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Scenting

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John hadn't realized how acute Rodney's sense of smell was until M43-X39, when he was able to tell that the sacs of stuff they were given to bring back home were not, in fact, filled with the coffee-like bean they were supposed to be. John had put it down to, well, coffee, and not really thought about it again until M2D-994, where Rodney smelled the evil patriarch coming up behind them before John heard him. Rodney got another nasty cut that day, which adds up to four, if John's got his numbers right.

Rodney knows John's smells, too, so John is careful when he removes his boots, and doesn't get too close to Rodney if he's got blood on him, unless there's no other choice. He's never thrown up around Rodney – he can actually be conscientious about that. After noticing Rodney's reacting to one of Teyla's bouts of morning-sickness with a grumpier-than-normal grimace, he's been as careful as he can.

The thing he's most careful about, though, is keeping his damn pants on if he's horny. The one time he stripped off, and climbed in while Rodney's back was turned, Rodney rolled over and looked hard at him and said, "If you're going to have sex during negotiations, the least you can do is wash up before you come to bed."

John had actually jacked off in the bathroom because he had watched Rodney's hands while he explained the theory behind water filtration and aquaducts to the leader of M29-C19. He never did it again.

*

John ran with Ronon most mornings one of them wasn't injured, and he usually just came back to his room, showered, and went to breakfast. This morning, though, he'd had a thought about the remote controlled cars, and he couldn't wait to tell Rodney about it. He parted ways with Ronon and ran right to Rodney's quarters, hoping he was there, because he didn't want to wait. If he told Rodney before breakfast, by the time they got to the mess, Rodney would be ready to alter the cars as soon as he finished his oatmeal and toast.

"Hey Rodney," he said, wandering in to the open door. "I have this..."

Rodney whirled on him, hand still on the zipper of his uniform jacket. His eyes were huge.

"What?" John asked, looking behind him. He was about to ask Do I smell? when he realized he really did. "Sorry," he said, taking a step back toward the door. "I'll go shower and come back."

Rodney looked annoyed then. "Just tell me whatever it is before it gets steamed out of your pea brain in the shower."

John relaxed, explaining his idea for extending the range of the remote control so they could race them up and down the pier from one of the balconies.

"Right?" John said, nearly bouncing. He groaned internally. He used to be cool.

Rodney hadn't answered him, and his eyes looked a little glazed over, so John snapped his fingers in front of Rodney's face. "Earth to Rodney?"

Rodney shook his head, face returning to his normal people-are-idiots scowl in a half-second. "Atlantis to Rodney, you moron."

"Right," John said. "So what do you think?"

"Yes, okay," Rodney said, waving John off. "Let me think about it. I'll see you at breakfast."

*

Rodney started showing up in weird places after that. A few days later, he was working in an obscure lab in an area they hadn't scoped out more than the hallways of; it was why he and Ronon could run there and not usually be bothered by other personnel. When Rodney stuck his head out of the room as Ronon was kicking his ass down the hallway, John's heart rate kicked up a notch.

"Hey," John said as he ran by.

"Hey," Rodney said, and pulled his head back in the room.

Rodney showed up in the lab on their route every day or two for the next week. John was a little disappointed when Ronon scoped out a different route and he stopped seeing Rodney in the mornings.

Until Rodney was at his door one morning when he got back from his run, wringing his hands like he was going to pull them off. John wondered how long he'd been waiting.

"Rodney, what's going on?"

Rodney wrung his hands even harder, and John shoved Rodney into his quarters and shut and locked the door. He stood back a few feet, knowing how awful he must smell. Rodney stepped forward, leaning in, and John was torn between just getting closer to Rodney, damn the smell, and offering to shower but losing the moment.

"I never told you," Rodney said, taking another step closer. "Jennifer and I broke up when I came back to Pegasus."

John had wondered; Keller hadn't come with them, and while he was a big believer in the theory that distance made the heart grow fonder, it seemed a little far for a long-distance relationship. "I'm sorry," John said, wondering how much else he should say. "Why didn't you tell me?"

Rodney shrugged, and his head sagged just a little. John took a step closer, damn the smell. Rodney groaned a little.

"Because you were part of the reason we broke up," Rodney answered, and John closed his eyes and held his breath for a second.

"I never said anything to you about Jennifer," John said, just to clarify. He'd very carefully not said anything to Rodney, not ever.

"I know that," Rodney said. "And you never openly complained about how little time we spent together after Jennifer and I started dating, either. I was that asshole that dumps his friends when he gets a girlfriend."

John shrugged. "You were happy. What was I going to say?"

"Well, Jennifer noticed. She's smart that way. She's the one that bought the cars – not me."

John blinked. He'd been so thrilled at the olive branch that he never even questioned the turnaround in Rodney's behavior. "That was nice of her," John said, and he'd never not-liked Jennifer, but he was starting to not not-like her a little bit more.

"She noticed that you missed me," Rodney said.

Now Jennifer's insightfulness was cutting a little too close. "Oh really," he said, letting go of Rodney's arms. He backed up a couple of steps, too, but Rodney followed him, shuffling forward until they were just as close as before.

"John," Rodney said, and John knew it was the start of a question he probably didn't want to answer, but Rodney put a hand on John's arm and he was trapped like a rabbit in a snare. "Did you miss me?" There was a hard edge to the words – not sarcasm, exactly. Accusation, maybe.

"How could I miss you?" John said, twisting out of Rodney's grip. "It's not like you went anywhere."

A flash of uncertainty crossed Rodney's face before he became more determined, stepping in and taking one of John's arms in each his hands. "Did you miss me, John?" he asked again, and John couldn't twist out of this hold without breaking something of Rodney's – his fingers probably, or his nose, at least.

Sarcasm wouldn't get him out of this one. It had to be honesty, something Rodney could believe. "Yeah, I missed spending time with you." That was good.

Rodney shook John by the arms. "Okay, that is as subtle as I can manage, John Sheppard," Rodney said. "You smell like heaven right now and I want to lick every inch of your body, and I just want to know if Jennifer's right and you would like that." Rodney let go and John wobbled a bit, unsteady on his feet. "Or if you at least won't hate me for saying so."

"I…" John started, denials jumping into his brain in self-defense. "I…"

Rodney crossed his arms and waited. John could feel his mouth trying to form words, but none of them actually came out, and he couldn't stop blinking, like maybe he would close his eyes and when he opened them, he'd be lying in bed, half-conscious and jacking off.

"I smell like heaven?" he finally asked. "Heaven?"

It broke the weird tension and both of them laughed, but it wasn't two seconds before Rodney grabbed his arms again, pulling John close. "I want to lick you everywhere," he said, in a strangled voice that went straight to John's cock.

Rodney leaned in, and John closed his eyes, sure he was going to be kissed, but Rodney's cheek grazed his and John felt the scrape of Rodney's teeth on his earlobe. He wanted to bring his hands up to Rodney's head, but Rodney had an iron grip on his biceps. He wasn't willing to force the issue, especially not when Rodney traced his tongue down John's neck.

Once John's shirt collar got in the way, Rodney's hands were on the hem of his shirt, and John hesitated for only a microsecond before he lifted his arms to let Rodney take it off him. Rodney kept moving down John's body, spending a long time smelling John's skin, sucking in deep breaths of John's scent.

John wasn't sure what to do, so he kept his hands on whatever part of Rodney was within reach, and let Rodney lead.

Rodney knelt when he got too low to comfortably pass his tongue over John's stomach, and John tried to shuffle closer to the bed, but Rodney was pulling down his running shorts and putting his nose right into John's crotch, right next to John's balls, and he could feel the blood go straight to his cock.

Rodney pulled John's running shorts down and John stepped out of them, kicking them to the side. He toed off his shoes, too, and Rodney shoved him back the last couple of feet to the bed, stopping long enough to strip off John’s socks before spreading John’s legs and biting his way up John’s right leg, nosing his way back toward John’s crotch. John's hands reached for Rodney and all he could do was tangle his fingers in Rodney's hair and hold on. Rodney stayed there for a while, taking deep breaths through his nose and licking John’s hip and his balls and his thigh.

John was biting his cheek to keep from begging when Rodney finally put his mouth on John’s cock, curling his tongue around the head, and then swallowing him down, his tongue creating suction John could feel down to his bones.

Rodney had been breathing deeply through his nose the whole time, but with John's cock in his mouth, his breath was coming quicker. He liked sucking John's cock, and the thought pushed John over the edge. Rodney made a strangled noise when John came in his mouth, and it wasn't until John felt something hot and wet on his thigh that he realized Rodney'd been jacking himself off too – trust Rodney to be coordinated enough to manage that. It wasn't the first time John'd thought maybe Rodney had an extra hand somewhere. John hoped it was true – the things they could do with a spare hand...

Rodney let John's cock slide out of his mouth and lurched forward, clearly trusting John would catch him and maneuver them into some kind of comfortable position. He did; he just twisted them around halfway so Rodney was on his back and John was on one hip, leaning over for the kiss he missed out on earlier.

"What?" Rodney asked. "What are you doing?"

John froze.

"I taste like semen," Rodney said, like he could tell what John was thinking.

John didn't care if Rodney could tell what he was thinking – the relief nearly drowned him. "So what?" John asked. He reached a hand down to where Rodney's come was dripping down his thigh, running two fingers through it and licking them. Rodney's eyes darkened. "You taste like heaven."

That got him a wry grin, but Rodney didn't protest when John leaned in for another kiss.