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Rodney had arrived at many conclusions in his life. His profession as a scientist required it. He'd made many brilliant ones, some stunningly genius ones, and a few, a very, very few, boneheaded embarrassing ones. But his latest conclusion was undoubtedly the scariest he'd ever reached. He, Doctor Rodney McKay, scientific savior of Atlantis, was being stalked by Major John Sheppard, the military hero and boy wonder.

The stalking seemed to have been cultivated by outside forces, when the two of them were forced into public sex by voyeuristic aliens. Rodney had expected that they would put the entire incident behind them, to completely forget the embarrassment, until John had grabbed him by the neck, kissed him hard, and offered a repeat performance. Since that night, John had been stalking Rodney, in a very casual, very laid-back, subtle way, a way that gave Rodney no ammunition to complain to Elizabeth. John just … looked at Rodney. Looked at his face, and flicked his eyes with those absurdly long lashes down to Rodney's crotch, and gave this little half-smile, like he was remembering when he'd made Rodney babble and yowl.

Rodney contemplated the piece of alien technology in front of him and wondered why John's stalking left him so unsettled. After all, he'd ignored many people in his life: anal bureaucrats, idiotic military drones, scientific naysayers. Rodney had learned that few people understood him, and that it was best to do what he knew was right. That way, things would get done and perhaps the idiots would learn the error of their ways. He should be able to dismiss John from his mind, like he'd dismissed so many others.

The problem was really two-fold. First, Rodney was a scientist. He liked to understand things. Physics, alien technology, the universe – they all had rules that could be deciphered and understood. He wanted John's actions to make sense. True, most people didn't make sense, but John had so far, in that military-but-not-incredibly-stupid-and-conformist-fashion that the best military people displayed.

Secondly, John was the acknowledged stud of Atlantis, behind his back if never to his face. Everyone adored him as a leader who was always on the front lines and never foolishly risked the safety of his troops. Any of the women would sleep with him. It made absolutely no sense that Elizabeth's go-to guy, would risk his career for … what? Sex with Rodney?

"Hey."

Rodney jumped and whirled, noting for not the first time how ridiculously quiet John could be. The major had mastered the art of stealth. "Don't startle me like that."

"Sorry," John said, but as he gave one of his little patented half-smiles, he didn't seem particularly repentant, more like a large cat with his paw on a mouse's tail. "We've got a mission."

"Look, we need to talk. About all this … " Rodney took the plunge, waving his hands, letting them fill the gap in his words. " … that's between us. I need to understand what's going on."

"What's going on?"

"You know what I mean."

John tilted his head. "You mean … " and John crossed the room, grabbed Rodney by the neck, and gave him one of those long messy kisses that made Rodney want a cold shower or John on his knees in front of him.

Struggling for breath, Rodney gasped, "Yes. I mean that."

"I thought that was evident."

"NO. It's not evident, or understandable, or comprehensible … it makes as little sense as teaching intelligent design at MIT."

"Fine, if you really need it explained to you, we'll talk when we get back. Mission first." With those words, John stalked out, leaving Rodney with tingling lips and the very pleasant view of his trim backside.

No sense. It all made no sense whatsoever.

~~~~

John settled himself at the controls of the puddle jumper, doing his normal pre-flight checks. He liked flying the puddle jumpers. Sure, they were kinda small, built for short hops, but they flew in space and they responded to his thoughts as well as his hands, making them responsive in a way that no human-made aircraft could ever match.

Teyla, Ford, and Rodney settled into the seats around him, Rodney babbling about whether the mission was a valid use of his incredibly important time. Not that Rodney had seemed to be doing anything in his lab. As far as John could tell, he'd been fully occupied in staring.

Rodney was rattled. He was very definitely rattled. It was kinda fun, really, in the midst of all the action and crises and last-minute saves and battling bad guys that life at Atlantis had become, to simply stare at Rodney and make him twitch. His responsiveness was rather like flying a puddle jumper, really: instant, easy, satisfying. Not that John thought Rodney would appreciate the comparison.

"My people find that this place makes them uneasy."

"It's just an ancient hunting lodge or something. I suppose it's not surprising that an ancient would want to get out of Atlantis occasionally for fresh air. Some people like that kind of thing." Even as Rodney dismissed the Athosians' concerns, he gave a little shudder. Rodney didn't appreciate fresh air.

"There is something more there. Something dangerous."

"Fine, fine, whatever. Let's go find out what has the farmers nervous."

Sometimes John had to wonder if Rodney deliberately provoked people, or if he was truly that insensitive. Not that Teyla was inclined to take offense easily. Rodney appeared to have no ability to get under her skin. Was it his imagination, or was Rodney being particularly offensive to Teyla more than normal lately? Was the scientist attracted to her? Certainly she was a beautiful woman, and that seemed exactly like a Rodney-move, irritate someone that he wanted and thought he couldn't have.

John adjusted flight controls and contemplated the possibility of Teyla and Rodney. Nope, wasn't going to happen, even if Rodney thought Teyla was hot. Though her beauty might fascinate him, Teyla wasn't intellectual enough to interest Rodney long-term, and Teyla would never desire a man who couldn't knock a Wraith unconscious with a few decisive blows. Living on Atlantis was toughening up Rodney, but not to a level that Teyla would instinctively seek in a lover or mate.

Rodney's toughness was actually beginning to bother John. He'd rattled Rodney plenty, made him babble and fidget, but Rodney hadn't succumbed, not as easily as John had expected after the whole 'forced sex before voyeuristic aliens' experience. Rodney complained incessantly, but he was stubborn and strong in his own geeky way.

Still … this should be an easy excursion. Rodney certainly seemed to think it was beneath his notice. Maybe John would finally get Rodney alone long enough to make him crack, to make him ask for a repeat performance. It would be nice to hear Rodney admit he needed him. In response to his thoughts, the puddle jumper surged ahead, speeding toward the mainland.

~~~~

The mainland's main problem, in Rodney's estimation, was that it was so incredibly natural, full of woods and fertile valleys and dry desserts, and all those environmental habitats that Rodney tried to avoid. Every single one of them had some type of nasty pest that invariably picked him to feast upon, or a plant that kicked up his allergies and made him sneeze.

Labs were so much nicer. Clean, comfortable, and filled with useful scientific equipment. Much better than nature. It was too bad that he couldn't stay on Atlantis and let the team bring him interesting finds of alien technology, except of course, he didn't trust any of them to recognize interesting finds from great ones or useless junk.

Teyla and one of the other Athosians led the way from the main Athosian settlement, through woods of majestic trees and lots of ferns and other small plants and across a few little springs, as Rodney swatted at bugs and tried to avoid getting branches in his face. John was close on his heels, Ford bringing up the point or the six or whatever the hell the military insisted on calling the last person. Rodney always ignored those instructions and stayed in the middle of the group on any excursion, realizing that the lead and end person were always the first to get picked off. His shoulders prickled, and he wondered whether it was in response to a creepy crawly under his shirt or John's stare. He decided to ignore both possibilities.

They finally reached a structure, about the size of a small cabin, and clearly Ancient in design. Rodney's spirits immediately improved. At least if it was just a hunting lodge for some Ancient nature freak, it was genuinely Ancient and apparently in good shape. "Sheppard," he called, not that he had to speak very loudly considering how closely the man was dogging his footsteps. John understood what he wanted and stepped around him to the door, putting his hand on the panel and thinking.

The door slid open smoothly, the perfect functioning of the Ancient technology undiminished by the centuries. Rodney started to step through, but John stopped him with a hand on his chest. "Me first," he said. For a second, they stood close, both in the doorway, John's hand resting on Rodney's shirt. Then Rodney jerked back, letting John take the lead.

Rodney waited in the front room of the dwelling as John did the military thing, as John was good at doing, prowling through the small place, rifle held ready in his hands. Ford and Teyla entered after John called that all was clear. The rooms resembled the living quarters on Atlantis, sleek surfaces and plain white furniture. "This is what makes your people nervous?" Rodney asked, skeptically.

"There are no other Ancient habitats on the mainland. There is something odd about this place."

"Rodney," John interrupted before the scientist could continue bickering with Teyla. "In here."

Rodney followed John's voice to the back of the dwelling, and into a room that had been sealed off. Not just a room … a lab. Lots of work surfaces covered with scientific equipment and Ancient gizmos that all of the other scientists at Atlantis would covet. "Now this is my kind of place," he said happily, ignoring Teyla as she stalked out.

~~~~

The only thing that could make life better at this moment of time would be a bottle of beer in his hand. A nice cold one. Brand didn't matter. John wasn't picky. Light, amber, dark … Just something tasty and relaxing, like it was Sunday afternoon at home and he had nothing more pressing to do then spend a few hours vegging.

Ford, Teyla and the other Athosian clearly had too much energy, prowling around the forest, talking about the different plants and what was edible or might make good dyes or building material or whatever. They were out of John's sight but he could hear their voices floating through the trees. Rodney had the most energy of all, bouncing periodically from the dwelling, chatting at the speed of light about the various devices the Ancient had been working on, and what they might do and whether any could serve a purpose for their current needs.

John … John sat on a boulder, leaning back enough that he could prop his shoulders on the dwelling, his rifle resting idly on his knee, and simply soaked in the peaceful air and the scent of a mature forest, trees and dirt and life. He rather thought Rodney would have preferred if John had chosen to sit in the lab, where he could admire Rodney's deductive genius at first hand, but being in the woods was too seductive. Besides, he was rather amused by how much Rodney resembled a hyperactive terrier as he bounced in and out with the latest toy.

"Here, put your hand in this." Rodney demanded, thrusting a piece of large black lump toward John's face.

John blinked, having missed Rodney's return. "What is it?"

"That's what I'm trying to determine. It's got a control panel on this side, but it's clearly not designed for both hands of the same person."

Looking closer, John could see that one of Rodney's was tucked into the long triangular shaped device while his other fussed over the control panel. He felt the bottom, identifying where Rodney thought he should put his hand in. "What if it does something bad?"

"Don't be ridiculous. I haven't even managed to turn it on. I just want to see how hands fit in it."

Unlooping his rifle from over his shoulder, John placed it carefully on the boulder, and slipped his hand in. The inside was grooved so his hand twisted as it went in. He ended up stepping closer to Rodney as their hands met in the middle, the device covering the outside of his hand and a few inches of his forearm. His fingertips touched Rodney's, but the length of his fingers and his palm met more of the black material. It was definitely designed for hands to fit in it, but not fully touch. "I should have made you give me a kiss."

That jerked Rodney out of his absorption with the controls. "What?"

"If I'm going to be sticking my hands into dangerous places for you, shouldn't I at least get a kiss for the effort?"

"This is hardly a dangerous place."

"That doesn't answer the question." And then John didn't wait for a response, because Rodney's lips were open, like they were waiting to be invaded, and John accepted the silent plea. Rodney's lips were motionless as John tasted them, but John could hear the rate of his breathing increase. John's fingers tingled to touch Rodney, to take Rodney's face into his hands … Christ, no, his fingers were tingling because they were hot. The interior of the device was warming up, rapidly.

John tried to jerk his hand out, but Rodney did too, at the same time, making the mistake of pulling backwards rather than down. John stumbled as Rodney yanked him toward him. "Down Rodney, pull down."

"It's hot!" Rodney yelled, before he fell backwards. John knew he would lose the battle to keep them on their feet, so he threw himself forwards and twisted, taking the brunt of the fall on himself, letting Rodney collapse onto his body, their hands still entwined in the device as they lost consciousness.

~~~~

John woke up, feeling disoriented. He was in the medical wing, which meant someone else with the Ancient gene had brought another puddle jumper to the mainland and flown them home. He vaguely remembered staggering out of the woods, leaning heavily on Ford, while Teyla and the other Athosian practically carried Rodney. Had he passed out again? He must have.

There was the taste of coffee in his mouth, and he licked his lips. Carson's worried face loomed over him. "You're awake then."

"I guess. Coffee?"

"You want coffee?"

"No. I taste coffee. Why do I taste coffee?"

Carson frowned. "I dinna know. It's an odd side effect."

"What happened?"

"You and Rodney put your hands in some form of Ancient technology. It made you pass out. Rodney's been awake for a while, but complaining of sleepiness." Carson's tone had an odd mixture of surprise and doubt, and John realized it was the first time that Rodney recovered faster than him. He sat up, and was struck by a sudden feeling of vertigo, like he was looking at two different places in the room at once and his eyes couldn't adjust. He swayed in the bed, feeling Carson grab his arms to steady him, hearing Rodney groan. The taste of coffee disappeared from his mouth as a cup shattered on the floor. Peering to the side, he saw Rodney in similarly bad shape, hunched over and holding his head in his hands, dark coffee staining the hospital bed where it had spilled as Rodney dropped the cup.

John wasn't sure what had just happened, but he could tell it was bad. Really, really bad.

~~~~

The conference room had never seemed so far away from medical. John concentrated on each footstep, thinking of nothing else. They could have stayed in their hospital beds for this discussion, but no … Rodney refused to appear that vulnerable in front of Zelenka. Not that Rodney admitted that rationale, but John was pretty certain that was Rodney's motivation for stubbornness.

John timed his steps to Rodney's, who, irritatingly enough, seemed less damaged by the alien device. True, Rodney had his moments where he paled and staggered, but he was bouncing back much faster than John. Keeping his motions in sync to Rodney's made the vertigo less obvious, though John wasn't sure why. He followed Rodney into the conference room and sat at the same time as he did, taking the chair next to him.

Ford, Teyla, and Elizabeth were already seated around the table. Carson and Zelenka were the last to walk in, and both appeared disconcerted to see the group at the briefing. Carson sat, his hands fidgeting on the table, but Zelenka stayed standing as he announced, "I think it best if discussed with only McKay and Major," his accent coming out even more strongly than normal.

Rodney snorted. "I'm sure everyone can hear your discovery. If it's even right."

Zelenka looked at Elizabeth, who gave him an encouraging look in return. "Fine," he snapped, glaring at Rodney. "It is a sex toy."

Rodney openly laughed this time. "You must be joking."

"I am not making joke. And am not wrong. I have studied device extensively, as well as others that were retrieved, and am convinced that was designed to share sexual sensation."

Now say six seashells on the shore three times fast, John thought distantly, watching Rodney's blood begin to boil. He waited for the scientist to erupt, and Rodney didn't let him down. "Sharing sensations? Vertigo? Yes, what a wonderful sensation to share. I think I'll have a little vertigo with my fellatio, thank you. Not."

"Device was designed for Ancients, not humans. Is probably why Major is more affected than you. He has Ancient gene."

"Well that makes a lot of sense, doesn't it? I'm sure the Ancients enjoyed nausea with their sex life." Rodney gestured with both his hands and his head as he tended to do when agitated, and John swallowed to keep the nausea at bay.

"Was designed to have impact on them, on *two*. Is only logical that imbalance occurred."

"Oh, I see, so now it's my fault that John is sicker than I am."

Zelenka directed his next words to Elizabeth, as if involving her would shut Rodney up. "I believe the device was a prototype. Perhaps never even fully tested. Carson agrees with me."

"Aye," Carson admitted. "I've reviewed Zelenka's findings, and I think he's right. It fits with what Rodney and John have been experiencing."

"Oh, in the what? Three or four hours you two have had while we were unconscious? Oh, pardon me, *plus* the two or three hours while we were conscious. And you came to this grand conclusion, that an Ancient sexual pervert left his toys lying around? Was this his way of relieving his tension while his race was losing the war with the Wraith?"

Zelenka's glare could have cut through Rodney like a laser beam, and even Carson looked offended at Rodney's bluntness. Elizabeth inserted a note of practicality into what was rapidly showing signs of becoming a major blowout between the scientists. "So, if this is true, how do we get rid of the effects? Will they wear off?"

"It is possible," Zelenka agreed, "But I would not recommend relying on that. I believe the sensations will not vanish until they have been physiologically purged out of their systems. They need to have sexual intercourse. Possibly a lot of it."

Ford snickered. The snicker was small but undeniable, particularly noticeable since he hadn't yet participated in the conversation.

"What," Rodney snapped. "You think no one will have sex with me?"

"I don't see why they can't have sex together again," Teyla said rationally. "Surely that would be the simplest solution, since neither of them has a mate." John winced internally, wondering if her innocence was a little too calculated. Maybe he should encourage Rodney to stop making cracks about farmers.

"Again?" said Elizabeth intently, pursuing the very word that John hoped she hadn't caught.

"It's a long story," John replied dismissively, rising to his feet.

"I'd like to hear it."

"I think Zelenka was right. I think this is information that Rodney and I should consider. In private."

"John."

Elizabeth had that annoying knack of expressing so much with just a word or two. She wanted to know what the hell had happened and why she hadn't been told, why she'd been left out of the loop when Ford and Teyla clearly knew. John tried her own tactic back, doing his very best to look earnest. "Elizabeth … please. Not now." He caught Rodney under the armpit.

"Very well. But later."

"Okay." Using one hand, he hoisted Rodney out of his chair, an act that almost sent him crashing to the floor, the sensation of standing and rising at the same time. He braced himself on the table to gain his balance back, then pushed Rodney toward the door. They passed around the still standing Zelenka, who watched them blankly, as if not quite comprehending that John was truly taking his advice to heart. Christ, scientists. Couldn't live without 'em, might have to fuck 'em.

Rodney sputtered as they staggered down the hallway, John's arm around his shoulders, not conceding one iota of possibility that Zelenka was right. Zelenka was a marginally decent scientist, but he wasn't Rodney, who'd been kept trapped in medical with nurses fussing over him when he should have been evaluating the device with Zelenka and Carson. "Where are we going? We have to go to the lab. I need to examine that device. He's wrong, you know. Wrong."

"We're going to my room and he's not wrong."

"Oh no, no, no." Rodney tried to swing around to face John, and that was a bad move. When both were moving and facing the same direction, the vertigo had been tolerable. Even better than what John appeared to be experiencing, which was satisfying in an odd way. Facing each other … they both moaned and collapsed against the wall.

"Look at us. We can't keep on this way. We have to get this fixed."

"Sex isn't going to fix this!"

"You don't know that," John said, dragging Rodney down the corridor again. "I'm willing to give it a try."

"And when it turns out that Zelenka is wrong and our having sex is pointless?" Rodney thought about struggling, but John was absurdly strong, and he didn't want to experience the vertigo again. He rather liked being stronger than John for once.

"You can gloat at him and tell him he's wrong. That'll make you happy." The door of John's bedroom opened to his command and he pushed Rodney into it. John's resolve faltered with the disorientation, and he released Rodney as he collapsed onto his bed, feeling the depression as Rodney plopped down beside him.

"This isn't going to work."

"It's not going to hurt. We've done it before, as Teyla so kindly pointed out."

"Which reminds me, you said they'd keep their mouths shut."

"She would have, if this hadn't come up. And if you hadn't insisted on insulting her people."

Rodney's expression was blank for a second, as if he couldn't figure out John's meaning, before John could see him make the connection. Rodney snapped, "Well they are farmers!"

"Rodney," John groaned, and struggled to roll over to his back, glaring up at the scientist. "I'm a pilot, Rodney. A pilot. I fly things. I have perfect balance. I don't get motion sickness. I need this fixed. Now either do what I ask, or get the hell out of here and let me try to sleep it off."

"You want me to … ah …"

"Yes, Rodney. I want you to take charge."

"Oh. You want me to make love to you."

"Yes, Rodney. I want you to make love to me." John gave up the fight, letting his head fall back, shutting his eyes. He took deep breaths, making himself relax, hoping it would help. He was lying diagonally across the bed, one of his legs dangling off it, but at this point he didn't have any more energy to browbeat Rodney. Rodney would do whatever Rodney was going to do. John hoped he'd make the right choice.

Even lying on his back, apparently asleep, the Major seemed rather intimidating to Rodney, and the idea of making love to him even more daunting. "Wait a second. I'm the one who thinks this won't work."

"Aren't you glad I'm letting you prove it? You can make sure it's done right," John said helpfully. "Before you stagger through Atlantis to tell Zelenka he's wrong." John swung one leg onto Rodney's lap. "Start with the shoes."

"I thought I was going to be in charge," Rodney groused, even as he obeyed John, unlacing his shoes, pushing one off John's foot, starting to unroll his white sock, and pausing, peering down at his own foot. He'd felt that, felt the brush of fingers on his skin. He finished pulling off the sock, resting his hand on John's foot even as the phantom hand rested on his own. Curious, he tickled John's insole, felt the twitch of John's foot in his hand, as well as the sensation on himself.

John gave a small laugh. "I'm ticklish," he said, tugging his foot away from Rodney.

Rodney filed the information away, even as he picked up John's other foot, repeated the removal of shoe and sock, the tickling of the insole, John's twitch, his own reaction.

"We're connected. We're really connected. Physiologically. I'm feeling what I'm doing to you. Do you understand what this means?"

"Yeah, at least one of the Ancients was into kinky stuff."

"The useful possibilities of such a device are endless. Helping the disabled, teaching … " Rodney floundered, not really sure what could be done with such a device, but positive that scientists and engineers more interested in the warm and fuzzy fields could find a constructive use for it.

"Why don't you continue the research? Make sure you understand how it works."

Rodney brushed his hand up the leg of John's uniform, feeling the smooth fabric on his palm, the answering caress on his leg. It was like the first time he'd seen a 3-D film as a child, waiting to reach out and touch the spaceship floating in front of him, even though he knew nothing was there. "You should touch me. We should see how far this goes."

"In a moment," John promised and Rodney grimaced at his closed eyes. So much for being in charge. He cupped John's groin, gave a little squeeze, and promptly whimpered at feeling his own touch reflected on his own penis.

That finally made John pay attention, his eyes flicking open. "Wait a minute. You're feeling what you do to me?"

"Didn't I just say that? We really are truly physiologically connected."

John propped himself on one elbow, caressing Rodney's face. "Wow." He touched his own face, touched Rodney's again. "It's like the ultimate in self-gratification with a partner."

"It's much more than that," Rodney said impatiently.

"Rodney …" John gathered Rodney into his arms, pulling the scientist on top of him, and kissing him, making it as melting and scorching as he could, with lots of deep tongue action, feeling Rodney's arms around him, Rodney's tongue in his mouth … or was he feeling himself? He opened his eyes, seeing Rodney's face close to his, Rodney's eyes closed and his expression blissed out, Rodney as involved in the intimacy as John.

Their lips separated, both breathing hard. "It's like equal and opposite reactions occurring at the same time." Rodney frowned. "But kissing this close is bad."

"It is?"

"Yes, yes, I was wrong. You shouldn't touch me. We need to control the sensations. You need to be more distant if we're going to disprove Radek's theory. It's too difficult to tell what the effects are when we're both so involved."

"I'll just lie back again then."

"Yes. Please." John leaned back, tucking the pillow under his head, closing his eyes, ceding his body to Rodney's control. Rodney bit his lip at the implicit permission, unsure once again how to proceed. Well, he'd asked to control the sensations, right? This was what he wanted. Keep his mind detached, study the effect. He undressed John steadily, shirt, trousers, underwear, leaving only his dog tags. Everything occurred exactly as the same as the shoes, the feeling that clothes were leaving his body even though he was completely dressed.

He twisted to lie on the bed by John, resting one hand on his torso. John's body was … Christ, did the man have any body fat? Lean and supple muscles, a smattering of chest hair that couldn't have been more perfectly designed by waxing …

"Are you going to do something?"

"Of course I am," he snapped, and reached down to take John's penis in his hand, stroking it firmly. His own penis reacted as if being squashed, and he flinched, fearing he was too hard in his nervousness. He tried to relax, tried to make his grasp more even, more sensual, tried to do a good job. After all, John had done this to him, without hesitation, in front of a roomful of strangers. He could do the same to prove Radek wrong. John's penis swelled in his hand, satisfyingly responsive to his fingers moving up and down the length. But then John's fingers flexed, coming to rest on top of Rodney's. "You weren't going to participate," Rodney instructed.

"It's weird. I feel like I'm holding you or maybe myself, even though I'm not."

"What did you feel when I undressed you?" Yes, clinical questions were good. Questions would delay proving whether he was as confident as John. He knew he wasn't.

"Like there was fabric and naked skin in my hands. Faintly, like the coffee you were drinking in medical."

"You tasted the coffee?"

"Yeah."

"Tactile and gustatory sensations. It's an amazing achievement, whatever it was intended for."

John's hand covered Rodney's, his slimmer, longer fingers intertwining with Rodney's, forcing Rodney to start stroking and caressing again, sharing the effort, speeding the tempo.

"What are you doing?"

"It's time to get this show on the road."

"You said I was in charge!"

"That's when I thought you were going to do something other than talk."

John curled his fingers tightly to emphasize his need, and the sensations hit Rodney forcefully, making him suddenly, acutely aware of the shape of John's cock in his hand, the feeling of his and John's hands on his own cock. He groaned loudly. "Oh god, this is amazing … it's two at once … "

"Yeah … there's my babbler." John was smiling that little half-smile that might almost be called a smirk if it wasn't so endearing. He kept his eyes closed to diminish the vertigo, but could imagine Rodney's rapidly changing emotions crossing his face.

Rodney's mind simply shorted out and he lost the ability to think rationally, because John's free hand was plucking at his pants, pushing them down, so he could hold Rodney as Rodney was holding him … or was Rodney holding himself? He couldn't tell and looked down to see that their hands were once again intertwined, one on each cock, and John was making them move, making them stroke and fondle and pull, their hands in unison, their need combined and interchangeable.

For the first time, Rodney realized that John had been nervous in that whole 'forced sex before aliens' episode. In comparison to now, John's touch and sucking then had been hesitant, tentative. But now … Rodney's mouth was talking, he knew that, he could hear nonsensical words pouring out, but he could only concentrate on John's hands, the hands of a pilot, who was used to commanding switches and dials, taking control, making large powerful machines do what he wanted … John's hands were finesse and skill and experience and oh-my-god-amazing and was he admitting that out loud? He must have, because he could hear John's sweet laugh in his ear, as John sped up their motions, making Rodney writhe and buck on the bed.

John was arching into his and Rodney's hands, deliberately rubbing his body on the side of Rodney's, glorying in the sensation of the smooth fabric of Rodney's uniform brushing on his body. He couldn't see but he could hear, and the sound was gratifying, Rodney's ceaseless prattle about how good it all was, how good John was and oh my god … John breathed harshly, forcing the pace faster and faster, feeling like he was pulling a jet fighter up too sharply, the pressure on his chest, the light headedness, the knowledge that when he had to release the controls, the ship would come crashing down …

Then Rodney gave that funny yowl of his, and John was coming too, their sperm covering their hands as the pleasure doubled and echoed through their bodies, the effects and aftereffects indistinguishable from each other, sending shivers through them, until neither of them knew anything except they were coming and coming and Christ … the pleasure was too much for a single body to absorb but together they made it through to the other side, when the brakes caught and the fighter screamed to a landing and their bodies could relax again.

~~~~

Rodney thought he might be capable of speaking again, so he opened his mouth to say something articulate and monumental to reflect on what had occurred. "Huh," came out.

"Yeah."

"I'm still not convinced that Radek is correct."

Unplanned but in unison, John and Rodney twisted on the bed to face other, John smiling wryly at Rodney's dogged persistence. "Do you really care at this point?"

"So what now?" Rodney asked.

John plucked at his t-shirt. "You're still rather overdressed."

Rodney swung his legs off the bed, and they both whimpered at the dizziness. "Radek is not correct."

"Maybe we should have more sexual intercourse. He did say we might need a lot of it."

"So what do you suggest?"

"You still need to undress. Just … go slow."

Obeying John, Rodney took off his clothes carefully, not waiting to cause John more vertigo, conscious of a ridiculous nervousness. He'd just shared the best orgasm of his life with the other man, but he didn't want to show him his body. Because … damn … he glanced at John's relaxed body. The man was trim and well muscled, no hair growing in bad places, no imperfections … which would be extremely annoying if it wasn't so impressive. And sexy.

John poked Rodney in the closest spot, which happened to be his thigh. "There's massage oil in the bathroom. Walk slowly when you get it."

"Massage oil?"

"Lube, Rodney. We need lube."

"Oh." Rodney finished stripping and obeyed John's instructions to the letter, walking slowly, fumbling in his cabinet, finding the oil, but his mind was whirling. Was he ready for this? Did John have any experience in doing this? How painful would it be?

But when he returned to the bedroom, it was to the sight of John hooking his knees over his elbows, spreading himself wide, and scrunching on the bed to angle his pelvis up. "What are you doing?"

"What does it look like I'm doing?"

"You're not seriously expecting me to … ?"

"Rodney, are we actually going to fight over who's going to be on the bottom?"

"No. No, I guess not. I mean … no."

"You've heard the theory, I presume."

"Yes."

"Good then. Do it."

Rodney bit his lip, feeling awkward standing by the bed naked, a bottle of oil in his hand, John spread out for his taking. For his taking. All his. He flipped the spout up and dribbled some oil in his hand, massaging it into his erection, which had returned full-bore. John's eyes were shut again, and Rodney really wished he'd open them, make sure that Rodney was doing everything right.

As if in response to his thoughts, John muttered, "That feels so good. Feels like you're stroking me. I think you've got it well covered now."

"I don't want to hurt you."

"I'm a pretty tough guy."

Rodney perched on the edge of the bed, slicking his hand some more, putting the bottle on the bedside table. Nervously, he inserted a finger in John's anus, his buttocks clenching at the echoing feeling in his own body. This was going to be seriously weird.

One fingers, two, loosening the muscle, making it expand … really glad that it was John on the bottom, because it was odd enough when the touch wasn't really there, just a figment of overactivated synapses, his brain echoing the information from John's nerves … is this what it would feel like to have someone's fingers in your ass? "Are you okay?" Rodney asked, seeking reassurance that he wasn't messing up. His fingers slid forward a tiny bit more as he asked, and John gave a harsh gasp in response. "John?"

"Christ, do that again."

So Rodney did, pressing on the same place he'd reached, the tingle in his body telling him what he instinctively knew, but wanting confirmation that John's reaction was from pleasure, not pain. "Is that …?"

"Yeah. Oh definitely yeah. You can press on that all you like."

Rodney brought his knees forward, close to John's buttocks, and John placed his legs on Rodney's shoulders. "Time to … ah … "

"Past time," John affirmed, taking Rodney's head in his hands, giving him one of those lingering kisses that Rodney thought could become addictive. It was difficult, to line up his penis with John's anus while being kissed senseless, but Rodney achieved it, just the crown sinking into John. "Are you okay?" he asked again.

"If you were this worried about my opinion when we were on the mainland, we wouldn't be in this position," John grumbled but his tone was good-natured.

"Did it occur to you, that if Zelenka is right, it might have been your kiss that activated the device and got us in this mess?" Speaking coherently was a struggle, but Rodney managed it, unwilling to allow the blame to be placed on his bull-headedness.

"John Sheppard, the man of legendary kisses across the galaxy …"

The snappy comment made a wicked thought cross Rodney's mind, which escaped as a small giggle.

John pinched him on the side of his torso. "What are you thinking?"

"I don't think I should tell you."

"Give," John said, squeezing Rodney's butt. "What wicked thought crossed your mind?"

"Rodney McKay … going where no man has gone before. Unless … " his eyes met John's, and he accepted that the sensations were better, less disorienting now that they'd shared one orgasm. Maybe Zelenka wasn't completely wrong.

"No, you're the first. Does that mean you're Captain Kirk and I'm Yeoman Rand?"

Rodney had to laugh at that absurdity, a laughter that bubbled up from down in his chest and distracted him from his nervousness. He almost collapsed on John, sliding in deeper and faster than he'd intended, but when he made to withdraw, John slipped his strong legs from Rodney's shoulders and locked them around his hips, not letting him.

"It's okay," John reassured him.

"I can't believe that." Rodney winced at the phantom invasion. "It feels … burning."

"Rodney, how many times am I going to have to make you stop experimenting and get on with it?" John rolled his pelvis, rocking Rodney back and forth, lodging him deeper.

Taking a steadying breath, Rodney braced his forearms on the bed, and kissed John desperately, trying to make his brains fry, as he pushed in, attempting to ignore the eerie sensation that he was losing his own anal virginity. John kissed him back, whole-heartedly, his heels digging into Rodney's buttocks, encouraging him to go all the way.

"Oh my god … oh my god …" Rodney's balls slapped against John's skin and he had to stop at the sheer wonder of where he was and who he was with and how incredibly hot it was, John's body surrounding the entire length of his cock.

And then John bit Rodney's ear, murmuring, "Come on, Rodney, give it to me hard. That's an order."

Rodney pulled out, not completely, because oh god, he couldn't bear to leave John's body completely, and shoved back in hard, trusting that he'd used enough lube, that John was really, truly okay with this, because it was too good to stop now, he was fucking John, rocking on top of that long, lanky body, feeling those limber legs circle his hips, demanding more and more. The feeling of something within his own body no longer mattered because he was in ecstasy, rocking on John, following John's stated order, following the dictates of John's legs and John's hands, giving it to him harder and harder, using his entire body to shove himself in and out, knowing that it was all fine, because John wanted this and Rodney wanted John and nothing existed in the entire universe except the feeling of skin and muscles and hands and … Rodney cried out as he came fiercely, his sperm flooding into John as his mind overloaded and short circuited.

Neither of them moved for a long time, too exhausted and unwilling to break the connection. John finally released the grip of his legs around Rodney's hips, bringing them back to the bed, shifting Rodney to a more comfortable position on top of him.

"How much of that did I just say aloud?"

"A lot." John smiled as he gave a quick kiss to Rodney's forehead. "I really liked the part about your willingness to follow my commands. I'm going to remember that the next time you're difficult on a mission."

Rodney groaned in embarrassment, burying his head into John's chest. John didn't say anything else, just shifted some more, causing Rodney to grumble, "Now what?"

"Getting a little more comfortable. I'm going to sleep a little."

"Did we prove Radek wrong?"

"Let's figure it out in the morning," John yawned, and thought at the lights, which obediently dimmed for him.

"Okay," Rodney replied, and fell asleep.

~~~~

His internal clock woke John. That, and the discomfort of being pushed out of the bed. Rodney had cuddled up to him during the night. And cuddled closer and closer, until John was half-hanging off the side.

John crept out of the bed, giving Rodney his pillow to hug when the scientist sleepily reached for him. He muttered something incomprehensible, clutched the pillow to him, and gave a soft snore. John pulled on sweats, very aware of his body. Yesterday's problems were clearly gone, the vertigo, nausea, and flashes of looking through someone else's eyes eliminated. But his body felt unnatural in a different way, sores in places that just weren't used to feeling sore, regardless of how brutally a mission had gone.

Quietly, slowly, he went through a series of stretches, calves, thighs, torso, arms, leading into some of the moves Teyla had taught him, twirling back and forth across the room, swinging his arms with deadly intent, fighting an imaginary attacker in close quarters, until his body was warm and supple again.

There was a soft knock on the door and Elizabeth's voice gave a gentle, "John?" Rodney slept on, oblivious, and John took a moment to pull the sheets up to his chest, before going to the door. He opened it and stepped out.

Elizabeth backed up to give John space, holding a tray in her hands. "You look better than yesterday."

"I feel good."

"So Zelenka was right?"

Very carefully keeping his face expressionless, John nodded. He knew he would have to cover all of this in a mission report, but he wanted to do it precisely, with consideration for what Rodney would want their superiors to know.

"Well, not exactly the type of alien technology that we'd hoped to find, but Carson thinks it might have some application in healing."

"I wish him success. But I don't think I'll volunteer to be a test subject."

"No, I would imagine not." Elizabeth thrust the tray toward him. "I didn't think you two had a chance to eat since breakfast yesterday."

John took the tray. "Thanks."

"I'll need a more accurate report on the other mission."

"Yeah, sorry about that. I'll get to it today."

"I need to know if this is going to cause any problems between you and Rodney. Will you still be able to work together?"

"Of course we will," John snapped. He heard his own tone and frowned. Elizabeth wasn't his commanding officer, but she was his leader, and she had a right to be concerned about the people under her authority. Softly, he said, "Rodney and I are going to be fine. You don't have to worry about us."

"Good. I've asked Bates to handle your responsibilities today. You have the day off. I thought you might need some time alone."

"Thank you, Elizabeth."

She walked off and John went back into his room, sitting on the edge of the bed, taking the cover off the tray. So very Elizabeth, an appetizing selection of yogurt and cereal and fruit, food that wouldn't look nasty and congealed if it sat for a while. Was that woman ever not thoughtful? He sipped one of the coffees and tore into the food, suddenly aware of his hunger. Rodney continued sleeping, and John watched his face, looking very different when softened in repose. Less animated, but no less interesting.

John put the tray on the bedside table. He took off his sweats, and inched his pillow out of Rodney's arms, before getting into bed from the other side. His training said to get dressed, to check in with his men, to ensure the safety of his people. But his leader said he had the day off, and a little more sleep sounded like a great way to spend part of that day.

~~~~~

Waking up brought Rodney to an awareness of two facts.

First, John was a hog. He took up nearly 2/3rds of the bed as he sprawled on his stomach, both pillows bunched under him, one leg spread into Rodney's side of the bed, forcing Rodney to curl onto the top half of the bed and into John's body.

Second, John reminded him of a lion. Not an African lion, with the huge mane and the powerful shoulders, but a mountain lion, all lean body and strong muscles, soft fur and expressive eyes. And surprisingly comfortable shoulder blades, perfect for Rodney's head to rest on. Rodney gazed down the length of John's body, admiring the tapering back muscles, the annoyingly perfectly rounded butt, the long, long legs. Yes, definitely a mountain lion.

"Good morning, sleepy head."

Rodney jerked away at the unexpected words, almost falling off the bed, as John rolled over to face him.

"You okay?"

"How did you know I was awake?"

"Your breathing changed."

"Oh. Is that something you learned in military school?"

"You'd be amazed at what I've learned in the military. Nothing quite as much fun as last night, though."

Rodney found himself pulled under John, who offered him sleepy kisses, as he rolled on top of Rodney, bringing their hips together, thrusting lazily. The release was fast but gentle, just a little … oh, oh, yes! … and then over. Rodney found that he very much enjoyed waking up in that fashion, even as he protested, "Why did you do that?"

"Two men, two erections … it seemed a good way to start the day." John gave him another sleepy kiss and rolled off the bed, coming to stand all in one fluid motion. "I'm going to shower. You wanna join me?"

"It's over. It's over! You rolled and I didn't feel it."

"Yeah, I noticed that in the night. I got up and did a few calisthenics. You snore, by the way."

"I do not!"

"Do too. Wanna shower?"

"Don't you understand we're cured?"

"That was what last night was about, right?"

Rodney bunched the sheets around his waist, beginning to be a little unnerved at both John's nakedness, his bare skin covered by nothing except his dog tags, and his seeming disinterest in the resolution of their problem. "I thought you'd be happier about it."

John shrugged and gave a wry grimace. "Didn't you enjoy last night?"

"Well yes … of course, I did. It was hard not to. But not so much that I want to live like that forever."

"I wasn't real fond of staggering through the hallways either. But let's just say I'm still back at the 'of course I did' part and leave it at that." Apparently resigned to showering alone, John headed into the bathroom, leaving Rodney sitting perplexed on the bed, trying to make sense of what he'd said. Rodney heard the noise of the shower running before John's head poked back out. "I'll leave you the pleasure of telling Zelenka that he was correct." John disappeared again.

Radek. Crap. And Elizabeth and Ford and Teyla and Carson. They all knew what Radek had recommended, why John had hauled him out of the conference room. What John, Mr. Military Man, Mr. Mountain Lion, seemed completely happy to admit he'd enjoyed. What John seemed to wish had continued longer.

Rodney didn't understand it. He didn't understand John. Wasn't this how yesterday started? He was back in a perpetual loop of confusion, and being confused rubbed Rodney against the grain. He gazed unseeingly toward the open bathroom door, thinking of John standing in the shower, of John running soap over his body, lathering shampoo into his short dark hair … He thought of John's high-handed nature, dragging him into his bedroom like a caveman, and then his unexpected generosity, letting Rodney make his own decision, letting Rodney do anything he wanted to his body, trusting that Rodney would get them out of the fix they were in …

For a little while anyway. John did have that bad habit of taking control back, of making Rodney dance to the touch of his hands, of making Rodney fuck him, of cracking Trek references to make Rodney laugh in the middle of penetration …

The renewal of his erection persuaded Rodney to flip the covers away and get out of bed. No, he didn't understand it. But he never would if he didn't explore it more, would he? Personal exploration, observation, testing … they were some of the most important principles for advancing scientific knowledge.

It was time for Rodney to start acting like the great scientist he was.

~ the end ~