever had. He's years from the kid who ran away from a future that trapped him, but he's not that far from the man who came back, either, and that man hadn't been all that sure it was a good idea to stay.
Rodney struggles to sit up, and John gracefully lets him, looking up at the ceiling with infinite patience, like Rodney's the one being difficult here. "Fuck you," Rodney breathes. "I'm not Kolya."
John breathes out, closing his eyes. "I've never--"
"What the fuck was that *about*?"
John turns his head and gives Rodney a flat look, stopping every word crowding to the edge of Rodney's tongue. "I've never had sex with a man and meant it."
Yeah, and who would have thought tricking for your country with a *sadistic bitch* as your mentor might give you a few issues?
"You have to know the difference. You're not that--" Fucked-up, he almost says, and bites it back, because he *is* and they both know it. "I don't need to fuck you to be in love with you," he says finally, feeling stripped naked, like the day he walked out of that clinic and into a brand new world. "That--that you're here is enough."
"You were a trick."
Rodney flinches. "John--"
"You were a trick," John repeats implacably. "I didn't need to pick you up. And I did it anyway. I had to know if it was Michael, or if it was me. If I fucked men because I'd become him or because I wanted to all along." John's body stiffens, eyes fixing on the far wall. "I took you to bed and I--" John's voice breaks. Rodney wants to touch him, try to make this easier; it's okay, he wants to tell John. I can live with that. And the thing is, he *can*. He can live with John's smiles and John's brilliant mind and John's body beside him on the bed and touch him like a friend for as long as John needs him to. Forever, if he has to.
"I can wait," Rodney says steadily. "I don't care--"
"I wanted you," John whispers. "And I still do. It wasn't Michael then and it's not him now. I had to be sure."
Rodney didn't realize he was holding his breath until he lets it out. Shifting over, he crawls into John's lap, kissing him slow and careful, trying to tell him everything he wants John to feel. John's hair is silky between his fingers, clinging to his hands, John's mouth soft and pliant, and he can taste tears that he licks away. John's arms come up around him, shaking and too-tight and he doesn't care if John bruises *ribs* because it's John.
"I'm afraid of commitment," Rodney admits, pulling back, frowning at John's look of disbelief. "Apparently, yes, I got over that. I didn't even have a cat. Now I have an address and I want to marry you. We can do that, you know. In Canada."
John cracks a smile, wobbly and bright. "When this--when all this is over, I can make you promises. Any you want. Anywhere you want."
Rodney nods slowly, pushing back the damp blond hair, leaning down to kiss the track of tears away. "I'll hold you to it."
John does, in fact, anally grind coffee every morning. He can also cook, but Rodney's timed John's coffee ritual and wants breakfast *now*. "Eggs," he tells John's refrigerator hopefully before opening it and looking inside. Sure enough, there are eggs, and cheese, and ham, all with unexpired dates, and Rodney meets his first frying pan and realizes he's found his secondary calling. A half a stick of butter and dance of triumph later, Rodney has his part of domestic harmony completed just as John finishes the coffee.
Rodney can't see how John can possibly argue against compatibility like this.
Rodney watches surreptitiously to make sure John eats, ridiculously pleased to see the omelet consumed in under two minutes and feeling so much like a housewife that he's almost disgusted with himself. But Rodney can live with that; he can live with a lot of things that stumble into the area of domestic normality, if his domestic partner is an undercover FBI rentboy who makes jewelry light up.
John reads the Wall Street Journal, and Rodney tries not to believe that's a sign of impending mental illness, but it's hard. Hunting up his notebook, Rodney reads some of Zelenka's latest intel from Genii family activities. It's boring but at least he doesn't have to wonder if John actually pays attention to stock prices. He really hopes it's just John trying to scare him. It's working very, very well.
John's still on stand-down; by afternoon, Rodney's discovered that taking up residence in John's residence has transferred many and varied duties to him in the care and feeding of undercover agents, which Teyla tells him flatly and with malice aforethought before taking John to the bathroom and recoloring his hair.
The garish blond is so bright that John's sulking when they come out, which is apparently one of the things that Rodney has to deal with while Teyla floats out in a wave of self-satisfied glee.
"Black," Rodney says from the other couch, avoiding John's side of the room, where he's currently cleaning every weapon he owns. Rodney hadn't realized that John kept a small arsenal just in case he suddenly needed to outfit his own army, but he's disabused of his ignorance by the drop cloth that takes up half the living room and John grimly showing him just what the Air Force was teaching him to do besides fly fast planes.
John stares at Rodney before picking up something that's the length of Rodney's leg and could probably take out a small building.
"How many of those can you wear at one time?" Rodney asks in fascination.
John gives him a sultry, come-hither-and-I'll-shoot-you glare. "How high can you count?"
By dinner, though, John's contentedly polishing knives, humming while Rodney gets up to call for pizza and instead ends up with Teyla and Ronon on the doorstep with beer and Chinese.
Rodney wakes up at midnight in an MSG related episode of genius and pushes John onto the floor to wake him up. "I know what Kolya's doing."
"What?" Weir asks. Rodney stares at her neat suit and immaculate hair and decides she's actually a robot. A robot that appreciates chocolate, he hopes.
"This is old," Rodney says, pinning the brooch on John, who looks rumpled and deeply unhappy that he's at FBI headquarters at two in the morning. "Not just old, but--look. All this time, we've been thinking that this is some kind of crazy genius tech and there's some crazy genius Kolya's holding captive to build him really cool things or something, but I'm a crazy genius and I can tell you that I couldn't come up with that. No. This is alien."
Somewhere, Zelenka just had a mind-shattering orgasm and will blame it on too much ecstasy.
Weir sits down. Hard. "What?"
"This? Is alien. Alien as in, not of this world. Where he got it and how much we care, leave aside. The power source? Alien. Not of this world. So he builds a few labs, collects some tech--and finds something. Something so interesting he doesn't even notice when John wanders off with a piece of it. Something so world-changing he can afford to live and whore in DC and go out in public with his rentboy--"
"The rentboy is *in the room*," John says from one of the stools, scowling. His hair is standing straight up. It's adorable.
"I'm sorry," Rodney says sympathetically. "Did you have a more PC word you wanted? Sex industry specialist? Anyway. He's not afraid of anything, can afford to kill off everyone who pisses him off like he doesn't have to worry about tomorrow because he's sure that tomorrow's already his. And there are a few Senators who will agree wholeheartedly."
Rodney looks around the room; Teyla looks convinced, but she and Ronon have been reading the data as closely as he has. Weir is dubious but not hostile. John's just watching him, steady and focused, knowing exactly what Rodney needs.
"We need that fourth lab," Rodney says, not looking at John, not looking at anyone. "Not just location; if Kolya has the sense of a sheep, he has it under enough security that even I'll have problems getting through it, and people good enough to catch me in their systems."
"You need a bug planted," John says mildly. Rodney stiffens. "Something to let you in their systems. And for that, you need me in there to plant it."
Teyla looks at the back of John's head, eyes sharp. Weir shifts on in her seat, glancing between John and Rodney for a moment. "Agent Sheppard," she begins, hands flattening on the top of the lab table. "The location--"
"Won't be enough," John says in the same mild voice. "If we raid, they'll have time to blow everything; this has to be from the inside, with Rodney telling me exactly what I need to find."
Teyla shifts behind him; a subtle but effective declaration of support.
"You'll be out of contact," Rodney says slowly. "We don't have--there won't be any--"
"Surveillance. And no, there can't be, not until I'm in there." John looks between them all, leaning back just enough for his shoulder to press against Teyla's. "Anyone have a better idea?"
Of course not. If there had been a better idea, they wouldn't be selling FBI ass to a drug lord. "You don't need to do this," Rodney hears himself say. Elizabeth's head twists around, and Rodney knows he's giving himself away with every word he says. He just can't bring himself to care.
John meets his eyes, stopping the words in his throat. "Yes. I do."
Somehow, Zelenka catches him before he can get out of his lab the next evening; Teyla took John off after the meeting and hasn't been seen since, and Rodney can't quite face going home to an empty apartment when John's out there somewhere prepping himself to become the love of Kolya's life.
"Aliens," Zelenka says grimly. Rodney sighs and considers confidentiality agreements before opening up his lab and tossing Zelenka the ugly, ugly brooch.
"Do you have the FBI bugged?" Rodney wonders aloud. It's a rhetorical question at best; Rodney's just surprised Zelenka hasn't broken into the lab already.
"No, just pay attention." Rodney watches as Zelenka turns it over between his hands. "Interesting design." Going to Rodney's desk, he sifts through the papers one handedly, glancing at the results. "Where was it?"
"A guy named Kolya had it."
Zelenka's head snaps up. "Pegasus syndicate."
Rodney drops down on a stool and bangs his head against the cool granite. "Not yet, but he may be reforming it." And that, from what Rodney's been able to gather, is a very, very bad thing. "Whatever--"
"Black market for more than merely drugs; weapons, information, people--and unusual technology." Zelenka takes the stool across from Rodney and spreads out one of the reports, setting the brooch on it to stare at moodily. "This is not the first piece I've seen of--unusual design."
"Me either," Rodney tells the table. "It's just the first time I realized it wasn't human." Lifting his head, he look at Zelenka wearily. "So just to really break confidentiality; that only works when touched by a certain DNA type. No, I have no idea why. And so far, only one person I know of has the correct type."
Zelenka frowns thoughtfully, chin resting on one hand. "We could find out more if we had more samples." He narrows his eyes at Rodney. "Area 51--"
"Please shut up," Rodney says. "And take that and give me something--and by that, I mean *anything*--that will let me figure out what Kolya's doing before..."
Zelenka looks at him sharply. "Before what?"
Rodney blinks slowly, opening his mouth to say something that will, with any kind of luck, send Zelenka and that stupid piece of ugly jewelry far, far away. Instead, he picks up his cell phone and dials Teyla's number. "Get me what that is and how it works," Rodney tells him. "Call up your society for the tragically stupid and the tinfoil idiots and get me *everything* that's been found, seen, breathed on, or probed. I know I'm going to regret that last part, but I'm just that willing to make the sacrifice. Call me when you have anything at all." On the fifth ring, Teyla answers, and Rodney waves Zelenka to silence, and sneakily makes it outside before Zelenka realizes he's leaving. "Teyla. Where is he?"
All the lights are off, which doesn't surprise Rodney given John's mood. Closing the door behind him, Rodney toes off his shoes and drops the bags at the door, shoving his keys into his pocket.
I live here, he realizes abruptly, almost stumbling at how normal seems so much less a dirty word when his normal is something like this.
John's sitting on the couch with that leather-bound monstrosity that Rodney had hidden in the empty fourth bedroom, illuminated with one of the lamps Teyla had picked up from a thrift store on their way back from indulging in FBI-subsidized conspicuous consumerism. "War and Peace," Rodney says, almost sad that he can't even be surprised.
John glances at him over his drawn-up knees, socked feet braced on the edge of the couch; with blond hair in his eyes, in Rodney's third favorite t-shirt that's torn at the collar, and sweats, he look about fifteen and indecently wholesome. It's got to be on purpose, though Rodney can't figure out why.
"It's a good book," John says, sliding a leather bookmark onto his page but keeping it open in his lap. "I thought you were--"
"I thought you were with Teyla." Thinking of the tight strain in Teyla's voice, he can imagine what John did to get her to leave him alone. "What are you doing?"
John blinks at him. "Reading?"
"Brooding," Rodney corrects him, sitting on the edge of the couch and pulling the book from John's hands. "Sulking."
John's eyes narrow. "I--"
"Come on." Taking the book, Rodney sets it on the floor for later disposal and pulls John's hand. "I'm bored."
John lets himself be pulled to his feet, but he digs in his heels at that. "I'm not in the mood--"
"You don't know what mood you're in," Rodney answers, tugging harder. For someone so skinny, John's *heavy*. John comes with him, step by agonizing step, and Rodney's entire arm is aching by the time John gives up.
Grabbing the bags, Rodney, leads him to the bathroom and its bright new rugs, hunting up the barstool while John watches him in the mirror and lets Rodney shove him down on it. Rodney puts John's back to the mirror and reaches for the bright blond hair, thoughtfully pushing it from John's eyes, then gets the shopping bag and puts it on the sink, snapping on the gloves with the same air of restrained, indecent enthusiasm that Carson seems to get off on.
"Rodney, I can't--" John reaches protectively for his hair with one hand.
"Temp dye. Washes out in two days, tops. Trust me, this is something I know. Sit still." Fishing out the official dyeing towels from the lowest shelf of the bathroom cabinet, Rodney wraps John's neck securely. "After this, you should shave your head."
John's eyes widen then narrow thoughtfully. "I've thought about it."
"I'll get the razor," Rodney promises, tilting John's head down. Finding the scissors, he cuts the back in a straight line, then gets the box of dye, tossing the directions on the floor and opening it. Not giving John time to think it through, Rodney gets enough cover the palm of one gloved hand. John doesn't move as Rodney goes to work, drowning the blond strand by strand, feeling something loosen inside him with the vanishing gold. Halfway through, John's hands come to rest on his hips, pulling him closer, and Rodney ignores the dye soaking into his shirt from John's hair as he works it through the back.
When he's done, he keeps John looking at him while he trims the front; the length's okay, but Teyla just doesn't have much of a sense of style. "Okay?" Rodney whispers. John nods. "Almost done."
He washes the excess dye out in the shower, towel-drying while John watches him, eyes unfocused and body malleable. Rodney's seen him like this, when Kolya puts a hand on his back, his thigh, reaches for him with casual possession, like he's entitled to John's body without regard to the person who lives inside his skin. Reaching for his case, Rodney opens it and sits it on the edge of the black-streaked sink, then he reaches for John's chin, tilting his head up.
Glassy hazel eyes meet his and flicker away; Rodney tights his hold. "Who do you want to be tonight?"
John blinks, hesitating. Agent Sheppard will read and hate himself; Michael's just waiting for his next hit.
"There were--three identities," John says slowly. "Before Michael, when I was partnered with Teyla. Nothing big; it was mostly short-term--" John raises an eyebrow at Rodney. "His men are out tonight. If I'm in public, someone's going to recognize me."
Rodney reaches for the eyeliner. "He could be looking right at you," Rodney whispers, "and he wouldn't see a thing."
John's hand intercepts his, catching the pencil. There's a dawning light in his eyes, like he must have been when he started, when it was all an exercise, a game to play, a person he could enjoy and walk away from. "You want to see how I used to do it?"
Rodney leans his head against John's and takes back the pencil. "I want to see what it was like when you loved it."
Teyla and Ronon, with various traumatized FBI rookies looking like a bad night at Rocky Horror, are waiting for them outside the door. Rodney has to stop and stare at her. "Is that even legal?" he asks, looking at the line of gold tape that apparently is supposed to represent an outfit.
Teyla shrugs; Rodney pities the person who tells her it isn't. The normally brown hair forms tight, cherry-red sausage curls around her face, blue-lined eyes dusted with metallic gold and black, a gold ring in her eyebrow and her nose, and boots Rodney can't see how she can possibly walk in. In contrast Ronon, in jeans and some kind of black mesh shirt, looks almost mundane.
Rodney watches their faces as John appears beside him; Teyla's black-lined mouth drops before she laughs in delight, giving him a slow once-over that goes on for a small but impressive geological era. "I remember those pants," she says, flashing gold on her tongue (God, Rodney thinks. If only he'd had time to get John to a professional), turning her finger in a circle, probably because she's human and wants to get a good look at John's ass encased in very, very tight leather. John turns obedient, pushing black hair behind his ear, trying to pretend that the sleeveless silver shirt that they raided Zelenka's office for isn't three sizes too small. Staring at them both, Rodney has no idea how he's going to make it through this evening sane.
"You should; you bought them." John pauses, eyes narrow. "And sewed me into them."
"And that is the reason we both learned to love rice cakes," Teyla says, nodding in agreement.
John smiles, showing his teeth. "Job-required anorexia. Nice--" John tilts his head thoughtfully, eyes stopped just below her navel. "New ring?"
"Just something I had lying about," she answers, tossing her head casually. Reaching for Ronon (who is doing his best not to look as freaked out as he seems to want to), she pulls him toward the bouncer, who's been watching the show with the look of someone wishing desperately he was off the clock. She smiles her way inside, a company of appalled FBI agents in tow.
Turning to John, Rodney finds himself weirdly nervous, hands locked together behind his back. The last time they were here, there was Chaya, and the first time, he was trying to buy John's very skilled services. It might be, he admits, not exactly what John needs to remember.
"Ready?" he asks, trying not to sweat and feeling mundane in his jeans and ripped shirt compared to John. He's got to go shopping, or at least, get the rest of his clothes shipped from LA.
John looks at him from behind black bangs, expression unreadable, then reaches out, hooking two fingers in Rodney's jeans. "I feel like a cliché. From a afterschool special. A bad one." Towing Rodney to the door, he flashes a smile with rose-red lips and the bouncer looks like he's trying to avoid having an embarrassing moment. Rodney reaches to hold onto the low waist of John's pants, feeling the smooth flesh-colored tape he'd used to cover Kolya's tattoo; also, to make the guy very, very envious.
"How do you feel?"
John pauses as the bouncer stumbles over his own feet to open the door. Wrinkling his nose at the flood of music that hits them like running into a brick wall, John considers the world. "Pretty good." Grinning back at Rodney, he tightens his grip. "Come on."
Lorne and Ford show up to look stoic and a little amused, directing the other agents to act less conspicuously suspicious and more like they're here for a night of debauchery and wild, crazy fun. It's not working, but at least it's entertaining to watch them try.
"How did you get them to come?" Rodney asks Teyla as he leans back between John's legs, bracing an arm on one leather-coated thigh while motioning toward the various earnest-looking men and women trying and failing to blend in.
"I told them it was a training exercise." Taking a shot with an elegant flicker of her wrist, she considers her charges with a critical eye. None of them can dance at all. "Their instructor did tell me they needed wider experience. I think he was correct."
Tilting his head back, Rodney catches sight of John's smile as he finishes his beer. Two stools down, Ronon flirts with someone very tall and extremely androgynous. Ford tries to look casual and calm while a pretty girl in a variety of transparent scarves in lieu of clothing backs him into a wall. He doesn't necessarily look like he wants to get away.
"How long did you come here when you started working undercover?" Rodney asks; they're far enough away from the main speakers that he almost doesn't have to yell. Teyla leans over, resting her chin on John's shoulder, gold bracelets jangling merrily, like they're having as good a time as she is.
John thinks, then looks at Teyla. "A month?"
"To establish our personas," Teyla says firmly, running an hand down John's arm, dark blue nails vivid against his skin. "It was a time-consuming process that required many hours of hard work."
"You got trashed every night and were paid for it," Rodney answers flatly, shifting her other hand from John's thigh with a frown. "My tax dollars at work."
John tilts his head curiously. "Do you even pay taxes?"
"That's not the point." Rodney does his own taxes. So far, not a dollar paid. He loves being a genius. "And for that matter--"
Teyla reaches out, grabbing his collar to jerk him forward and John kisses him--messy, wet, all tongue and teeth, so fast he's dizzy when John pulls back, mouth smeared and shiny. Teyla leans over, taking another shot before kissing John, slow and dirty and with lots and lots of tongue. When she pulls back, John looks a little glassy and Teyla licks her lips before sliding to the floor, turning away from them with a glittering smile and disappearing into the crowd.
Rodney slow-blinks his way from dumb lust to feel John's hand slide into the front of his jeans, pulling him off to the side of the main floor. "Come on," he says, and Rodney stares at John's ass and obeys.
He clears the men's bathroom with a barked command, kicking open closed stalls and sending various half-dressed people running for their lives, frowning at the inhabitants of the largest one. "You have any idea how unsanitary that is?" John says, looking inside with an appalled expression. "Seriously. You shouldn't be anywhere near his mouth. Go drink something to kill the germs. Jesus."
Two disturbed looking male-like figures depart so quickly that Rodney's still blinking when John goes one stall over, pulling Rodney in behind him. Closing the door, he's pushed up against it before John retreats to the toilet, lounging as comfortably as chair in his own home. "Teyla and I used to work the dealers in here," he says with a flash of teeth. "You'd be surprised how easy it was to get them talking."
"I--wouldn't actually," Rodney hears himself say hoarsely, leaning back against the door, staring at the elegantly debauched rentboy who wears John Sheppard's body, who learned with Teyla to use it as a weapon. This is what Chaya tried to take from him, and it's awing, amazing to watch him slowly taking it back.
Rodney's not sure what John has in mind; he's not even sure John does. One step gets him in range of John's boot; a quick, professional sweep has him straddling John's lap, hot tongue pushing greedily into his mouth and a hand shoved down the front of his pants, tracing blunt fingernails across his stomach, teasing the head of his cock.
"John," Rodney starts, but forgets where that sentence was supposed to go; reaching down, he fits his hand to the bulge in the soft leather. John bites his lip sharply, nails scratching down Rodney's back beneath his shirt. "Jesus, I—"
Sliding off John's lap, Rodney drops to his knees to push the leather-clad thighs apart, lean forward to nuzzle John's cock through the thin material. John gasps, arching, fingers curling in Rodney's hair while Rodney works the button loose, the zipper down far enough to pull John's cock through the gap and go down in a single swallow.
"Oh Jesus, Rodney," John whispers, tensing luxuriously, melting onto the toilet seat. Rodney uses his nails on the insides of John's thighs and holds him in his throat. John twists like he means it, groaning like he doesn't care who hears him, lacing his fingers through Rodney's hair and taking the rhythm Rodney gives him, quick thrusts of his hips before he comes with a surprised shout and kicks one boot through the stall wall. Rodney holds him there, swallowing around him before sucking off, licking the bitter taste from his lips.
John's flushed and glazed over, fingers knotted in his hair and panting, his mouth smeared out its perfect shape; he's gorgeous. "Want to fuck me?" John breathes, lounging on the toilet like he's sitting on his very own throne.
Rodney gets John's hand loose and pulls him to his feet, boneless and liquid. "I've waited for you all my life," he says and means it. Squeezing his ass, Rodney sucks a hickey into the side of his neck, feeling dizzy and high just looking at him. "I can wait a little longer."
"Maybe I don't want to." Pushing him back against the bathroom door, John licks his lips, leaning close to breathe four words in his ear: "Don't stay a word."
Rodney swallows, bracing a hand against the door before John pulls him toward the toilet. A push sits him down hard, but Rodney barely notices, watching as John works the soft leather down his thighs, cock red and half-hard already in its nest of dark hair. Rodney never sees John get the condom out; all he gets is a shocked breath when John slides it between his teeth, ducking his head to work it down his cock before turning around with a flickering smile. "Don’t move."
Rodney couldn't move right now if he'd been sitting on a bomb. Mouth dry, he watches as John lower himself onto his lap, one hand wrapped around Rodney's cock as he slides on him, tight and hot and a little slick (God, Rodney realizes, he did that before we left the apartment; he planned this), sinking down in teasing inches. After an eternity that's nothing but slick heat and his own helpless sounds, John's straddling his lap, leaning back against Rodney's chest with a satisfied sigh. Crisp hair brushes Rodney's cheek as he turns his head, hazel eyes dark and a little feral. "Good."
Rodney licks his lips. "I—" Want to touch you. Jesus. Please. "I—John, please—"
John reaches for one of his hands, pulling it around his waist, sliding it over smooth leather and his flat, hard belly; Rodney takes the hint and reaches for his cock, wrapping his hand around the hard, damp length, burying his head in the crook of John's neck as he starts to move.
It's impossible to get any leverage, hips pinned to the toilet and John murmuring in his ear, filthy promises of all the places John will fuck him, where he'll fuck John, in his lab and Elizabeth's office, out in the middle of the club, in the alley with everyone watching, "When I'm done with you, the only name you'll remember is mine," and Rodney says yes, please, now, anything and means every fucking word.
It doesn't take long; John's electric and Rodney's been waiting for him forever. John moans, rhythm off as he begins to shake, and Rodney grabs his hip, arching once as John comes shuddering in his hand with a long, low groan, black spots dancing before his eyes as he comes in the tight, clenching heat, almost coming again when he feels John reach for his hand, licking the wetness from his fingers
He's still limp, shocky when John pulls off, condom stripped professionally and tossed into the trash, leather half-fastened before John straddles his lap, kissing him slow and sweet like the pillows in his apartment.
What feels like forever later, John pulls back, forehead resting against his. "Hey."
Rodney forces his eyes open, feeling sated and exhausted and almost frighteningly happy. "Hey."
John grins, nipping his nose. "Come on. Teyla'll be pissed if we don't get out there soon." Standing up, John reaches for the toilet paper, doing a quick spot cleaning before he opens the bathroom door, all liquid grace and barely-checked energy like the flaring of a living star; Rodney can't take his eyes off him.
Cleaning himself up, Rodney stands up on shaky legs, catching himself on the bathroom wall. "I need a drink." God does he need a drink; he's getting hard again just looking at John, flushed and mussed and painting his lips flawless red. He looks like sex, like good sex; staring at the face being painted back to pretty blankness, Rodney comes up behind him, gets a flashing, mischievous grin, and falls in love all over again.
"Want me to show you how we get suspects to talk?"
Rodney rests his hands on John's hips. "I'd tell you anything you want to know."
Vivid green eyes meet Rodney's in the mirror. "I'll hold you to that."
Rodney sometimes thinks about what his life would have been like if he'd never left Northwestern. Wife by twenty-five. Two kids by thirty. Two houses by thirty-five, maybe a third kid if the first two were a disappointment. Nobel at forty. Lots and lots of money in a world of white walls and black numbers boxing him in space and time; theorizing about a universe he would never be able to touch.
It's very depressing, so depressing he needs another drink. Like, now.
"I didn't know Teyla could bend like that," Ford says in an awed shout near Rodney's ear, stirring his frilly pink drink that Lorne had given him along with a pointed reminder that if he drank anything stronger, Teyla had promised she'd remove his balls with her boot heels.
Ford had believed her. Rodney did, too.
John and Teyla have been at it for two hours straight; Rodney can't imagine how they're doing it. They break the crowd wherever they go, emptiness opening around them like a parting ocean, and the guy who couldn't dance turns into someone boneless and beautiful, bright with energy, burning it up like a living sun. They're known here, gathering a crowd when they stop, offers that Rodney can see John turn down with mascara-blackened lashes and a smile, touching John in ways that make Rodney cling to his barstool with both hands and remind himself jealousy is pedestrian and patriarchal and--something else he's sure he used to believe very strongly, except right now, not so much.
Ordering two shots from the bar, Rodney maneuvers through the crowd by dint of pushing them out of his way. John doesn't turn around, but a hand is sliding in the front of his jeans almost as soon as he's in range, pulling him in.
"Wondered when you'd show up," John murmurs against his ear. From the corner of his eye, Rodney notes at least two indecently thin men staring at him with resentful eyes. It's nice.
Teyla, draped across John's back, quirks a smile at him as John takes the shot Rodney offers, licking his perfect red lips briefly.
"You look tired," John says, leaning his head down to press his forehead against Rodney's. Rodney feels Teyla take the second shot from his hand before John cups his face, kissing him with slow, dirty enthusiasm, tasting of tequila and sugar, tongue flicking lazily against his.
"We can go home," John murmurs against his mouth, tongue slick over his lip, his teeth, gentle and familiar and unpracticed.
Rodney glances up; seeing John's grin, hazel eyes alight, warm and easy in his arms, Rodney quickly shakes his head, wrapping his arms around John's waist. He wants this a little bit longer. "Not yet."
Next: Part 6