The heat wakes him. Sweat runs down his face as he throws the covers back, and he scrambles to rip off his shirt before his eyes are fully open. He lies there sprawled in the darkness, assessing what happened last night.
Only it's blank.
Rodney sits up, bracing his back on the wall. He's in a guest room, that's clear, and that mound in the bed across the room has to be John. He remembers Atlantis. He remembers his team. He remembers traveling through the gate. And thank God, he remembers physics and he remembers his name. He may not remember how he got here, but that could simply be a too-much-alcohol-in-a-hot-tub situation. He can work with that.
Moonlight filters into the room, but he doesn't need the light to see a red glow emanating from the floor. Something's really fucked up, and he looks over the edge of the bed to see what sort of emergency lighting just happens to have come on. The words bubble up before he can stop them, as words so often do. "The floor is lava!"
John must have felt the heat or heard the shout, as the mound of blankets shifts a bit, and John rolls over to look at him. He must have been sleeping soundly, as his hair is even more mussed than usual. He sits up and blinks. "What-- Oh."
Rodney stands up on the bed, presses his back against the wall, and looks wildly around the room. The floor's a bright red and yellow swirl, weaving back and forth, and he can feel the heat coming off it. Yet the rest of the room is wood, and nothing has incinerated yet. It makes no sense, but so little does in the Pegasus galaxy, not until you really look at it. "We have got to get out of here, but Don't. Touch. The. Floor."
"No floor. Got it." John stands up on his bed -- like Rodney, he sleeps in a T-Shirt and boxers when they’re in a safe location on an away mission but, hello, lava, how safe is that? -- and puts his bare foot on the end table; from there he steps to the seat of a chair, light as a gazelle, and lopes across the hearth. He bounces to Rodney's chair, end table, and bed. "Easy peasy," he says as he slides onto the quilt and slides over to Rodney. "Now, quick question. How are you feeling?"
"Thank God you're okay," Rodney mutters, pressing his hand to John's chest. "I was worried--" He glances back at the floor. "What the hell? It's all wood again."
"It's always been wood. It's been wood since the place was built."
"I take it something happened." Rodney slides down the wall and lets his head sink back against it.
John nods slowly, moving around a little to get more comfortable, putting his arm around Rodney. "The food had a new spice in it, and it affected you pretty strongly. It wasn't citrus, more of a nutmeg thing."
The moment John says it, a dozen related thoughts spark in his head, from the taste of pumpkin pie and hot buttered rum to the scent of spice bread baking at his grandparents ranch in Alberta, to the idiocy of internet legends on how to abuse nutmeg to get high. "But I love nutmeg. Not in peach pie, but a little is nice. It's really good in Japanese curry." He tries to refocus on the room around him. "I may be a little high."
"It's okay, Rodney. So am I."
Rodney sighs. He hates it when food betrays him. "So why are we here again?"
John pats Rodney's arm. "Because...you like it here?"
"Yup." He takes his arm from around Rodney and ticks his points off on his fingers. "One. There's an Ancient outpost that hasn't been completely destroyed yet that you always wanted to visit. Two. There's nothing on this planet that has anything remotely like citrus fruit, while there's a ton of vitamin C in the blue potatoes they grow. I think we traded antibiotics for them the first year we were here. "
"Blue potatoes," Rodney says wistfully. He remembers those. Mashed blue potatoes made with real butter and cream from mostly cows, that tasted a little sweet and a little like cinnamon. They were used as a dessert that first year, and Rodney loved them.
"You got it." John rubs the back of Rodney's neck. It feels really good, so Rodney presses into it. "And third, they have a cooking contest every year, and this year, they invited you to judge."
"Ah, they recognized my culinary expertise." He lets his fingers run up and down John's arm, feeling a spark inside him that makes everything tingle. "So why'd the guy want to poison the judge?"
"He didn't. He just wanted an edge, so he was trying a new spice from the Southern Continent. He says he's sorry, by the way."
"Idiot." Rodney tugs on John's shirt, and John sits up straighter so Rodney can pull it off.
"I couldn't agree more," John says as he slides his hand across Rodney's chest. "Mmm, that's nice."
Now that Rodney's cooled down, he can't help but push himself into John's warmth. "You feel good, you know?"
John gives a sharp bark of laughter as he lies down on the bed. "Maybe we shouldn't."
Rodney lets his palm roll over John's abdomen and slide up to his chest. "So? You don't want to do it while I'm a little, ah, stoned?"
"Oh, I didn't say that. Usually I'm the one that gets slipped a mickey at these things. Your stuff tends to be more...life threatening."
Rodney runs his fingers around the waistband of John's underwear. "Not tonight, though."
"No, not tonight."
"Lift your hips."
John's face softens, and his voice turns thready as Rodney snags the fabric and pulls it off, leaving John naked on the bed. "I was worried, Rodney. We all were. Keller gave the okay for us to stay, but otherwise you would have spent the night in the infirmary."
Rodney snorts. "Please. And miss out on the Ancient outpost tomorrow? Not on your life."
"She also said there might be other side effects, so don't do anything strenuous until it's had time to work through your system."
"So, no wild monkey sex?" Rodney pulls off his own underwear and straddles John's hips. "I could make it worth your while."
"No dice, buddy. Doctor's orders."
Rodney squishes down on the bed between John and the wall. Something winds its way into his brain, percolating up through the pleasant arousal that's building in his gut, brought on by being safe with John in a location away from prying eyes. They really didn't get too many of those moments on Atlantis. "Hey, is this one of those places where we have to show our devotion -- our sexual devotion -- before we can go into the sacred space?"
"Uhm, maybe?" John's face in scrunched into his 'please don't make me say anything demonstrative' face. Rodney's become rather fond of that look.
"I thought so," he says, tapping John's chest. "And there's a lot of oil required, right?"
John nods. "Yeah. After a dip in the sacred hot springs mineral bath."
Rodney feels a grin creep onto his face as he pulls the covers over them. "No wonder I love this place."
John shakes his head and kisses Rodney, his lips soft and warm against Rodney's. "Don't ever change."