Leaning back in his desk chair, John stared at the email. No matter how many times he read it the wording stayed exactly the same.
Since there wasn't any point in staring at a bunch of words on a screen, John closed his email program and opened up next month's duty roster.
Then he reopened his email program and read the brief note from Woolsey one more time just to be sure.
Dinner time rolled around eventually and John read the email one last time before shutting down his computer and leaving for the night.
Rodney was in the lab, three laptops open in a semi-circle around him. "Hey," John said, stopping in front of the middle one.
"Hi," Rodney said, looking up at him.
"Want to get some dinner?" John asked, sliding his hands into his pockets and tilting his head slightly to the side.
They ate with Teyla, Torren and Kanaan. Fortunately, watching a one-year-old eat was distracting enough that no one seemed to notice John was quieter than usual. Except maybe Rodney, but he was quiet, too.
"Torren's getting really big," Rodney said as they left the mess.
"Yeah," John said. He didn't point out that growing was what babies did.
Neither of them said another word until they stepped into the transporter. "We don't," Rodney said, adding, "If you've changed your mind, I'll understand."
"I haven't," John said. Rodney was so close John could feel him even though they weren't touching. "Have you?"
The door to Rodney's quarters slid open and John followed him inside.
"I--" Rodney said, turning toward him.
John nodded. He felt the same way. Even though he'd known it could happen, would probably happen, he'd never believed it, not deep inside. He touched Rodney's cheek.
"John." Rodney's eyes were wide and blue, and one of his hands was fluttering in John's direction.
Stepping closer, John pressed his lips to Rodney's. It was remarkably chaste. Nothing like the first time, the only time, which had been heat and need. A single kiss followed by a torrent of words, all meaning the same thing-- we can't.
They'd had Atlantis and they'd had each other in all the ways that mattered. The rest would have to wait until the rules changed or John retired. John hadn't been willing to take bets on either of those things happening.
"We can do this," John whispered, resting his forehead against Rodney's.
"Yes, we can," Rodney answered. He was smiling now, crooked and happy. "And we're going to, over and over again."
"Lost time to make up for," John said, feeling the width of Rodney's shoulders with his hand.
"Precisely," Rodney said and kissed him. This kiss wasn't chaste, but it wasn't in a hurry either. John was good with that. He was very good with that. Capturing Rodney's lower lip between his own, he gave it a barely there tug before releasing it and coming back in at a new, slightly different angle.
Rodney met him in kiss after kiss, firm, mobile, teasing lips touching John's own, withdrawing, touching again, until John tightened his hold on Rodney's shoulders and let Rodney slip inside.
The touch of Rodney's tongue against his was hesitant, exploratory, and John pushed his hips encouragingly into Rodney's, causing Rodney to groan.
"I want you so much I don't know what to do," Rodney whispered.
"Which is crazy, because it's not as if I haven't spent hours of my life imagining what we'd do if we ever got the chance."
"Me, too," John said, because he had.
"We were trapped on a planet, just the two of us, plenty of supplies and nothing to do but wait for the Daedalus to come get us."
"Nothing to do but have lots of sex," John said, because he knew that fantasy.
Rodney nodded eagerly, almost bumping John's chin with his own. "Or aliens made us do it. The Air Force couldn't kick you out if you had to do it."
"Aliens," John said. "What kind of aliens would make us have sex?"
"Curious ones," Rodney said, completely matter-of-fact, as if it had actually happened.
"Curious gay aliens," John repeated.
"They wouldn't have to be gay."
"Just curious," John said, managing to hold back the laughter but not a broad, ridiculous smile.
"I can't believe you're laughing at my fantasy," Rodney said, but he didn't sound offended, if anything he seemed to be holding John a little more tightly.
"So what did the aliens make us do?"
"I'm not going to tell you. You'll just laugh," Rodney said, sounding as amused as John was, as if his own brain was a source of entertainment, which in Rodney's case it probably was.
John was holding Rodney in his arms, great big, self-entertaining brain and all, and no one could punish him for it or make him let go. "Yeah," John said, his voice ragged around the edges. "I probably will. But you know what I'll do next?"
"Whatever you fantasized about."
"Really?" Rodney asked, looking so damned pleased that John had to kiss him again. Rodney opened for him, going wherever he led, which was so hot John felt like he was going to explode by the time they stopped.
"Oh, wow," Rodney said, breathing hard, hair disheveled from where John had slid his hands into it.
"You can say that again."
"Oh, wow," Rodney said.
Rodney kissed him again, quick and light. "You know what makes kissing really fun?"
"Hmm," John said, squeezing his lips together and tilting his head to the side as he considered Rodney's point. "You might be right about that."
"It's a testable hypothesis."
"It is," John said, reaching for the zipper on Rodney's jacket.
Rodney began undoing the buttons on John's shirt, preventing John from pushing the jacket off. So he untucked Rodney's t-shirt from his pants and slid his hands under it instead.
"That's totally unfair," Rodney said, struggling with the fourth button down, the one where the button hole was a little too small.
With a quick grin, John slid his hands upward until his fingers brushed Rodney's nipples. "Hurry up."
John rubbed a fingertip back and forth over the hardened tip of Rodney's nipple. "I want to see you."
"Oh," Rodney said, pausing in his efforts to pull John's shirt free of his pants.
Only Rodney would be surprised when a person trying to strip him of his clothes wanted to see him naked. There was just one way John could respond. He kissed Rodney again, trying to make it say 'I want you in every way possible, over and over again.' Given the dazed look on Rodney's face when he pulled away, he thought maybe he'd succeeded.
Reluctantly removing his hands from Rodney's chest, John took over the task of freeing himself from his shirt. Not bothering with the last few buttons, he pulled it over his head, and dropped it to the floor. Then he did the same thing with his t-shirt before reaching for Rodney's jacket. It, too, ended up on the floor, Rodney's t-shirt landing on top of it.
There it was, Rodney's naked chest. John had known Rodney's shoulders were broad; he'd stared at them often enough. And he'd seen the outline of Rodney's nipples through countless shirts, but he hadn't known they'd be pink and cute. Endearing. He hadn't known that Rodney's chest hair formed an inverted triangle or that the first place he'd want to touch would be the curve where neck met shoulder. John slid his fingers along the curve in question.
Rodney was staring at John's chest, watching his own fingers as he carded them through John's chest hair. "Never thought I'd get to do this," Rodney said, an echo in his voice that made John's throat get tight.
"Me either," John said, and Rodney lifted his gaze to John's. John hadn't lost count of the number of times one of them nearly hadn't made it, but he wished he had. And there'd be more. It was the price they paid for the life they led. Neither of them would give it up, but looking into Rodney's eyes, for just a moment, John wanted to.
Curling his free hand around the back of John's neck, Rodney drew him into another kiss. It was harsh, roughened by every might-have-been they'd faced, and John wrapped both arms around Rodney's middle, pressing his bare skin to Rodney's.
Rodney's skin was warm and he was broad where John was not. It reminded John of future Rodney with his gray hair, dressed in what had probably been his best sweater. He wanted that Rodney, wanted to hold that Rodney in his arms, kiss him, because even with gray hair and a rounder belly Rodney would still be kissable. "Grow old with me," John said.
"I was planning on it."
"Good," John said, tucking his face into the curve of Rodney's neck while Rodney slid a hand slowly up the length of John's back and then down again. "Do that again," John whispered.
Breathing slow and deep, John focused on the feel of Rodney's hand moving over his skin. So they hadn't had sex yet and John had pretty much asked Rodney to marry him, that was okay. John could handle that. He kissed the top of Rodney's shoulder. "We should probably take off our pants now, huh?"
"Might go faster if we each took off our own."
"Probably," John agreed.
"We'll have to let go first."
"I can do that."
"Count of three?" Rodney suggested.
John chuckled. "Yeah okay."
"Two and a quarter," John interrupted.
"Two and a third."
"Two and a half."
"Two and two-thirds."
"Three," John said, letting go and reaching for his belt.
Dropping his arms, Rodney looked down at John's hands, watching the undoing of each button as if he'd never seen a button before.
"Come on, Rodney. Stop staring and get to work."
Rodney toed off his shoes before opening his pants. His cock was right there, tenting his boxers, a hint of skin showing through the opening in the front. John swallowed, the fingers on his thigh holster stilling.
Rodney pushed both pants and boxers to the floor, and there he was, a naked man in socks. White socks with a red stripe around the top. But they weren't anywhere near as interesting as Rodney's cock, which was thick and flushed with arousal, close enough for John to touch. If he wanted to John could just drop to his knees and wrap his lips around it. He was pretty sure Rodney wouldn't mind.
He took a step.
A hand in the middle of his chest stopped him. "You're still dressed."
"You've got your socks on."
"You've got pants, boxers, socks, boots and a gun."
Rodney had a point. John tugged the clasps on his thigh holster open and set it gently on the ground. Perching on the foot of Rodney's bed, he bent forward to remove his boots and socks before standing and pushing both pants and boxers to the floor. "There," he said, resting his hands on his hips.
"You're--" Rodney said, voice trailing off, leaving the sentence unfinished.
"Naked?" John suggested.
Stepping close, John kissed him. Rodney groaned and slid his arms around John, his erection pressing into John's groin, right next to John's own. John cupped Rodney's ass in his hands. He only had so much self-discipline and after five years of watching Rodney walk and bend over and crawl under consoles it was pretty much all used up.
Rodney moved his hips, his ass flexing in John's hands, his cock sliding along John's skin.
John pushed back, and they had a rhythm going, kissing and rocking, one of them -- John was pretty sure it was Rodney -- making tiny sounds in time with the motion of their hips.
Breaking their kiss, Rodney said, "We should--" John kissed him before he could finish, forcing Rodney to pull away again. "Get in bed. We should get in bed."
John couldn't argue with that, so he let go and Rodney moved past him, climbing into the center of his small bed and turning onto his back. Rodney's legs were slightly parted, and his cock was sticking up. John had fantasized about seeing him like this so many times he felt like he should be jerking off. Except Rodney had forgotten his socks, and he never did that in John's fantasies.
Moving onto the bed, John crawled upward until he had a hand on either side of Rodney's shoulders and a knee on each side of Rodney's hips. "Hey."
"Hi." Rodney smiled up at him, but it was more like beaming.
"You forgot your socks."
"I was distracted."
"Uh-huh," John said and reached between them to wrap a hand around Rodney's cock.
"Oh, God," Rodney said.
John stroked. Rodney's cock was thick, with smooth, almost soft, skin. There were at least a dozen things John wanted to do with it, possibly more. He wanted to stroke Rodney slow and fast and everything in between, until he knew exactly what Rodney liked. He wanted to bury his nose between Rodney's balls and drink in the smell of him. He wanted to slide his lips along the underside, and take Rodney so deep he could feel the head touch the back of his throat.
Curling a hand around John's bicep, Rodney gripped him hard. "Don't you dare make me come yet."
"Please." John wanted this. He wanted to watch Rodney come undone beneath him, wanted to hear the sounds he'd make, see the look on his face.
Loosening his grip, Rodney slid his hand up to John's shoulder.
John touched him with light, questioning strokes. He rubbed the underside with his thumb, just below the head, and Rodney gasped. He did it again, and Rodney looked between them. John followed his gaze.
He had Rodney's cock in his hand. Rodney's beautiful, beautiful cock. Sitting back on his heels, John touched the head with the fingers of his free hand, learning the slope of it.
Rodney lifted his hips and John picked up his rhythm, stroking a little more firmly.
Hands twisting the sheets, Rodney groaned.
John stared at him, his breath fast and shallow as he watched Rodney's arousal build until finally Rodney's hips stilled and his shoulders curled up from the bed as his cock pulsed in John's hand. His eyes were closed, and his mouth was twisted. A harsh breath escaped with almost every pulse.
When he fell back on the bed, eyes still closed, John leaned down and kissed him, cradling Rodney's cock in his hand.
Rodney opened his eyes and John smiled. Rodney traced John's lips with his fingers.
Letting go of Rodney's cock, John bent his head to the trails of white fluid dotting Rodney's chest. He touched one with his tongue, licked a little, then pressed his lips to Rodney's skin and sucked.
He felt Rodney's hand on his shoulder. "John," Rodney said, sounding almost awed. John lifted his head and Rodney said, "Your turn."
His cock was heavy and full, and John doubted his turn would last very long.
Rodney moved over and John lay on his side. Rodney kissed him, easy, like they really had gotten to do this for the last five years instead of just wanting to. Then he cupped John's balls in one hand and curled the other around John's cock.
Rodney had big hands, strong hands. Rodney used his hands for all kinds of amazing things. Right now, right this very minute he was using them to stroke John. Resting his forehead on Rodney's shoulder, John closed his eyes.
Rodney's touch was steady and each glide of his palm and fingers along John's shaft sent pleasure along nerves that seemed to stretch from his cock to the top of his head and the soles of his feet. He wanted it to last, wanted it never to stop, but there is only so much pleasure the human body can take; John came with a moan, teeth sinking into Rodney's shoulder as his whole body shook with it, with every crazy, contradictory thing he felt for Rodney.
Rodney kept stroking him, aftershocks making his body jerk until every muscle in his body relaxed at the same time.
Rolling partway onto his back, John stared at the ceiling and waited for his brain to come back online.
"You bit me," Rodney said.
Rodney slid an arm around John's waist and a thigh between John's legs. Then he put his head down right in the middle of John's chest. "Just make sure you don't break the skin."
Smiling, John slid a hand along the back of Rodney's shoulders and rested the other on Rodney's arm. He could do that.
He could do a lot of things now.