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Soraya Didn't Have To Deal With This

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John George Patrick Sheppard, Prince and second in line to the throne of the Kingdom of the United States of America, had never really met Meredith Rodney Ingram Ludwig Alexandre McKay, Prince and first in line to the throne of the Royal Empire of Canada, in person. This is mostly due to the fact that he himself isn't important enough to do much more than represent his kingdom on promotional tours, and yet he is significant enough that having him join his father and/or older brother if either of them went to make royal visits to Canada would be a bit much.

Prince Rodney, on the other hand, is the heir to the throne of Canada, and if he did go make visits to America, then somebody more important than John was responsible for greeting him. That is not to say the two of them have never been formally introduced; they had been to a number of the same parties over the course of their childhood and adolescence. It is pretty much impossible that they hadn't been, considering how often the royal families of Canada and America have joint parties since the two kingdoms had maintained a close relationship ever since they had helped each other fight for their independence and out of the status as colonies. But John had never really met Prince Rodney in person.

It's more than a bit of a stretch, then, for John to stumble over Prince Rodney while they are both on not publicly known vacations in France, booked at the same highly exclusive, discreet hotel on the Côte d'Azur, but that's exactly what appears to be happening.

John is twenty-one, and he has just finished getting his degree in Aeronautical Engineering. He's taking a couple of weeks off before joining the Air Force – or, more precisely, before having a big fight with his father about doing so. They already had a big fight about John's choice in majors when John went to Stanford, not to mention a number of smaller confrontations. His father had intended for him to study something he deemed sensible; law maybe, politics preferably, and John was not having any of that. Dave, his older brother and first in line to the throne, is perfectly happy doing just that, and John thinks they don't need him to dabble in the same waters too. It could only lead to conflict; the two brothers learned early on to go their separate ways; they played different sports, had different hobbies, different circles. Everything else was just a bad idea on all accounts and made both of them unhappy.

Prince Rodney is twenty-one too, but he isn't finished with university. He finished highschool – or the one year he spent doing what other people do during three years of highschool – when he was twelve and immediately went on to university. John hasn't exactly kept a close eye on his education, but it's impossible to avoid hearing about it; he's a media darling, Prince Rodney, as much for his incredible intelligence as for his shocking, unfiltered bluntness. John doesn't know whether he's doing it on purpose, but he has a hard time imagining it being not at least partly so. There's no way his parents would let him run his mouth like he does in public if it didn't get them some kind of advantage.

Their actual meeting happens entirely by accident, with John literally almost stumbling over the Prince, who is sitting in the shadow of a decorative stone, one of several having been strategically placed along the sandy path in the vast gardens of the hotel. They're meant to make what would otherwise be a pretty boring walk a bit more exciting, John figures, and this time they certainly achieved that goal.

"Can't you see where the hell you're walking?", are the first words Prince Rodney says to Prince John, in French, naturally.

John blinks, taking a moment to recognize the Prince as well as realize yes, he's truly just been addressed very rudely in French. He can't say it happens to him often – or ever before, actually.

"Well, maybe you shouldn't take a break in the middle of the path behind a boulder," he replies mildly. Not in French.

"Does it look like I'm taking a break? Because I'm not, you imbecile."

Prince Rodney actually does look a little red in the face, John realizes suddenly. His face is sweaty, and his gaze is a little unfocused; the hand he raised to underline the insult with a flick of his wrist falling limply into the sand again. "Are you alright?", John asks, suddenly concerned. He looks around, but he can't see anyone; it doesn't seem like Prince Rodney was attacked, but you never know.

"Oh yes I'm peachy-" Prince Rodney starts, only to sputter when John crouches and puts the back of his hand to his forehead, finding it a little hot to the touch. The pulse he checks a moment later is slightly elevated as well.

"What's wrong?", John gets to the point quickly.

Prince Rodney deflates suddenly, closing his eyes and tilting his head back a little, only to grimace and immediately lower it again, turning away from the sun. John moves a little to the left so his shadow covers the Prince's head.

"Low blood pressure," Prince Rodney says. "Doesn't agree much with the heat, much less with direct sunlight."

John pulls the small bottle of water he took with him out of the back pocket of his shorts and opens it, handing it over to the Prince. "It's water," he discloses when it earns him a suspicious look.

"I don't suppose you have anything salty," Prince Rodney says, listlessly taking the bottle and starting to drink in small, measured sips.

"Uh, no. How are you feeling? Do you need a doctor?"

"Dizzy, nauseous. No, I just need to get my blood pressure up. And into the shade."

"Should I get you some coffee?", John asks, silently berating himself for not taking his baseball cap with him. Normally he never leaves without that or his sunglasses, but he had figured, the hotel was very private and discreet, he didn't need to try to stay anonymous.

Then again, he isn't the one with the low blood pressure; Prince Rodney should have remembered to cover his head if he reacts that sensitively to direct sunlight. Also, who the hell leaves their residence in this heat without something to drink?

"If you want me to crash completely in an hour," Prince Rodney says. He attempts to roll his eyes, but that clearly wasn't such a good idea because the next moment he's swaying, waving one arm around searching for purchase because apparently the ground isn't good enough.

John purses his lips. This guy really isn't the nicest around, but he's oddly endearing, the way he blinks at John with confusion when he catches his flailing hand, how he tries to breathe calmly and deliberately. But he clearly doesn't look so good, and John is getting really worried, because he really has no idea how serious his condition is. He has never heard of low blood pressure being a problem before; one would think it was a good thing, considering how bad high blood pressure could be. On the other hand, too much of anything is bad, no matter how good it is in small doses. "What do you need?"

"Shade," the Prince says immediately. "Something salty to get my blood pressure up." He grimaces. "My medicine, probably. I meant to get back to the hotel but I got dizzy."

"Well, come on, then." John helps the Prince up and keeps a hand on his elbow and one on his shoulder as he sways, eyes closed and swallowing noisily. John just hopes he's not going to throw up on him. But no; a couple moments of deep breathing later Prince Rodney seems marginally better and the two of them slowly make their way back to the hotel, John's hand still on the guy's elbow in case the swaying gets worse.

Twenty minutes later, the two of them are sitting under a parasol, nursing sweating glasses filled with chilled grape juice that a discreet waitress brought them, along with a bowl of salty licorice.

No, really. Prince Rodney of Canada is guzzling the licorice like it's the most delicious thing he ever ate. John is a little scared.

"So," the Prince says eventually. "Since we were never really formally introduced in any way that counts, I thought maybe we could keep it that way."

John blinks, taking a moment before he gets it. He smiles unwittingly; he likes that. "Sure. Hi, I'm John, nice to meet you." They shake hands, Rodney introducing himself by his second forename. It would make John pause if he didn't already know that Rodney does not like his first name. The entire northern hemisphere most probably is aware of that.

"So, I assume you're here on a vacation too?", John speculates, eying the drops Rodney is nibbling. They look like black and white M&M's, but they're really, really not. John knows because he was offered one, eventually. He's certainly not going to try one again.

Rodney rolls his eyes. "As if that was my choice!", he snaps as if John had insulted him. "I could be in Vancouver right now, getting my second doctorate, but no," he flaps his hand. "'You need a break'," he squeaks in a shrill voice; John has no idea who that's supposed to imitate. He doubts they'd be flattered. "Do I look like I need a break?!", Rodney ends his rant with a demand.

John takes Rodney in completely for the first time, the light brown, disheveled hair, the shadows under his eyes, the red spots high on his cheeks and the paleness of the rest of his face. He remembers the circumstances they met under and replies bluntly. "Yes."

Momentarily derailed, Rodney blinks. "Yes, well, I don't," he counters weakly, visibly flustered.

John raises an eyebrow and doesn't say a thing; Rodney looks at him for a moment before flapping his hand and avoiding his gaze. "Why are you here, then?", he demands.

"Why, taking a vacation," John replies, not trying to hold back his smirk. Then he abruptly turns serious, swallowing and licking his lips. Then he says, for reasons he can't even explain to himself, "Taking a break before joining the Air Force."

Rodney looks at him, blue eyes sharp, most of the glassiness from before gone. It's almost uncomfortable, the sharpness of those eyes; it feels like they're peeling all of John's shields off him to examine the feelings below, the conflict with his father John has been in since he was born, it feels like.

"Why?", Rodney asks.

That's simple. "I want to fly."

Rodney nods, apparently satisfied with that. "So you must have a brain under all that hair," he theorizes idly, busy searching for more black not-M&M's. John doubts they taste different from the white ones, but for some reason Rodney has been only eating black ones. They look a bit like Go pieces, actually.

"I guess I must." John refrains from rolling his eyes. He's starting to think that Rodney doesn't even notice how offensive he's being – if John were more inclined to, he'd probably be very insulted at the off-hand dismissal that seems to be Rodney's default position. So far, he's not sure yet if it stems from the born-in knowledge that he's royal, or if it's something else; for some reason he doubts it's the former, though it does seem the most simple explanation. He hasn't followed the press on Rodney much (or at all, really, but it's hard to escape him), otherwise he might know more – but then again, he himself knows very well how little you can trust the press, even – sometimes especially – if it's official.

"So what's your major in, then?", Rodney asks, having been unsuccessful in his bid to locate a black licorice drop and eyeing a white one doubtfully.

"Aeronautical Engineering," John replies. "What are yours?"

"Which ones aren't?" Rodney turns his eyes skywards. "I have a doctorate in Astrophysics and am working on getting my second in Mechanical Engingeering. I have undergrad degrees in Mathematics, Chemistry, Nuclear Physics, and Astronomy."

"Okay, and what do you do in your spare time?", John jokes, trying not to look impressed. It seems this guy did a lot more in the last six years than John, who spent most of his time falling from one identity crisis (gay?) into the next (but flying!). Now that he has made a decision it feels like a huge waste of time, but he figures that it would say uncomfortable things about him if it had been an easy choice.

"What? Oh, please," Rodney flaps his hand, sending a white licorice-not-M&M flying. It pings off a decorative stone in the flower boards before falling into the beet of white tulips. "I'm a genius. Ninety-nine point nine percent of the world's population are less smart than me." He digs around in the bowl and sucks on the tip of another not-M&M.

So it's not the royal thing but the genius thing that's giving Rodney a sense of superiority. John chooses not to comment on it and instead asks, "So what are you going to do when you have enough degrees to plaster the walls of your castle with?"

"Well, obviously I'm not going to waste my time with the soft sciences, I leave that to people with less brain capacity than me. But, well." Rodney shrugs. "I'm either going to revolutionize our space program or our energy network. Probably both, actually."

John leans forward in his chair, unwillingly excited. "Are you going to send someone to Mars?" Like about every kid in the nation, John grew up with wild dreams about being an astronaut and flying to the moon. He can't really say those dreams are buried; he's more intent on flying in general nowadays, but he'd still be totally thrilled if anyone offered to shoot him off into space. Not that they're ever going to do that; not with the percentage of fatal accidents.

"Maybe, if I can think of a way to put them either in stasis or to increase the speed and efficiency of our current rockets by at least three hundred percent." Rodney tilts his head. "Both would be necessary, probably."

With a grin, John slouches back in his chair. "Cool."

"Yes, totally." Rodney returns the grin. "I'm probably going to start off with building satellites, though, so we can take a closer look at our solar system. Can you believe that we barely know anything about our closest planets? We barely know a thing about our moon, it's ridiculous. And they're talking about reducing the space program! Waste of resources, they say. If they had found gold on the moon, they would be pumping enough money into it to let half the continent's population fly over. But of course, scientific knowledge and advancement is not as important as shiny metal, you'd think our governments were made up of a bunch of bleach-blonde girls with lapdogs and daily manicures."

John doesn't try to hold his laugh back any longer.

The two of them spend most of that afternoon together; John doesn't think he has laughed that much before in his life. Rodney is a real treat, blunt and scathing. His thoughts seem to pour unfiltered out of his mouth, and by now John is fairly sure that one, it's completely impossible to try to censor him, and two, he'd probably be exactly the same even if he hadn't been born into a royal family. Or with an IQ of around 200.

What truly gets to John, though, is the way they get along in-between Rodney's truly entertaining rants – that John might be provoking him into just a little, not that he's ever going to admit to it. Some of the things Rodney talks about make John want to nod and go "yes, yes!" while others make him disagree, provoking spirited arguments. It's mildly surprising at first, because it doesn't seem so, but Rodney is willing to listen to other people's thoughts, and he doesn't dismiss them immediately because they don't match with his own. He is, however, perfectly willing to wave off ideas once he has decided that the reasoning behind them is not sound. John is having a blast trying to convince him otherwise and watching the indignation color Rodney's cheeks red.

In a small corner in the back of his head, he knows that this is dangerous – being gay is one thing, sharing hasty kisses and shameful handjobs in dark corners with boys at boarding school is already another, but this? This is a whole new level of dangerous. And not just because John is who he is, or because Rodney is who he is – it's dangerous because of who John wants to be. The military won't make any exceptions, not even for John. Probably especially not for John. He wouldn't want them to, not unless they're going to do away with those stupid rules about homosexual soldiers. It really shouldn't matter who a person wants to fuck as long as all participating parties consent.

It's not easy, the path John has chosen, not just because of the resistance he'll get politically and from his family. Not that it's against traditions for the royal family to join the military, and the Air Force is not an unusual choice either, but John has no illusions that it'll be easy. He really should try not to make it even harder for himself.

He has a feeling it's a little too late for that, though. Rodney's eyes are clear and blue, an enchanting contrast to the color in his cheeks, which is not only from indignation anymore, he doesn't think.

Rodney stops talking mid-sentence, the hand he was gesticulating with falling limply into his lap. He's looking at John, eyes a little too perceptive for John's comfort, but there's nothing he can do about that now. "So," he says, gaze skittering away from John's face to his glass of chilled grape juice – the third the discreet waiters have brought him. "Air Force, huh?"

"Yeah," John says, rubbing with his thumb at the condensed water on his own glass.

"In Canada, of course, we're more liberal."

"I can hardly join the Canadian army, can I?" The mere idea makes John laugh. It's completely impossible – it might be less so if he were just a normal person, but even then, he wouldn't be able to just move to Canada and join their Armed Forces.

And what the hell are they doing, anyway? What is it they're talking about? They've barely known each other for a few hours. This is crazy.

"Uh, no," Rodney says. "So, huh. Not accounting for the whole good side bad side part, would you rather join the Clone Army or or the Jedi?"

That's a hard question. On the one hand, the Clones are all with the uniformity and mindless obedience, on the other hand, the Jedi have those philosophies with the no emotions, no attachments thing. Neither sounds particularly attractive to John, if you look at it from that angle. "I'd probably flunk both and do the Han Solo thing."

"Pilots, again?" Rodney rolls his eyes. "Could you be more predictable? Also, I believe I didn't give you a third choice."

"I don't believe in no-win scenarios," John smirks.

"What, and now you mix up your quotes? You're a total cheater, next thing you're going to tell me that you're building a flux capacitor in your garage so you can travel into the past and meet the *****."

"Plutonium is first on my wishlist for Christmas," John replies earnestly, then leans back and bites back a grin when Rodney makes an outraged noise and starts to lay in on him about the completely crappy science in Back to the Future, as if John were responsible for it.

In the end, they have dinner on that terrace and stay there deep into the night, just talking. It's not purely by accident; John catches several moment where Rodney notices what they're doing, and he's not talking about their conversation. John knows very well that it's a very bad idea, and Rodney must as well, if the way he sometimes glances at John is anything to go by. But neither of them makes any attempt to stop, and John knows that when they finally separate, hours after sundown, it's far too late to stop anything.

He has no idea what he's doing, he thinks as he gets into bed, but he always had a self-destructive, almost masochistic streak. There is a picture of his mom in his room that hurts every time he looks at it, and he provoked not a few of his fights with his father; his reputation as the rebel in the family didn't come from nowhere. But this is stupid, even for him.

Still, as he falls asleep, his last thoughts are with Rodney and the way his hands gesticulate wildly, the derisive curl of his mouth and the indignant twinkle in his eyes whenever John says something truly outrageous. He's fairly sure Rodney has already caught on to the fact that John is doing it on purpose, but he seems to be unable to refrain from his natural reaction.

When John gets up the next day, he's half-afraid Rodney has left; it would have been the smart thing, and John did consider leaving himself for maybe three seconds in the shower before he told himself to man up to his feelings and masturbate to his crush like any other guy his age would. The knowledge that he probably isn't the only one to jerk off thinking about Rodney didn't make him feel better, but the fact that he, at least, knows him personally, did.

Also the fact that, when he comes downstairs, one of the waiters informs him that Rodney is waiting for him to join him for breakfast in a private room.

"Oh hey," Rodney says off-handedly, as if they're just running into each other by chance like they did yesterday, but the flush in his cheeks betrays his nonchalance.

"Hey," John returns, unable to repress the grin stretching his cheeks as he takes a seat across from Rodney. "Sleep well?"

The flush on Rodney's cheeks deepens, and suddenly John doesn't feel bad at all that not half an hour ago, he came to the mental image of those cheeks hollowed with Rodney sucking his dick. "Me too," he says cheekily before Rodney can reply, which earns him a heated look that isn't as annoyed as Rodney would probably like to think.

Three years later, John still finds himself remembering that look as he lies in his sleeping bag, curled up against the icy cold of the desert at night, trying to drone out the noise of gunshots and explosions, of yelled orders and the screams of the injured that are still ringing in his ears hours later. He closes his eyes and remembers Rodney's diatribe on flux capacitors, wishes he could write him a letter. Wishes they had made any promises, so he would have something to hold on to, no matter how impossible, especially after Rodney became king a year ago upon the unexpected death of both his parents in an accident.

Five years after their first real meeting, he nearly has a panic attack when the first headline he reads upon finally getting back on American soil is "HOUSE MCKAY PLANS GREATEST WEDDING IN HISTORY – Insider Reveals Top Secret Plans". He firmly tells himself he's being ridiculous and sits on his hands to hide their shaking, closes his eyes and tries to find a calm place, but for the past five years, his calm place had been Rodney, and that's not helping, that's really not helping right now.

"So, McKay wedding, huh?", he says to his driver the next time they stop at a red light, glancing at another newspaper stand. He chooses to believe his voice isn't shaking.

"Oh, yes," the driver says. "She's barely twenty years old, can you believe it?" John feels the bottom of his heart drop out, but then the driver continues, "Rumor has it that the king threw a temper tantrum because her fiance is just a normal college student. You should have an invitation as well, your Highness."

It takes John a moment to remember that Rodney has a younger sister who, yes, might be twenty now. He's never felt so silly in his entire life. And not just for his mistake.

It's been five years since he met Rodney in person, five years since he spent two weeks with him doing nothing but talk. They never kissed, never even touched unless by accident; which to this day John both regrets and is grateful for. But five years of pining really is somewhat ridiculous, he is well aware.

Which is why he makes the decision to go attend that wedding. He's fairly sure that by this point, he's worshiping at the altar of an idolized idea, not the real person Rodney is – so he just has to meet the real Rodney and this all will take care of itself. He's vaguely aware that it won't be as easy, and certainly not painless, but he prefers not to think about that part – or about what he'll do when he doesn't have a safe place anymore, something to think about when his real life nightmares haunt him and not even daydreams of flying help anymore. He's really not thinking about that, because if he would, he might chicken out.

To say his father and brother are surprised when he lets them know that he'll attend the McKay wedding would be an understatement. Since he joined the Air Force, he barely attended the required events within their own kingdom, not making it to even half of the birthdays (his own included) and only barely to Dave's wedding two years ago, not to mention any diplomatic visits anywhere else. He sometimes didn't attend his own birthday parties because he was stationed elsewhere and hadn't gotten leave. The birthday celebrations he got with his buddies felt a lot more honest than any of the grand parties the palace tend to give him anyway, with their hundreds of guests, most of which he doesn't even know, much less like.

John and his father have somewhat made peace, though, in the years since their big fight upon John's joining the Air Force; his father had somewhat relaxed his tight hold on John, didn't try to control his every move anymore. John figures that this is partly because Dave is the Heir Apparent and John isn't really necessary and partly because it had been bad publicity back then that got rehashed every time they had a new fight (and sometimes when they didn't and someone just invented one for the fun of it). Their relationship isn't exactly loving, but they do get along better now than they had for a long time, and the cold silences had made room for professional, if sometimes slightly shallow, conversations. Dave always had and still continues to stay out of John and their father's relationship, but he and John had talked about their father's change in attitude a couple of times, so John knows he isn't the only one who is surprised – if pleasantly. Dave's theory is that their father is finally speaking to a therapist about his wife's death; he's convinced, even if John isn't, that one reason Patrick and John clash so often is due to the fact that John is so much like their mother.

Thankfully, neither of them ask any questions about John's surprising decision to attend the Royal Wedding – at least not direct ones. Dave especially makes sure to point out repeatedly just how unusual this is, and their father agrees with him, but neither of them really ask, so John doesn't feel like he has to explain himself. Not that he ever, ever would.

He's pretty lucky, though, that the wedding is pretty soon, while he's still on leave: if he would have had to extend his leave just to attend, there certainly would have been questions. Not just from his father and brother but also from the military, who have never made exceptions for him unless the king himself requested it, and John had repeatedly and firmly told his father to never, ever do that unless for emergencies, of which there had only been one (Dave's wedding, which had made John come aware of the fact that he and his father had vastly different definitions of the word "emergency").

So, all he has to do is let the Canadians know that he'll attend, and then he has to submit to the bunch of people who are responsible for making sure the royal family is clothed decently, whether that is while attending public events or in their free time. John has never been on good terms with them, and they aren't that big fans of him either, at least not as far as his making their job easy is concerned. John pretty much is the jeans and t-shirt sort of guy, and that's normal jeans for normal people, not thousand-dollar-designer-pieces, and normal American Apparel kinds of shirts, not polo shirts that cost as much as a small car because they're made of silk and the Lacoste logo is embroidered with diamonds. When he was a teenager and started to have his own ideas on how to dress, they had tried to make him wear what they wanted by restricting the clothes that were bought for him, but John had always found a way, and if he had to bribe a kitchen maid or a security guard. Eventually, they had given up.

They won't be swayed on matters of public dress, though, and each time again it's a new battle to find a middle ground between what they want and what John want. All in all, he figures he's pretty lucky he isn't female; there were only so many ways he can dress, whereas for women there are infinitely more ways, and more details. Nobody, for example, cares about his hair – which, okay, might also be because it's untameable, but still.

In the end, everybody settles on John's dress uniform as well as a suit and a smoking for the different parts of the festivities. John is faintly horrified that the suit is actually being referred to as the "casual" part of the attire, but his dress uniform is okay, he figures. He had earned a bunch of medals and orders over the years, but it isn't disproportionally much, so it doesn't make him look like a peacock. Much.

Three weeks later, he finds himself in Toronto, Canada, attending the wedding of Princess Jeanine Patricia Marie Sandrine McKay and Kaleb Thomas Miller. The ceremony itself is sufficiently pompous; Jeannie's dress could be remade into three dresses, and she needs a whole school of children to carry the Schleppe. Or at least that's what it seems like to John. Flowers are everywhere, the Judge's (the McKays swore off religion four generations ago, the beginning of their kingdom's demonstrative neutrality and tolerance towards all beings) speech is romantic, and Rodney looks brilliant walking his sister to the aisle. To John, Rodney looks a thousand times better than his sister, who is young and blond and radiating with happiness and all that, but really. Rodney's shoulders have filled out and he looks incredibly attractive in his uniform.

It's like a punch to the gut, and only the knowledge that countless cameras are pointed into his general direction and that photos last forever, helps John keep his face smooth and expressionless. Ever since their meeting, he had actively tried to avoid seeing pictures of Rodney; he had had no intention to torture himself even further than he had so far by not keeping his distance during those two weeks in France. Seeing him now, walking past John with only a few meters and three people between them, immediately flings John back into the feelings of that time, the attraction and longing and the pain, layered over with all the other emotions he's had since then, the yearning and the way the memories of that time had carried him through his darkest moments.

So much for getting it out of his system, he thinks dryly, and then he forces himself to concentrate on the happy couple getting joined for life. They're really incredibly young, he thinks; god, younger than he had been when he had met Rodney. Though there is a tiny part in the back of his mind that knows that if he could have, he would have married Rodney on the spot, even back then. It's the intuitive part that has both saved John's life and gotten him into huge messes before. This being one of them – one of both, really, a huge mess that has probably saved his life.

The more rational (and admittedly more horny) part of his brain insists that to be able to determine whether they're actually truly compatible, he should have had sex with Rodney. Also, they would have had to have a relationship first, he reminds himself. Which they hadn't, no matter how he felt and possibly, especially in the light of recent realizations probably, still feels. Besides, there is no way to determine whether his affections were actually returned then; it's possible it was all just in his head. He doesn't know anymore if he just wants it to not have been one-sided or if it actually wasn't.

After the ceremony, there is the difficult part of fighting your way through the crowd to get to the reception; that one is a little more exclusive, with less guests and no press, but John thankfully doesn't have time to re-dress after all. He was not looking forward to the smoking, or to having to put on new clothes in the middle of the day. Jeannie, of course, does wear a different dress; it really wouldn't have been practical, her having to navigate through an actual crowd with her giant Schleppe, as well as the school of children responsible for carrying it. John is glad he will never have to wear such a ridiculous piece of clothing.

Once everybody has eaten, the cake has been cut and the required pictures for the press have been taken, there's the first dance and after that, people start to mingle. It's that part of any sort of party or event that John likes the least; he hates having to smile and be polite and pretend he remembers the names of people – which he doesn't always, but a lot more often than he really wants to. Countless names and faces were drilled into his head from an early age on, and John hasn't yet managed to get them out of there, though it turns out that years of combat and limited contact to them have helped.

He doesn't actively try to avoid Rodney, but he also doesn't seek him out. He wants to, he really wants to, but he doesn't know what he'd say, and he really doesn't want to know if becoming king has changed Rodney, taken off all his blunt and fascinating edges. It turns out he has less courage than he had estimated, and with the effect just seeing Rodney had on him, he figures finding out whether Rodney is still the same won't help either way.

Of course, all these nice reasons are completely wiped from his mind when he suddenly finds Rodney standing in front of him, blue eyes piercing. "I didn't figure you'd actually come," Rodney says, face unreadable.

John takes a breath and a sip from his drink, abruptly remembering that he hasn't had orange juice in over five years and flustered with how pathetic he and his crush really are. "I wanted to see you," he blurts out accidentally. Which, well. He used to be smooth, once upon a time.

Immediately, a blush stains Rodney's cheeks and he lowers his gaze, clearly flustered. It's suddenly like they're back to five years ago, where John had made it his personal mission to make Rodney flush as often as possible. His heart beats strong in his chest.

"Oh, uhm. Would you like to dance?" Rodney asks, glancing up again and catching his eyes. His expression is somewhere between hopeful and doubtful, and John can't, he really can't, disappoint Rodney when he looks like that.

"Yes," he says, firmly ignoring the fact that this is really, really not a smart idea. It will probably completely wreck the truce he and his father have reached.

"I already danced with your brother," Rodney mentions less than casually, holding out his hand for John to put his in. "His wife was highly amused. You will lead."

That's good, because in John's kingdom they have unfortunately not progressed far enough to teach men to dance with other men. Also, if Rodney already danced with Dave – who really could not have refused, even if he had wanted to; John is curious how that went down with his brother – there won't be a fall-out. Or at least, not as much of one.

He puts his hand into Rodney's and swallows when Rodney's fingers close around his; the first time ever they're touching like this, on purpose, without Rodney dizzy from too much direct sunshine. The part of him that is secretly a teenage girl suggest he not wash his hand again, ever. Or at least until he has jerked off with it, remembering this. It would be like Rodney giving him a handjob by proxy.

And he really should not pursue that line of thinking while he's in public, especially not while he's holding Rodney's hand. Didn't Rodney wear gloves while walking his sister to the aisle?

Rodney leads them to the dance floor, and then it gets even better when John gets to put his hand on Rodney's back, just below his shoulder blade, when Rodney's arm comes to rest on his with his hand on John's upper arm, squeezing just slightly.

John counts, and then they start to dance.

It's a sort of Disney moment, John tries not to think; their eyes remain locked, and he really hopes they don't look as smitten as he fears they do. Neither of them says a word, and while there is a respectable space between their bodies, John feels like he's a moment away from swooning into Rodney's arms. He really does have broad shoulders, strong upper arms and big hands. John is slightly taller than him, just enough to be noticeable, but not so much that it would hinder them in any way, no matter what they want to do.

He steers his thoughts away from that, too, but a moment later the tip of Rodney's tongue flicks out to moisten his lips, making them look even better. John can't help but zone in on them and lick his own lips, and if the way Rodney's breath stutters for a moment is any indication, Rodney notices.

"I'm going to abdicate," he says suddenly.

John blinks at the completely unexpected words and only barely manages not to fall out of rhythm. "What?", he says stupidly.

Rodney licks his lips again, now a nervous gesture more than anything else, and repeats. "I'm going to abdicate, in a year, two at most. Jeannie will become queen. We've been... this has been planned almost from the beginning. I'm not made to be king; everybody knows that. I've been decent so far, but that's probably the best one can say about me, and I'll only get worse. I hate it," he says simply. "I can't concentrate on what I want to do anymore – I can't change the world this way, not in the way I want to. It's all politics and somebody will always end up hating me, no matter what I do, and while really couldn't care less about what some small-minded idiot things about me or what I do, this... this is not what I want."

John squeezes Rodney's hand, just listening, and Rodney gives him a small smile before continuing. "I would, if I had to, of course, but Jeannie is way better at this than I am, and she wants to do it." He rolls his eyes, a fond expression appearing on his face when he says, "She wants to brow-beat everybody into doing what she wants, and she'll have a lot more success at that if she's queen. Certainly a lot more success than I ever could have."

"Okay," John says slowly. "That's good, that it will work out the way you want it to, I mean."

Rodney just looks at him for a moment, and then he says, "I'm going to marry you, once Jeannie is queen."

John blinks.

"It will be good politics for your kingdom; you haven't been looking so great on the tolerance front lately, what with the complete backwardness concerning homosexuality. Your father ought to see it, and if he won't, my sister will make him. That is, uh. If you want to."

"Of course," John blurts when Rodney's eyes glide away from his face. Then he squeezes Rodney's hand again and repeats, less spontaneous this time, "Of course." His heart is pounding loudly in his ears, and he feels like maybe the air has gotten a little thick, but. He wants.

He can't imagine how it would be possible, though, how his father ever would agree. Besides, there's still the fact that John is in the Air Force, and the Military Code of Conduct still forbids homosexual relationships.

"Shush," Rodney says quietly, quite possibly reading his thoughts. "We'll take care of it. Just you wait."

The dance ends, and John takes a step back, bowing, keeping hold of Rodney's hand until Rodney has returned the bow. Then he reluctantly steps away from him completely.

He doesn't see Rodney again for two years.

Almost to the day a year after Princess Jeanine of Canada got married to Kaleb Miller, four months after his niece Nathalie Sophia Geraldine is born, John starts a brief career as a POW. It only lasts three months, and thankfully nobody realizes just who they've got on their hands and just what they could do with him, except for what they usually do with American soldiers. He manages to escape eventually, finds a bunch of UN soldiers who do realize eventually that he is who he claims to be (once he has shaved off the beard, and he always was on the thin side anyway so the fact that one can now count his ribs without problems doesn't hinder his recognizance), and then he gets sent back to America. Everybody is very excited, and all John wants is to be left alone.

Thankfully, just a week after John has gotten back home, King Rodney III of Canada abdicates, making his sister, Princess Jeanine of Canada, the new Queen. Most people find this more exciting than talking about John, especially now that he's back, and John has never been so grateful to anyone in his life. He doesn't delude himself into thinking that the timing is just happenstance.

Two months of enforced recovery and therapy later, they finally let John back into the cockpit – only not really, after all. It turns out his father has finally had enough of not dabbling in John's business, and John ends up stationed at Area 51. Once he has adjusted his worldview to include aliens – aliens – John is furious. He can't stay angry for long once he gets to fly an X-302, but he does manage to make it clear to his father that he won't tolerate interference like that again before he starts flailing like a little girl over those stealthy, half-alien fighter jets. They're not space worthy yet, but god, it's a rush.

He gets on okay on Ellis Air Force base, after people get used to his presence. There's the usual thing where people think he got there through his father's influence, and this time they aren't even wrong, which makes it hard to fight that kind of rumor. Then there's the also usual percentage of soldiers who give in to hero-worship; people who get nervous in his presence, who want to do things for him because he's one of their princes, even if he's not the crown prince, and this time it appears to be even more pronounced, but that too dies down after a while, as it always does. John has to work really hard, though, to be accepted as one of the guys. People think they know him, know things about him, and that makes them act different, weird, at times welcoming and at times not. As always, it takes him long until they start to view him as just a soldier, as a person with his own accomplishments and failures, someone who just happens to have a father who just happens to be their country's king. It's certainly not all he is; it's not even that important a part of him.

As John finds out more and more of what's going on at Area 51 as well as Stargate Command under Cheyenne Mountain, he also starts thinking more and more about Rodney. Not that he ever really stopped, but that was more in the sense of "I want". But the more he finds out about the technology that they have barely begun to try to figure out, the more he keeps thinking that this must be a scientist's paradise, that Rodney would love it. Rodney, who wants to change the world, who wants to revolutionize space programs and actually started to revolutionize the way energy is produced, who feels being a king isn't challenging enough. Rodney, who hates the flux capacitor with a passion, but has thought about it so much that he can explain in perfect detail just why it would not work.

Rodney would thrive here, John can't help but think, would fight his way to the top of the pecking order, would flatten stupidity and find ways to make this technology available for everyone. And not just Rodney, is the logically follow-up thought; other non-American scientists should be here too, the best of the best of everywhere to reverse-engineer and figure out how to best use the technology they discover. What use, after all, is all this amazing technology if they keep it to themselves?

And, yes, they do need to defend their planet (he doesn't know how it makes him feel that suddenly the conflicts in the Middle East seem trivial), but John doesn't see why they should keep both the fight and the rewards for themselves. He knows one of his nation's greatest failing is arrogance, but this is really taking the cake.

He tells his father as much next time he talks to him. His father is silent for a moment, and then he says, "We have been considering involving international scientists and military for a while now. You really think it would be a good idea?"

"Yes," John replies. "We barely manage as it is right now. It's a wonder Earth hasn't been invaded yet. It's a recommendation to our people's skills, but why struggle if we don't need to? We could do so much more with this technology than what we've been doing so far, but for that, we need more people. Besides, it's not just our planet."

"I know. Some people have been arguing for international involvement for years now, but others fear that letting others in on the program will take it out of our control. It might cause diplomatic incidents if people take offense that we've kept this secret for so long. Frankly, a lot of things will get a lot more complicated the more people are involved. We certainly can't make this program public yet."

"No, we probably can't," John agrees, not exactly happy with it, but his father is right. "But I think we should involve a few people. The UK, Canada, France, Germany, for example. See how that pans out, and then discuss involving others with them."

"Why these four?" His father sounds like he did when John was a child and he'd spring surprise questions on him to test his knowledge. He had always insisted that his sons needed to be educated in a wide array of topics to avoid them ever being caught off-guard by a reporter's question.

"They have stable governments and we've been working with them for decades," John explains. "We should also think about involving others, Russia and China maybe, but later. The secure ones first. They won't be happy that they've been kept out of the loop as it is, we don't want to add governments to the mix with whom our relationships are less stable."

His father hums thoughtfully and changes topics, but John knows he listened. Eventually, they will involve other nations; they have to. He figures adding his own opinion to the mix didn't change much in the grand scheme of things; his father certainly has never asked him for advice, and he's never put more weight on John's opinion than on somebody else's, for example his Prime Minister's. But John is in a pretty unique position because he has both an inside and an outside view of the Stargate Program, not having been in on it from the beginning.

He also did as much as he could to maybe manage to get Rodney into the program without being obvious about it. He really has no idea what Rodney and his sister are doing from their end, but if they do go international with the program, John is absolutely sure that Canada will be among those who will be involved, and Rodney will definitely hear about it. It's really not sure Rodney will be able to get himself into the program, because he is a very high-profile person and people will have doubts about involving him, but there is a chance he will end up here or at Stargate Command. A small chance, perhaps, but it's not impossible.

Three months later, his father calls him. By that point, John has flown against Anubis' alien fleet above Antarctica, been on Earth's first actual space ship, and got to visit Stargate Command, but nothing more. He's hoping he'll get stationed there, at least sometimes, because he doesn't get to fly the X-302's even half as much as he'd like, and there's not much else to do at Area 51, at least not for a soldier. Even one with the superspecial gene that John just happens to have in extraordinary strength, making not a few scientists flail and speak in squeaky voices before they demand of him to touch things and turn them on. Fortunately, they only mean technology, because otherwise there might have been a problem. (Secretly, John suspects they're not very far from asking him to jerk off in a cup. If they had the ability to make clones, they probably would have asked him already.)

His father says, "I have received an interesting proposition."

John immediately knows what he's talking about. He hardly can not; there's been little else he's been able to think about. "Have you," he replies, claiming ignorance.

"Apparently, Canada's former king would like to marry you."

"It would be good politics," John manages to say after a pause, barely able to keep his voice calm and controlled. "Good for our international image. We haven't been looking all that tolerant lately."

"I've been told the same thing," his father says. "I do not like that I didn't know about this before, son." His father only calls him "son" when John did something he disapproves of.

"There was nothing to know about," John returns calmly. "We've only met twice, you know about both times."

"But apparently, more was going on than I was made aware of at the time." His father's voice is tightly controlled; when John was a teenager, at this point there'd be in the middle of a fight, probably with yelling and derogatory language. The therapy really did change the way they interact with each other.

"There wasn't," John denies instantly, even if he's not really sure that's the truth. But at least the facts are nothing but, and so he says, "We did nothing but talk both times. We've never even... nothing."

There's a moment of silence on the other line, and then his father says, sounding calmer now, "Then how come he wants to marry you all of a sudden?"

John thinks for a moment, and then decides to tell the truth. "We just sort of... clicked. I didn't even know he... not until the wedding."

"But you're gay."

"Yes," John confirms quietly.

His father sighs. "I guess I should have known. There was never anyone... I thought you were just keeping it under wraps, being discreet. You always hated publicity."

"There never was anyone," John echoes.

Neither of them states the obvious.

His father doesn't tell him what he thinks or what he's going to decide, doesn't consult John on the negotiations John knows must be going on; he also doesn't say no. John is absolutely sure that if he had, Rodney would have told him – his father would have told him.

By the time news start to leak that the Military Code of Conduct is being reviewed and might actually be changed soon, two months have passed. John got re-stationed to Stargate Command and has even been off-world a couple of times, though as of yet, he hasn't become a member of a SG team. Instead he's in a training position on a training team, lead by a seasoned officer who teaches newbies off-world etiquette via low-profile missions and visits to established, friendly contact worlds. John has met aliens.

All of which pales in the light of the realization that this is happening, it's really happening; his father is planning to allow him to marry Rodney, is already preparing to make it possible. John briefly allows himself to wonder how he managed to convince the parliament that a repeal of DADT is necessary, because this is no dictatorship, but he doesn't think about it for long; he never does, because it makes him helplessly angry, how narrow-minded his people can be sometimes.

He doesn't let himself believe it yet, though, doesn't let himself believe that he will really be allowed to marry Rodney, especially not anytime soon. Marriages in royal circles don't just happen; they're planned, not rarely years in advance – admittedly, the Canadians have been doing this a little differently too, like many other things. John doesn't think Jeannie and Kaleb's wedding has been planned more than a year in advance at the most. But the Americans, while being known for occasionally stubbornly and demonstratively making a point out of doing something different, mostly adhere to tradition.

A month later, the Military Code of Conduct gets changed, making homosexual relationships perfectly legal for soldiers and, more importantly, forbidding the prosecution of homosexuals and of homosexuality being reason for discharge. His father calls him and tells him that all negotiations have been made, and he's leaving the final decision to John.

John says yes before his father has even finished speaking; Patrick is quiet for a moment, maybe taken aback, maybe disapproving, John can't tell. Then he says, "You'll be on leave in three weeks. We'll talk more then."

John really doesn't say what to make of that, and he doesn't yet let himself believe that he might actually get married, at least not to Rodney. He can't quite believe that his father is really going to allow it, that he's been made that mellow through therapy. That would be close to brainwashing, he figures quite honestly. There's no way his father would have reacted this calm ten years ago, not even five.

When he gets home three weeks later, to one of the royal family's retreats, this one in Florida, he's half scared it's to another row with his father, at least as grand as the one they had when John chose Aeronautical Engineering as his major and not Politics or Business or Law, maybe even of the same proportions as the one before John left for the Air Force. They hadn't spoken a word for a year after that. He doesn't particularly like the idea of going back to that kind of relationship.

It doesn't come to that, thankfully. His sixteen months old niece, Nathalie, is just learning to walk; she, with her mother in tow, is the first one of the family to greet him. John is kind of surprised that she kind of remembers him; she wasn't even a year old when she last saw him. She doesn't exactly run towards him, but she grins up at him, not hiding behind her mother, even if she is clinging to the leg of her jeans with one hand. That might be due to the fact that she can't really stand on her own, though.

Lady Carina, David's wife, explains to him that they show her pictures regularly, trying to keep him present for her. Then she hugs him tight – their relationship had, up until his two months of medical leave after his brief stint as a POW, been pretty formal and distant. Now they get along good, though, and John thinks that they might eventually even be real friends. He still doesn't know whether the wedding was mostly political or actual love, and he'll likely never know – Dave had never liked to talk about his relationships and at the time John hadn't managed to figure out a discreet way to ask. It's not important anymore anyway, because their relationship has morphed into a comfortable, probably even loving, one, as far as John can tell.

His father and brother aren't there yet, so John has a couple of hours to settle in and spend some time with Nathalie. He likes children okay, he decides, but she's easy to handle because she can barely speak yet, so who knows what he'll think in a year, or five years.

Eventually, Dave arrives, and after he has greeted his family, he pulls John aside, into his office. "John," he says. "What is this about marrying Rodney of Canada?"

John searchingly looks at his brother. He really has no idea what Dave will think about this; they have never really had deep political discussions, not just because they had spent most of their time apart, at different boarding schools and universities. Sure, they do vaguely know each other's positions politically, but nothing more than that. And they certainly have never talked about John's sexuality. "I'm going to," he says, unsure what Dave wants from him.

Looking frustrated, Dave sits back in his chair. "I mean... was this father's idea? It just seems a little too convenient, we've been trying to find a way to make ourselves look better internationally for years."

"Maybe you should have done that by actually doing something, like change the Military Code of Conduct earlier, or make homosexual marriages legal," John returns impatiently.

"You know it's not that easy." Dave is definitely frustrated now. "We can't just do whatever we want, we need the parliament's approval, and other people have their own political ideas."

"And you didn't care enough to throw your weight in on this, I know," John replies. He hadn't realized until now just how much this behavior of his family frustrated him.

Dave takes a calming breath. "So you're serious."

"Yes, I am serious." John glares at him.

"Don't be like that, John," David asks. "You know I don't..." He blows out a breath. "I'm happy for you."

John lowers his gaze and gets to the crux of the matter, asks the question he's afraid to ask. "Are you?"

"John." Dave reaches out, puts his hand on John's shoulder. His expression is intense when John raises his eyes and meets his gaze. "Of course I am. I want you to be happy, and if marrying Rodney... if he makes you happy, then I'm glad you'll be able to."

Letting out a shaky breath he hadn't realized he was holding, John nods slowly. "And father? He... he didn't say anything on the phone, but I don't know if he... is he okay with it?"

Dave thoughtfully tilts his head. "He's not not okay with it. He... his therapy really helped him a lot. It took him really, really long to deal with mom's death; I think he used to get so angry because he hadn't at all dealt with it yet, and you're really a lot like her, not just the way you look but also the way you act, the way you talk." Dave is silent for a moment, lost in memories, and John tries really, really hard not to envy him that. He himself doesn't remember their mother enough to be able to determine whether that's true or not.

Eventually, Dave clears his throat and returns to the topic at hand. "We have talked a lot over the past years; he's sorry for how he used to treat us when we were children. I think that's why... He tried really hard to make this happen for you, tried really hard to stay out of your career, too. He wanted to get involved, he worries a lot, even if he can't show it." Frustrated, Dave runs a hand through his hair. "I guess what I'm trying to say is that he wants you to be happy, so even if he can't understand it, he's trying to do everything he can to support you. And I don't just mean that in relation to Rodney, but also to your career. You know he never understood why you wanted to join the military – patriotism is one thing, but you didn't join for a couple of years; you really want this. I don't think I really understand either."

"I want to fly," is all John can say; it's all he's been able to say for years whenever someone asked him why.

Dave just nods and squeezes his shoulder again.

Their father joins them for dinner, and they spend the meal talking about inconsequential things. Afterwards, Dave and Carina bring Nathalie to bed, and his father asks John into his office. As a teenager, John used to dread these meetings; they'd usually end in fights. He can't help but feel a familiar clench in his stomach, but he pushes it aside. His father had changed a lot.

After he has prepared a drink for both of them, John's father, King Patrick IX, takes a seat and asks him very directly, "Do you want to marry Rodney of Canada?"

John looks him in the eye and says, "Yes." He doesn't know why his father asks him again; they already talked about this. He thought his father understood.

His father nods, looking into his tumbler. "I'm asking because I needed you to say it again. You must admit that it did come completely unexpected."

"It wasn't planned," John tries to explain. "We just... we clicked. We knew it wasn't possible when we first met, we didn't even talk about it."

"And when you met the second time?" His father was always able to get to the crux of the matter.

Considering, John tilts his head, but he figures that he can say it now. It's not like it's anything bad. "He told me he would marry me then." He can't fight the grin that makes it onto his lips, even though he does try. "He said he'd make it so." His father won't get the Star Trek quote, but it amuses John further. "I believed him." He looks up to meet his father's eyes, and the expression on Patrick's face startles him. He almost looks like he's in pain, which brings that familiar clench in the pit of his stomach back.

His father clears his throat. "That's good. I didn't... I didn't want either of my sons to marry only for political reasons." Which answers John's secret wondering about his brother's wedding. Then his father says something that completely shocks John. "I didn't... we didn't marry for political reasons either. We said early on that we wouldn't allow that for our children." John has to look away from the expression on his father's face; at least he now understands where it comes from. This is the first time in his life that he hears his father talk about his wife; he didn't even talk about her when she was alive, not to his sons and certainly not to anyone else. The press had made things out of that silence, things that both Dave and John always knew weren't true, but it's shocking to hear it out of his father's mouth for the first time. Their mother had told them often that she had married for love, but it's entirely different to hear his father say it.

"I'm glad too," John manages to croak, taking a sip from his drink, the alcohol sliding hot and cool down his throat.

A week later, John is in the kitchen, making himself a sandwich as an afternoon snack, when he suddenly hears Rodney's voice. "You know, it's terrible how sexy this man in black thing is you keep pulling."

John turns around to find that Rodney is standing in the middle of the kitchen, wearing casual, tan pants and one of his terribly ugly shirts (this one being puce green and mustard yellow plaid) over a t-shirt violently clashing in colors, as is almost expected of him by now. He looks tired, nervous but anticipatory, and he's not wearing shoes. John looks down at his green socks for a moment, thinking about where the rest of his family members are – there are no servants in the house currently, they only come in for a couple of hours in the morning to clean up, and a cook comes to make dinner, but other than that, they're all alone. If John remembers correctly, then his father took Nathalie off for a walk along their very private strip of beach, and Dave and Carina are off to spend some adult time together. Of course, they didn't put it that way, but they're really not discussing politics in their bathroom, of that John is sure.

Putting the knife and mustard down, John purposefully strides over towards Rodney, who looks surprised and actually worried for a moment until John reaches him. Taking Rodney's face firmly into his hands, John pulls him in and takes his mouth in their first kiss. Rodney gets with the program immediately, his hands settling on John's waist, warm and sure, like he has the privilege. Which he does, there's no question about that anymore – John's moved past self-delusion.

Their first kiss is less wild than the premise would suggest; they've never kissed before and their lips are almost tentative, exploring, finding out the ways they fit together. John can't compare it with any of the other kisses he's shared in his life because right now he can't remember one of them; none of them matter anyway, not the way this one does.

"Well," Rodney says when they finally pull apart, both breathing heavily and their hands still in exactly the same places – John framing Rodney's face, Rodney's cupping his waist.

"How did you get here?", John asks when Rodney doesn't appear to have anything more to say.

Rodney rolls his eyes. "Imagine that, I flew. People have been able to do that for a while, you know."

"Oh, shut up, I'm a pilot." John rolls his eyes back. Then he puts on his most devastating smile, the smile that wreaks havoc over the most hardened reporters, and melts into Rodney's chest. "So you came in riding on your big white airplane to sweep me off my feet?"

Rodney flushes deep red, stammering nonsense with his hands fluttering over John's back as if he doesn't quite know where to put them. They finally settle back on John's waist, the broad span of his hands sweeping up and down, petting John for a moment before they still. Belatedly, he says, "Don't blather nonsense," but there's no feeling behind it.

"Well, you totally pulled a fairytale move, fighting against all obstacles to get my hand in matrimony," John explains. He flushes deep red when he says it; he had never looked at it like that before, hadn't realized that's exactly how it was until he heard himself say it.

"Well," Rodney blusters, then deflates. "Yes?"

"That was really sort of fairy tale-ish," John murmurs, sliding his fingers into the hair at the back of Rodney's head, focusing in on Rodney's lips. "But you won't hear me complaining." He presses his mouth to Rodney's again, and they engage in another kiss, John pushing against Rodney until he's pressing him into the wall, doing his best to kiss him silly – the breathless part he's already managed pretty well, if he does say so himself.

Suddenly, Rodney moans; not loudly, but decidedly louder than the breathless little noises both of them have been making up until that point. John is hard within moments, so quickly he almost feels faint in the head for a moment when all his blood rushes to his groin. Almost instinctively, he pushes his leg forward, pressing his thigh between Rodney's, giving the growing bulge in his pants something to rub against while he sucks his tongue into his mouth. It makes Rodney moan again, louder this time, and then something somewhere in the house drops to the floor with a bang. They separate immediately, staring at each other with wide eyes, panting. Rodney looks mussed and like he's been doing exactly what he has been doing, lips swollen and cheeks flushed, an unmistakeable bulge in his pants.

"Right," John says, running a hand through his hair. "This is probably not the right place to do this."

"Right," Rodney agrees, his tongue flicking out to run over his lips. John catches himself staring at both and forcibly pulls his gaze away.

He clears his throat. "So, you have any plans on doing the virgin wedding night thing?" Which is sort of not what he had been planning to say, but he doesn't remember what that was anyway, so.

Rodney blinks at him wide-eyed, and John amends, "Well, sort of virgin. Half virgin?"

"Uh," Rodney says, looking a bit overwhelmed. John decides to change to safer topics.

"So where did my father put you? In which room?"

"He didn't really." Rodney flaps his hand. "He was sort of busy keeping the brat away from me, and I was more interested in finding you."

At that, John raises an eyebrow, running his still shaky hand through his hair before slowly making his way back to the counter, where his sandwich is half-finished.

"Children sort of like me," Rodney explains belatedly, watching John's hands as they handle the knife and the jar of mustard. It can't be that fascinating, but Rodney stares like he can't look away.

"Do they," John replies, not really listening, too busy sneaking glances at Rodney. He's barely even aware of what he's doing. It's a good thing making sandwiches isn't too complicated a task.

"Hmm," Rodney makes, now completely fixated on John's hands. They're trembling a little, John knows; he finishes the sandwich and cuts it in half. After he has put away all the ingredients, he pours them both a glass of chilled grape juice and then hands half of the sandwich over to Rodney.

"There isn't any citrus in this, is there?", Rodney asks, looking worriedly at his half.

John rolls his eyes. "Sure, because I'm going to poison you, now that I finally got you. No, there isn't," he emphasizes when Rodney continues to eye the sandwich suspiciously. "It's turkey, lettuce, mustard and cheese on wholegrain bread. Where is your epi-pen?", he then asks just in case.

Rodney pats the side-pocked of his pants and takes a bite of his sandwich half, humming with approval. Within three bites, he has eaten the rest and then downs the grape juice like a man on the verge of dying of thirst.

Amused, John fills his glass again and, slowly chewing at his own half, digs around in the fridge for a bar of dark Ecuador chocolate. "Here." He holds it out for Rodney, who makes a face like a holy man witnessing a wonder and makes grabby hands for it.

Unexpectedly, he breaks half of it off and offers it to John, looking sort of like he's offering a holy reliquary. Involuntarily touched (it's just chocolate, how is this romantic), John takes it, quickly polishing off the rest of his sandwich, and starts to nibble on his chocolate. Rodney is visibly and audibly enjoying it too, humming blissfully as the chocolate melts on his tongue, even going so far as to moan, eyes fluttering closed when he swallows and bites off a new piece. John doesn't realize he's staring until Rodney opens his eyes, meets his gaze and flushes.

Right. After clearing his throat twice, John manages to croak, "Maybe we should go to bed."

Rodney glances at his wrist watch – it's around half past four in the afternoon – and says, "Uh, good idea. I am a little tired from the trip and all, and then there's the time difference..." Trailing off, Rodney looks at John for a moment, whose face probably fell, and then says, the familiar annoyance creeping back into his voice, "Not that tired, you moron. Where is your bed?"

John turns around and leads the way, his piece of chocolate between his thumb and forefinger slowly melting. Rodney follows close on his heels, almost stumbling on the stairs; upstairs in the corridor, they pass by Dave and Carina, who're walking down from the other side of the house, where their room is. "Hey, John-" Dave starts as he sees him; John throws him a look and reaches out to grab Rodney's sleeve, pulling him along as he hastily strides down the corridor. "Okay," he hears David say behind him, sounding amused. He ignores them.

Once they reach his room, John lets go of Rodney's sleeve and opens his door, sending Rodney in with a look when he doesn't go in immediately. Following in after him, John firmly closes the door after them and twists the key, locking it. As soon as he turns around, Rodney crowds him against the door, putting his hands on John's waist again and moving their faces together. Not kissing him, though, just brushing his lips over John's before rubbing their cheeks together, stubble rasping.

To the end of his days – or at least until tomorrow – John will deny the needy noise he makes. It prompts Rodney to slide one of his hands around to settle in the small of John's back, pulling John's body up close against Rodney's. His breath is fanning over the side of John's neck, which shouldn't be so incredibly erotic, but it nevertheless makes the hair in John's nape stand up and his breath quicken.

Wrapping one arm around Rodney's neck, John presses as close to him as possible, relishing in the feel of Rodney's solid body against his. His shoulders and arms are strong with natural muscles, but his middle is soft and cuddly, belly pressing against John's. John loves it; he's never been one for overly muscular guys, and with Rodney he has the best from both worlds. Natural strength to hold him down, to give him a heady rush if he is the one doing the holding, and a cushy middle to make him feel comfortable and homey. He's pretty lucky, he figures, to have someone like Rodney; he's incredibly attractive. And John has him now, he really does.

"Hey," Rodney murmurs, brushing a kiss against John's cheek, squeezing him. John returns the squeeze, breathing in deep, taking in the way Rodney smells, a bit of laundry, deodorant, sweat and person. It will probably take a while to settle in, he figures, pulling one leg up to wrap around Rodney's hips, just wanting closer.

Rodney catches his other hand when he moves in, and John realizes he's still holding the chocolate, which is faintly ridiculous, and also half-melted.

Obviously, though, Rodney doesn't think so; he murmurs "Now where are you going with that?", which makes no sense. But then Rodney guides John's hand to his own mouth and bites off a piece, eyes fluttering closed for a moment. He hums and licks his lips, then leans in and presses them to John's.

A moment later, when the taste of rich, dark chocolate explodes in his mouth, John realizes the genius of this; he makes a happy noise and sucks at Rodney's tongue, licks into his mouth, trying to lick the taste of chocolate off. Rodney puts up a valiant fight, though, and it's hot as hell, their tongues dueling. When Rodney finally pulls away to catch a breath, they're both hard and panting.

"Shit," Rodney hisses, his fingers still curled around John's wrist. He bites off another piece of chocolate, and John pushes in before it has had a chance to melt completely on Rodney's tongue, trying to steal the piece out of Rodney's hot mouth. At first Rodney lets him, but then immediately tries to get it back, and they're back at it. Rodney is eager, his grip on John gentle but secure, his mouth mobile and sure. It makes John's knees week, makes him feel so needy all of a sudden that his knees almost give in. He whimpers and wraps both his arms tightly around Rodney's shoulders, swashing the remaining chocolate in his fist.

Rodney returns the tight embrace, pulls their mouths apart and leans his temple against John's, breathing heavily. They're both hard, but ignore it for the moment, just holding on to each other. "Totally marrying you," Rodney whispers.

"I think my father would have you assassinated if you changed your mind now," John murmurs back. "I imagine he had his own existential crisis over it. I'm fairly sure my brother had one, too."

Rodney's grip on him tightens and he snorts. "I think of the two of us, you're the one more likely to change his mind."

"Yeah, no. No way. Totally marrying you." Pressing his face into Rodney's neck, John takes a shaky breath. "Totally marrying you," he emphasizes again.

Later, neither of them will be able to tell how long they stand like that, but eventually, John twitches at the squishy, melted chocolate squeezing between his fingers, and Rodney takes that as a sign to let go of him. They pull apart and Rodney catches John's face between his hands, presses a kiss to his lips that is so gentle it almost hurts.

Then he notices the chocolate, hums and sends John a positively cheeky look from underneath his eyelashes that chases a delighted shiver down John's back. "See, even chocolate finds you hot," Rodney jokes and takes hold of John's hand.

John plans to roll his eyes and say something sarcastic in return, something like "it only happened due to your sizzling presence," but then Rodney's tongue flicks out and licks the chocolate off his palm and John decides to keep any smart-ass remark to himself. Nothing to discourage Rodney from doing that.

With bated breath, he watches as Rodney slowly and thoroughly licks his hand clean, taking especial care to slide his tongue between his fingers. He doesn't even suck on one of them, but John nevertheless is so hard it hurts, and he knows that there is no way he'll manage to do any of the exciting things he wants to do with Rodney. It's actually fairly likely he'll come in his pants, which should be a lot more depressing, but, well. Rodney is broadly licking his palm, sliding the tip of his tongue along the lines; John has better things to think about.

It's not just the way Rodney licks John's hand that makes his heart speed up, though; it's also how he moans and hums happily as if it were not John's but his hand which is slowly, meticulously being rid of all traces of melted chocolate. John barely manages to hold himself back until his hand is mostly clean before he pounces, pressing his mouth to Rodney's and licking the chocolate out of his mouth again. Eagerly, Rodney returns the kiss, pushing John into his body.

Immediately, John starts pulling at Rodney's shirt, pushing it off his shoulders and sliding his hands under his t-shirt, meeting delicious, warm skin. Rodney makes an encouraging noise, prompting John to move his hand up his chest, pushing his t-shirt out of the way. They separate for a moment only long enough so John can pull the t-shirt off, and then they're moving back together, tongues tangling.

Rodney doesn't stay completely passive either: his hands slide up and down John's back, and once John has his shirt off, he finally dares touch John's skin too, sliding the tips of his fingers along John's waistband. One of his hands pushes higher to cover John's belly, fingers fanning out and just resting there as Rodney sucks on John's tongue, while his other hand goes for the button of John's pants.

Deciding to move this somewhere more comfortable, more horizontal, John insistently pushes himself against Rodney's body until Rodney finally gets it and takes a step back, further and further until he bumps into John's bed. Putting his hands on Rodney's chest, John gives him a firm shove and watches as Rodney falls and bounces on John's mattress.

He looks delicious, lying there, upper body naked and erection clearly visible in his pants. His pupils are blown wide, his lips swollen and red; John just wants to ravish him. Quickly climbing onto the bed, John straddles Rodney's hips and leans down to kiss him once more. Rodney's hands immediately find their way to John's waist, pushing his t-shirt up, making as if to pull it off. John needs to kiss him some more before he can pull away, though.

But eventually the need for Rodney to have unrestricted access to his skin grows bigger than his need for Rodney's lips on his, though, and so John leans back and quickly rips his shirt off before moving back in. Rodney's mouth is delicious against his, mobile and eager, the taste of chocolate now almost completely gone.

Unexpectedly, Rodney's hands clamp around John's hips and press them down at the same time as he pushes his own up; John immediately gets what he's planning and they do it again after they have adjusted the angle. When they press their hips together this time, they catch exactly the right position, pushing their covered erections together in the most delicious ways. They both moan into each other's mouths.

Rodney's hands are warm and sure, have a tight grip of John's hips, and John decides that they need to get their pants off now, if they want to do it at all. He's not going to last much longer if they keep doing this, and so he worms one hand between them, trying to open Rodney's belt.

"Wait," Rodney gasps, ripping his mouth away from John's. He pushes John away, who sits back, startled and almost hurt for a moment, until Rodney hastily starts opening his own belt and pants, "Quicker this way." John nods quickly, feeling a bit silly about his own neediness, and starts opening his own pants. In order to get them off and out of the way, he has to move off Rodney's lap, which he does only reluctantly, but his reward is Rodney's body, gloriously naked, spread out in front of him, which makes it so, so worth it.

As soon as the last remains of their clothes are out of the way, John moves back in to straddle Rodney's hips, adjusting his position a little so that their now naked cocks can rub together. They both groan, and underneath him, Rodney rears up, pulling John's upper body back down, engaging his mouth once more in a kiss. One of his hands rests heavily in the back of John's neck while his other hand slides down John's body, settling on his bottom, squeezing the cheeks, helping him establish a rhythm. His agile fingers sneak between them, flirting with suggestion every time John moves back into his grip, making John shiver and whimper.

It doesn't take long for John at all before he's on the brink of orgasm. Rodney isn't far off either, if his moans are any indication; they resonate through John's body, only arousing him further. Their mouths are pressed together with little finesse anymore, panting together wetly. Skin catches with every move John makes, sweat not making it smoother for either of them, but it's really not important anymore because John is already coming.

Immediately, all strength leaves his body; he barely manages to twitch at the dismayed noise Rodney makes when all the lovely stimulation stops. Rodney has to roll them to their sides and finish himself off with a few pulls of his hand. He moans John's name when he comes, splashing wet and hot against John's belly, and then he slumps against John, pressing his sweaty face into John's neck.

For a while they just lie there, breathing heavily and basking in the aftermath, patting each other with clumsy hands as if to reassure themselves that they're really there, that this has really happened. Eventually, though, Rodney twitches and grimaces at the way they stick together uncomfortably. He shakes John, who has admittedly been drifting off a little, awake and tells him very firmly that they're going to take a shower; John decides to gracefully submit and leads him into his bathroom.

They shower together, sneaking more or less inconspicuous glances at each other. John isn't disappointed at all by the way Rodney looks without clothes, quite the opposite; naked, Rodney's body looks even stronger; muscular and really, really sexy. If John were able to get it up again so quickly – hell, even if only Rodney were able to get it up again so quickly – John would get on his knees right now and blow him.

After they're both clean and dry, they get back into bed, throwing off the cover blanket and curling up together under the sheet, facing each other. They're both lying on their sides, and Rodney is touching John's face with a tenderness that almost hurts, makes John shiver and move closer to him, tangle their legs.

"So, how does post-crown life treat you?", John asks eventually, when the silence gets too loaded for him to bear. Belatedly, he remembers that at the time Rodney abdicated, he hadn't been in a pretty good situation or state of mind himself, and he might not like answering any returning questions Rodney might ask. Then he decides that, if Rodney does actually ask anything he doesn't want to answer – and he's honestly not sure there's all that much, at least not with Rodney – he'll just tell him. Rodney is not a reporter, not anyone that John can't just tell to back off because if he does, there will be headlines about his rudeness, which will inevitably be connected to his "trauma". Up until about a year ago, that trauma usually had been his mother's early death, or his bad relationship with his father.

Surprisingly, Rodney grimaces. "For the first couple of months, I wasn't as de-crowned as I seemed," he explains. "I was supposed to stay king for a bit longer. Jeannie planned to maybe have a child before I passed on the crown to her, but, well. It didn't work out that way." He wants to continue, but pauses when John frowns.

"So you... did you..." John struggles actually putting it to words; he might be wrong, and he really doesn't want to sound like a complete self-centered dick when he asks if Rodney did that just for him.

Rodney takes mercy on him. "They were hounding you, and you looked like you hadn't eaten in months and like you'd either break down or start shooting if one dickhead asked you one more question about it," he explains, lowering his gaze, face taking on a haunted expression.

"Hey," John says, moving in and wrapping one arm around Rodney's shoulders, pulling him in close. He doesn't say that Rodney's impression was pretty damn close to the truth.

Pressing a kiss to Rodney's temple, John asks carefully, "So you really did it because of me?"

"Well," Rodney says, voice a little muffled against John's chest. "Not actually because of you, but you were a big part of it. Would have been anyway, though, we just sped the timing along a little. It's not like Jeannie wasn't ready," he adds, pulling away to meet John's eyes. "She's not angry or anything either. She hadn't gotten pregnant yet, so she decided to delay that a little bit until she's settled into being queen. I just had to stay and work on a couple of things that I wanted to finish first before I give her the crown. I did try not to get involved too much in the negotiations of our marriage, though, Jeannie took care of that. It's her kingdom now." Rodney moves in to press a soft kiss to John's lips. "I tried to go back to full-time academia in the past couple of months. It's not that I ever stopped, I mean, I did keep up to date and I kept publishing, though of course nowhere near as much as I could have, had I been able to spend my full time with research. It's sort of hard to get a job, though, people are somehow sort of reluctant to employ a former king." He rolls his eyes. "It's like they think I used my title to force them to give me my doctorates, which is ridiculous. I had most of my degrees already before I was crowned."

"Totally," John agrees, trying really, really hard to betray none of his excitement at the idea he just got. He's fairly sure that at Area 51 or Stargate Command, people wouldn't get such ideas. Or if they did, they'd be wrong, because the Stargate Program isn't disclosed for idiots, and if they actually do employ Rodney...

John has no idea how this idea could actually work practically; that is the only reason why he doesn't say anything. Well, that and the huge non-disclosure agreement he had to sign. He's going to have to talk about it with his father, just as a formality, because John himself has no idea how the actual recruiting process for the SGC works. Maybe Rodney is not even suitable. John really, really hopes he will be, though, because that would simply be brilliant, for both of them – almost too good to be true, it's sort of scary. It seems impossible that so many good things should happen to John; he already gets to marry Rodney. He won't expect the impossible.

Doesn't mean he can't still ask, though. It can't do any harm.

"Anyways," says Rodney. "How are you doing? All I know is that you're stationed at Area 51 – well, now at NORAD."

John mock-frowns at him. "That's supposed to be classified, you know."

"Oh, please. I know everybody always talks about the CIA or the FBI or whatnot, but the Canadian Geheimdienst is equally good." When John doesn't stop frowning, Rodney rolls his eyes and gives in. "Fine, your father told me."

"Ah." John's expression brightens. That's good, very good to know. If his father gave Rodney information like that, that means he at least accepts his importance in John's life; maybe even that he approves of it. He might actually like Rodney, though John hesitates to go that far. One day, maybe, but probably not yet.

"Now answer my question," Rodney demands, poking John in the chest.

John thinks about it for a moment; he wants to answer instinctively, but Rodney deserves a serious answer. "I'm good," he says eventually, meaning it. "I like it where I'm stationed." He actually likes it a lot; it's a huge difference to Afghanistan. It's not just the obvious differences – no sand, no heat, being stationed in your own country – but what he's fighting for; he's not trying to shoot Taliban, doesn't have to be scared that children or women are suicide bombers. He's just exploring the galaxy, fighting against aliens that try to destroy Earth. It's a lot cleaner, a lot more honest than fighting other humans who want to blow you up for reasons you can't even understand, they're so convoluted.

Suppressing a yawn, Rodney replies, "I know you can't tell me anything, but I'm glad."

"You really are tired," John realizes, reaching out and cupping Rodney's cheek. "Sleep." He puts the back of his hand to Rodney's forehead as if to check his temperature. Rodney lets him, yawning again, eyes fluttering closed, but he opens them again immediately.

"It's possible I didn't sleep so well," he explains.

John, involuntarily infected and yawning too, moves close to him, pressing another kiss to his temple. "Now why would you do that?"

"I might possibly have been worrying about meeting you in person." Rodney frowns. "I was maybe overthinking a little, but I wasn't too sure you'd, you know, actually still want to marry me."

That earns him an incredulous look from John. "I thought you were supposed to be a genius."

"I am! Shut up."

John rolls his eyes and squeezes Rodney a little. "You shut up and sleep. You obviously need it."

"You're not tired," Rodney argues, leaning into John's body. He rubs his hand down John's side, groping his ass and pulling his leg up over his hip, sliding the tips of his fingers along the inside of John's thigh.

"I could sleep for a bit," John denies, moving his hand down Rodney's back to grope him a bit in return. "Not sure I'm up for anything else yet, though."

Rodney makes a disappointed noise. His eyelashes fan over the sensitive skin of John's neck when he closes his eyes.

"If I wake up first, I'll wake you up with a blow-job," John lies unabashedly. Rodney really looks like he could use the sleep.

"You better," Rodney grumbles and drifts off.

John doesn't fall asleep immediately; he pulls the sheet up to cover Rodney's shoulders and tangles his fingers in Rodney's hair. It's not at all cold outside, and also not inside; John's family aren't particularly keen on keeping arctic temperatures inside via air conditioners. He just likes the gesture of it, likes doing something for Rodney for a change. Eventually, though, he falls asleep as well.

Not much time later, John wakes up again; he's slept for maybe an hour at most. Rodney is still pressed against him, snuffling into John's collarbone. For a while he stays still, just enjoying having Rodney so close, warm and soft and alive. In all his life, John hasn't spent many nights sharing a bed with someone; he could count the number of them on one hand, and that includes childhood sleepovers.

Eventually, though, he figures he'll have to get up and check in with his family; more out of politeness than necessity. Dinner would probably be the best opportunity to do so, and thus, after a quick glance at the clock, John presses a careful kiss to Rodney's temple and then slowly slides out from under him, careful not to wake him up.

He needn't have worried; Rodney sleeps on, not moving a muscle. John silently puts on some clothes and runs a hand through his hair, not bothering to check with a mirror. His hair does what it wants, always, and right now it probably looks like he got hit by lightening, considering that he normally looks like he just fell out of bed, and that's after he has made an effort to tame it.

No matter, though; he's among family, it's not like they don't know what he looks like at his worst.

"Didn't think I'd see you again today," is the first thing his brother says to him, sounding way too amused. He's setting the table in the kitchen; John can hear their father, Carina and Nathalie in the living room.

John pretends he's not blushing and rolls his eyes, socking Dave in the shoulder. "Shut up, like you and Carina actually did paperwork earlier."

Dave rolls his eyes back, but shuts up about it. They finish setting the table together and then call the others in. "Isn't Rodney going to join us?", Patrick asks, sounding dryly amused.

"He's asleep," John replies. Dave immediately starts snickering, so John sends him a mock-glare and adds, "There's a time difference, you dwarf."

"Right, like, an hour," Dave grins, but raises his hands placatingly. "Okay, okay, I'm sure traveling over one thousand miles isn't exactly relaxing either."

Satisfied, John nods, taking the plate with spaghetti his father hands him. The seat next to him is empty; it gives him a little thrill knowing that in the future, that will be Rodney's place. At the head of the table, opposite of Patrick, sits Nathalie, with her mother and father on her other side, Dave facing John. John only hopes they aren't planning on having any more children anytime soon, because then they'll have to go sit in the dining room whenever John and Rodney are around, which is a lot more formal.

Over the course of the meal, nobody mentions Rodney again; they talk about inconsequential things, Nathalie's efforts to learn to walk (though she doesn't seem to be trying too hard, perfectly happy to crawl if she really wants to get somewhere) and her attempts at regular speech. She isn't yet able to say much, and if he's honest with himself John doesn't always understand her when she does say something. Her parents and his father seem to, though, so he supposes she does actually say what they seem to understand.

After dinner, when Dave and Carina go to bathe Nathalie, Patrick sits John down and pours him a drink. "So I gather we will have a wedding to celebrate soon."

It makes John frown. "I really don't get why people have to keep asking me that again and again. I already said yes, didn't I?"

His father pauses. "You have to admit that it seems like a somewhat rash decision, considering you've only met twice in your lives – three times now."

"Yes, but." John shakes his head, unable to think of a logical argument. "I can't exactly claim that I don't make rash decisions." His father comments that with an amused snort; John sends him a dry look before continuing. "But I have never regretted any one of my rash decisions, even if they had consequences that I did regret." He's not sure he's only talking about his impending wedding anymore.

His father seems to agree, staying silent for a long moment, mulling that over. "That's good to know," is all he eventually says. He doesn't seem to be disapproving or unhappy, though, more thoughtful than anything else.

Suddenly, two male voices approach, and then Dave and a disgruntled looking Rodney show up in the door. Dave opens his mouth to say something and then pauses when Rodney points with his finger at John, glaring.

Rodney doesn't say a word, though, just deflates and asks, rather plaintively, "Food?", addressing the room at large. John is quite thankful he decided not to accuse John of lying about wake-up blowjobs in front of his father and brother.

Dave and Patrick share an amused look that John catches, but before he can get up and get some food into Rodney, Dave volunteers. "Go sit, I'll get you a plate," he orders, vanishing in the direction of the kitchen. Without protest, Rodney walks over to the sofa and slumps into it. After a moment of thought, John gets out of his armchair and joins him while his father rises to make drinks for Rodney and Dave also. John isn't too sure that's such a great idea; Rodney looks like he's about to fall asleep any moment and alcohol probably won't help, but he doesn't say anything.

Rodney takes the tumbler Patrick hands him with a quiet "thank you", but only takes a few sips until Dave comes back, offering him a plate of re-heated spaghetti and a glass of grape juice.

"The little one in bed?", Patrick asks, breaking the silence before it can turn awkward as they try not to stare at Rodney eating. While Dave replies something amounting to "almost, Carina is taking care of it", John slouches a little in the sofa, bumping one of his knees against Rodney's. Rodney looks up from where he's polishing off the plate at astonishing and actually sort of scary speed and gives him a smile, thankfully only with his eyes because his mouth is rather full.

John's father and brother politely wait until Rodney has finished eating before they start bombarding him with questions; John was sort of nervous about this, which is why he had been hoping he could delay it until tomorrow. This is probably the first time the three of them are meeting under non-professional circumstances. It turns out he needn't have worried, though; Rodney is more than capable of holding his own, and Patrick and Dave thankfully are more amused than insulted by Rodney's occasionally less than diplomatic remarks.

It reminds John that they already know him, that they've probably met him more often than John has, though their meetings were more formal and diplomatic than anything else, John supposes. Not much time for chitchat. More than enough time, though, knowing Rodney, for them to be on the receiving end of Rodney's biting sarcasm and wit. It seems they don't mind either.

Carina joins them at one point, and she's the one who breaches the topics Patrick and Dave have steered clear of. "So, did you abdicate so you could marry John?", she gets right to the point when there's a lull in conversation. She usually is masterfully polite and diplomatic, but clearly she's just as capable of being brutally direct. John tends to forget that.

Rodney blinks and replies rather reflexively, "Of course not." Then he grimaces and amends, "At least it's not the only reason."

"What's the other reason?", she asks curiously. John is fairly sure she knows very well that she's asking rather private questions; he has no idea what she wants.

"Reasons, plural," Rodney corrects, tilting his head. "Apart from that," he flaps his hand into John's direction, "I'm going to change the world, and that's rather hard if you're king."

Patrick snorts. "Most people would argue with you on that one."

"Yes, well, most people haven't tried," Rodney dismisses the argument with another wave of his hand. "Besides, Jeannie wanted to have a go at it, and she's much better already than I was."

"Oh, I wouldn't say you were bad at all," Carina protests. "You've started a revolution on energy production even though most people said that it'd be impossible to make renewable energies Canada's main source of energy. Already, forty-five percent of your people use electric cars instead of gas-powered ones."

Rodney grimaces. "Yes, but I had to decide between energy production and our space program. I figured energy production would be more expedient and more immediately necessary than trying to figure out how to travel faster than light. But I hated having to pick one, I'd really rather not have to do that for forever. Not to mention that I don't have all that much time to play with physics with all of that other crap going on."

"You want to travel faster than light?", Dave asks, sounding a little dubious. John takes the opportunity to send his father a narrow-eyed look, who raises one eyebrow, looking amused.

"I want to and I'm going to figure out how," Rodney corrects. "Don't tell me you think it's impossible."

Dave shrugs. "It does seem sort of... unlikely."

"Yes, just like 1200 AC it seemed sort of unlikely that the Earth was not the center of the universe, and just like 10.000 BC it seemed sort of unlikely that you could make a fire without having the beginning of one in the form of a glowing amber already at hand." Rodney rolls his eyes. "Things only seem impossible because you haven't yet figured out how to do them."

By this point, John is staring at his father rather pointedly, who eventually gives in and inclines his head, indicating that he'll think about it. John thinks it's rather cruel to let Rodney try to figure out how to travel faster than light if they already can do it, and he probably wouldn't be able to live with him and not say a word, just watching while he struggled to figure something out John was already doing (though he had yet to, he'd likely get the opportunity at one point). No way.

"So, let's talk about the wedding," Patrick changes the topic when it seems like Dave doesn't have a reply at hand. "Where do you want to do it?"

"It's not like we have a choice but do it in Canada," Rodney says. "Your backwards country barely acknowledges homosexual marriages, much less performs them."

John's father doesn't seem to like it, but he can hardly argue the point, as it's true. John can imagine what goes through his head; the royal family has married in Washington DC for centuries, this will be a huge break with tradition and so on. He can't bring himself to be angry about it; after all, the fact alone that his father has allowed this marriage to begin with is a huge break with tradition already, and not just American (or Canadian, for that matter); but no direct descendant of a king anywhere ever has entered a homosexual marriage.

"How big?", Patrick inquires further.

"Small," John says quickly. Rodney shoots him a look and disagrees; "It needs to be big, it's a diplomatic statement as well as a demonstration of tolerance in the case of your country."

"But it's not only that," John argues, meeting his gaze.

Rodney nods thoughtfully. "It will be a huge thing, though, just by virtue of our relation to the crowns of both our countries, in addition to us being men. If we do it small, someone will claim we're trying to keep it quiet because we're ashamed or somesuch."

That's true, unfortunately. Nevertheless, John argues, "But if we make it big, someone is going to claim it's just a publicity stunt. No matter how we do it, someone will spin it out of proportions."

"You could make it medium-sized, but private, with only a few photographers, but without censoring," Dave suggests. "That way, they can't claim we're trying to hide something, but it's not this huge circus like our wedding."

Carina makes an annoyed noise, apparently agreeing wholeheartedly with that last comment of her husband's.

"You will also need to give interviews," Patrick adds. "I know you hate to do that, John, and I know your PR guys hate it when you do that, Rodney, but it's unavoidable. You will also have to consider inventing a cover story."

"Cover story?", Rodney repeats, frowning. "For what?"

"People are going to find it a mite bit unusual if you tell them that over the course of five years you met twice before you decided to marry and that you never had any other kind of contact." Patrick raises an eyebrow.

"No," John says quickly. "I can't do that. I can't give anyone the impression I bent the law when I didn't." He can just imagine the giant mess that would invoke, the claims of favoritism and exceptions and unfairness and everything else John has always had to be very careful to avoid giving the impression of.

His father accepts that with a nod and a frown; he doesn't look too happy with it, but he seems to see John's point, because he doesn't argue.

"There'll always be someone who doesn't believe us, no matter whether we tell the truth or not," Rodney reminds them. "So it's better we stick with the truth. That way, nobody can prove us wrong."

They discuss some more details; when to make the announcement – they pick John's birthday in a month, because John figures he'll be uncomfortable for his birthday anyway because of the fuss people make, and he'll be uncomfortable during the announcement because of the fuss it will cause, so he might as well combine both and get it over with all at once, like ripping off a band-aid. Also, the earlier they make the announcement, the earlier they can have the wedding; they're giving it another four weeks from now because then it'll be three months since the repeal of DADT, and it will be six month after the repeal that they marry. It's a barely acceptable amount of time, but neither Rodney nor John fancy waiting for much longer, and Patrick isn't too bent on it either way.

After the first details have been hammered out, conversation turns to more pleasant, inconsequential topics; they have by far not discussed everything, but there's only so much of the formal talk John can deal with, and so they start talking about TV shows – it turns out they each like a crime show, even if it's different ones, and so they start comparing. Patrick and Carina share a deep liking for Columbo, John favors Law and Order: Criminal Intent (and he probably talks a little too enthusiastically about how awesome Goren is, because his father starts to send him knowing looks) and Rodney likes CSI: New York and gets into a heated argument with Dave, who likes CSI: Miami so much better. Apparently, Rodney hates Cane. The insults they eventually devolve into are good-natured, though, so John gradually relaxes.

Later, after John has dragged Rodney into bed because his insults got less and less creative while his yawns increased, they cuddle up together, and John manages to say, "It's good you get along so well with my family." Immediately after he's said it, he presses his face into the back of Rodney's neck and turns red.

Rodney squeezes his arm and twines their fingers. He doesn't say anything, but he doesn't need to.

The next morning, John makes a point of waking Rodney up with a blow-job before he even goes on his morning run; Rodney wakes up moaning and comes not a minute later, fingers carding through John's hair. "Timeizzit?", he manages to murmur, smiling dazedly and clumsily patting at John as he pushes himself up, seeking Rodney's mouth for a brief peck that Rodney turns into an elaborate kiss.

"Around seven," John replies a while later, after Rodney has reached down to squeeze his erect cock, giving John something to thrust into and come.

"Seven?!" Blearily, Rodney opens his eyes to small slits, just enough to send John an evil glare.

"I figured I better not risk you waking up without that blow-job a second time, and I'm about to go on a run," John explains, amused and unexpectedly fond of Rodney in the early morning, in spades both affectionate and grumpy.

Rodney just grunts, not looking at all happy with him and the world in general, and John takes his hand and wipes it clean with one of the paper towels he keeps in his nightstand. "Sleep. I'll bring you coffee when I come back," he promises, pressing a quick kiss to Rodney's lips before forcing himself to get up; he's dangerously close to just staying in bed with Rodney and his irresistibly comfortable, warm body. He wants to, but he's always made a point out of keeping up with his fitness training even while on leave, and he doesn't want to get into the habit of breaking with that, even though he'd really, really like to stay with Rodney.

After a couple of stretches, he goes to jog along the beach; their house stands on a few acres of private property, which includes a small bay. He can't see them, but he knows that there's plenty of security personnel about. That's the way it's been all his life – wherever he goes, unless he's on duty and/or on base, he has security with him. It's not negotiable, and though John hadn't always liked it, he has learned to accept it.

The run is followed by some time in the gym; by the time John is finished, it's nine and he's sweaty as a pig. Briefly, he debates taking a shower first before getting Rodney's coffee, because that way he can get back into bed with him, but then he decides to get the coffee first. Rodney might wake up soon, and he wants him to have coffee then.

Rodney doesn't wake up when John enters his bedroom, and in fact it takes John shaking him and calling his name loudly for him to even so much as twitch and frown and make unhappy, why-are-you-waking-me-up noises. "Coffee," John answers the silent question, and Rodney makes a noise that sounds vaguely less disgruntled. With one hand he reaches out for the coffee John put on the nightstand, and with the other he tries to take hold of John, but John twists out of his reach with a small laugh. "I have to shower, I'm disgusting, but I'll be back in ten minutes."

That earns him an unhappy look over the coffee cup, but Rodney waves him off with a decidedly kingly flap of his hand.

When John comes back clean and dry and naked the promised ten minutes later, Rodney is sitting in exactly the same position, still sipping on his coffee. He makes a point of looking John up and down slowly with the kind of look that would make John feel naked if he weren't already, and then he protests when John makes to put on clothes.

"I can't really walk around naked all the time," John says with a laugh, stepping into his boxers.

"I don't see why not," Rodney protests. "You could follow me around everywhere and lean against walls or just stand there and look pretty for me to look at when I need inspiration."

"That's what they call it these days, inspiration?" John laughs but decides not to put on anything else yet, instead sliding back into bed with Rodney to steal a coffee-flavored kiss.

"I hate morning people," Rodney murmurs against his lips. "It does apparently make me exponentially more happy when I get woken up like I did today, though."

"I'll keep it in mind," John laughs again, catching Rodney's lips once more. He decidedly doesn't squeak when Rodney unexpectedly rolls on top of him, pressing him into the mattress with his weight, but he does make a happy noise when Rodney presses his face into John's neck and wraps his arms around him as much as he is able to with the position they're in. John wraps his arms around Rodney's back in return, one hand coming to rest on the back of Rodney's neck and the other sliding slowly up and down the broad expanse of Rodney's back.

They stay like that for a while, just breathing each other in, until Rodney decides it's time for his own shower. John gets dressed and replies to a bunch of emails, writes a short blog entry for his profile on the royal family's website. He doesn't say anything about Rodney, just mentions that he's relaxing and feeling good, and then he sends it off to the PR people to check over. John hasn't gone so far as to have somebody else write his entries, but they do sometimes write entries on how he's doing so his latest entry isn't two months old, because John himself isn't too avid a blogger. Rodney, on the other hand, regularly writes blog entries and has profiles on a bunch of social networking sites; he's pretty modern in that area, while John is more famous for his dislike for that kind of thing. It's less the tech, though, and more the talking about himself that John doesn't like much.

When Rodney comes back, he digs through his suitcase for clothes, which reminds John that he actually isn't here to stay – hell, John isn't here to stay, he has one week left of leave before he has to report back at Cheyenne Mountain. "How long will you stay?", he asks.

Rodney looks up. "Five days," he replies. "Then I have to go back. You have a week of leave left, right?"

"Yeah." John closes his laptop and gets up, walks over to where Rodney is pulling on a shirt. "We're gonna meet again before the wedding, though, right?"

"Of course. I will be there for your birthday."

Right, John forgot about that. He tends to forget parties that are in his honor.

Rodney hooks two fingers into John's waistband and pulls him in the last step, kisses him lightly on the lips. "You'll get a couple of days of leave for that, so we will get to spend some time together without other people watching. And after that..." Rodney pulls up his shoulders. "We won't have much to do with the actual planning of the wedding, but we will have to do some interviews, depending on how the public receives it. You can probably get a week-end out of that every now and then. And then there's the wedding, and after that..."

"Yeah?", John prompts hoarsely, slinging one arm around Rodney's neck and pressing another light kiss to his lips. It's probably not fair to expect Rodney to come up with an answer to the question neither of them has yet dared to bring up, but John wants to know what Rodney thinks. His biggest hope at the moment is that Rodney will get a job at Area 51 or maybe even Stargate Command; they wouldn't have to worry about finding a way to stay together physically that way.

He doesn't want to think about what he'll do if it doesn't work out, whether he'd be able to give up his posting and find a base to be stationed on close to where Rodney will end up.

"We'll work it out," Rodney promises after a moment. "I don't know yet what I'm going to do, maybe I can spend some time in Colorado Springs. I've been wanting to write a book."

"We'll work it out," John repeats. He believes it. And for once, he doesn't care that he'll probably get a lot more leave than the average soldier would, if things really go as Rodney's planning.

They spend most of Rodney's visit hammering out the details of John's birthday and the announcement, engagement, wedding and the honeymoon, twice with their respective PR people in a video conference. Rodney and John also spend a lot of time alone, less with sex and more with conversation; John drags Rodney to the beach a couple of times, Rodney swearing he's only allowing it because it's May and thus not too hot yet. John's family also gets to know Rodney better; John keeps forgetting that they already know each other, though, because for far too long, Rodney was someone John only thought about, almost more the incorporation of a dream than really a person. But of course, Patrick, Dave and Carina knew King Rodney III, not Rodney McKay who is terrified of citrus and hates Horatio Cane, and though many people like to believe there isn't a difference between the two, there really is.

And of course, they have sex. Not penetrative sex yet because they're still in the phase where it's more exploration and finding out how you fit together, how their likes and dislikes work in coalescence, but John doesn't exactly feel like they're missing out or something. It's somewhat embarrassing, but they spend even more of their time together cuddling than they do having sex; cuddling and talking. John really doesn't feel like it and he knows Rodney doesn't either, but they really don't know each other that well, so there's much to find out yet.

But eventually, Rodney has to leave, and thankfully, John only has two days to mope around the house (two days that Dave spends teasing him mercilessly) before he himself has to leave as well. He actually is sorry to leave, and not just because he had a nice time with Rodney here; he's finding that each time he comes back, it's a little more relaxed, he and his father get along a little better. John is well-aware that that's not just because of the change in attitude his father went through, but because he himself is reacting different towards him too. He's grown up and come a long way since he was eighteen and making his first big decision about his life.

John gets back to Cheyenne Mountain feeling like a changed person; vaguely, he expects someone to notice, but even though he does have a few buddies there already, nobody does. Or at least, nobody asks him about it, but considering the kind of question people have no qualms about asking him at times, that probably means his inner change isn't visible from the outside.

Over the next four weeks, life goes on as normal; John does his job, has a couple of off-world missions, has his first, second and third contact with hostile Goa'uld and gets lent out to Area 51 because apparently, his expression of the ATA gene is the most awesome one they have ever seen, except for maybe Colonel O'Neill. John gets fully integrated into the SGC; as usual it always takes a little longer with him, for people to get used to him, to not react to him as their prince but as just another soldier. In the mess he still tends to get the best dessert, but eventually, that's the extent of the special attention he is paid.

Rodney sends him an email, a week after they've last seen each other. It's mostly filled with idle chatter – or what passes for idle chatter where Rodney is concerned; for other people, it would be a mix of whining and a temper tantrum, wrapped up in Rodney's occasionally hysterical choice of insults. But at the very end of the email, he writes the sentence, "I don't know why this is so difficult all of a sudden, I mean, I once went five years once without speaking to you at all, and then two years, during which, okay, I made sure I'd get to marry you, but still." It's exactly how John feels; confused and vaguely frustrated, but mostly longing. After that first email, Rodney writes to him almost daily, and pretty soon John finds himself wondering how he ever managed to make do without constant contact.

His birthday falls on a Tuesday, that year; he gets off on Monday and has to report back on Wednesday. It's not fair, he knows, because other soldiers don't get three days off just because it's their birthday; they usually don't get any time off at all. And it does make him uncomfortable, but he can't bring himself to mind all that much; not when he gets to see Rodney again.

John takes a private flight to Washington and gets picked up by his sister-in-law and his niece; it's a semi-public welcome, not actually public because it's somewhat separate from the crowd, but still public enough because all that does separate the private sector of the airport from everybody else is a glass wall. John knows there's people taking pictures, not just private people but professional paparazzi, but he has a lot of practice in ignoring that.

He's peripherally aware that the picture of him in his uniform crouching and holding out his arms for Nathalie who throws herself towards him – not quite walking effortlessly on her own but pretty close to it – is prime publicity material, and that his father and the PR people most likely planned it that way, but he doesn't much care. He's used to it, used to ignoring it, and so he hefts Nathalie onto his hip and hugs Carina hello before they head towards the exit, where the car is waiting.

Before he even arrives at the White House, the picture of him carrying Nathalie with one arm, his duffel bag in the other hand, with her small hands curled in the creases of his uniform and her head on his chest, is on the internet, along with fittingly emotional headlines about homecoming heroes etc. Dave greets him with a short hug and a dry, "cute picture", showing it to John. His father and the PR team will be pleased, John figures dryly. The good publicity can't hurt before the scandal of him marrying Rodney of Canada breaks.

"There you are," Rodney says when John gets to his room; he's sitting at John's desk in front of his laptop and gets up when John steps into the room. John drops his duffel bag and strides over to him.

Rodney gives a delighted smile and actually bounces a little on his toes just before John reaches him, and then they're kissing, mouths hot and needy. "Missed you," Rodney gasps, pulling John closer.

"I need to take a shower," John replies and, just when Rodney's grip on him weakens, "want to make it worth my while first?"

With a grin, Rodney starts pulling John towards the bed, walking backwards. "You look hot in that uniform," he says, looking John up and down.

"And he's already objectifying me," John returns, affecting a put-upon sigh. Then he can't repress the grin any longer and leans in to press another kiss to Rodney's lips.

Rodney huffs a laugh into the kiss and nips at John's lower lip before coming to a halt just in front of John's bed. He starts opening John's uniform jacket, slides it down John's shoulders and leans in to kiss him again, his broad hands sweeping over John's t-shirt covered chest. With his thumbs he briefly rubs over John's nipples, having already learned how much John likes it when his nipples get touched, before he moves lower, around John's waist to the small of his back. One of his hands slides further down, cupping John's ass. The fingertips of the other hand move along John's waistband, skimming along John's skin, until he reaches the button.

Where he pauses. John makes an encouraging noise, pushes his hips forwards; when Rodney just smiles into the kiss he tries to open his pants himself, but it causes Rodney to actually pull away. "No, let me," he breathes, so John puts his hands back to Rodney's shoulders, moving one of them to Rodney's neck, massaging a little, finding to his shock that the muscles there are hard and stiff.

"Oh!", Rodney makes, freezing for a moment before slumping into John. "Do that again," he pleads, all teasing forgotten as he takes hold of John's hips for balance. John testingly presses his thumb and forefinger into his neck, moves them in small circles. Rodney makes a pained noise, his grip on John's hips tightening, murmuring, "That's so good."

"Okay." John makes a decision. "Shirt off, get on the bed, belly down."

It earns him a hopeful, eager look from Rodney before he scampers to obey; with amusement, John watches for a moment as Rodney practically rips his shirt off before he goes and gets some body lotion out of his bathroom. He doesn't actually own any massage oil, but the lotion should help smoothening the massage John plans on giving Rodney. It's not exactly what he planned to do a minute ago, but things don't always go as planned, and seriously, the muscles in Rodney's neck are as hard as stone. His shoulders and back can't be much better off; John can't believe thtat he isn't in constant pain.

When he gets back into his bedroom, Rodney is lying with his head in his folded arms, wearing nothing but his boxershorts. John takes the hint and pulls everything but his underwear off as well before he goes to straddle Rodney's hips.

"I love you so much," Rodney murmurs.

John freezes. While it's fairly obvious to just about anyone knowing the circumstances how the both of them feel about one another, until now, neither of them has ever actually said it. "I haven't even started yet," he says in an attempt to cover just how much it's getting to him, hearing Rodney say the words. When he realizes this, he also has to acknowledge that it would probably mean just as much to Rodney to hear him say it, so he swallows compulsively and manages to croak, "But I love you too."

For a moment, Rodney stills as well before he turns onto his back under John to look up at him. His face is earnest, his blue eyes wide and intense when he says, "I really do, you know."

John nods and has to lick his suddenly dry lips, clear his throat. He isn't able to reply anything, so instead he leans down to try to convey what he can't put to words with his lips instead, pressing a kiss to Rodney's mouth as gentle as he knows how. Rodney kisses him back carefully, like John is something delicate, fragile, cupping his face with his strong hands, fingertips butterfly-soft on John's cheekbones.

Eventually, John pushes himself up and away again, looking down at Rodney soberly. "Turn around," he orders softly.

Giving John a small, affectionate smile, Rodney obeys, presenting John with his back again. John takes a deep breath to calm himself before fumbling for the bottle of lotion and squeezing some into his palm to warm it before he brings it into contact with Rodney's back. "How come you're so stiff?", he asks, looking at the broad expanse of Rodney's strong shoulders and back.

Rodney shrugs awkwardly, given the position he's in, and replies, "I guess it's because I don't relax easily. I tend to hunch in front of my computer too."

"You seemed plenty relaxed to me last week." John raises an eyebrow, spreading the lotion between his hands.

"Yeah well, I guess you'll have to be around more, because it seems you're an important factor," Rodney says off-handedly.

Impulsively, John leans down to kiss the back of Rodney's neck. "I'll do my best," he promises, and he means it. Then he puts his hands on Rodney's back and begins.

John learned a lot about massages because after his POW stint, he used to get massaged a lot. His therapist had thought it would help him relax into non-hostile physical contact again, and he figures it helped, even if at the time he hadn't really seen the point. At least it was considerably better than throwing him into the cold water of a crowd would have been.

Because Rodney is so stiff, he starts out slowly, just rubbing his hands up and down Rodney's back with minimum pressure, warming the muscles and skin. The warmer the muscles get, the more flexible they are and the less it will hurt Rodney. It will hurt, no question about that; Rodney is way too stiff for it not to, but John knows that a little pain actually helps towards relaxation, not just physically but also mentally.

Under him, Rodney is silent, just sighing every now and then and making approving little humming noises. When John starts being a little less careful, he starts making more noise, and by the time John is digging his fingers in and kneading, Rodney is giving full-out moans that send shivers down John's back and make him hard, especially when Rodney starts moaning his name.

Once Rodney's shoulders and neck are soft and warm, John moves on to massage his biceps a little before he slides down to massage along Rodney's spine and the small of his back. Eventually, he stops, his hands and arms tired from the exertion.

"God, you're amazing," Rodney groans, turning around and stretching blissfully. Entranced, John watches; he's fairly sure Rodney is completely oblivious to how sexy he actually is right now – especially because he obviously hasn't been completely unaffected by John's closeness and touching either. Like he's just waking up from a relaxing nap, Rodney blinks up at him, giving him a wide smile. "C'mere."

John immediately leans down to kiss Rodney, and it quickly turns from relaxed to heated, wet and with lots of tongue. Their hips grind together and they both moan; it's delicious, even through two layers of cloth. Unerringly, Rodney's hands find John's nipples as they have so often before, rolling them and squeezing, rubbing his thumbs over them. Within moments, John is so hard it hurts, and he groans and shudders as heat courses through his body. He has difficulties holding himself up with both hands, trembling and shivering, and then one of Rodney's hands moves down his body to sneak into his boxers and take his cock into a firm grip, squeezing and starting to pull. With a hoarse shout, John throws his head back and comes, arms giving out.

Vaguely, he is aware of Rodney catching him when he collapses, but everything is sort of hazy for a moment. Rodney is groaning something, his arms still between their bodies but now on Rodney's cock instead of John's, using John's come to slick the way, which is unbelievably hot. Not a minute after John, Rodney comes as well, moaning John's name loudly.

They lie together afterwards for a long time; John doesn't think he's ever felt so close to somebody. Long after their bodies have cooled and their breathing's calmed, John is still lying mostly on top of Rodney, face pressed into his neck. Rodney has his arms wrapped tight around John's back, pressing kisses to the side of John's head. "I believe you have said something about showering," Rodney murmurs eventually, voice a little rough, pulling John out of the light doze he's been in.

"Right," he mumbles and turns his head to nuzzle Rodney's neck. "Way to go about making it worth my while."

Rodney snorts and presses another kiss into John's hair. "I think it was more the other way around." Then he pats John's bottom. "Come on, up."

John doesn't really want to, but he supposes he has to; they have a meeting with the PR people to discuss the details of the press release of his and Rodney's engagement. They both grimace when they pull apart, come sticking them together uncomfortably. Thankfully, nobody leaves behind any hairs, but it's close.

After they've showered and put on fresh clothes, they go have a quick snack; thankfully, they don't encounter anybody of John's family. Dave has been having way too much fun teasing John lately. While they eat, Rodney checks out the newest news on John and quotes memorable sentences to him. They seem to like using words like "touching" and "heart-warming" a lot, along with a lot of other patriotic diatribe.

After the snack, they meet up with the publicists, where John gets to hear it all over again, and then they discuss the wording of the press release. John can't imagine anything less interesting to talk about, but he's well-aware that if he doesn't check up on what they are doing they're going to write things he won't like. He's learned his lesson on that account.

The PR people are learning a lesson too; the one that says, "don't tell Rodney, former King of Canada, what to do". John had learned that the first time meeting him, and he has a hell of a time watching Rodney verbally beat some sense into the PR people.

In the end, the press release turns out pretty factual with a minimum of the appeal to emotion that the American people are so fond of and that make John so uncomfortable. It turns out that Rodney isn't too fond of that kind of thing either.

After that has been taken care of, Rodney goes play with his laptop again while John searches for his niece. It turns out she's at kindergarten; Carina informs him that Nathalie skipped the morning to pick John up at the airport, but there was no point in having her skip the whole day. So John spends some time with his sister-in-law instead, just chatting about how interacting with other children is helping Nathalie. "You're good with her," Carina tells him, and then she asks him if he wants to have children.

John pulls up his shoulders. He can't say he never thought about it, but more in an abstract way, and never as something he actually wanted; he had known he'd have to have a wife or at least a girlfriend (though his father would, for all his new-found tolerance, never have tolerated him having any bastard children) for that, and that hadn't been something he had been ready to do.

"You could adopt," Carina tells him, "Or have a surrogate."

She's right, of course. John has never even really thought about the possibilities for homosexual couples, but with Rodney... "Maybe, one day," he replies. "But not yet." It's way too early, their relationship is too young, and besides, both of them still want to work, and they would have to cut back on that, possibly even stop if they had a child. But the idea of having a child with Rodney, of having Rodney's child... it makes something warm in John's belly.

In the afternoon, Patrick comes in, back from work earlier than usual. John is a bit surprised, and even more so when he takes John aside to his office.

"I had Rodney checked," he tells John. "Background check, the usual. After he's married you, he'll automatically get American citizenship, which enables him to work here. He doesn't have much to show academically, his degrees and a few publications, but what he's published... I don't understand a word of it, but I've been told it's groundbreaking. Considering that he's been pretty busy being a king and has only done the publishing on the side, it is quite impressive. He reviewed the designs for Canada's renewable energy projects himself, every single one of them. He got his doctorate in mechanical engineering just two weeks after he took the crown, did you know that?"

John hadn't. He hadn't avoided finding out anything about Rodney, but he also hadn't sought the knowledge out, and at that time, he'd already been on his first tour in Asia. It only confirms what he already knows; that Rodney is a genius. "So, what are you saying?", he asks slowly. He can see where it's going – or rather, he knows where he's hoping it's going.

"If he wants it, Rodney can have a job at Area 51," his father says. "As soon as he's signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement form, we can declassify him. As soon as he has American citizenship, he can start working there."

John can't stop the broad smile that takes over his face. "Seriously?"

Patrick nods. "They were pretty excited at the idea of having him. They have the smartest of the smartest working there, but apparently, Rodney McKay still makes them wet their panties." He rolls his eyes, smiling dryly. "I spoke to a guy, Dr. Bill Lee? He acted like a fangirl, apparently started hyperventilating as soon as Rodney's name was mentioned. Turns out you're doing our kingdom a great service by marrying him."

His father is actually teasing him; John can barely believe it. He gives a startled laugh and salutes him with his cup of tea. "Wasn't really the plan, but I'm happy nonetheless." He really is; he can't even say how much. It's actually scary, how things just seem to fall into place, everything he's ever wanted and more. Things shouldn't go so smooth, so well for him; he's not used to it, and it makes him want to be cautious, wary, but he won't let himself ruin a good thing for himself.

Patrick smiles at him, something he doesn't do all that often. "I'm having the NDA prepared. He's probably going to want to have it looked over, but you can maybe even tell him in person."

"He's not going to be happy we've kept this secret," John replies, still unable to suppress the grin on his face.

"He's probably going to yell," Patrick agrees. "A lot. I plan to be far away, I think I'm due a visit to Alaska."

John starts laughing.

"What has you in such a good mood?", Rodney asks suspiciously as they're heading towards the dinner room, John having come to pick him up for the meal.

"I'll tell you in two days," John promises, like he's done the last three times Rodney asked, and squeezes Rodney's hand, pulling him in to give him another kiss to the cheek.

"Seriously, this is disgusting," Rodney complains, but he does squeeze back.

"You're going to love it." After you've gotten over the righteous indignation, John adds silently; the thought just makes him want to smile more. Rodney ranting is a sight to behold and highly entertaining.

Rodney huffs. "It's your birthday, shouldn't I be the one to make you a surprise?"

"Well, I do hope you have a present for me," John returns, when he does nothing of the kind. "Though really, I, uh." Blushing, he goes silent, squeezing Rodney's hand again. "You know." Pulling Rodney in once more, John presses another kiss to his cheek. "Best present ever."

"Oh, uhm." Rodney blushes as well and squeezes back. "Then I guess you won't need that Ferris wheel."

John stops mid-step to stare at Rodney. "Ferris wheel."

"Well, now I completely ruined the surprise," Rodney rolls his eyes at himself, "but I designed one for you. Remember when you..."

"Yeah," John says, recalling that evening in France, about a week after they'd met. They'd been sipping red whine and nibbling cheese, staring at the night sky, and John, tired and a little buzzed, waxed lyrical about Ferris wheels for about an hour – about the slow thrill, the peacefulness, feeling like you're completely alone in the world and yet not lonely, the world at your feet with people milling about below.

"You have to pick where you want it. The cabins have completely free view, unobstructed by anything. You're going to love it." Rodney says this with complete conviction, and John believes him.

"A Ferris wheel," John says again and pulls Rodney close, wrapping his arms tightly around him. "Thank you." Nobody has ever given him a Ferris wheel. He doesn't even get to ride them all that often, because of the crowds of carnivals.

"Yes, well," Rodney mumbles, holding him tight. "It's not even built yet, it will probably take about one to two years, depending on where you want it."

"Still." John nuzzles Rodney's neck.

"I didn't even give you an engagement present," Rodney says, kissing the side of his head. "I completely forgot about that part. I didn't even get you a ring. I'm sorry about that. If you want, I can still get you one."

"Nah, I'd rather wear your wedding ring."

"We have this terrible family heirloom thing, Jeannie wriggled her way out of having to wear it so I'm supposed to now, but I'm fairly sure it'd be a security risk, with all the stones on it, so I figured we'd get two rings just for us." Rodney pulls away and kisses John on the lips, takes his hand and runs his thumb over John's ring finger.

"I'd like that." The Sheppards have some heirloom rings too, wedding bands some famous ancestors of theirs wore, but they're all somebody else's rings. He'd rather have something that didn't belong to somebody else, doesn't have the shadow of their lives and loves upon them. Something just for them.

"Okay, good." Rodney huffs out a breath. "Now let's go to dinner before we turn even more cheesy and romantic."

"Jeeze, way to kill the mood, Rodney." John rolls his eyes, then grins and leads Rodney to the dinner room.

"What took you so long?", David asks once they arrive, one eyebrow raised knowingly as he looks them up and down.

"Nothing," John replies, "Rodney gave me my birthday present."

David's other eyebrow joins the first. "But it's not your birthday yet, isn't that bad luck?"

"Which would be why I didn't give it to him yet, I just told him about it," Rodney says with an eyeroll.

"So, what is it?", Carina asks curiously after the two of them have sat down.

John beams at her. "A Ferris wheel."

"A Ferris wheel," she repeats, sounding a little dubious.

"John loves Ferris wheels," David explains. "Whenever we went to a carnival as kids, all he ever wanted to do was ride the Ferris wheel. If we had let him, he'd have stayed on there all day."

"That's so sweet," Carina says warmly, smiling at Rodney, who blushes and mumbles something.

"So, where is that Ferris wheel?", Patrick inquires.

"As of yet, only on paper and on my laptop," Rodney replies. "He has to pick where he wants it."

They spend dinner mostly talking about the Ferris wheel and then wedding bands and engagement rings. Afterwards Patrick asks Rodney to join him in his office for a moment; John figures it's about the NDA, which makes him so excited he decides to go spend some time in the gym to calm down. When he gets back to his room, Rodney is sitting on his bed, leafing through a thick stack of papers. "Your father gave me this," he says absent-mindedly, "So he can tell me about the state secrets or something. It seemed a bit urgent, do you know what this is about?"

John bites his lower lip, thinking about what to say, but it's too late; Rodney has already caught on.

"You do!", he exclaims, standing up. "What is it?"

"If I could tell you without you having signed the NDA, I would have," John evades. Then he can't hold back the grin any longer. "If your people check it through quickly enough, I can tell you what this is about."

"It's that good?", Rodney asks, sending him a suspicious look before looking back down at the NDA.

John nods emphatically, but doesn't say a word.

"Okay," Rodney says slowly. "I'll go fax it to them now."

"You do that," John says giddily, unable to hold back his excitement. It earns him another suspicious look from Rodney before Rodney leaves, probably for Patrick or Dave's office to fax the NDA.

John bites his lip, looking after him, and then goes to take a quick shower. Afterwards, when Rodney is back, they watch a movie, and then they go to sleep; it will be an early day tomorrow.

John's birthday is as organized as his other birthdays have been. At first, there are some public appearances, cheering people and important members of society who congratulate him and give him speeches. John has to shake hands and smile a lot, and then he has to give an interview and smile even more, use elegant evasions when he's asked questions about his time as a prisoner, thank them for presents he didn't ask for and also for those he did ask for – it's standard procedure: every year he picks a couple of charity organizations that he supports and that he asks people to give money to instead of spending it on sending him stuff. The royal family has been doing that for years, but somehow, John still ends up with whole truckloads of stuff he doesn't need.

There is barely enough time for John to take a break between the events. In the evening, there's a big party, with hundreds of guests, most of whom John doesn't even know personally. There are a few people he does know – he recognizes his commanding officer from the SGC, General O'Neill and some other military – but few he's actually friends with.

At the party, though, Rodney is thankfully with him; he couldn't before, but next year will be different. The PR people at first had meant for John to give a speech at the party – or rather, for John to announce his engagement during his speech, but Rodney hadn't liked the idea; he had said that it was John's birthday party, they shouldn't hijack it like that. John hadn't been too keen on the idea either, because that would mean that for the rest of the evening people would ask him personal questions about it. They had settled for a press release the following day, before the rumors about Rodney's continuous presence by John's side during the party can take the upper hand.

By the time John and Rodney manage to get into bed, it's just two in the morning, but John feels completely knackered. He doesn't even have the energy to get frisky with Rodney, despite the fact that Rodney is wearing a delicious suit that brings out all his best features. John had been trying to keep from staring at him all evening; he's fairly sure he didn't succeed very well. It will probably be all over the news tomorrow, is probably already on the Internet. John doesn't care.

The next morning, they sleep in; John wakes up several times, and each time he turns around and cuddles in close to Rodney, drifting back to sleep. He's just dozing by the time Rodney wakes up, grunting and pulling John close, sleepily rubbing his face into John's chest. John moves one hand up Rodney's back and curls his fingers in his hair, scratching slightly. Rodney sighs happily and curls around him, flopping half on top of John.

They cuddle for a while – John can't remember the last time he felt so content in his life, at least without Rodney being involved. Eventually, though, they have to face the world; Rodney mumbles something about coffee, and when he gets more insistent, John capitulates and sighs. They get dressed in comfortable clothes and go to the dinner room for a late breakfast; the rest of the family are already waiting for them. Because of Nathalie, Dave and Carina had to get up early as usual, but they still join them for brunch; it's tradition after a birthday in the family, because they don't get much opportunity to privately celebrate on the actual day. After they've all eaten, John finally gets his personal presents; the ones from his family. Rodney gives him the sketches and the virtual design of the Ferris wheel, along with the parameters its environment needs to be within to be safe. Dave and Carina give him a car, a nice Mercedes, understated and not too flashy. John is a little confused, because he already owns one; a sports car his father gave him for his sixteenth birthday. "We figured you might need something that doesn't alert everybody in the vicinity that it's you inside," Dave tells him with a wink. John gets it when his next present turns out to be a house in a gated community in Colorado Springs. "I figured it would come in handy sometime soon," Patrick says. Rodney appears a little confused, but he doesn't do anything but send John a narrow-eyed glance.

"Maybe you would like to explain this to Rodney," his father suggests, apparently having caught that glance.

"Right," Rodney says. "I did get a fax yesterday, and I signed the NDA." The way he looks at John tells him it's less of a suggestion and more of a demand from Rodney and he better start catering out explanations now.

"Okay, right." John clears his throat and stands up. "Thank you. Excuse us." He ignores his brother's snickering and leads Rodney back to his rooms.

"So." John sits down in his armchair.

"So," Rodney returns pointedly, taking a seat opposite him. "Spill. I'm very curious about this big secret that has you giddy like a six-years-old on Christmas."

So John tells him.

Half an hour later, Rodney is shrieking at him about aliens, and then he demands to know everything. He wants to know how the gate works, how everything works; the stargate, the X-302, everything. And then he starts to rant about how they should have told him, that he could have been working on this for years, and why the hell is John not getting him access to the information yet?

John raises both eyebrows. "I won't see you again as soon as you have access, right?"

That makes Rodney pause. "It's really not fair that you've been keeping this to yourselves, you know," he says seriously.

"I know," John agrees, shifting uncomfortably. "I agree. I was only read into the program after I came back from Afghanistan, but I told my father that I think we should involve other countries. This is not something... I don't think this is something we should keep to ourselves. Both because of the benefits, but also because of the costs. He told me they've been thinking about it for a while – I think you're the first step. I didn't ask him to involve you – but I wanted to, I mean... all the time I was there, I kept thinking that it would be perfect for you, you'd love it there."

Rodney nods slowly, then he sighs. "C'mere." He gestures John over and pulls him into his arms. "I'm still not happy," he says earnestly and hooks his chin over John's shoulder. "But I know it's not your fault."

"And isn't it a good thing?", John asks, squeezing Rodney's waist. "Neither of us has to make concessions about where we work just so we can live together."

"It's a brilliant thing," Rodney agrees. "...seriously, though. Wormhole travel? How awesome is that? You can make artificial wormholes?"

"All I know is that you press some buttons to dial the gate, there's a whoosh and then you can step through the puddle."

"Yes, yes, you're a regular dunderhead, I know." Rodney rolls his eyes. "Let's have sex, we won't get to again before you have to leave."

Despite the rough words, Rodney's grip is gentle when he takes John's face between his hands and kisses him tenderly.

Later, Rodney tries to get John to check out how people are reacting to the press release, but John honestly doesn't care. He has learned over time that it's better to give the newspapers some time to run their most outrageous stories; eventually, the more reasonable voices manage to make themselves heard and everybody calms down. The PR people will contact John anyway, probably sooner rather than later, and co-ordinate interviews with some newspapers, though for that they'll have to contact the General – John isn't willing to interrupt his duties and leave base again, even if it means he'll get to see Rodney.

"You really don't like it when people talk about you, don't you?", Rodney asks thoughtfully, running his fingers down John's spine.

"I'm used to it," John replies, arching into the touch. "I guess I even understand it to a point, but it bothers me that they have no respect for privacy. That I'm this public person because I'm their king's son, even if I'm now third in line to the throne, doesn't mean I don't have a right for privacy." Rodney cups his neck and then runs his fingers up into John's hair; John makes a happy noise at that.

Rodney hums thoughtfully. "Yeah, you have a point."

"It doesn't bother you, does it?" John tilts his head to look at his fiance.

"No." Rodney leans in to kiss John lightly on the lips, his hand moving over John's neck and down his spine again. "I find it entertaining actually, the things they come up with. You do something, and they find a thousand reasons to explain why and spin the most unbelievable stories just to have something more outrageous to say than the other newspapers. It's fun seeing what they come up with."

John smirks. "I should have known that you would like it. You do it on purpose, don't you? Say these things. I figured out pretty quickly that you aren't oblivious to what you say and to what effect it has on people, but I just thought you didn't care."

"I don't." Rodney shrugs. "I realized pretty early on that there's no point in trying to be diplomatic; no matter what you say, somebody won't like it. So why should I hide what I really think? But you're not wrong." He sends a grin in John's direction. "Sometimes I exaggerate a little just to see them turn red and sputter."

Unable to help the grin from breaking out over his face, John shakes his head. "You're unbelievable."

"It gets especially entertaining when they actually talk back, though most of them don't." Rodney leans in to kiss the smile off John's face.

A little later, the two of them go to share a shower; afterwards, John reluctantly packs his duffel again and says good-bye to his family. Rodney suggests he come and accompany John to the airport, but John knows it will be reporter hell, and so they say good-bye in the house, away from anyone watching.

Hours later, John reports back to the SGC. He is ordered to go to the lab and play with some Ancient tech that the other gene carriers couldn't activate but that the scientists don't think are out of energy. There are some people who look at him and he does notice some whispering about him, but he ignores them, and luckily, a number of the scientists are too involved in their work to care much about gossip or the outside world.

While he's in the lab, Lorne comes over, apparently to visit him – he and John are on the way to becoming good friends. They had met in the labs because Lorne too has the ATA gene, though John's is stronger. They bonded over both being the victims of eager scientists, and they have spent some meals together talking. "Heard you were back," Lorne says.

"On, on!", Bill Lee whines. "Are you thinking on?"

John throws him a dry look. "I figure after ten months of turning on Ancient tech, I have learned how to think "on". Apparently, this thing is either out of energy or faulty." He puts the rectangular box on the table. Dr. Lee looks unhappy, but takes the thing back and squirrels away.

John turns towards Lorne. "Yeah, birthday party's over, back to business as usual."

Lorne snorts and pats him on the back before reaching out to shake his hand. "Congrats to that, by the way." He moves out of the way as Dr. Lee comes back and hands John something else shaped like a box with a handle at the top that looks a little scorched. He babbles something about the place where it's been found and that it could have once been a lab and it might be ground-breaking, but when John touches it... "It's a safe," he says, ordering the thing to open up. "It's not been initiated, or that wouldn't have worked. You have to give it a password if you put something in." The top springs open, revealing nothing but empty space. Dr. Lee gives a dejected sign and scurries off again.

The whole process continues for another half hour; Lorne stays with him and the two of them talk about inconsequential things, John's birthday party, what happened at the SGC while he was gone. Only when Dr. Lee finally lets John go – though probably only because Lorne starts dropping increasingly unsubtle comments about it being time for dinner – and they walk towards the mess does their conversation turn a little more serious. "So, I heard you got engaged," Lorne says, attempting for casual.

John shoots him a dry look. "Yeah, a month ago."

"While you were on leave," Lorne realizes, then clears his throat. "So..." he starts hesitantly, "It wasn't... unexpected."

"No, it wasn't." John puts his hands in his pocket. "Look, Lorne, you obviously want to say something. What is it?"

Lorne clears his throat, but then shakes his head. "No, it's nothing. Uh, congratulations."

John hesitates, then puts his hand on Lorne's arm and pulls him aside. "Lorne," he says. "Just say it."

"Uh." Lorne rubs the back of his neck. "They're just writing a lot of... stuff. About, well, you and Rodney of Canada."

"Yes, I imagine they would," John says slowly. "Remember what I said about that?"

"How they like to make stuff up? Yeah. So it's not true?"

"Lorne," John says patiently. "I really have no idea what it is you're asking here, you know I don't keep up with that sort of thing. What's up?"

Lorne clears his throat, clearly very uncomfortable. "They're writing. Well, that... that your father suggested it to you for the publicity. You know how internationally, people haven't been too happy with us because of DADT and because most states still don't allow or acknowledge homosexual marriages."

John has to hold back a smile, but he can't prevent the corners of his lips from twitching up. "Actually, it was more the other way around. Rodney and I suggested it to my father," he clarifies, when Lorne looks puzzled.

Lorne stares at him for a moment, and then he starts to laugh. "That's brilliant," he chuckles after he has calmed down a little. "Everybody is speculating that your father made you, when it's really the other way around."

"Well." John allows himself a brief grin. "There was no making involved. People don't think so, but Rodney can be very diplomatic if he wants to. He just very rarely sees the point."

"So it's not an arranged marriage." Lorne seems relieved.

"No. I know most people like to think royal families are still stuck in the Middle Ages, but there haven't been any arranged marriages in my family for generations," John explains.

"Yeah, I don't know why," Lorne replies. "It's just, you know." He shrugs helplessly.

"Whatever." John shrugs as well before he pats Lorne on the back. "Let's go eat."

Over the next couple of days, the staring and whispering increases; John is used to that. It eventually calms down when people get used to the idea, especially after John has given a couple of interviews to independent, reputable newspapers, some of them Canadian. Rodney has given his own interviews, serious ones, not those where he keeps rolling his eyes and giving snarky answers whenever he's asked a question he considers stupid – and Rodney can consider every question stupid if he wants to. Interestingly, nobody on base approaches John directly, though it's obvious they talk about him.

All in all, it takes a couple of weeks until everything goes smoothly again; John is used to it. It doesn't bother him much anymore, though as a teenager he used to absolutely hate it when people talked about him, knew things about him that he considered private. Admittedly, it helps a lot that Lorne spends a lot of time with him – that John is friends with one of them (John is rarely actually one of them) gives John a way to interact with them normally, without him himself having to make any overtures. On top of that, Rodney keeps sending him emails, at least one a day, sometimes more than five. They're highly entertaining, ranging from complains about a vast array of idiots (from scientists, especially but not exclusively of the Stargate Program, over reporters to lawyers over PR people to random persons on the internet) over the things people in the Stargate Program have discovered to essays about super heroes and science fiction. About a week after John's birthday, the two of them start a chess game via email littered with very creative trash talk. Once, John tells Rodney that his game is as sharp as a horta that has died three weeks ago and has been soaking in rain water ever since, prompting a pretty rant about the mixing of aggregate conditions and why gas won't be any different after having spent three weeks with water, rain or not.

As the weeks pass, Rodney starts to complain viciously about the fact that he isn't allowed yet to come work at Area 51 or the SGC in person; he gets to read the classified material, and he can make some contributions of his own from afar, but that's clearly not good enough for Rodney. John suspects he gets only part of the complains; his father must get some too, though he doesn't say, and when General O'Neill starts to send him narrow-eyed looks, John gets a little suspicious. He tries to ask Rodney, but all he gets is a long-winded diatribe about the idiocy of John's kingdom's working permit system, so he asks his father.

"Your fiance has been writing letters to just about everybody in the government," his father tells him. His voice is very dry, and John is almost sure he is highly amused. Years ago, that would have shocked him, but now he knows his father better. "They're in the process of giving him a work permit out of pure self-defense."

John can't help but laugh at that, and even his father chuckles a little.

Two months after John's birthday, Rodney gets a working permit and immediately makes for Area 51. "I'm going to come to the SGC soon," he promises John over the phone, sounding truly apologetic. "I just have to take a look at some of the things here."

"I know," John replies. He isn't angry with Rodney, or disappointed, just because he didn't go where John is. "Area 51 is amazing, you'll love it there. I went there first too; I hear everybody comes there first before they come to Colorado Springs, if they come here at all."

"Well, I am going to come there," Rodney promises. "Eventually. I just need to, well."

"Just promise me you won't fly in an X-302 without me at the helm," John returns and listens with amusement as Rodney starts insulting his brain and his hair, the latter of which must be actively damaging the former if John seriously thinks that Rodney would ever get into one of those jets unless it stays firmly on solid ground. John isn't sure if he's looking forward or not to Rodney realizing that John has not only flown them, but actually flown them in combat.

Over the next couple of weeks, John starts to hear Rodney's name a lot as rumors start making their way to the SGC; there has always been a great back and forth of scientists especially between Area 51 and the SGC. Apparently, people either hate him or adore him, but even those who complain bitterly still seem to grudgingly respect him. On the phone and via email, Rodney rants a lot about everyone and everything; he is obviously having a great time.

A month after Rodney arrived in Area 51, John is on his way to lunch and heading down the corridor. A group of scientists are walking towards him; John doesn't really pay attention at first because he's involved in a lively discussion with another soldier, Lieutenant Markham, about whether or not college football is more interesting than professional football. Behind them, Captains Scott and Kearney are snickering; the two of them find baseball a lot more interesting.

The scientists have almost reached them when John thinks he hears Rodney's voice; he blinks and looks up just as he's walking by his fiance, who is gesturing wildly and detailing just why somebody is a complete idiot.

"Hey!", John says, interrupting Markham mid-sentence, who was saying something about team spirit. He turns around to catch up with Rodney, only to find himself standing face to face with him. "I thought you'd never notice," Rodney says dryly. "You seriously don't keep up with gossip?"

Belatedly, John becomes aware that today people had been watching him again more intently; he had become so adept at ignoring it that he hadn't even really realized. Not that he cares right now. "Hey," he says again, leaning in to kiss Rodney chastely. Then he cuffs him on the shoulder. "Since when are you here?"

Rodney rolls his eyes. "A couple of hours. This is not a joyride, you know. What did you do?" He takes John's hand and pushes back his sleeve, inspecting John's underarm that is wrapped in a bandage with narrowed eyes.

"I got burnt, I told you," John says. There had been a short intermezzo with some thieves who had had a couple of stolen staff weapons on John's last mission.

Rodney grunts. "Didn't they teach you how to duck in basic training?" He had said the same thing when John had told him on the phone – by that point he had already learned to tell Rodney immediately when he gets injured, because apparently it is worthy of gossip if John stubs his toe, and all gossip eventually finds its way to Rodney. Especially gossip pertaining John.

"They did, but unfortunately Wagner didn't have basic training," John replies with a roll of his eyes, the same thing he had said on the phone. He would like to really talk to Rodney, but he's well-aware of their audience and of the fact that they're in a public corridor. So all he says is, motioning towards the soldiers standing in his back, "We're having lunch, you coming with?"

"I have to strangle Bill Lee first," Rodney replies with a derisive twist to his lips. "I have no idea why they made that idiot the CSO here, he's more flighty than a twelve-years-old girl in a Barbie shop." He waves John away. "Go on, I'll catch up later."

"Okay, later." John gives Rodney another chaste kiss and then turns away to join the others. "What was that about team spirit?", he asks Markham, and the four of them continue on their way towards the mess.

They're already starting dessert by the time Rodney comes into the mess; John kept the seat next to him empty, and Rodney plunks down with his tray and huffs, "That man acts like he's a fourteen-years-old girl and the Ancients are his favorite boy band."

"What is it with you and little girls' obsessions today?", John returns. "First the Barbie shop, now the boy band. Are you trying to tell me something?"

Rodney flaps his hand. "It's that idiot, Lee. He reminds me of my little sister, she had these stupid phases. I mean, I approved of the one about the solar system, but then all of a sudden all she talks about is this weird boy group. She actually bit me when I told her they all looked gay! And then she started crying. And every time I tell Lee just how much of a bunch of idiots the Ancients really are, he looks like he's either going to cry or bite me too."

"Why are the Ancients idiots?", Lorne asks curiously, "I figured they'd have to be pretty smart actually to make the stargates." John tries hard not to send him a grateful look; some soldiers around the table started to look a little uncomfortable when Rodney sat down, and not even he couldn't not notice the way people in the mess are staring at them.

Rodney snorts dismissively and hands John a second pudding cup he apparently brought just for him – John is touched. "Every society can manage something like that if they only have enough time. No, the Ancients are a bunch of idiots because they just decided to up and leave for "higher planes of existence"."

John snorts at that; he agrees, but it's marvelous how Rodney can make quotation marks audible.

"Oh, come on, Doc, don't tell me you wouldn't want to ascend if you could," Lorne says.

Rodney sputters, and then he starts detailing why he would rather be drowned in molten stone than ascend; John leans back back in his chair and licks the pudding from his spoon, enjoying the show.

Thanks to Rodney's temper and colorful diatribe, people around them start to relax; they don't necessarily stop staring, but they stop doing it so intently. Pretty soon the soldiers John is sitting with are tittering quietly at Rodney's words. Lorne seems highly amused too, especially when John starts throwing in a comment every now and then, inciting Rodney further.

After they've eaten, John has to go to the shooting range; Rodney, after giving John a quick peck on the lips, goes to bite somebody else's head off. For the rest of the day, John catches snitches of conversation about Rodney. The SGC is abuzz with the news that he is now here too, and when the two of them meet up with dinner, the crowd in the mess doubles within five minutes. John has never seen so many people eat there at the same time.

Rodney seems to either not notice or completely ignore it, but when later the two of them finally make it to John's room, Rodney sighs and flops back on John's bed. "This is worse than holding a press conference," he says, putting his arm over his eyes.

"But you handled it really, really well," John tells him seriously, straddling Rodney's hips and running his hand up his belly. Leaning in, he gently pushes Rodney's arm off his face and kisses him on the lips.

"Only two weeks to go and everything will be business as usual." Rodney flaps his hand tiredly before settling it on John's waist, returning the kiss.

"And then we'll marry," John murmurs, running his lips over Rodney's stubbly cheek, "And everybody will watch it on the National Network – and all around the world too, probably. Afterwards, people will probably get weird again, but only for a couple of days, maybe a week."

"Wheee," Rodney says unenthusiastically, "Aren't I looking forward to it."

"I thought you find it amusing," John replies, giving in to the way his fiance pulls on his hips and lowering his body to cover Rodney's.

"Yeah, if they ask me stupid questions or if I can play with them," Rodney explains, wrapping his arms around John's shoulders and holding him tight. "But you don't like it when people stare."

John blinks. "You're... what are you saying, exactly?"

"If I provoke them, they'll stare more, but they won't just stare at me but also at you. I don't want to be the reason you're made more uncomfortable."

That makes John pause, unaccountably touched. "I don't want you to change," he then says firmly, knowing it's true. "I want you the way you are."

Rodney turns them on their sides and touches John's face, kissing him carefully. "I'm not changing myself. I'm just not playing with them as usual. I don't always do it, either. John..." Rodney pulls back a little to look him in the eyes. "I want us to be comfortable here, both of us, and I wouldn't be comfortable if you weren't. The shock value thing is funny, but it also alienates people. Probably – hopefully – we're going to stay here and work with these people for years. I haven't... I've never had that; everywhere I went before, I knew it'd be temporary."

"Me too." John leans in to kiss Rodney. "But... this thing, I mean we, it's..." John clears his throat. "It'll last longer than working here."

"It will," Rodney agrees. "I know." Then he huffs and pats John's hip. "Now take your clothes off, I haven't seen you naked in three months, I'm starting to forget how hairy you really are."

Things progress as Rodney predicted; after two weeks, people seem to have adjusted to John and Rodney both being on base, and to them behaving like a couple. Some still look when they touch, but it's nothing in comparison to how people stared at the beginning.

Their wedding is getting closer; they both got a week off for it, not long enough to be worth going anywhere, but John's father gave them the house in Florida for the four days they'll have off after the wedding, which is at least something. John isn't disappointed – well, at least not much – because he got a lot of overnight leave lately. They can have their honeymoon some other time.

One afternoon about a week before the wedding, Lorne takes John aside. "Look, Shep," he says. "The boys and I were thinking, what with you getting married soon and all, you need a proper bachelor party."

John feels his eyes widen. He has been to a fair number of bachelor parties, and all of them involved women – and some men, though those had mostly been jokes – getting naked. "Uhm," he says.

Lorne takes one look at his expression and starts to laugh. "Don't worry," he giggles, taking hold of John's shoulder and shaking him a little. "No strippers. We already talked to your fiance and the General, it's all been cleared. Go put on your real world pants, I'll pick you up in thirty minutes." With that mysterious order, Lorne pushes John off into the direction of his quarters.

When John gets there, Rodney is already waiting, sending him a grin.

"You knew," John accuses, unable to repress his answering grin. "How long?"

"Doesn't matter," Rodney waves his question away, pulling him in for a kiss. "You'll have fun tonight."

John raises both eyebrows. "Will I, huh? I was already told there'd be no naked people, sounds kind of boring, doesn't it?" He snickers and dances out of the way when Rodney tries to swat at him playfully.

Rodney rolls his eyes and pulls him back, starting to open John's jacket. "I'm not falling for that, you dork." He kisses John as he pushes his jacket off his shoulders. "You'll go out, and you'll have fun. Probably, you'll get drunk, and in eight days, we'll get married."

That makes John frown. "But what about you? Will you have a party too?"

"I don't want a party." Rodney starts to open John's pants. When John continues to frown, his hands still as he looks up and narrows his eyes at him. "Don't you dare guilt-trip on me now."

"But you should get a party too." John bites his lower lip. "You could come with us?"

Rodney shakes his head decisively. "No way. This is your party. Listen." He moves in to kiss John gently. "I don't like parties much, okay? I really don't. The only reason I go is if I have to, if there will be food, and if there will be idiots I can decimate. Only one out of three factors really is not enough to join this party."

"Honestly?" John cups Rodney's face to look at him intently. He knows Rodney must be a good liar, but he's fairly sure he'd notice if Rodney lied to him.

"Honestly." Rodney rolls his eyes again. "If I wanted to go, I would. They asked me if I'd like to join them, you know." He pats John's ass and then pushes his pants down. "Now stop it with the martyr act and put on something black. We wouldn't want you to not look like you're attending a funeral."

John has learned pretty quickly to ignore Rodney's digs about his choice in clothing; Rodney isn't by far the only one who makes comments about that. People from the PR team keep trying to get John to put on something less dark, and when that doesn't work they try to have him at least put something on that is expensive instead of John's comfortable cotton t-shirts. Their success is limited.

It turns out Rodney is more successful in talking John into putting some clothes on John himself isn't too sure about. In the end Rodney compliments John into a pair of black jeans John has never seen before; they're tighter than what he usually wears. He does get to wear one of his usual plain black t-shirts, though it's a little clingier than John remembers. All in all, John looks a little different than he normally does in his civilian clothes, but he still looks like himself, so he isn't uncomfortable.

Still, he blushes when Rodney looks him up and down very slowly, his expression hungry. Rodney notices and smirks, but then he sighs and gets John's leather jacket, holding it out for him. "Go, go, before I jump you and tie you to the bed," Rodney then orders him roughly, pushing him towards the door. "Don't do anything I wouldn't do."

"I don't even do a lot of things you actually would do," John replies with a laugh, then turns around and kisses Rodney lewdly, wrapping both his arms around Rodney's neck and rubbing his body against his as well. Rodney moans and takes hold of his hips, sucking on his tongue; for a moment, John considers staying here, spending the evening with Rodney, but Rodney probably wouldn't let him. Besides, he has spent every evening in the past two weeks with Rodney – though not all of them exclusively with him – and he's being completely silly anyway. He'll survive spending one evening without him, and he'll have fun.

By the time John manages to leave the room he shares with Rodney his hair is probably looking considerably more mussed than usual, and his lips are tingling. Lorne, who has apparently been waiting for him, snorts and slaps him on the back before he drags him down the corridor towards the elevator where Markham, Stackhouse, Kearney and Scott are waiting for him, all in civilian clothes as well. They holler and whistle when he arrives, slapping him on the back, and then all of them sign out and take a rent car into Colorado Springs.

Their first stop is a steakhouse; a private room has been booked for them, and they enjoy themselves greatly. By the time they make it out of there two hours later, there naturally are photographers waiting for them; they get mobbed a little, but the others form a protective circle around John and get him into the car quickly.

"You're still not telling me where we'll go, am I right?", John asks, raising an eyebrow.

"No way." Markham shakes his head.

"You'll manage to survive not knowing until we're there," Kearney adds from the front; it makes Stackhouse and Markham giggle like children.

"Now, Kearney, don't be such a dick," Scott adds; it makes the rest of the car break out laughing, especially when she replies dryly, "Now that'd be hard for me."

They drive for about half an hour, losing any possible followers in the process, and then the car stops in front of a go-kart bahn. John, who had half-suspected them ending up in a strip joint despite Lorne's assurances, stares at the sign for a moment before turning around to look at the guys. "You didn't."

"We totally did," Lorne says. "Now we'll see whether owning a Ferrari gives you any kind of advantage on the track."

The others whoop at that, and then they get out of the car and into the arena.

Naturally, people recognize John, but his friends keep running interference, stepping in between him and others and ushering him out of the way. As always when people really want to see him, John feels a little guilty for the evasion because he knows it can mean a lot to a person to actually meet him, but he can't make himself feel really bad about it. He deserves to have his own life.

A couple of hours later, they leave the go-kart track and drive to a bar. Stackhouse volunteers as the designated driver, and then they start drinking.

The point isn't to get drunk, but to loose tongues; at first they chat about inconsequential stuff, but then conversation turns a little more serious. After about an hour, his friends have re-assured themselves of the same stuff that Lorne asked after John's birthday – that this marriage is something John really wants, not something he has been talked into.

"I told them that there's no way you don't really mean it, not with the way you act around each other," Kearney says; she sounds completely sober, but then she waves her hand with her glass still in it and spills half her drink over herself. She doesn't appear to notice.

"How do we act?", John asks curiously before he can think better of it. He might possibly be a little tipsy too.

Scott, Lorne and Markham groan into their drinks. "Please don't say it again," Scott whines; Kearney sniffs and tells John earnestly, "You obviously love each other. I can see it in your eyes." She points towards her own eye and nods meaningfully.

"Oh." John flushes and takes another sip from his drink. He probably shouldn't have asked.

"So, Shep, I've been wondering," Markham slurs, clapping John on the back. "You're gay, right?" On Markham's other side, Stackhouse is hiding his face in his palm, shaking his head and sighing.

"I am," John replies earnestly. "But I didn't... I didn't... you know. Before it was allowed."

Markham looks distressed. "That was terrible, when we couldn't. Wasn't it terrible?" He lets go of John and turns around, leaning heavily into Stackhouse, who blushes and mumbles something.

"Those two," Lorne says, probably trying for conspiratorial, but he is pointing at Markham and Stackhouse and doesn't exactly lower his voice. "Have been flirting since I've known them."

"Have not!", Stackhouse protests.

"Have too!", Markham returns, affecting a pout. He's chorused by everyone sitting around the table.

"Oh god, I'm arguing with drunk people," Stackhouse moans. "Does anyone need more drinks? Please tell me you need more drinks."

Lorne peers into his glass while Scott and Kearney raise theirs, almost empty, and cheer before they knock them back. "More," Kearney then demands, holding the glass out towards Stackhouse.

By the time they spill out of the bar, they're ranging from pleasantly buzzed – Lorne – to completely drunk – Markham. Stackhouse steers them towards the car, muttering something about herding kittens; he has his arm wrapped around Markham. John is being supported by Lorne and the barkeeper – he isn't so drunk he needs help walking, so the two of them are probably protecting him. Because naturally, here too there are reporters – the barkeeper had thrown some of them out when they had come in and tried to take pictures, and now they're mobbing them outside, taking pictures and asking questions. The barkeeper helps them into the car, and then Stackhouse drives them back to Cheyenne Mountain.

Rodney is waiting for them; Stackhouse called him on the way. John feels a little bad, because it's long after bedtime.

"There you are," Rodney says impatiently. He looks adorable; John wants to hug him, so he does. Rodney staggers for a moment under his weight, wrapping his arms around John. Rodney has great hands.

"I love you," John slurs happily, breathing in Rodney's unique smell.

"Oh my god, he's completely drunk," Rodney complains, his grip on John tightening.

Stackhouse laughs, preventing Markham from stumbling over air as they get into the elevator. "I thought that was the point."

"Oh, shut up."

John giggles and rubs his cheek against Rodney's; he likes the raspy noise their stubble makes together and does it again, and again, until Rodney puts his hand on the back of John's head to still the movement.

Stackhouse and Rodney check the seven of them in, and then Rodney steers John towards their quarters.

"I love you," John slurs again while Rodney unlocks their door, peering up at Rodney from where his head is pillowed on Rodney's shoulder.

Rodney blushes and awkwardly pats John's arm with his free hand. "I know. I love you too," he replies gruffly, directing John into their room, closing and locking the door behind them.

As he pushes John's clothes off him – something which John happily allows; he tries to help but Rodney keeps pushing his hands out of the way, saying he'll be quicker – Rodney asks, "Did you have fun?"

"Yes," John says happily. "We wen' to the go-kart."

"I know." Rodney runs his hands over John's naked chest; John leers at him and tries to kiss him, but he misses Rodney's mouth and lands on his cheek. That's perfectly sufficient, though; John mouths along Rodney's jaw. With a huff, Rodney stills and lets him, sliding his hands up and down John's back. When John starts to suck on his neck, Rodney sighs and tightens his grip on John. "I appreciate the thought," he says a moment later when John presses his whole body into Rodney, "But I don't think you'd be capable of seeing it through at the moment."

Ignoring the resulting pout from John, Rodney pushes John onto the bed and pulls his pants, shoes and socks off, until all John is wearing are his boxers. John's expression brightens considerably when Rodney starts to take his own clothes off as well. Then Rodney goes away, which John doesn't like at all, especially when Rodney only comes back with a glass of water. "Drink this," he orders John. It takes John a moment before he obeys, he's too busy staring at Rodney's chest, but Rodney's face gets disgruntled so he does as he's told. Afterwards, Rodney goes away again, coming back with another glass of water as well as some pills, all of which he puts on the nightstand. Then he turns off the light and finally climbs into bed with John, pulling the blanket over both of them.

Happily, John rolls half on top of Rodney, going back to licking at his neck; he isn't at all sleepy, even though it's so late it's already early again. But Rodney is warm and comfortable and awesome and John loves him a lot.

John apparently said that last part out loud, because Rodney gives a small laugh. "I know, I know. I love you too." He pats John's naked back. "I'm glad you had fun with your friends."

"There were reporters," John says unhappily, starting to nibble at Rodney's neck.

"That sucks. Also, you're going to give me a hickey."

That's a good idea; enthusiastically, John latches on and starts to suck, ignoring Rodney's huff. Rodney doesn't tell him to stop anyway, or pull him off, so he obviously doesn't mind. John had learned the moment he met Rodney that it's less important what Rodney says and more important what he does.

Eventually, Rodney puts his hand on the back of John's head and says, "Okay, okay, that's enough now."

John immediately pulls off, smiling happily. He can't see much in the dark, but he's fairly sure there will be a mark on Rodney's neck in the morning.

"Are you happy now?", Rodney asks indulgently, starting to card his fingers through John's hair.

"Yes," John tells him earnestly. "Very."

Rodney sounds a little gruff when he says, "Good. Me too. Let's sleep now."

The next morning, John isn't at all happy; his head is pounding like a herd of elephants is having a party in there and his mouth tastes like something died in there. He moans when the mattress dips under him when Rodney moves. "Are you going to throw up?", Rodney asks, voice very low.

John is honestly considering it; maybe he's going to feel better afterwards.

"If not, you should drink some water."

That sounds like it could make John throw up. He hesitates for a moment but then lets Rodney help him up; he moans again when the motion immediately makes the hammering in his head increase by about three hundred percent. Rodney is all that keeps him steady and upright; he slumps into him and makes another unhappy noise.

A glass is brought to his lips, and John drinks with slow sips; it makes the nausea roil in his stomach, but he doesn't need to throw up just yet. Next, Rodney has him take two pills, and drink more water afterwards. "Sleep," Rodney murmurs then, gently moving his lips against John's temple before he lowers him back onto the mattress.

John does. Next time he wakes up, his headache has lessened a bit, and his bladder feels like it's this close to bursting. Blearily, he opens his eyes to find another glass of water waiting for him on the nightstand; Rodney is nowhere to be seen. He's probably in the labs – the people at the SGC seem to spend most of their free time working and Rodney fits right in.

He stays horizontal for a moment, waiting for the pounding in his head to lessen, but then he can't wait any longer and has to get up to relieve his bladder. Since he's already there, he also washes his face and brushes his teeth before staggering back into bed, drinking the water Rodney left for him. Afterwards, he lies down and drifts off into a doze.

Some time later, his headache has lessened even more, and John dares up to go take a shower. He almost feels like a human when he gets out and so he decides to brave the outside world. It's almost lunch and he knows he needs to get some food into his belly.

Lunch is underway when John gets into the mess; the noise and the light don't exactly make him feel better, but he's already there, so he might as well eat. He gets some neutral foods and then walks over to a table where Lorne, Markham and Kearney are sitting, looking about as happy to be awake as John does.

John carefully sets his tray down and croaks, "Hey."

"Kill me, please," Markham groans; he has his head pillowed in his folded arms.

"I doubt Stackhouse would be very happy with me if I did," John returns, supporting his head on his hand and starting to poke around in his mashed potatoes.

"Yeah, by the look of things he got laid yesterday," Kearney agrees, ribbing Markham tiredly.

Markham only moans; John and Lorne share a pained grin. All four of them flinch when somebody slams his tray onto their table and sits down. "Hey!", Stackhouse bellows loudly and grins when they all flinch again and glare at him angrily.

"No sex for you anymore," Kearney says firmly, pointing at Stackhouse. "You're obviously unbearable after you've gotten laid."

Stackhouse blushes deep red, and Markham groans again. "Nothing happened!", he whines.

"Right." The disbelief is audible in Kearney's voice. "The two of you only walked off together after you brought me to my door, and the direction you walked in was opposite the direction of Markham's quarters."

Neither Markham nor Stackhouse have anything to say to that, which makes Lorne chuckle into his cup of coffee. John pokes his lettuce tiredly, turning his head to stare at the entryway of the mess, hoping for Rodney to appear. Unfortunately, though, Rodney apparently can't read minds; he doesn't show up. After he has forced himself to eat a little and drank two cups of coffee and a lot of grape juice, John walks back to their quarters. He isn't tired enough to sleep some more, but he gets into bed nevertheless and picks up his laptop, putting on one of the crime shows Rodney likes so much, turned on low.

A couple of hours later, John's headache is almost gone, but he still feels knackered. It's almost time for dinner, but he doesn't feel like getting up; with an unhappy sigh, John buries his head under his pillow, only peering out when he hears the door to their quarters open.

"Still not feeling better?", Rodney asks with a frown.

John grunts unhappily, then sighs and deigns to answer, "Mostly."

"Ah. Bad mood, then." John sort of hates the knowing, bordering on smug tone of voice Rodney uses to say that, but then Rodney sits down next to him and puts his big hand on the back of John's neck and presses. It relieves the remaining pressure in John's head in the most delicious way. John sighs happily and relaxes; Rodney apparently takes that as a sign to continue and gets a little more comfortable, knocking the pillow away and using both hands to start massaging John's neck and shoulders. His hands must be magical, because John feels his whole body relax and warm shivers run through his whole body.

"If I had know you'd like it so much, I would've done it much earlier," Rodney says, amused.

"I didn't know I'd like it so much either," John mumbles, feeling very mellow.

Huffing with amusement, Rodney leans down to kiss John's neck before he pulls away and encourages John to turn on his back. He leans in to kiss John on the mouth. "Better?"

John hums happily, wrapping both arms around Rodney's neck and pulling him down on top of him.

"Did you have fun yesterday?", Rodney asks, getting comfortable on the bed and putting his head on John's shoulder.

John frowns. "I have a feeling you already asked me this."

"Well, I did." Rodney laughs. "But you seemed to like everything yesterday, so I figured I'd ask you again when you're sober."

For a moment John doesn't know what Rodney is talking about, but then he suddenly remembers and feels his cheeks turn deep red. "Oh god." He brings up his free arm and puts his hand over his eyes. Now that he's trying to, he recalls everything he did yesterday – including how in the bar, he babbled about how great Rodney is.

"Please tell me nobody eavesdropped on us at the bar," he pleads.

"Not that I know of." Rodney pushes himself up a little to look down on John. "There's nothing on the Internet. Why, what has you worried?"

John clears his throat. "Ah, I might have, uh, mentioned why I like you."

At first Rodney looks puzzled, but then he obviously gets it; he snorts. "You might have mentioned why you like me, huh? I can imagine what that means with how you acted when you came back."

John moans in distress and curls up towards Rodney, hiding his face in Rodney's chest. "Please shut up now."

"As you wish." Rodney sounds amused. He presses a kiss to the top of John's head and then threads his fingers through John's hair. "It was the father, by the way." At John's confused glance, he motions towards the laptop, where Rodney's crime show is still running. John just put a bunch of random episodes on loop.

"So," Rodney says some time later. "Do you want to invite anyone in the program to our wedding?" They're spooned up on the bed together, watching the crime show.

"We can't invite everyone, and if we only invite some, it'll look like favoritism," John sighs. They've talked about it on and off for two weeks now.

"And if we don't invite anyone, we'll look like snobs, I know. But I thought maybe we could have a small party here or something. We both work here after all."

John frowns, mulling it over. "I guess we could do that. I'm not all that keen on so much of a fuss, though."

"I know. It's just an idea." Rodney nuzzles the back of John's head. "We could ask the General what he thinks."

John snorts. "I don't think he's going to like it. He doesn't seem to like anything that disrupts his routine, especially if it's something like this."

Rodney huffs a laugh in agreement. "He likes you, though. And this base could do with a party."

"He doesn't like me." John grimaces. "He tolerates me. I'm not saying he isn't a great CO, because he is, but he doesn't like me. He thinks I'm here through favoritism – which isn't very wrong, either."

"No, no, he doesn't like me, but you he likes," Rodney disagrees.

John snorts again, but doesn't argue. He doesn't think so, but he's not going to argue with Rodney about something like that.

When John doesn't reply, Rodney huffs and says, "Anyways, we should ask him."

"Ask Harriman, he manages everything. Without him, the mountain would be lost."

"Oh, I know that." John can hear Rodney's eye-roll. "You should do the asking, though."

"Why me?" John whines.

"You're their prince, dummy." Rodney tightens his grip around John's waist for a moment.

That makes John frown; he turns around to look Rodney in the face. "Yeah, but you're going to be my husband."

"I know, and then I'll be your husband. I won't ever be a real American, John, not just because I'm Canadian royalty – and I wouldn't want to even if I could." Rodney huffs. "I see I'm going to have to watch out for you, what with your tendency to guilt-trip."

"I'm not guilt-tripping," John protests. "I'm just a little... I don't know." Annoyed and not knowing why, he crosses his arms and turns on his back.

"Okay." Rodney puts a hand on John's belly. "That's fine, then. Let's just go to dinner, I think we both need some food."

John goes to talk to Harriman the next day, and Harriman promises to organize a small party; he says it's a good idea, people at the SGC would like it. John tells himself to suck it up and deal with it.

A week later, John and Rodney pack their things and fly over to Vancouver, where the wedding will be held. The actual ceremony is a day out; there really isn't anything for Rodney and John to do, it has all been organized strictly. Rodney makes jokes about them being marionettes, but that's a lot how it seems. They didn't have much input on anything, but John didn't expect any different – that's how royal weddings are, he's been to enough of them to know.

"So, my sister wants to meet you," Rodney says, bursting into the hotel room that has been given to John – for some reason, they got separate rooms; John doesn't know whose idea that was.

"Er, okay. We have met before, though." John raises an eyebrow and holds out a cookie for Rodney, who takes it happily.

"Well, you know how it is on official business. She's probably going to threaten to dismember you or something," Rodney tells him offhandedly. "She'll be here in about half an hour."

"Looking forward to it," John says dryly.

That's when Rodney seems to finally notice Nathalie, who's sitting in John's lap and playing happily with a sort of puzzle Carina gave her before she left; she had promised John that it'd keep the little girl busy and happy for hours, and so far she appears to have been right. "Where did you get that?"

John throws him a look. "That is our niece. I suggest you learn her name before she's old enough to remember that you don't even recognize her."

"I did so recognize her! She just usually brings her parents with her, doesn't she, and none of them are here now. Forgive me for being confused." Rodney huffs and takes another cookie from the bowl. "These are weird, what are they?"

"Organic baby cookies," John tells him. "And Carina ran off to do something, I don't know. I think she's more invested in organizing this wedding than either of us are."

"Tell me about it." Rodney rolls his eyes. "My sister is pretty involved too. All I want is for the flowers to not make me sneeze and for the cake to not make me die. Also, you've been feeding me baby cookies? Organic baby cookies?"

"Nat seems to like them, so I thought you'd like them too." John shrugs, then freezes when Nathalie suddenly leans back into his chest. It's not an attempt to fall off John's lap, though; she just continues playing with her puzzle, so he relaxes again.

"Well, they're weird," Rodney says, nibbling at another.

John would shrug, but he can't really with a baby in his lap; he's already terrified she'll hit her head while she's alone with him. Dave would probably kill him – or what's left of him after Carina is done. "Do we have to try on our uniforms or anything?"

"No. You still have the body of a twenty-years-old and I had my measurements taken before I came here."

"So... what will we do?", John asks raising an eyebrow.

"Well, I guess you're not moving until the baby wakes up," Rodney says, motioning towards Nathalie, who has indeed fallen asleep on John. He hadn't even noticed.

Rodney laughs when John's eyes widen. "Don't panic, she appears to be perfectly comfortable where she is. Want me to turn on the TV or something?"

"Er, yes. Wasn't your sister coming?"

"Still twenty minutes out, at least. Hey, look, it's history channel, you like that don't you?"

John does; the history channel is about the only channel around except for discovery channel that he can watch without feeling the need to change channels after five minutes.

They watch TV for about half an hour – a documentary about Jeanne d'Arc – until Rodney's sister arrives. Rodney meets her at the door, he's apparently a bit nervous about this meeting too. "I'm sorry for being late," Jeannie apologizes. "I got held up. Hi, I'm Jeannie." She walks towards John, holding her hand out.

"Hey, I'm John." John carefully puts a hand on Nathalie and leans over a little to shake her hand. "Sorry for not getting up, but, uh."

"Yes, I can see," she says, looking amused. Then she turns around to snap at Rodney. "Oh, quit it with the hovering, Mer, sit down." Rodney huffs and grumbles but takes a seat in one of the armchairs; Jeannie takes the other.

"So I planned to threaten to do unspeakable things to an intimate body part of yours if you hurt my brother, but I don't feel comfortable doing that while you have a baby sleeping on you, so we're going to have to do that later."

"Looking forward to it," John says dryly. "You want something to drink? We have coffee."

"God, yes. This wedding is more stressful than my own, I think when this is all done I'll fall into bed and not get up for a week or something."

"I told you you should've let us elope," Rodney tells her primly while he pours a cup of coffee for her. Not that that was his idea; John had to pretty much stare him down before he got it.

Jeannie takes the coffee with a happy sigh. "Don't be silly, Meredith. So, Do you know yet where you're going to spend your honeymoon?"

"France," John replies, elaborating, "Carina's family has a house there, they're letting us borrow it for however long we want, whenever we want as my birthday present."

They continue with the smalltalk for a while; at one point, Nathalie wakes up and whines a little, but she quiets down when John gives her one of her cookies, so he doesn't panic. Much.

Eventually, Carina comes back, and she and Jeannie start a conversation about babies and how to care for them – and they look at John and Nathalie in that way that John knows they think the two of them are adorable. They both even go so far as to take pictures with their phones, totally ignoring the way John scowls.

In the evening, they go and meet Patrick, Dave and Kaleb for dinner, during which they go through the whole schedule for the wedding again. It's basically ceremony – travel through the streets in an open carriage and let people cheer at them, stand on the palace's balcony for a while to wave and smile benignly at their subjects (with the obligatory balcony kiss, of course), and then there'll be the reception, which will include the first dance, over a hundred people, and a handful of speeches. John and Rodney will barely have a minute to themselves, especially because there will be photographers with them practically the whole day.

When Rodney and John get to bed – to Rodney's bed, actually, totally screwing the plans of whoever decided to put them in separate rooms over – they make jokes about getting drugged to make it through the whole thing. The final thing Rodney says to John before they go to sleep is, "It might be managed iron-clad, but it's still ours."

And it is.

The next day, they go their separate ways to get dressed; to say that part is stressful already would be an understatement. Before John gets to put on his uniform, he is allowed to eat a light breakfast, and then he gets sat down in his underwear and has to keep still while people put make-up on him. He has a PR person show up in the middle of this and tell him exactly what he can say and do and what he can't say and do; apparently, he isn't allowed to touch Rodney excessively. John figures he can go along with that until the PR person says, "We want to keep a low profile, keep it on the down-low, you know." At that point, John narrows his eyes and clams up.

He only gets to see Rodney again just before they get into the limo that will drive them to the city hall; Rodney sends him a look of pure annoyance that turns curious when John returns it.

"What's up?", Rodney asks once they're on the way, in relative privacy. "Usually you're a little more patient."

"The PR guy told me I shouldn't touch you too much," John explains, still pissed off. "He said we should "keep it on the down low"."

Rodney blinks, then starts to scowl. "Your own PR guy? You should get him fired."

"I totally should," John agrees uncharacteristically. He's really pissed off with that guy, and he doesn't intend to follow his suggestion.

"Yeah." Rodney leans in, taking hold of John's chin and kissing him gently. John returns the kiss; they keep it gentle, because neither of them fancy getting out of the car in front of thousands of people, plus even more via camera, with hard-ons and kiss-swollen lips. When the car rolls to a halt at the end of the carpet that has been rolled out for them, they reluctantly pull apart.

"Let's get married," John says, puts his gloves on and gets out of the car.

The cheering of the crowd is deafening; John represses a wince and turns around to help Rodney out of the limo, which only makes the people get even louder.

John experiences the rest of the ceremony in a serious of flashes; the way Rodney looks up at him from between his eyelashes as he takes John's hand, the sun reflecting in a thousand little things as they walk into the city hall. He doesn't remember anything the Chief of Justice says, but he remembers clearly that Nathalie nearly gets lost when she has to walk the two meters from her mother to John and Rodney, the rings tied to a pillow she waves like a flag. He remembers putting the ring on Rodney's finger and saying, "With this ring I take thee as my husband," and he remembers the way Rodney's hands are trembling when he he takes John's hand to put the ring on John's, and how Rodney has to clear his throat before he's able to say, "With this ring I take thee as my husband."

He remembers Rodney's hand in his and how Rodney squeezes when they leave city hall to the deafening cheer of the audience, and that in the carriage, on the way to the palace, Rodney puts his hand on John's thigh and squeezes. He remembers Rodney's cheek, soft and warm under his lips when John leans in to kiss it – not once, but twice, each time accompanied by a considerable increase in the noise the crowd makes.

He does remember lunch, with just their closest family members – John's father, brother, sister-in-law and niece and Rodney's sister and brother-in-law – and the taste of salt on Rodney's lips, replaced later by sugar as they eat dessert. His father's indulgent smile he'll remember forever, and then Rodney and John are ushered out onto the balcony, where they stand and have to wave and smile benignly at their subjects – John doesn't remember much of that, but he remembers that they almost botch the kiss, not quite meeting lips on lips the first time, but they make it up by doing it right the three times after.

John definitely remembers Rodney pressing him into a door and kissing him hotly; Rodney's thigh between his as Rodney pulls at John's uniform. He remembers every detail of their undressing each other haphazardly, and he remembers in detail when Rodney gets to his knees to blow him, and also when he returns the favor, making Rodney week in the knees.

He remembers the dance, Rodney's head tilted towards his as he makes John smile by saying pointed things about the Canadian blue-bloods John doesn't know. He remembers feeding Rodney cake, and he remembers being terribly embarrassed by some of the things the speakers – among them Dave and Jeannie, their witnesses – say. He also remembers Jeannie taking him aside and threatening to cut off his balls if he hurts Rodney.

He doesn't remember going to bed with Rodney, but he must have, because when he wakes up the next day, he's using Rodney as a body pillow. For a moment, John lies perfectly still, eyes closed and feeling Rodney's heart beat under his hand. He tries to recollect the previous day, but he doesn't manage to remember more than flashes, almost all of them about Rodney.

John dozes for a while, waiting for Rodney to wake up; eventually, Rodney starts to twitch and sigh, and then he mumbles, "Your hair is tickling me. I think it's starting to become sentient."

John huffs a laugh and starts to thread his fingers through the hair on Rodney's chest, turning his head to press a kiss to Rodney's skin. "Good morning to you too."

Rodney slides his hand down John's back, his fingers fanning out when he arrives at John's ass, giving it a squeeze. "If you get me coffee I can fuck you through the mattress," Rodney tells him earnestly.

"The romance is dead." John laughs and kisses Rodney's chest again.

"If you don't get me coffee, you're going to have to do the work," Rodney continues, squeezing John's ass again.

"I guess I can do that, considering that we didn't have a proper wedding night." Pushing himself up, John leans in to kiss Rodney on the lips. Rodney returns the kiss, sliding his fingers into John's hair to keep John's head still; his other hand remains on John's ass, warm and possessive.

For a while all they do is kiss, Rodney's mobile lips and tongue getting John hot the way only Rodney can. John is hard within moments, and when he shifts his weight to press one leg between Rodney's, he finds that Rodney is just as aroused. Rodney moans when John's thigh comes into contact with his erection and lets his legs fall open further, making room for John's body. He pushes at John's hip to move him between his thighs; John follows the direction very willingly. They both moan when their pelvises press together; John pushes back for a moment to look down on Rodney. The view makes him lick his lips: Rodney's pupils are dilated, his lips red and swollen, his nipples hard.

Unable to keep away from Rodney for long, John moves in again, catching Rodney's lips to bite at them. Rodney makes an encouraging noise, and John kisses down Rodney's jaw to suck and nibble his way down Rodney's sensitive neck. John barely resists sucking a mark above Rodney's collarbone; he only refrains because they're going to have to spend the day at another party and giving a couple of interviews. Instead, he slides down and flicks his tongue out to tease at Rodney's nipple. Rodney makes a high noise, impatient; John doesn't give in immediately, instead continuing to tease Rodney until Rodney gets really impatient and moans a demanding "John!"

Only then does John give in and take Rodney's nipple into his mouth, sucking hard. Rodney calls out loudly and arches his back, rubbing his whole body into John's; he does it again and rubs his hard dick against John's belly. John lets him for a while, suckling and nibbling at Rodney's nipple, enjoying the noises Rodney makes even if he doesn't get much physical stimulation himself out of it because the angle at which Rodney is thrusting against him is all wrong.

When Rodney starts getting too excited, though, John pulls off, ignoring Rodney's whine, moving away to get the lube that must be in the nightstand. He finds it quickly, peels off the seal and squeezes some into his hand, letting it get warm as he moves back to where Rodney is lying, sending him wounded looks, his cock in one hand.

John raises both eyebrows at that. "Planning to finish without me?"

"Only if you don't get back here to finish what you started," Rodney replies archly, but there is an excited twinkle in his eyes and he opens his legs eagerly when John moves back between them. Rodney takes hold of John's neck and pulls him down to kiss him hotly while John coats his fingers in lube and teases around Rodney's balls before he slides further down to push his fingers between Rodney's cheeks. Encouragingly, Rodney pulls one leg up, biting at John's lower lip, making breathy little noises that drive John crazy. Unable to tease his husband any longer, John pushes one probing finger in to the sound of Rodney's happy moan.

Rodney is as tight as expected; they haven't done this yet – well, they have done fingers, but only a couple of times, and no actual fucking. They hadn't really discussed it, but there had been a silent agreement that they'd wait until they were married – they hadn't talked about it because if they had, they would have had to acknowledge the silly romance of it. They would probably have been so embarrassed by the whole thing that they would have had to have penetrative sex as soon as possible just to reassure each other that they weren't secretly teenage girls.

It was worth it, John thinks now as he pushes his finger deep into the heat of Rodney's body, swallowing Rodney's encouraging noises with his mouth. When the muscles of Rodney's hole have loosened enough around John's finger, John pushes in a second one, scissoring them as he pulls out and pushes back in again and again to stretch Rodney. Still impatient, Rodney scratches his fingernails down John's back, not hard enough to leave any marks but the sensation still sends shivers through John's body. And then Rodney takes hold of his hips and pulls him down, pushing his lower body up at the same time, bringing their erections together deliciously. John almost loses track for a moment, but only almost; he keeps his rhythm with his fingers, pushing in, trying to find Rodney's sweet spot.

He knows he's found it when Rodney suddenly shouts and arches up into John's body, falling back onto the mattress, completely out of breath. He looks up at John with an expression in his eyes like John is the best thing since Rodney got his first taste of chocolate. John doesn't think anybody would be able to keep calm in that kind of situation, so it's completely understandable that he loses control for a moment, diving down to suck Rodney's tongue into his mouth and rubbing his whole body against Rodney's. They both moan loudly, and then Rodney pulls away a little to gasp only one word, "More."

John pulls his fingers out to Rodney's loud protesting and gets a little more lube before he comes back and pushes three fingers into Rodney's hole, only barely managing to be careful enough not to hurt him, he's so eager. But Rodney either doesn't notice or doesn't care, because all he does is moan and roll his hips, trying to get more stimulation. The needy noises that come out of his mouth drive John crazy.

Finally, finally, Rodney feels loose enough around his fingers that John feels confident about pulling out; Rodney doesn't agree with that at all, making an unhappy noise and opening his eyes to look up at John with this needy, wanton expression on his face. John almost forgets to lube his dick up, only remembering when he puts his hand around it to position himself; he makes a sloppy job out of it, dripping lube on the bed, but he couldn't care less right now. Rodney grunts impatiently when John pushes the head of his cock against his hole, only to groan when John finally pushes in – slowly, giving Rodney time to adjust, and needing to hold his breath to prevent himself from doing something premature.

When John has pushed in completely, he pauses, giving both of them a moment; Rodney is having none of it, though, squeezing his muscles around John's cock and ordering him breathlessly, "Move, dammit!"

Never let it be said that John doesn't follow an order when he finds them sensible; he rocks forward a little and then pulls out almost to the tip of his cock before shoving back in, making both of them shout. After a few tries, he finds the right angle to hit Rodney's sweet spot every time he pushes in, and from then on there's no stopping him. Establishing a nice, steady rhythm, John gets to it.

Both of them are right on the edge almost instantly. John has to close his eyes so he doesn't watch Rodney come completely undone under him, because if he watches any longer the way Rodney's eyelashes flutter every time John pushes in, he's going to come. The noises Rodney makes are already more than enough on that front, and he wants, needs for Rodney to come first.

Panting heavily but managing to keep his rhythm, John leans down to mouth at Rodney's jaw. "Can you come from this?", he asks; if Rodney even heard him, it's unlikely he understands because he doesn't react at all. "Rodney," John pants, but he's almost there, no time for conversation anymore, so he just reaches down between their bodies. He has barely wrapped his hand around Rodney's dick when Rodney gives a wordless shout, arching his back as he comes, striping both of them with come. All that, combined with the incredible tightening of Rodney's muscles around John's cock, is more than enough; grunting and barely managing to gasp Rodney's name one last time, John follows him into orgasm.

The next couple of moments are pretty hazy. John is aware that he collapses on top of Rodney, all strength having left his body. He barely manages to muster up enough to slide off to Rodney's side, and only because Rodney grunts and shoves at him. Then, they just lie there, catching their breaths and heartbeats slowing down gradually. Eventually, John becomes aware of the stickiness between them, sweat and come starting to make things pretty uncomfortable.

Taking a deep breath, John slowly lets his hand trail down Rodney's side, touch firm enough not to tickle. "Shower?", he croaks.

Rodney twitches and grunts; John has no idea what that's supposed to mean. So instead of getting up, he musters up whatever muscle strength he regained and pushes himself up, leaning down to kiss Rodney on the cheek. Rodney opens his eyes to blink at him dazedly and then turns his head so the next kiss lands on Rodney's lips. It's a little off, but the kiss after that hits spot on, and so John does it again. The kisses are more messy than skillful, but John has never felt so close to anyone in his life and he wants to do something about it – needs to do something with all these feelings he has.

Eventually, though, the mess between them gets too sticky and uncomfortable for them to ignore any longer, and John reluctantly pulls away. "Shower?", he once again suggests quietly, and Rodney nods. They both get up, not without John noticing Rodney's wince and uncomfortable expression, and then they head into the adjoining bathroom. Rodney is pretty pliant throughout the shower, barely saying a word and letting John take care of everything, something that worries John a little and makes him take care to touch Rodney extra-gently and press regular kisses to his skin.

Once they're clean and dry again, John goes to straighten up the bed, putting a clean towel over the wet spot – this is a hotel and they unfortunately can't make the bed themselves, so they'll have to make do. Rodney doesn't complain, if he even notices; he just rolls on the bed and puts the blanket over himself, lifting it up invitingly. "Now do I get coffee?", he asks once John has settled down, head on the pillow next to Rodney's, an arm wrapped around Rodney's chest.

John raises both eyebrows. "You mean you want me to get up and call room service?"

Rodney widens his eyes and nods eagerly. "Breakfast too?", he adds hopefully when John sighs and gets out of the bed again.

"Breakfast too," John agrees; actually, he likes that idea a lot. Breakfast in bed sounds entirely decadent and entirely fitting, considering that this is the day after their wedding.

Reluctantly, John puts on some boxers and a t-shirt, unwilling to be completely naked under the bathrobe, and then he heads into the other room to call down for breakfast. After making sure they know to really, really not bring any citrus in the vicinity of their food (though they ought to know already, considering Rodney used to be their king for a couple of years – you can never be careful enough, though), John goes back into the bedroom, where Rodney has curled up on his side. Rodney's face brightens when he sees John, and John smiles and curls up on top of the blanket, reaching up to touch Rodney's chin. "Twenty minutes," he tells Rodney.

Rodney only nods; his silence is starting to unnerve John a little. Not that Rodney talks all the time and doesn't know when to be quiet, but this is pretty unusual. "Are you alright?", he asks, a little worried. He's sure he would have noticed if he had hurt Rodney, but he had been pretty far gone...

Rodney grins widely and maybe also a little dreamily. "Brilliant. I don't think I've ever gotten laid so well."

That makes John laugh. "Glad to hear it. Me too." He shifts a little closer to kiss Rodney on the lips.

"Also, we're married now, there's no going back."

"Technically, we could divorce," John offers. "It's not that unheard of in our circles anymore."

"No, we really, really can't." Rodney flaps his hand dismissively. "We're a precedent, you get that, right? There's a ton of political statements and symbolism attached to us marrying. If we divorced, not only would that undo much of the progress that has been made, it would send out a couple of completely wrong messages. Which means we have to die to be separated." Rodney seems pretty satisfied with that idea for a moment before worry makes it onto his face. "And I don't plan on that happening within at least the next sixty years, you hear me?"

"Relax, me neither." John moves in closer to wrap one arm around Rodney's shoulder, squeezing for a moment. "Also, I don't think divorce and getting widowed is the right topic to talk about on the day after our wedding."

"You might have a point there," Rodney admits. "We could talk about all the sex we're not having instead."

"We're not having it right now," John tells him. "Give me half an hour, though, and I'm ready to go again."

"Breakfast first, gotta keep up our strength." Rodney sighs, a petulant expression making it onto his face. "Unfortunately, we don't have all day."

"Yeah, that sucks," John agrees. "But tomorrow we can run off to Florida."

Before Rodney can reply, there's a knock on the door in the other room. John raises an eyebrow and gets up to open it; he doesn't think it can be room service yet, because that was barely ten minutes, but indeed it is. There are two service wagons getting pushed in by two waiters, dressed impeccably and professional enough to not flutter nervously, though they do seem a little breathless.

"Where to, your highness?", one of them asks.

"Just leave them there, I'll take care of it," John tells them, tipping them both very well because seriously, that was fast. Once they're both gone, he pushes the two carts one after the other into the bedroom, where Rodney is sitting up, back leaning into the mountain of pillows by the headrest. He's making gimme motions before John has even found the coffee, and then he sighs when John finally puts a cup into his hand, just breathing in the smell for a moment before he takes a sip.

"What would you like?", John asks him, peeking under all the plate covers. "We have three types of eggs, fruit salad – without citrus, I made sure they know – croissants, cheese, jam, nutella, butter, sausages, bacon, pancakes."

"Is there omelet?"

"Yes. With mushroom and bacon, I think."

"Okay, let's start with that."

John hands Rodney the plate with the omelet and gets one with scrambled egg for himself. He makes as if to get into bed, but Rodney narrows his eyes at him. "No clothes in bed," he says firmly.

"Oh really," John asks, putting his plate away and taking the bathrobe, t-shirt and boxers off. "Is that a new rule?"

"It is," Rodney informs him imperiously, "I am hereby making it so."

"Make it so," John says, pointing his finger at Rodney and winking exaggeratedly.

Rodney huffs, but is unable to suppress a grin. "Get into bed, you big dork."

Returning the grin, John does as he's told.

They spend breakfast making quips and sharing plates and almost eating too much; they're both full afterwards and flop about in bed, moaning about how they ate too much. John burrows under the blankets and wraps both arms and legs around Rodney, instating a time-out before they consummate their marriage.

"We already consummated it," Rodney complains, sliding his hands up and down John's arms that are wrapped around his chest.

"We should make sure we did it right," John replies earnestly.

"Oh, we did it right, believe me," Rodney says, but he stills and allows John to drift off.

When John wakes up, there are no blankets anywhere, he's flat on his back and there are two warm hands holding his thighs apart, but he only notices that peripherally, because a hot mouth is wrapped around his swollen cock, sucking hard. He yells and tries to roll up, and Rodney picks that moment to run his tongue over the head of John's dick. All strength zapped out of him, John flops back onto the bed, not managing to do anything more but moan.

And instead of continuing, Rodney pulls off. Ignoring John's complaint, Rodney says, "I hope you'll forgive me if I don't have as much patience as you did, but I really need to fuck you now."

John is totally on board with that idea and gasps a breathless "Yes!" when he feels Rodney's wet fingers slide between his cheeks. Like Rodney did earlier, he pulls one leg up to give Rodney more room, feeling his wet fingers circle around his pucker.

John has never done this before – well, the fingers, but nothing more – and not because he has a problem with it or because he's nervous, but just because he never really wanted to with anyone but Rodney. Now that that moment has finally come, he feels pretty impatient himself, and he lets Rodney know by pushing his ass down towards his fingers, whining, "Rodney, get on with it!"

Rodney huffs but does as he's told, pushing his fingertip in and then going deeper at the same time as he starts to nuzzle the inside of John's thigh. John sighs and tries to relax; the first finger isn't really all that much, but it can hurt if you go for two fingers immediately. Rodney just thrusts in and out for a while, loosening the muscles before he dares add a second finger. It does twinge a little, so John is grateful that at the same time, Rodney starts to nibble at the area where John's leg joins his thigh; it's just distracting enough so John can relax.

Now, Rodney starts stretching John in earnest, carefully but steadily going from moving his fingers back and forth just a little to really fingerfucking John, making him moan and gasp. And then Rodney, more by accident than by design, brushes over John's sweet spot, and John is just gone, throwing his head back and screaming. Rodney groans and presses his face to John's belly, thrusting his fingers in again and this time going purposefully for John's sweet spot, making him moan breathlessly. "Please," John manages to gasp after a couple more thrusts, "More."

Rodney groans again and pushes himself up to kiss John at the same time as he adds a third finger, going back to carefully, slowly pushing his finger in. John whines, sucking eagerly on the tongue Rodney slides into his mouth, tasting coffee and chocolate and feeling the burn as he's being stretched. It does hurt, but not much, and John considers himself ready long before Rodney does, whining and gasping Rodney's name.

"You're so hot," Rodney pants, sucking wetly at John's jaw. John just moans and tries to push his hips up, but Rodney still has his free hand on his hip and keeps him from getting anywhere.

"Rodney, please," John whines, wrapping both arms around Rodney's back and sliding one of them down Rodney's spine, settling on Rodney's ass. Pushing down, he brings their lower bodies together, his own hard dick rubbing against Rodney's, making both of them moan.

"Oh god," Rodney gasps, pushing off John and pulling his fingers out at the same time. John starts to complain, raising his head to ask where the fuck Rodney thinks he's going, but the picture he finds makes him forget anything he wanted to say: Rodney, one hand wrapped around his dick, eyes closed as he slides it up and down. It takes John a moment to register that in Rodney's other hand, there's the bottle of lube, and Rodney isn't jerking off but getting ready to fuck John, which is even hotter.

And then Rodney opens his eyes and pushes John's other leg up, taking hold of John's hips and positioning his cock at his entry. He glances up at John, and he looks so predatory at that moment that it makes John shiver all over. "Please," he gasps and then he groans when Rodney smiles and pushes his dick in in one smooth motion.

Once he's in to the hilt, Rodney gives him a moment to adjust, watching his face carefully; John is too busy gasping and shivering to notice much, but he does notice when Rodney just won't move. Brows furrowing, John opens his mouth to tell Rodney to finally get on with it, and just at that moment, Rodney pulls out and then slams back in, somehow managing to find John's sweet spot immediately.

John throws his head back and yells, and does it again when Rodney repeats the same motion; he completely loses his mind over the sensation of Rodney starting to fuck him in earnest, rhythm hard and relentless, somehow only all the more delicious because it's not fast. Above him, Rodney is completely silent except for his rapid breathing, fucking John like it's his job, like all he can think about is making John have the most spectacular orgasm of his life.

If that's the plan, Rodney excels at it; before he even knows he's about to, John comes so hard his vision blackens for a moment; he almost passes out. He actually does lose a couple of seconds, because the next thing he knows is Rodney cursing, rhythm lost as he comes hotly deep inside John. John opens his eyes just in time to see Rodney close his, pulling out and collapsing on his back next to John.

"Holy fuck," John gasps, turning on his side and flinging one arm over Rodney's chest, pressing close to him. John is actually trembling. Normally he isn't someone who lacks words, but as it turns out, a mind-blowing orgasm will do that to him. "Holy... wow."

Rodney hums his agreement, eyes still closed, wrapping one arm around John's sweaty back. For a while, they just catch their breaths, until John just has to say it. "That was amazing. You are amazing." His voice his hoarse from all the screaming.

Rodney opens his eyes and turns his head to blink at him tiredly. "Yeah?"

"God, yeah. We have to do that again as soon as possible." John licks his lips, tasting salt.

"Your wish, my command." Rodney tiredly flaps his hand and smiles at John.

A while later, as they're both lazing about in the hot tub, Rodney nudges him in the hip with his foot and asks, "So, marriage consummated to your satisfaction?"

John lifts his head from the towel it was resting on and looks at Rodney. "Oh yeah."

They share a grin.