"Aagh!" Jack exclaimed. If he had to listen to one more sentence composed of a list of multi-syllabic, scientific terms he was going to shoot someone. He held up a hand to stop the flow from Sam. He was starting to wish he hadn't decided to make this unofficial visit to Atlantis on the pretext of seeing how Sam was settling in as Elizabeth's replacement, but having half of his old team there had given him a hankering for the old days. "And Sheppard can't activate this because...?"
"He's on medical leave following the incident on MC3-4DF."
"Right." Jack stretched out the word, not entirely convinced that it was a good enough reason for using him as a guinea pig in this latest discovery on Atlantis. "And McKay?"
"Not a natural gene carrier, sir."
"I didn't think that mattered according to..." He waved in the direction of the scientist standing next to Sam.
Sam carried on as if he hadn't interrupted her. "And also, he's busy reconfiguring the desalination tanks so we have fresh drinking water."
"And you've checked this out thoroughly. No exploding tumors or," he twiddled a finger close to his temple, "Sudden leaps towards ascension." He recalled some of the reports he'd read of less than stellar discoveries found within the abandoned laboratories on Atlantis.
"Doctor Adams checked for any references on the Ancient database. She assures me it's just a...viewer."
"Viewer?" Nope, still not completely convinced. "Viewing what...exactly?"
"Sir, it's completely safe," Doctor Adams stated rather than answering his question. Jack chose to ignore her and look to Sam instead, gaining only a noncommittal shrug before Sam added, "Closest approximation we can get is that it extrapolates real time events to produce forecast models for behavior analysis."
Jack parsed that technobabble into normal speech. "Like watching reality TV."
"Well not exactly, sir, but..." Sam winced. "Close enough. Doctor Adams checked over the translations with Daniel and--"
"Talking of Daniel. Where is he?"
"He mentioned discussing the Arthurian legend and its possible connections to Atlantis with McKay."
Jack winced. "In the desalination tanks? Bet that's fascinating," he stated wryly. "Okay. So when do you want to do this?"
"I have the device right here." Adams eagerly held up what looked like one of those old-fashioned toys that combined two images into one to make it look like it was a 3-D image. "You simply look into the device here and think ON at it."
Gingerly, Jack accepted the device, holding it between thumb and forefinger and with one last glance towards Sam, he held it firmly in both hands and looked into the eye pieces, thinking 'ON'. Nothing happened. No light show, no buzzing or humming, not even the tiniest pulse inside his head.
"Well that was a monumental waste of time," he stated sourly as he dropped it back onto the laboratory bench.
Sam was frowning, eyes narrowing a fraction before they started to widen in something graver than mere concern. "Sir, your eyes--" She was staring straight at him. That was when the fog started moving in from the peripheral of his vision, clouding over his sight until everything seemed shrouded in a silver-gray haze.
She was already tapping her radio and calling in a medical emergency; his sight grew dimmer, grayer, until he could no longer make out any shapes in the fog before his eyes. He screwed his eyes close tight, opening them in some half-hearted belief that this would clear away the deepening mist but, instead, all he saw was the gray fog.
He was blind.
An hour later, he was still without sight but he refused to give into the panic. His other senses seemed to have compensated--his hearing was sharper, his sense of smell increased and even the smoothest surface caused sensations to tingle through him. Unfortunately with the hearing it meant he had to endure the sound of a seriously pissed McKay but for once, he didn't mind in the slightest that someone was tearing a strip off Carter. He had trusted her. He had trusted her judgment and her knowledge just as he had done on probably a hundred missions in the past. Daniel's voice joined the mix.
"What device?" Daniel asked in a deceptively mild voice but Jack knew that tone, hearing the anger simmering beneath.
There was an uncomfortable silence and a rustle of sound before Sam spoke quietly. "Doctor Adams?"
The awkward silence ended with McKay's sharp voice disguising none of the anger he was feeling, and the snap of fingers. "Give me the research data. Now." The fast tapping of keys on a laptop stopped abruptly, followed swiftly by McKay's acid tongue. "This is it? This is the sum total of your research?"
"I assure you, Doctor McKay, I researched the device thoroughly--"
"Or not! Because I've seen greater depths of research in a trashy tabloid. If he had seen this then he would have vetoed the experiment." A scrape followed, which Jack guessed was McKay turning the laptop around to show the results to the others. He figured the 'he' in question was Daniel judging by what sounded like an expletive in an unfamiliar language.
"Can somebody tell me what's going on here?" He had to ask because no one was saying anything. Of course he should have known that McKay would be the one to speak up.
"Doctor and Colonel Incompetence here have blinded you. The good news is that the condition isn't permanent. The bad news is that it will take a least two or three days before you regain your vision, possibly four...hopefully."
He could almost see Sam bristling at being included in the accusation but McKay was right, and the lack of verbal protestation from her proved it but his mind hooked onto that final word. "Hopefully?"
"Well, you're not a pure Ancient. Who knows how seriously your mere human genes might affect the--"
"McKay," Jack stated sharply. "Not helping."
"Right. Of course."
Keller had examined him thoroughly using both Ancient and human medical machinery but she had no suggestions to offer other than to wait and see if the effects wore off on their own. With growing dismay, Jack realized he would have to accept the--hopefully--temporary blindness.
Waking up in that dull gray world was unnerving enough but doubly so when accompanied by the sound of snoring in his ear. Jack smacked at the source of the noise, eliciting a sharp snort of surprise; he recognized the person making the awful sound.
"McKay. What are you doing here?"
"Eh...Daniel. He didn't want you waking up alone so I... Um. Well. You're awake now so I'll just..."
"Go. I'll just go and...unless you want to go too. Breakfast?"
Jack stared hard at the space where he believed McKay was standing, and barely held in a gasp of shock as a strong image came to him of McKay naked. In his mind's eye he could see all of him from the broad shoulders down the lightly furred chest with its enticingly peaked nipples, then lower to the soft belly and strong thighs. In his vision, McKay was standing with legs apart, stroking his hard cock--the tip slippery and shiny with precome. Looking up the length of the ghost image, Jack could see those nipples standing taut, begging to be licked and sucked. Further up, his wide mouth was slack with desire, lips parted as if waiting to be filled with Jack's cock or taken by Jack's kiss. His pupils were shot too, with the dark pupils swallowing almost all of the brilliant blue. As Jack watched, mesmerized by the wanton display, McKay's head tipped back to expose the pale column of his vulnerable throat. Long eyelashes fluttered against flushed cheeks and a low moan sent heat racing through Jack's body.
He was almost too beautiful for words, reminding Jack of all he had given up when he decided upon a military career all those decades ago. It had seemed a good deal at the time but now? Not so much.
Jack blinked and the image was gone leaving only the relentless gray. "What the hell!"
He reached out and touched McKay on the chest, feeling the warmth of fabric beneath his fingertips that proved McKay was not actually standing naked in front of him. Savagely he pushed down the disappointment. What he could also feel though was the peak of one of those often perky nipples. Jack snatched his hand back and willed his body under some semblance of control.
"Jack," he stated without thinking, quickly realizing that he really would prefer McKay to call him by his given name. General and sir got old pretty fast. He'd missed Daniel calling him Jack and figured he'd known McKay long enough to offer him that same privilege, which meant he was within his rights to think of McKay as Rodney. Hell, they'd come a long way since that talk after Rodney had forced him to take a cold swim to release the locks on that underwater puddlejumper bay--and the subsequent hand-in-head torture by the Replicators. Oh, he'd bitched about them bringing Sam along next time but he'd seen enough reports cross his desk from where Rodney had saved the day that, under duress, he would be willing to admit the scientist was every bit as good as Sam.
"Do they have cake?"
"For breakfast?" Rodney sounded a little horrified and intrigued at the same time.
He could almost feel the glow of warmth from the smile brightening Rodney's face. "With real Canadian maple syrup."
"Reality TV, my ass," he murmured as he experienced his fourth vision since waking this morning.
So far he had seen the corporal serving breakfast as a master chef, turning plain pancakes into masterpieces of culinary delight to the point where he was surprised when a bite revealed just a plain stack of pancakes on his plate. He'd seen Major Lorne as some budding Michaelangelo, trying to capture the warm colors of Atlantis reflecting off the naked butt of some guy sitting at the same table.
On the fourth time it was some mild-mannered female scientist meekly serving McKay in a Japanese tea ceremony while wearing the full traditional garments and make-up. In her fantasy, her coy smiles were entrancing Rodney, and Jack screwed his eyes shut to banish the image of Rodney pulling the elaborate pins from her hair in a prelude to stripping her naked.
As if to confirm his suspicion that this was Fantasy TV instead of Reality TV, he saw Sam approaching in a full dress with her breasts barely restrained by the tight bodice. She swooned towards him and he flinched, almost reaching out to capture her even though he knew instinctively that it wasn't real. He'd long suspected that she had a crush on him--and he'd done everything in his power to keep their relationship both professional and Platonic. It was a little disconcerting when he realized that if this was Sam's private fantasy of them, straight out of one of those Harlequin romances, then that meant the naked, wanton McKay fantasy from earlier must have come from Rodney.
Jack knew which image he found hotter, and it wasn't Sam in her bodice-ripper reenactment.
After another couple of hours enduring the private fantasies of a dozen more people, most of them sexual in nature, Jack insisted on returning to his quarters until the effect of the device either wore off or someone came up with a solution.
He raised both eyebrows at Sam. "You really want me to explain why?"
Her bodice ripped a little further, showing more of the creamy curve of her breast with the merest hint of a pink nipple. In contrast, Daniel's fantasy was surprisingly mild and non-sexual in nature, probably because he was already living out his fantasy in real time just by being in Atlantis. Although in disgrace, Adams was present and Jack almost groaned aloud at her fantasy of finding the solution and becoming the heroine in this farce, thereby salvaging her reputation in both Sam and McKay's eyes.
It took all of Jack's concentration not to glance towards Rodney, purely because the image of him naked and wanton was back full force, and Jack was starting to feel the heat pooling in his groin as he imagined it for real.
Daniel saved him the embarrassment by reading the translation of the data he'd managed to locate on the device.
Not so strangely, everyone disappeared pretty fast once they realized what he was seeing; Sam in particular when Jack casually asked for something to occupy his time--other than trashy bodice-ripper romance novels.
"McKay!" Rodney paused on the threshold and Jack imagined him looking deciding pink around the cheeks and ears. "Stay. I've got a few questions for you."
"Really?" For once Rodney sounded less than eager to show off his vast intellect, and it was so amusing to know he was trying desperately to rein in his more lustful thoughts but they kept seeping through the cracks in his mental walls.
Jack listened hard, waiting until he knew they were alone as the door closed behind the last of the escapees. Taking pity on Rodney would mean letting him run away as fast as the others but Rodney's fantasy was one that Jack wanted to come true. Having never been one for talk instead of action, Jack started to strip, pulling off his boots and socks before shrugging out of his jacket and t-shirt. He pulled his dog tags over his head and dropped them onto the bedside table. Rodney was unusually quiet, standing as far from the bed as humanly possible, until Jack unzipped his pants and started to draw them down.
"What are you doing?"
Jack tilted his head, wishing he could see Rodney's real expression. "I figured both of us naked would be a better fantasy...or reality."
Silence filled the room for a moment.
"Really? You mean..."
"Shut up and get naked," he ordered warmly. Jack heard the susurration of cloth sliding over flesh and grinned.
Jack awoke early in the morning to the warmth of another body plastered tight against his side in the narrow bed. He blinked several times, smiling as he realized the gray was slowly lifting, revealing the soft hues of blue, gold and green that filled Atlantis. When he rose up onto one elbow and looked down, he knew this was no fantasy image sharing his bed. The pale skin wasn't blemish free but it was still perfect in Jack's eyes; he reached out to stroke over the velvet softness, fingers carding through the light smattering of chest hair until his finger pad brushed over a smooth nipple. Jack watched as it peaked instantly, so responsive to his touch, feeling his cock twitch in response.
Beneath him, Rodney stirred, his lips curving upwards in satisfaction, and he stretched with cat-like grace, his back arching. Impossible to resist, Jack leaned in and kissed him, his hand sliding along one smooth flank until he could almost cup the firm yet generous ass cheek. He'd almost forgotten how good it was to touch another man; to feel all that coiled strength, all those sharper angles of muscle and bone, and to feel a hard cock in his hand. He'd almost forgotten the taste too--the bittersweet essence coating his tongue as they brought each other to a satisfying climax with hands and mouth.
The bright blue eyes had opened fully now and were gazing straight at him a little fearfully.
"You can see."
The tone was flat, giving very little away but Jack recognized the self-conscious hunch to Rodney's body. He straddled Rodney, pinning him to the mattress while he let his eyes rove over every exposed inch of his lover. Rodney began to squirm beneath him but Jack stilled him with a kiss above his heart, followed by another lower, and yet another on the soft, pale belly.
"Perfect," he whispered as Rodney's hands came up tentatively to touch him in return, strangely silent for the normally garrulous scientist. When Jack glanced back up, awe had replaced uncertainty in the desire-filled blue eyes, and Jack locked gazes as he took the now rigid cock into his mouth. The quiet didn't last and Jack licked and sucked until Rodney was a babbling wreck--hard and wanting beneath him--before pulling away long enough to fumble in the bedside drawer for the hand cream stashed there. Jack knew what else he had almost forgotten over the years, knew what else he wanted to experience again. Slowly, he positioned Rodney so his legs were draped over Jack's shoulders, before pushing a single greased finger into the tight body, letting the soft moan reverberate through him. Jack watched in pleasure as Rodney's eyes glazed over before leaning back in to suck the hard cock once more. The weight of Jack's body kept Rodney from bucking up into his mouth as he brought Rodney to a slow climax, the bitter semen coating his tongue and sliding down his throat as he swallowed every drop.
Pulling away, Jack quickly greased his cock and positioned it against the loosened hole. He was shaking with need as he waited for Rodney to regain coherency and give him permission, aware that Rodney might easily refuse as Jack didn't have a condom. Constant medical check-ups ensured they were both clean so that wouldn't be an issue, but Rodney was finicky like a cat, and bare-back was messy.
"Yes. Fuck me," Rodney demanded, voice slurred with exhaustion of spent passion.
Jack grinned and pushed carefully into the hot, tight channel, feeling strong muscles clench around his cock as he thrust deep inside the firm body. He couldn't last, already too close just from the mere thought of possessing another man's body--Rodney's body. Clenching muscles drew the climax from him in wave upon wave of pure pleasure as he came with a soft cry.
Afterwards he was right about Rodney being finicky, grateful he had regained his sight so he could navigate his way to the bathroom for a washcloth to wipe away the mess. Rodney bitched until he was as clean as he could get without taking a sponge bath but Jack didn't mind. He lay back on the bed and pulled at Rodney until the other man was draped over him, with his head pillowed on Jack's shoulder.
"Shut up and go back to sleep," he murmured warmly, taking the sting out his words by dropping kisses on the top of Rodney's head.
He knew they might never have a chance to be together like this again. He was still a USAF General after all, with a sworn duty to protect their home planet, and Rodney was the Chief Scientist in an alien city based in another galaxy. But for this brief moment they had both time and opportunity, and Jack had learned never to waste either. Instead he took advantage by tightening his hold on the man in his arms, letting the tactile memories flood through him so he could store them for the dry years ahead.