He wore his heart on his sleeve, every emotion exposed for two galaxies to see. He wore his vulnerabilities on his face, in the slackness of mouth, the quiver of lips and the crystal tear that rolled down one cheek, swiftly followed by another. He wore his pain in his eyes, wide and defenseless, liquid blue reflecting every cut of word or knife, his soul weighed down with decisions made for good or bad, for triumph or loss, for hate or for love.
When John looked at Rodney, he knew every thought, every feeling, every moment of doubt that had led to this moment, and he knew this wasn't the first nor would it be the last time he saw to the depths of Rodney's pain. John did what he had when they had buried Carson, what he had done when they had grieved over the loss of Elizabeth. He pulled Rodney into his arms and simply held him, no words flowing between them because there were no words to describe the intensity of grief. Clever fingers, turned clumsy with loss, scrabbled at his t-shirt, clenching the thin material too tightly, and the sharpness of Rodney's chin and nose dug hard into John's neck and shoulder but he would suffer in silence, let the physical pain ground him to Rodney's needs.
He was never certain how long they stood there wrapped around each other; minutes, hours, all blended into one solid moment of grief until Rodney felt heavy in his arms, finally succumbing to the weight of his loss. John lowered them both to the bed, pulling Rodney into his arms and holding him tight long past when the terrible, choking sobs turned to occasional hitches of breath and then to the softness of sleep.
As the long night passed, he smoothed a hand over fine hair, tracing the curve of ear, cheek and jaw, trailing a thumb over lips softened in sleep, and brushed at the fast-drying trail of tears. Later he would strip the clothes from both of them, slowly and carefully, and press soft kisses against every inch of exposed flesh, tasting the salt of grief on Rodney's tear-streaked face before kissing those slack lips until they moved beneath him, returning pressure for pressure. He would bring Rodney to a bittersweet edge, hand wrapped around his responsive flesh, drawing him away from the grief with shared intimacy and silent promises that he could only hope to keep.
And the saddest thought was who would be here for Rodney if he should ever fall?