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Rodney sat on the edge of his bed staring at his hands, which were still covered in blood. Dark brown now, all he could see was it bright red and pulsing out of Ronon and Teyla as he frantically tried to stem the flow. He shook his head hard and stood. He'd been ordered back to his quarters to shower, and then he could go back to the infirmary to wait for news on Ronon.

Stripping off with brief, sharp movements, he threw his uniform away. He was never going to wear it again. Climbing into the shower, he watched as pink water swirled away. Suddenly, he had to be clean, and grabbing the soap he started to frantically wash himself.

By the time he stopped, his skin was red from the hard strokes, and he felt raw, scraped open. Getting out, he dressed hurriedly in casual clothes and made his way back to the infirmary.

John was there, eyes red-rimmed, standing watch over a sleeping Teyla, who was unnaturally pale in white hospital scrubs. White bandages swathed her arms, and there was more of a bandage peaking out from the neck. Rodney didn't want to know how many stitches those bandages covered, but he knew that Teyla would be okay. Knife cuts to the arm were painful - he knew from experience - but she hadn't lost too much blood from them. And the long gash on her chest hadn't penetrated muscle; there wasn't any internal damage.

Unlike Ronon, and unwillingly, Rodney looked around, half expecting and half fearing to see Carson, because that would mean that the gut wound had been too much. John's voice was harsh when he said, "He's still in surgery. Lots of damage that had to be repaired."

Rodney nodded quietly and pulled over a chair, shoving it at John. "Sit before you fall." John shook his head, but did as he was told, sitting quietly, staring at his own hands.

He wanted to comfort John, tell him that it'll all be okay, but for all he knew, that would be a big lie. And he didn't lie to John, not ever. So he said the only thing he could, "He's strong."

"I know." It's quiet but there was strength behind it, a force of will that if it had its way would stop at nothing to make it right. Rodney knew it came from the same place that was currently providing the soundtrack of guilt that's obviously playing in John's head, the music discordant and out of tune. Rodney didn't know how to stop it, how to make John realize that this wasn't his fault, so he did the only thing he could. He pulled a chair over and sat next to John, waiting for news on Ronon, waiting for Teyla to wake.

It was long enough that Rodney had dozed off in his chair when Carson came out. He was bloodied, but he was smiling. John shifted to stand, startling Rodney into doing the same. "Well?" he asked impatiently, not willing to wait while Carson dithered about.

"He's a lucky, lucky man. That knife managed to miss all of his internal organs. Cut up his intestines somewhat - that's what took so long to repair - but I think he'll make a full recovery. And before you ask, he'll be out for at least a couple of days, so you might as well go back to your rooms and get some sleep. I'll not let you see him before you've had at least eight hours."

Rodney was ready to argue, because he knew how important it was that John see for himself, but John just nodded as if hearing something he expected and turned to leave, surprising Rodney and derailing his rant.

Before he could recover, John was already out of the infirmary and moving along at a steady clip up the hallway. He didn't have to run to catch up, but it was a close thing. "Colonel? Sheppard?" John didn't pause, just kept moving towards the transporters. "John! Wait - are you okay?"

"Just peachy, Rodney." But John didn't slow, didn't stop, didn't even look Rodney in the face. Rodney grabbed him by the arm and swung him to a halt, forcing him to look. For a long moment, they stood in a frozen tableau, and then John swore viciously and pivoted, punching the wall.

"Okay, that'll be enough of that, I think." Rodney grabbed John by his shirt and hauled him along to his room. The door opened before he could trigger it, obviously responding to John's will, and when they got in the room, he shoved John towards the bed. "Sit down and let me see your hand."

It said something about John's state of mind that he didn't argue, just sat on the edge of the bed, cradling his fist in his other hand. By the time Rodney got back from the bathroom with the first aid kit, John was staring into space, lost in his own thoughts. Rodney knelt on the floor in front of him and reached out for the hand.

John could move his hand, but it was swelling pretty spectacularly, and Rodney didn't doubt that it was bruised all to hell. Carefully, he wrapped it in an ace bandage, then dropped a kiss on the knuckles. "Want to talk about it?"

"No." But John's voice made it more of a question than a statement, and Rodney just waited patiently, wondering even as he did it when he learned to be patient. After a few minutes of silence, John said, in a halting voice, "It's just - they took half my team, and I couldn't get back to protect them in time. They sliced them up like they were so much meat."

Rodney could sympathize - it was half of his team, as well - but he hadn't been in command. Times like this, it was a damn good thing that he wasn't, because his impulse was to go back with all of the marines and raze the town to the ground for hurting Teyla and Ronon, for making John look like this. For hurting them all bad enough that John was willing to talk about his feelings, for god's sake.

He knew himself well enough to know he could be petty and vindictive, but right now he doubted anyone would blame him.

But he couldn't do what he really wanted. Instead, he did the only thing he did, and kissed John's knuckles again, feeling a little bit of the tension leaving the muscles in his arms, his thighs. "Are you going to be able to sleep?"

John laughed, but there was no amusement in the sound. Rodney knew that feeling, knew that it meant laying in bed, staring at the ceiling, unless something or someone stepped in to help. "Are you willing to let me help?" John's gaze sharpened, locking on to his eyes as if they were the only thing in the room. Rodney held his breath - this had always gone one way, and he didn't even know if John would be willing to let him try.

Slowly, he nodded. "Yes." A hesitation. "Please."

Without looking away, Rodney reached for John's shirt, lifting it carefully over his head. While John hadn't been cut up by the Therians, he hadn't gotten away unscathed, and that was writ clearly over his chest and stomach. Bruises that were still blackening covered the skin, but he didn't look at them. Instead he stared into John's eyes and ran soft hands over them.

Rodney could tell when he hit a particularly tender spot by the way that John gasped, but he never looked away either, and no sound spilled out from between his lips. For long moments, Rodney just touched, but then he surged up from his knees, needing to kiss John, to taste him.

Unlike his hands, this wasn't gentle, it wasn't soft. It was harsh and demanding, as Rodney insisted that John surrender to him. John's slightly chapped lips opened for him, and he slid his tongue into his mouth, slick and claiming. When he finally had to breathe and pulled back, John's eyes were closed, and he was breathing hard.

Standing, Rodney waited until John's eyes opened, then said, "Take your pants off, John." Without waiting to see if he'd be obeyed, he turned to go to the chest where John kept the small selection of toys that had always been used on Rodney. Taking out the cuffs, he stood for a moment and contemplated, then got out the gag. Maybe John would be more willing to make noise if he felt that he couldn't be too loud.

By the time he turned around, John was standing, naked, by the side of the bed. His cock was half hard, his eyes were hungry, and he stared at Rodney's hands with undisguised want. Rodney couldn't help his reaction. He crossed the room in two long steps and dropped the toys on the bed, running his hands into John's hair and pulling him in for another kiss.

If the earlier one had been carnal, this was brutal, Rodney taking John's mouth deep and hard. Rodney could taste the bright copper of new pennies when he let go this time, and there was a little smear of blood on John's lip. A glance down confirmed that John was all the way hard, and some undefined tension in Rodney let loose. This was going to work.

Using his greater bulk to its best advantage, he shoved John down so that he was sitting on the edge of the bed and picked up the cuffs. He didn't even have to tell John to hold out his hands, because by the time the words formed, he'd already done it. Fastening the leather around John's wrists, he clipped them together and then picked up the gag. John was already shaking his head when he lifted it, but he didn't say no, and opened his mouth obediently enough for the knot of material to be slid between his teeth and tied behind his head.

Leaving John sitting there, he backed off enough to strip out of his own clothes gracelessly, watching as John's face relaxed and opened. Stepping out of his pants, he roughly pushed John till he was lying on his back, climbing on the bed and kneeling straddling his waist. He could feel John's cock pressing against his ass and it was tempting to push back into it, but it wouldn't give John the release he knew he craved.

Instead, he leaned forward onto his hands. Regretting the gag for a moment - he wanted to kiss John, dammit -he nuzzled at John's neck and collarbone, then bit down gently. He was rewarded by a soft sound, halfway between a moan and a sigh. Moving carefully, he shifted further down, nibbling on John's hairy chest, finding a nipple almost by accident.

When he bit down, John groaned and his hips pressed up. Rodney sat up and pushed down on John's hips. "Don't move," he said, watching John's face for agreement. When he got it, he went back to nibbling softly on that nipple, alternating with blowing cool air over it. John was moaning steadily, only to have the sound sharpen when Rodney bit down hard. Rodney kept up the pressure for long seconds, then released it.

Raising his eyes without moving, he found John staring at him. "What? Just because I haven't done this before doesn't mean I haven't thought about it." John smiled around the gag and arched one eyebrow. "Oh, I'm so going to make you scream for that one." John's eyes made it clear that he was laughing at that.

Maneuvering further down, Rodney shuddered at the feel of John's cock pressing into his stomach. There was part of Rodney that wondered at himself - he'd never been dominant in bed, so where had this confidence come from? The rest of him firmly told his brain to shut up and go with it.

Sharp nips and delicate bites to John's stomach, and Rodney had found two tickle spots and a few spots that made John make that sighing/moaning noise. He spent a happy few moments tongue fucking John's belly button, and the feel of John's cock brushing against his chin made him moan, tempted to swoop down and take it into his mouth, suck him till he came. Instead, he blinked that thought away. If this was too easy on John, it wouldn't accomplish anything.

This time, he spread John's legs forcefully before he knelt between them, looking over John's body. He was shivering, eyes closed. Rodney gently gathered his balls in one hand and tugged them, making John's eyes fly open. "Keep them open, John. I want you to know who you're here with." John gave an all over body shudder, but his eyes stayed open, locked on Rodney.

Rodney smoothed his hands up John's hairy thighs, finally coming to a stop on his hips, helping him tip them further. "Have you ever been fucked?" he asked, curious. John's eyes grew wide and he shook his head. "It's unlike anything else. It burns at first, and then it's nearly overwhelming pleasure." He let go of one of John's hips and traced a path down, next to cock and balls, back to the shadowed hole that he could just barely see. "I'm gonna fuck you, hard. But before I do, I'm going to take off that gag and you're going to beg for it."

John shook his head again, and Rodney smiled. He'd been in John's position many times, and he always ended up begging. He had no doubt that he could do the same for John. Just to be on the safe side, though, he leaned up and tugged the gag off. He wanted to be able to hear John.

Sliding down, he lifted John's legs over his shoulders and spread his cheeks, studying the little hole that was clenched tight. "Don't, Rodney, don't - " John said, but the words broke into a soft groan when Rodney dipped his head and kissed him right on his entrance.

He'd obviously obeyed Elizabeth's orders that he shower, because he smelled of soap, with only a faint hint of musk. Rodney didn't care, beginning an all out assault on John's entrance, licking and nibbling, using the tip of his tongue and long sucking kisses until the hole started to relax, started to unclench. John was still saying, "Stop. I don't want this. Rodney!" but it was broken up with groans and soft sighs, and he never said red, so Rodney didn't stop.

Rodney wasn't confident enough to hurt John, not the way that John hurt him, but he knew that if he could push him high enough with pleasure, it would work the same way. And he was determined to make it good for John, to hear those sounds that he could tell that John was holding back from him.

When he finally slid the tip of his tongue into John, John's voice broke on a sob. "Oh, god. Ohgodohgodohgod." For long minutes, he tongue-fucked John, until he was sweating and writhing on the bed, pushing down into Rodney's face. Rodney's face was numb and his tongue was tired, but that was just step one.

When he pulled back, John whimpered. Wiping his face on the sheet, he looked up at John's face. He was flushed and panting, mouth open even though he wasn't saying anything. Rodney didn't say anything either, he just slid his hand where his face had been and pressed against John's hole with his thumb.

John jumped and immediately started up with the litany of don'ts, but his body was pressing down into Rodney's hand, and he slipped his thumb inside, slowly fucking John with it. Carefully, he opened John with his thumb, while he shifted up and took the tip of John's cock into his mouth.

That got a shout and John immediately thrust up into Rodney's mouth, then pressed back to where he was being opened. Rodney flattened John's hip with his free hand, pushing it into the bed. Lifting his head, he looked up at John and said, "If you move, I'll stop."

Shaking his head frantically, John said, "No, don't stop. I'll be good."

Rodney studied his face for a long moment, then nodded and went back to nuzzling and licking just the crown of John's cock. John whined and whimpered, but didn't move, and in reward Rodney took the head back into his mouth and sucked it gently.

"Oh, please, please, please, Rodney. Please, more?" John begged. His voice was broken and rough, and Rodney couldn't resist giving him at least a little of what he asked for, taking in more of John's cock into his mouth and sucked powerfully. It was only when John started to chant, "Rodney, Rodney, Rodney," that he pulled back, giving one last obscene slurp to the head as he did so. John whined, but didn't move.

John's ass had relaxed around his thumb, and he could move it in and out easily, so he did. With his other hand, he gently fondled John's balls, letting them shift inside their soft skin. John's breath was coming in hard, heated pants, and Rodney smiled a little inwardly. Slowly, he slid his thumb out of John.

Whining, John's hips started to move again, pressing down into Rodney's hand. "Please don't stop, please don't..."

Rodney pressed the tip of his thumb back inside. "You want it, John? Want more?" John nodded frantically, hips still moving erratically. Rodney fought to keep his voice low and level. "You have to ask for it. You know what you want, you just have to ask."

Closing his eyes for a moment, John took a deep breath, then opened them again and caught Rodney's gaze. "Fuck me? Please, please fuck me, I-I want it."

He rewarded John with a kiss. He knew from experience how hard it could be to ask for something that you don't think you should want. As he kissed John, dirty and slick, he reached over to the nightstand, picking up the tube of lube.

Pushing himself back to his knees, he slicked up his cock and set the tube back down. Hands on John's hips, he tipped them up further and looked down to make sure that he was lined up properly, the head of his cock pressing up against John's hole.

John's breathing was picking up its pace, and one look at John's face told Rodney that he was close to panic. Immediately, Rodney lifted one hand and rested it on the side of John's face, even as the tip of his cock pressed inside, just a fraction of an inch. "Shh, John, not going to hurt you, I promise."

His arms flexed, pulling on the cuffs holding them so securely, and Rodney braced himself for John's safeword. Instead, he said, "I know," and pressed down.

Rodney gasped, as his cock sunk in a little further into the slick heat that was John. All he wanted to do was slam hard into John, fuck him hard and fast, because it had been a long time since he'd been the one fucking, but he couldn't bring himself to do that to John. Instead, he pressed in slow and steady.

He got in about halfway before John clenched down, and Rodney pulled back a little ways, adding more lube, then pressed in deep. As he bottomed out within John, he couldn't help giving a little moan. But this wasn't about him, it was about John, and so he pulled back out, using his hand on John's hip to adjust the angle, and pushed back inside.

He'd hit John's prostate. He could tell because John's eyes grew big, and all the tension in his body just flowed away. "Oh, god, that's... that's good." John sounded almost surprised, and Rodney chuffed out a laugh.

"What? You didn't think I just endured being fucked, did you? It feels," he thrust with a little more force behind it, nailing John's prostate, "good, doesn't it?"

John was nodding hard, hands clenching rhythmically in the cuffs. Rodney thrust once or twice more, just getting John used to it, then paused, sliding his hands down John's thighs and lifting them higher, practically bending John in half. "Ready?"

Still nodding, John looked eager. "Oh, yeah, please?"

Rodney couldn't help grinning at that. Somehow, he didn't think this was going to be the last time he got to fuck John. With that, he started to thrust, pushing in deep. His hands found their way to John's shoulders, pressing them deeper into the bed, bending him further. He couldn't talk anymore, but from the look on John's face, he didn't have to.

It took some doing, but he managed to work one hand between them, stripping John's cock in time to his thrusts. John's eyes were locked on him, as he breathed hard, whimpering on every stroke. Rodney smiled and tightened his hand, making John cry out and twist. "I'm close," Rodney whispered, loving the reaction that got. John whined and lunged up, bringing his face close enough to Rodney's for him to kiss.

Rodney obliged, kissing John deeply, tasting his desperation to come. Corkscrewing his hand around the head of John's dick, he whispered, "Give it up for me, John. Let it go, just let. It. Go."

John started keening, all of his muscles growing tight and his ass convulsing around Rodney's cock as he came, pulling Rodney's orgasm along with it. Rodney tried to focus on keeping his hand moving; gentling John through his orgasm, but it was hard as pleasure washed through him.

Finally, though, he couldn't keep it anymore, and he collapsed to the side, rolling both of them and sliding out of John. John moaned and shook, obviously overloaded. Rodney tried to keep his brain online long enough to fumble the cuffs off, and then he had an armful of clinging John, who was still keening softly.

"Shh, John, shh. It's okay, I've got you," Rodney murmured, running a hand through sweat-soaked hair, the other wrapped around John's back and patting him awkwardly. Gradually, John calmed, and without ever saying a word, fell into a deep sleep.

Rodney lay there, holding John and staring at the ceiling. John had been there for him more times than he could count. This was the least he could do for John. But at some level, he had to acknowledge, this changed everything.