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The Last Kisses

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John's raspy breath was painful to hear and feel. Rodney stroked his chest soothingly, wishing he could do more. Under his fingers, John's chest shifted, moved, as he struggled to sit up.

Tucking an arm under him to help, Rodney asked, "John? Do you need something? Can I get you - ?"

"I can't sleep," John said, his voice decidedly cranky. "I want to sit on the porch."

"Yes, fine. Just let me help you." Rodney fussed, finding their slippers and robes, his knees creaking as he bent to put John's slippers on him, and then John had to tug him up. He laughed weakly, sadly, leaning against his husband.

John hugged him, his arms no longer as strong as they once were, but his embrace as desired as always. "We got old."

"Yes, and you're still an early riser." Rodney caught his hand. "Let's watch the sunrise."

They shuffled down the hallway, the dogs whining from their beds. "Come on." John waved toward them, and they leaped up, following them outside. John and Rodney sat on the porch swing, the dogs at their feet, watching the sun rise slowly over the ocean. "It's beautiful," John said, before he took Rodney's face in his hands, kissing him, firmly, lingeringly.

Rodney moaned into his mouth, John's ability to make him melt undiminished by time. They'd had an amazing 90 years together, and he had never tired of John's kisses, of his touch, of the way John both owned and worshipped his body.

John's fingers drifted over Rodney's collar, the one he'd had made to celebrate their 50th anniversary, crafted from Athosian gold, Earth sapphires on each side of the words 'John Sheppard' inscribed in the middle. "You're beautiful."

Rodney gave a snort. "I see your eyesight has finally gone." Even with all white hair, lined skin and age spots, John was the beautiful one.

"I'd say I was sorry – "

"But you know I'm not. We're together, always."

John sighed, laying his head on Rodney's shoulder. Their hands rested on each other's knees as dawn turned into morning. They listened to the sound of the ocean and the occasional yip from the dogs, not needing to talk. Rodney felt it when it happened, the sudden loss and coldness, gasping a little at the pain. He fumbled in his robe pocket, finding his communicator, tapping on 'Tim' in the contacts list and texting, "Come now."

He turned his head slightly, pressing a kiss against John's temple. The communicator dropped from his hand as he followed John for the last time.

~ the end ~