"I have seen hell and it is Kavanagh in a Santa Claus outfit," Rodney muttered under his breath, conscious that he'd like to avoid one more of Elizabeth's glares of doom before this horrendously fake holiday season was blissfully finished.
"It's better than wearing it yourself," John noted unsympathetically, having had to do some fancy dancing to avoid being commandeered to don an elf outfit, the one time John had overtly resisted the Christmas planning. "But your ears would be perfect!" Ford had exclaimed, as if it had never occurred to him that comparisons to elves and Eddie Munster had gotten old before John was out of grade school.
"At least Teyla looks hot. It's nice to have some Christmas decoration worth admiring. Not that you should repeat that to her," Rodney added hastily, because he didn't want Teyla beating him up later. He and John were sitting at the table in the very back of the Atlantis cafeteria, the farthest possible place from where Kavanagh, dressed in a surprisingly precise Santa outfit, was ho-ho-hoing and handing out small gifts to the Athosian kids, aided by Teyla in a mock Mrs. Santa Claus outfit of red halter top and skirt. She hadn't understood the holiday very well but the idea of a happy celebration with fun and presents for the kids had appealed.
Actually, Rodney wasn't sure anyone understood what exactly was being celebrated, once Elizabeth had started blending Christian, secular Christmas, Jewish, Kwanzaa and Athosian elements all together, determined to make everyone feel happy about the day.
"My lips are sealed," John promised, silently agreeing that Teyla did look very attractive. It was just unfortunate that the only person he really wanted to see dressed in red velvet was Rodney, and Rodney had made it very plain, loudly and vehemently, that his participation would be minimal and reluctant. Not that John wanted to see Rodney in a Santa Claus outfit, with the white beard and padding. No, Rodney naked and lying on a blanket of red velvet would be John's ideal.
"I thought you enjoyed this Christmas nonsense," Rodney said suspiciously. John had seemed pleased to go along with all of Elizabeth's plans, dragging his team around or happily offering soldiers to handle whatever tasks were needed. Well, except for vetoing the elf idea with a firmness that prevented any argument.
"Holidays suck," John said morosely.
"Pardon me? Holidays suck? Mr. shouldn't we pick an Athosian plant to be mistletoe says holidays suck?" What the hell?
"Holidays suck," John repeated, the honesty coming awkward to his lips, freed by Rodney's presence and the warmth of a large feast topped off by a healthy serving of Athosian moonshine in his stomach. "I just didn't see any reason to fight it."
Rodney glared at John, furiously reflecting on the last few weeks of enforced staff meetings devoted to annoying holiday planning, and of John's casual but encouraging responses to all of Elizabeth's ideas. "You don't like holidays? You didn't see any reason to fight it? So why did you have to keep making *me* help out? The entertainment value of my misery?"
John shrugged. He hadn't been able to stop himself from making Rodney participate, even though he felt bad about not supporting the scientist in their shared views. "The team stays together," was all he answered, knowing the justification was incomplete.
"Oh great," Rodney bitched, "yes, I love to waste my time on holiday planning because of team bonding. Like running from the Wraith isn't bonding enough." He couldn't dispute that John's technique had been more effective than his own. John had avoided all of Elizabeth's glares of doom, and since the scientists had wanted to participate, Rodney's protests about their valuable time not being wasted had been ineffective anyway.
"Make it up to you," John said, slipping a flask out of his jacket. "Athosian moonshine." He poured a generous splash into Rodney's mock eggnog. The cooks had made a valiant effort but everything tasted slightly different without the original Earth ingredients. Subtly jarring, not that anyone but Rodney and he seemed to notice.
Rodney took a sip. The moonshine was smoother than the previous batches he'd tasted, and blended well with the drink. "You're drunk," he accused, understanding why John was suddenly being so honest.
"Nah. Not yet. But I'm working on it." Getting drunk was probably incredibly stupid but it was one of those ideas that seemed wiser with every sip.
Rodney downed half his glass and offered it to John. "I'll join you." Athosian children were shrieking louder and louder with glee at the simple toys that the soldiers and scientists had made, and alcohol seemed the best way to deaden the noise.
Obligingly, John refilled his glass. Rodney was a good sort really, for all his bluster and tantrums. He was brilliant when their asses were on the line, and surprisingly brave, and hot too, though John tried not to dwell on that last attribute. John had felt a little cheesy, hanging back and acting like he was fine with the holiday fuss while Rodney took the spotlight as head grinch. But…well… the holiday express couldn't ever be stopped. He'd learned long ago to pretend he was following the train even if he avoided stepping on it. "Cool," he said. He and Rodney could get drunk together. Seeing how the head scientist behaved drunk would probably be the best part of this day.
"So why don't you like holidays?"
John shrugged. "Why don't you?"
"Are you kidding? I've never told you anything about my parents, have I? They argued all the time and holidays were the worst. All that," Rodney waved the hand not holding his glass, unwilling to risk sloshing any of the contents out, "wonderful family togetherness and the meaning of Christmas nonsense. All holidays accomplished was to make it harder to escape their bickering."
"And after you grew up? Nothing changed your mind?" The presents had been finished and Radek, wearing a Santa hat, was leading the group in singing carols, accompanied by a soldier with a harmonica and an Athosian woman with the Pegasus equivalent of a fiddle. The three had spent some time practicing, so at least they were in tune, even if everyone else was more loud than harmonious.
"Holidays were great in college. Everyone went home and I had total use of the labs. I'd be very happy if I could be in the lab now, doing some productive work." Rodney glared at Elizabeth, who was across the room, singing cheerfully, and beaming at everyone, before turning his glare back to John. "You did it again."
"Threw it back on me." Rodney pointed a finger at John. "You owe me. Why don't you like Christmas? The truth."
John sighed and squirmed a little, because it wasn't anything he liked talking about, but he was feeling liquid enough to open up a bit and Rodney was right, he could have tried to be a little supportive during the last few weeks. "Mom died when I was young," he forced out. "Cancer. Dad – Dad didn't do holidays well."
"Drunk? Abusive? Bitter?"
"No. Not any of that." John let his gaze stray from Rodney's penetrating blue eyes and back to the caroling crowd. As best as he could tell, everyone was singing. Everyone but him and Rodney, the two of them hiding in the back of the room. Elizabeth was probably mentally appreciating him for keeping Rodney company. More kudos to John. He was such an ass. "Quiet. Restrained. He gave me practical presents. It was all… duty," he finished lamely, not sure if that could really explain growing up in a cold house with a cold, controlled man and no love. Holidays had only seemed to accentuate the lack of affection in their small family.
"And after you were grown up? Nothing changed your mind?" Rodney shot John's questions back at him.
"Better, but…" John downed the rest of his glass, pouring another shot, and offering the flask to Rodney, topping his cup off. "People have expectations."
Rodney drank but didn't prompt with anything more than his curious blue eyes. People thought that because he talked a lot, he didn't know how to listen, but scientists had to pay attention to input. When it was valuable input anyway, and anything that allowed him to understand John Sheppard was definitely worthwhile.
"That you want to go home. Or that you're sad that you're stationed in another country and can't." John had never minded not being with his dad for Christmas. Being alone was easier than being tolerated out of obligation.
"Have you spent every holiday for the last two decades shrugging and looking winsome and letting people believe you care?" The casual deceit was horrifying and yet surprisingly easy to believe.
"Yeah. Pretty much."
One side of Rodney's mouth turned downwards. "You are incredibly messed up."
John tipped his chair back, his head resting against the cafeteria wall. "Yeah. I suppose." His eyes drifted shut, but nothing could block out the tra-la-la'ing. "I'd make it up to you, if I could."
"Yes, now that the torment is almost over," Rodney said brusquely, but he found himself reaching out, curling his fingers around John's wrist above his watchband, hoping that touch could provide some comfort. John being so honest and even a little…vulnerable was weirdly the best part of the day, but it made Rodney want to erase all those bad memories, to restore his casual air of unconcern. "At least the meal was excellent," he offered.
"Yeah," John smiled, keeping his eyes closed, suppressing the urge to shiver at the feeling of Rodney's fingers on him. Rodney's touch felt so good, warm and reassuring, making him feel alive. Not closed off and cold. "Food was great."
"Yes, one advantage of Wraith culling and lack of civilization, all the agrarian peasants in the Pegasus Galaxy have good food supplies to trade." Rodney had been bored out of his skull when they'd scouted planets so Teyla could negotiate with farmers to find the appropriate supplies, but his stomach had enjoyed every bite of the huge Christmas feast. He squeezed John's wrist again, a bit surprised that the other man wasn't breaking away.
"Yeah, it was great," John said, leaning forward so that the front legs of the chair clinked back on the ground, opening his eyes and staring intently at Rodney. "I'd make it up to you, if I could. I really would." Tilting his head to one side, submissively, he offered encouragingly, "I was a bad boy. Naughty," he added hoping that Rodney would understand without John having to say the words. He licked his lips for emphasis.
Rodney watched John's mouth, the slow drag of wet pink tongue against the thinner upper lip, the fuller bottom one, both so soft and appealing and kissable, not that Rodney had ever thought he would have a chance to kiss John, but even Rodney couldn't miss flirting that blatant. "Yes," he agreed emphatically. "You have been a very naughty boy. Incredibly naughty."
Oh, thank god Rodney was getting it and going along with it and not shrieking in heterosexual panic. Maybe his guess about Rodney had been right, and something decent would come out of this atrocious holiday, something to replace the bad childhood memories. "Naughty boys get coal in their stockings. Or… spanked."
"Yes, you should be spanked," Rodney decreed, sliding his hand up John's arm, glad that he was wearing one of his black t-shirts with short sleeves. There was no fabric to interfere with Rodney's exploration. "Coal isn't enough punishment for your naughtiness. You need to be thoroughly spanked." Rodney's cock was twitching, filling, just from the thought that John might willingly offer that round firm butt of his to Rodney's hand. He wasn't sure how they'd switched from confessional time to kinky innuendo, but he was very happy to follow John's lead. After all, John was the team leader, and Rodney was a good team member.
"Yes, I do," John agreed eagerly, nodding his head. After months of wanting Rodney, of stifling his desire during the day, unleashing it in his evening fantasies, could it be so simple, Rodney so receptive?
Rodney glanced around the room, but no one was looking at them, all their attention raptly focused on Radek, waving his hands wildly, trying to get different groups singing different verses in harmony. Removing his hand from John's arm, Rodney laid it on his crotch, squeezing John's dick, feeling how it surged into his hand as John's breathing accelerated. Oh god. Perhaps there was a Santa Claus, because it seemed like Rodney's most secret Christmas wish was about to come true. "As soon as Elizabeth stops checking that I'm here, we're both leaving. Separately. I expect to find you waiting in my quarters." He waited for the 'surprise!,' the mocking laugh that said John had been playing him, but received only another of those enticing lip licks and John's mute nod of understanding.
John willed himself to relax, to not think about what might be coming, so that he wouldn't end up in an embarrassing state. He even sang a few verses with the carolers, following Radek's lead. When the time seemed right, he squeezed Rodney's knee to let him know he was going, and slipped out, heading directly to Rodney's room, making sure no one was around before he went inside. After a brief internal debate, he took off his clothes, folded them neatly on the desk chair, placing his dog tags on top, before kneeling, naked, in the middle of the room, facing the door.
Rodney left the cafeteria as soon after John as he could, trying not to visualize what was waiting for him, because erections tended to make walking difficult. And then he strode into his room to see a naked John kneeling on the floor, hands clasped behind his back, head submissively lowered. John was all man, long, lean, golden body, coated with dark hair on his chest and legs, his dick rising from between his thighs, and he was offering himself to Rodney. An erection was impossible to stave off any longer, the blood rushing to his cock so fast Rodney was afraid he might faint. He may have whimpered, but John didn't respond with a teasing look, only one filled with passion and desire. "I must have been very good this year. Really very good. Well, of course I have saved our lives numerous times. It's only reasonable that a genius of my caliber receive the best present."
John felt warmed all over by Rodney's scrutiny, almost dizzy, and his mouth was dry. He licked his lips. "I was naughty."
"Yes, you were. You have to be punished. But first – " Rodney sank to his knees in front of John, cupped his face in his hands, and kissed him, a slow, leisurely kiss, wet tongues meeting and exploring each other. Rodney's brain cells that were still able to function with all his blood in his dick were joyously shrieking oh god oh god oh god.
John kissed Rodney back, trying to show his repentance and need. He gave a little whine when Rodney's lips separated from his, but waited to see what Rodney would order next, ready for anything, to do anything Rodney wanted.
"Yes, more of that later, definitely. But first…" Sitting on the edge of the bed, Rodney patted his knees. "Come here."
Fighting to hide his trembling, John walked over to Rodney, kneeling again and draping his torso over Rodney's knees, letting his head and arms hang down.
"Yes, perfect. At least you understand how to show repentance." Rodney tried to keep his voice cool, though maintaining control was difficult when his dick screamed to push John onto the floor and rut against him. Instead, Rodney brushed one hand up and down John's back, long muscles and soft skin, accustoming him to being touched, but while the faint tremors diminished, they didn't stop. Though John had asked for this, even Rodney was perceptive enough to realize it wasn't what he needed. "John. John, come here," Rodney ordered, moving to rise and lift John off his lap.
Rodney's sudden reversal was surprising, and John wanted to protest, wanted to feel Rodney's firm hand on his ass, but he was trying to make it up to Rodney, so he let himself be guided, lifted and pushed until he was lying on the bed, watching as Rodney stripped off his own clothes. It was the first time John had seen Rodney fully naked, and it was a delight to his eyes, every inch of Rodney's solid body, from blue eyes to pointed nipples, down to hard cock and strong legs. His belly had a softness that made John want to cuddle him. "Rodney?" John asked. "I really was naughty," he said earnestly.
"I know, John. But I'm in control here." He dimmed the lights and settled on the bed next to John, stroking him again, but this time on his front. John's chest was hairy, but the soft fur only added to the tactile pleasure.
John relaxed, and accepted Rodney's touch, not moving. "I shouldn't have made you go to MKJ-615 that second time to pick up food supplies," he apologized.
"Yes, I'm sure the vegetables would have survived without my valuable co-piloting." He brushed his fingers over John's lips. "There must be a way to calculate how many times these very attractive lips have saved our lives. You flatter stupid diplomats, you yell at me when I need to run – " Rodney covered John's lips again with his own, kissing him as softly as velvet.
The kiss was so good, so sweet, and John couldn't help a small moan of loss when Rodney's lips left his. "I shouldn't have offered Ford to make bells. Elizabeth didn't know he could work with metal."
"No, you shouldn't have. My ears have been assaulted by ringing for the last week and a half." Rising to his knees, Rodney swung one leg over John, stroking down his arms and over his chest. "Do you ever realize how hot you are when you're aiming a gun? I can never decide which is hotter, when you cradle your P-90 or when you're preparing to fire your handgun." He took both of John's hands in his, stroking John's fingers, bringing John's hands up to his lips, kissing the palms.
"Rodney?" John asked, confused by Rodney's verbal responses, while his body basked in his physical caresses. "I shouldn't have made you go pick out a Christmas tree with us."
"Yes, because walking around the Athosian mainland with an axe was such a valuable use of my time. My sinuses may never recover." Dropping John's hands, Rodney cupped his hips. "I wonder how many leaders your swagger has intimidated. Now there would be a useful study for a social scientist, the impact of Major John Sheppard's hips on governmental relationships in the Pegasus Galaxy."
"I don't swagger," John protested. "I shouldn't have – "
"Don't." Rodney covered John's lips with his hand. "Don't apologize for what you made me do for the decorations or Kavanagh's outfit or any of the rest of the nonsense you smirked and dragged me through. You were an ass, but – " he freed John's mouth, caressing the side of his face, bringing his hands down to John's chest, resting them lightly on his stomach. "This is the only holiday I've ever enjoyed, and you made it so."
"You *hated* it."
"It astonishes me that people of reasonable intelligence don't seem to realize that if I'm truly unwilling to do something, I don't do it. I'm fully capable of saying no and making it stick." Maybe he shouldn't admit that but seriously, could John and Elizabeth and the others still believe that he spent most of his life performing miracles or exploring the galaxy unwillingly? "You wanted me there."
John moved finally, stroking Rodney's thighs. Rodney panted when he ran, but his thigh muscles felt good to John's hands, strong and supple. John had always thought most of Rodney's protestations were nonsense, the noise he needed to be brave, but the confirmation was nice. "I did. I do. I… like to do things with you."
"That made it worth doing," Rodney said quietly, because truly, having John grin and smirk and grab him by the vest and make him stroll through marketplaces looking for bright baubles that could work as ornaments had been…a joy, even if he'd griped every other minute.
John just muttered, "Oh…fuck," because he couldn't tell if it was pathetic or perfect, that Rodney had grown up in household with too much yelling and his father had barely talked to him, but both of them ended up here, in a city on an ocean in another universe, screwed up but together. "Please…" he arched up, claiming Rodney's lips for a fast kiss, "I really need you to fuck me."
Rodney grinned. "I said I was in control here." He fingered John's nipples, making him shiver, and added, "But curiously, that request coincides with my plans. The drawer." He jerked his head toward the nightstand.
Reaching over, John fumbled in the drawer, finding the lube, and handing it to Rodney. "How do you want me?" he asked, hoping for face to face.
"This is good." Rodney shifted to sit between John's thighs, pulling one of John's legs onto his shoulder. "You've done this before, I presume?" Not that he wanted to know about John's undoubtedly vast experience, but he didn't want to mess anything up.
"Yeah. Not in over a year though. Go slow." John stretched and shifted luxuriously, getting comfortable, feeling…sexy, because how could he not, with Rodney's eyes burning over him, watching his every reaction, as his clever lubed fingers opened him wide, loosened him up for Rodney's taking?
Of all the wonders of the Pegasus Galaxy, Rodney had never believed this dream could come true, John Sheppard willingly accepting Rodney playing with his body. Even encouraging it, with his smiles and moans and the glazed look in his eyes, as Rodney explored, finding John's prostate, rubbing it teasingly. "I don't want to stop."
"I don't want you to either. But I want more." Curling his back up, John grabbed the lube, slicking his fingers before taking hold of Rodney's cock, as solid and real as the man himself. He caressed it lingeringly, not trying to jack him off, but making sure the lube coated the entire length. "Give it to me, Rodney. Come on. Give it to me."
"Oh Christ, yes." Now that was a reason to leave this haven, to pull his fingers out so that he could thrust in with his dick, as he claimed John's lips again with his own and leaned forward for best leverage.
John's one leg was still on Rodney's shoulder and he curled the other one around Rodney's hip, as his arms wrapped around Rodney's body, clinging tightly with all his limbs, rocking with Rodney's thrusts. Now this was what he'd been needing, the peace and heaven to be found in another's touch, in feeling desired and loved.
Rodney fell into a rhythm, kiss and thrust and withdraw and kiss again, feeling surrounded by John's arms and legs, John's strength. He could have done this forever, touching John, tasting his lips and the traces of the feast and Athosian moonshine in his mouth, smelling his aftershave and musk, hearing his panted moans, knowing only John, knowing that John wanted him. But his body couldn't last endlessly, and he came hard, the orgasmic rush catching him almost by surprise, his eyes widening with pleasure as he groaned and poured into John.
Feeling Rodney shake in his arms made John come too, long sustained pulses that shot over his stomach, seeming to glue their bodies together as Rodney slumped in his arms. John petted his back and waited for Rodney to recover, feeling too peaceful to move, regretting when Rodney finally shifted to one side, curling quickly back into him.
Rodney's body was loose, exhausted from the pleasure, his mind slowly drifting down from the ecstasy. John looked similarly relaxed, sleepy, and so hot. With an effort, Rodney poked and prodded until both of them were resituated under the covers, blankets pulled high, their heads on the single pillow together. He thought of all he could say, about holidays and what John meant to him, but for once, the words wouldn't string together. "Merry Christmas, John," was all that came out, and then he gave John's mouth a gentle kiss.
"Merry Christmas, Rodney," John responded, smiling as his eyes drifted closed. Maybe this holiday thing wasn't so very bad after all.
~ the end ~