Rodney knew John was close to the breaking point after they wrote Dr. Jane Biro's name on the Memory Wall. He kept a close eye on him. They all did and he knew it. Finally, on the afternoon of the third day after the ceremony, Kate blew up at him, deliberately trying to provoke him. He went white with anger at the things she said then turned and stalked to the entrance of the main cave. After he paused to look out before leaving, he said over his shoulder, "Picking a fight with me isn't going to work, Heightmeyer, cut it out." One hand resting on the 9 mil at his hip, he stalked out.
"Damn!" she muttered quietly.
Rodney touched her shoulder briefly, "I can probably get him to fight with me." He gave her a wry smile.
She looked at him sadly, "If he can't let some of this stress and anger out somehow, I'm worried he's going to hurt himself."
Rodney nodded and jogged out after him, also pausing automatically to look out first.
A glance in the two caves to the south showed him they were empty so Rodney started jogging for the one up the steep trail to the west. It was the only safe place with real privacy outside the main cave complex and regardless of Kate's opinion of John's stress level, Rodney didn't think he was interested in actual suicide by going for a run alone this late in the day.
He found him at the mouth of the high cave, looking out over the valley.
"She send you after me McKay?" he asked quietly, plucking a handful of leaves and dropping them one by one into the breeze to watch them flutter down and away.
"She's worried, we all are. It wasn't your fault."
"You think I don't fucking know that? It doesn't matter that it wasn't my fault. It's one more of us gone. One more I couldn't keep safe. One more... " he stopped but Rodney knew what he was going to say, one more promise broken.
"Elizabeth would understand John," he said, leaning against the rough stone beside John.
"Of course Weir would understand. Weir would be the one writing Jane's name on the wall, not me. Not me. Jesus, this isn't what I wanted. I wanted... I want..."
John snorted, "You know? Fuck McKay, what do you think you know?"
"I know you need to let go of this crap you're loading yourself down with!"
John tossed the rest of the leaves into the air, "Let go? You want me to let go McKay?" He rounded on McKay with such furious anger Rodney backed away into the cave without even realizing it. John stalked forward, his fury pushing Rodney back until his heels hit the slope of the side wall.
"I'm barely holding on as it is and you want me to let go?" John shoved him back against the rough wall of the cave and held him there, hands against his chest while he looked at him. John's eyes flicked across Rodney's face, following the curve of his eyebrow, ghosting across his cheekbone, touching his ear, his jaw line, stopping on his mouth. He started to lean in, fingers sliding down to Rodney's hips and Rodney leaned away, at least as far as the wall would let him.
"We shouldn't be doing this. Major! Really!" Rodney pressed his hands to the wall behind him.
John frowned, his fingers twisting into the worn BDU's that bagged loosely around Rodney's hips.
"Major, I won't let you ruin your career like this!" Rodney hissed at him.
John snorted in dry amusement.
"Fine! Then what about your men? I don't want them to think..." Rodney put his hands to John's chest and pushed against him.
"What do you think?" John pushed Rodneys' hands aside and pressed himself forward. "Do you want this? Will you let me have it? Because I want it and it's damn clear that life is too short not to have what we want."
"Yeah, well I want coffee! Isn't it too fucking bad?" Rodney twisted sideways out from between John and the wall.
John wrapped his hand around Rodney's bicep and pulled him back to face him. "We aren't talking about coffee, are we? I can't give you coffee, but you can give me this. The question isn't about my fucking career or the opinion of these people who aren't really my men anymore." He looked into Rodney's face, anger written across his own. "The question is if you want it. I want it, I need it! So bad I just want to take it from you!"
Rodney glared back at him and John lowered his eyes, "I won't though," he continued quietly. "We've all had so much taken from us, I won't take this from you. If you don't want it... just... forget it." John let go and turned away only to stop when their positions reversed with Rodney grabbing John.
"I do. If you haven't figured that out, you are more stupid then you pretend to be." Rodney pulled him closer, "But I don't do secrets. When you can't bluff or lie well it's pointless to try. If you want this, you are not going to hide it. There won't be any 'don't ask, don't tell' bullshit. If you can't accept that then I can't give you this."
"Don't you get it McKay? I don't care!" Tension vibrated through John, his shoulders and arms tight under Rodney's hands.
"Okay!" Rodney wrapped his arms around John, threading his fingers through the hair at the back of his neck, "okay, it's okay John."
For a moment John's shoulders slumped and all the tension left him. Rodney thought he might slide right out of his grasp and shifted to catch him. Then John came alive in his arms, yanking his vest open, pulling up his shirt to splay his hands across Rodney's skin, mouth grinding against his lips. Rodney felt the frantic energy in him, felt the hopelessness he was trying to outrun and just tried to keep up with him.
John pulled Rodney's tac vest off his shoulders and Rodney shrugged it down his arms to drop in the dirt behind him. He tried to pull John's off but it was already falling before he got his hands on it, so he reached for the faded black tee shirt instead. Thumbs hooked under the bottom hem, he gathered it into his hands as they skimmed up John's chest and lifted it over his head. John yanked it off his arms and tossed it aside then helped Rodney pull his shirt over his head. The feel of a bare chest on his slowed him down slightly. He slid his hands up Rodney's back, and sighed at the lean muscles he felt against his chest and under his hands.
"You aren't getting enough to eat." John slid his cheek along Rodney's temple.
"I'm just running a lot more." Rodney murmured into his neck.
John reached down between them and loosened Rodney's belt. Rodney started to unstrap his side arm but John stopped him with a shake of his head.
"You sleep with a gun, don't you?" Rodney asked.
John frowned at him, "Why aren't you?"
"You really want me grabbing a gun while I'm half awake? I'm more likely to shoot myself then anything attacking me."
John worked the buttons of Rodney's pants open without looking down, "We'll have to work on that, then. I told you, no one goes unarmed, anywhere, or anytime."
"We can talk about guns later. I'm interested in other things right now." Rodney mumbled.
"Oh yeah, I've got other things to do with my mouth then talk about guns right now," John said and went to his knees in front of Rodney, pulling the band of his boxers down and reaching inside.
"Wh... uh... oh... " Rodney's hands trailed across John's head as he leaned his own head back on the rough wall.
John wrapped his thumb and first finger around Rodney's cock, pulling the foreskin down with a firm grip and ran his tongue up it in a broad swipe then flicked teasingly at the tip. Rodney's stuttering inhale came out in a groan. Wetting his hand, John slid the palm up and down the firm length, sucking gently on the head. He thrust his other hand down inside Rodney's shorts and grasped his balls, rolling them in his fingers and squeezing gently until more gasps and groans encouraged him to increase the pressure.
Rodney gripped John's head in his hands, pulling him away, "slow down or I'm not gonna last..."
John pulled free of his hands, "You don't have to last and I don't want to slow down," he said and drove his mouth down the length of Rodney's cock, swallowing it as deep as he could while sliding his wet palm and fingers up and down the remainder. Rodney's gasps took on a deeper tone as his balls tightened up. John pulled his hand out and braced the shaking leg as his mouth filled and he fought to swallow it all. He ended up moving both hands to Rodney's thighs to support him as he shook and convulsed through his orgasm. He softened but John stayed with him, keeping his mouth around him, holding him still and warm until the last twitches ebbed. When he pulled free, he lifted the elastic to let Rodney's cock fall gently back inside his shorts.
Rodney panted above him, both hands clutching John's shoulders as he caught his breath. When he opened his eyes and looked down, John was sitting on his heels and watching him intently. Rodney fastened his pants and belt back up then sank to his knees in front of John. He wrapped his hands up behind his back into his hair and kissed him deeply, tasting himself in John's mouth.
John pulled back, "You really seem to have a thing for my hair."
"It's been flirting with me since we met. It's only fair that I finally get to play with it." Rodney twisted a lock between his fingers, sighing inwardly at the amount of grey threading though the temples.
"My hair?" John grimaced.
"Never mind." Rodney muttered and ran his hand down John's belly. He smiled when he continued down past his belt and felt John hot and hard through the fabric of his pants. John rose up on his knees, pushing into Rodney's hand.
"That's not my hair I'm flirting with McKay."
"No. No, it's definitely not." Rodney loosened John's belt and pulled at his fly. "Huh," he grunted when he got the buttons open. "I didn't know you went commando," he said reaching in to pull John free of his pants.
"Yeah, well..." he slid a finger along Rodney's waist tracing the band of his thread worn boxers. "Looks like you'll soon be joining me, unless you're willing to wear those Athosian style shorts."
"Hm, okay, you have a point. But sooner or later we are going to start wearing the clothes we can trade for. The stuff we've got is wearing out." John kissed him. "Right, better things to do with my mouth." Rodney pushed against his shoulder to get him to lie back but John shook his head again.
"I'm not lying down out here." John said, "It's not secure enough."
"What, you're going to stay on watch while I blow you? I think you've just insulted my skill."
John glared at him, "I'm not lying down McKay."
"Fine. Then give me a little more room here." Rodney pushed him away from the wall.
John shuffled back on his knees and turned slightly to be able to keep an eye on the entrance. Rodney tucked his knees under him and bent forward between John's thighs while John braced his left hand behind him and leaned back. Rodney braced himself on one hand as well and wrapped his other around John's cock. John's other hand reached for his cheek and he turned his head to kiss the palm. His cheek caressed by John's thumb, Rodney gave him a wicked smile. Then he lowered his head with that single-minded attention that Rodney usually reserved for a new piece of tech, determined to get John to give up control, even for a short time.
He took the tip of John's cock into his mouth and ran his tongue along the edge of the head. He sucked and pressed it into the roof of his mouth with his tongue. Rodney hummed low and John groaned, pushing forward with his hips but Rodney rose with him, not taking any more of John into his mouth. When John relaxed back down on his heels, Rodney teased his tongue across the tip for a moment then sucked him deeper into his mouth. John groaned again but stopped himself from thrusting, keeping himself to a slight twitch.
Rodney pulled off, shifted position slightly and slid back down, swallowing John until the dark curls of hair at the base tickled his nose. John's breathing started to speed up and Rodney started a rhythm, sliding off until his lips wrapped around just below the head then sinking back down. He used his spit to keep John wet and kept his rhythm steady. Soon John's twitching hips turned into full on thrusting. Rodney relaxed his throat, taking him deep.
John dropped both hands to the ground behind him and thrust up into Rodney's mouth a few more times before gasping out something that Rodney didn't quite understand but he caught the gist. Then he caught the mouthful that John shot into his mouth, swallowing it down.
When John was done Rodney let him go, sat up and leaned back to rest against the cave wall. John started to struggle to sit up but Rodney patted him on the knee, "Take it easy John, I'll keep watch for a while."
John nodded, dropped his head back down and straightened out his legs. He tucked himself into his pants and pulled them shut, sighing in limp contentment. They sat there in quiet, John's breathing slowing and Rodney enjoying the sound of him while he watched the light begin to fade into evening.
Rodney realized John's breathing had evened out into sleep and he reluctantly shook him awake, "We have to go back, you don't want to sleep here."
John stood, fastened his fly and belt then put on the shirt and vest Rodney handed him. He stretched, twisting his back until they both heard joints pop. Rodney leaned forward and touched his lips to the strip of bare belly revealed.
"You wanna go round again? We'll miss dinner and you can't afford that." John grasped Rodney's hand and pulled him to his feet.
"Mmm, more tuttle root soup." There was a definite lack of enthusiasm in Rodney's voice.
"Marta is cooking tonight." John shook out Rodney's shirt and handed it to him.
"I know. Don't get me wrong, she's a fine cook. I'm just getting a little tired of soup." Rodney said as he pulled on his own shirt and vest. "Miller's team should be back with fresh fruit tomorrow though, right?"
"I'm thinking we need a good roast." John said, a rare smile lighting his face briefly.
"Oh, no. You ended up with eighteen stitches the last time we went after one of the T-rex's. No. We can go hunt on some other world, where the animals don't have teeth bigger then my head!" Rodney held up his hands, gesturing emphatically but John didn't seem convinced "Major, we almost lost Simpson last time."
John stopped at the entrance, looked to see if it was clear then looked at Rodney before leaving, "Yeah, we're not taking her this time but I'm tired of tuttle root too. Besides, I promised Ronon we'd hunt one."
Rodney followed him out, also checking before leaving and muttering sarcastically, "Oh, well... if you promised Ronon, then I guess we'll just have to, won't we?"
"Shut up Rodney."
Rodney heard the smile in his voice even if he knew it wouldn't be on his face and sighed in contentment. They may be stuck in this armpit of a galaxy with few resources and soul sucking vampires after them, but Rodney heard more then a ghost of the old John in the complaint and knew he had pulled him back from the edge. Hopefully the next abyss wouldn't be looming too close. Keeping a wary eye on their surroundings, he followed John back to camp and a hot, if boring, dinner.
When they walked into the main cavern almost everyone was there. Carson and Radek walked out from deeper in the complex bickering good-naturedly about something as they joined the group gathering bowls and mugs from the rack near the fire. Radek paused in the conversation when he spotted them enter. Carson asked him the same question a second time then looked around to see what he was watching. Seeing nothing but the men and women he expected to see he looked back at Radek, question in his eyes. Radek smiled and shrugged, indicating it was nothing, gesturing for Carson to join the line at the soup pot.
Ronon was, as usual, first with his bowl to the pot and already eating. When John and Rodney passed by they both heard him sniff at them. John paused, back stiff. Rodney looked at him, wondering if Ronon could smell the sex on them and wondering what John would do. Ignoring both of them, John resumed the walk toward the pot. Rodney frowned and followed looking from John's back to Ronon, who had gone back to shoveling soup into his mouth.
Teyla and Ford were sitting, heads bent together discussing something but broke off when Teyla spotted them. Her shifted attention caught Ford's eye. He looked up as they walked by. John nodded a silent greeting. Ford watched him go past and considered the relaxed set of his shoulders, the lessening of tension lines around his mouth.
Bates, Yamato, Crown and Simpson interrupted the game of cards they were playing to get soup when Marta called to them.
Dinner is quieter then usual and it became obvious even to Rodney that there are whispers and elbow nudges traveling though the group. John pointedly ignores it and Rodney can't help the spiral of despair and self-loathing over John's rejection. He choked down the last of his soup and got up to leave.
John stands when he does but Rodney can't bring himself to look at him.
"You want some help?"
Rodney turned to him angrily and barked, "With what Major?"
John stood his ground and quietly said, "Moving your stuff."
"Why would I need to move my stuff?" Rodney asked with obvious confusion.
"Well, that niche you're sleeping in is going to be kinda crowded with two in it. I thought we'd be more comfortable where I have my stuff."
Rodney just stood still, blinking at John. John raised his eyebrow at him and Rodney realized he's leaving John hanging after he publicly announced they're sleeping together.
"Uh... yeah. Yeah, some help would be nice." Rodney said, a gentle smile graced his face.
"Major?" Sergeant Bates spoke up behind them.
Rodney's face fell and he looked back at Bates still sitting by the fire, empty bowl in his hand. This was exactly what he had been afraid of. The despair John's words had dispelled flooded back into Rodney. John has just lost the respect of all his men, if they don't kick the shit out of both of them right now, they'll wait too long on some mission to back him up, letting the wraith kill him for them.
John looked calmly back at the group sitting behind them. Carson seemed confused but realized he had missed something. Radek leaned over and murmured something that made him blink as comprehension dawned. Teyla and Ford glanced at each other then shared a smile. Kate nodded at him solemnly but the corners of her mouth were turned up. Yamato and Crown looked up at John then at Bates. Ronon rolled his eyes and continued eating.
John met Bates' eyes and asked, "Yes Sergeant?"
"Have a good night, sir." He said and held his bowl out for a refill. Marta smiled, ladled more soup into the bowl and winked at Rodney.
Rodney stood frozen, stunned by what had just transpired, hardly daring to believe. He jumped when John put a hand on his shoulder.
"Shall we?" he asked.
Rodney nodded, picked up a lantern and headed deeper into the complex, John at his side.