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Rites of Passage

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Flicking through the paper one last time, Rodney was impressed by Philips' research on the Lycan. Of course, seeing his own name credited as a valuable resource, alongside Carson's and Jennifer's, was ample reason for him to feel particularly proud. With the existence of werewolves now common knowledge on Earth, this would be one of the first papers published with his name credited in at least a decade. That it was a soft science paper took a little of the pleasure away but Rodney could live with that.

Of course this particular paper contained only a fraction of the overall research as all references to the ATA gene, the Ancients, Atlantis, Pegasus, aliens - in fact, the whole Stargate program - had to be left out. Still, there was enough to make Philips a very happy and proud man, and Rodney too.

John shook his head and sighed, but he was smiling as Rodney crowed about the accolades he expected to receive, and how most of his peer group would be fuming, especially having saved most of them when Tunney's disastrous climate control experiment went haywire. He was still waiting for the formal release of his and Jeannie's work on the space-time matter bridge, but it was tied up in legal wrangling with Lawrence Kramer, the rich industrialist who had financed Tunney. Personally he thought that was ridiculous as all Tunney had done was adjust a few details to make the bridge work for his weather experiment.

John laid back on the bed, the sheet falling to his waist revealing the expanse of his lean but muscular chest, smattered in dark hairs that were surprisingly soft. He tucked his hands behind his head and the smile playing about his perfect lips were all the invitation Rodney needed to put aside the research paper and crawl back up the bed.

One kiss turned into many, with John unable to resist bringing his hands back down, sliding them over Rodney's skin, and reawakening his body to the pleasure of John's touch. In turn he heard the rumble of satisfaction as John arched into Rodney's touch, more cat than wolf at this moment. Lazily, they kissed and played, letting the sensations slowly build between them, allowing the pleasure to wash over them until they lay spent but sated in each other's arms.

Rodney loved John like this, all loose and carefree, and so vulnerable. He loved knowing he was trusted, and loved.

"Tell me about your first time," John asked, but Rodney knew he wasn't asking about sex.

Perhaps it was a self-preservation thing but Lycans didn't change for the first time until the onset of puberty, which came earlier than for pure humans, so it had become a rite of passage in most Lycan families.

"What age were you?" Rodney asked.

"Nine and a month."

Rodney could hear the pride in his voice. Most didn't transform for the first time until they were at least ten and the rest by the time they were eleven.

"Your father must have been so proud."

"Yeah. About the only thing I ever did right in his eyes."

Emotions produced pheromones, and Rodney could scent the bitterness in the air around them beneath the more acrid smell of sweat and semen. He sighed because his own story was no less bitter.

"When my eleventh birthday came and went with no sign of transformation, my father was... He was disappointed. I was a failure, already ostracized by my human peers at school because I was skipping grades, and now by my peers in The Pack. I wasn't the only one in the family. My mother's brother never transformed so my father blamed her. Bad genes."

He huffed, settling deeper into the arms tightening around him in comfort as they changed positions, with Rodney pillowing his head on John's shoulder, wrapping himself around John's warm body.

"They argued constantly after that, finding fault in each other. I guess I always blamed myself."

"Wasn't your fault," John murmured, softly stroking the arm slung across John's waist.

"A few months after my twelfth birthday I was heading home late from school. It was dark, and... cliche, I know, but it was a full moon. I shouldn't have taken the shortcut through the woods but I was already late and... Well, things hadn't been so good at home since..."

He waved a hand, not needing to explain the bad atmosphere in the house, the disappointment, and the cruel barbs from his father which he ignored by strengthening the defensive walls already raised from dealing with the kids at school.

"I heard the Lycan calls so I walked a little faster, but they were getting closer and I knew it was some of the younger members of the Pack who had picked up my scent. One came crashing out of the undergrowth, knocking me to the ground, turning and snarling in my face. I got up and ran as hard as I could. I thought they might kill me and I... I was so scared. You see, some of the Pack saw me as no better than a pure human, and pure humans were not allowed to know about the Lycan. For obvious reasons."

John's grip tightened further.

"I was running. So scared I dropped my backpack, and my clothes felt so tight I started tearing them off too. My coat, my t-shirt. Next thing I knew, my shoes were gone, pants shredded, and I was running on all fours. I ran like that all the way home." He paused, deep in thought. "They welcomed me into the Pack but..." Rodney moved until he could look into John's eyes. "But I never truly felt as if I fitted in until I came here. Until I joined the Atlantis Pack. Your pack."

John reached for him, drawing him down into a sweet kiss.

"This... You are my home too, Rodney."

Rodney rolled his eyes at John's flushed face as neither of them was any good at the emotional declarations. He decided to change the subject before they were both too embarrassed to speak.

"Parrish and his people finished landscaping the east pier. Not exactly perfect yet but..."

"But easier underfoot than metal and tiled floor," John stated.

"Exactly," Rodney replied with a click of his fingers. "And it smells nicer. Less of the rotting fish and rank sea water." He smiled. "What say we... run?"

"Yeah."

Within ten minutes they were on the east pier, stripping in the secluded changing area set just to the side of the transporter. Between one step and the next they were transforming, dropping to all fours as they took on wolf form. Moments later they were running side by side, and although it would be months, if not years before the east pier was a wooded park once more, it still felt amazing to feel the earth beneath their paws and the breeze rippling though their fur as they ran and ran.

END