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Making A Choice

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Proposal

Rodney didn’t even notice the door to the lab sliding open with an uncharacteristic thud, nor did he notice his minions pausing in their work to straighten their backs and give a stiff, respectful bow. He did notice something was amiss when a hand gripped his elbow tightly and forcibly removed him from his seat, dragging him toward the door - still standing open - and out into the corridor. Rodney’s indignant cry and attempts to escape were cut short when he realized who it was who had so unceremoniously dragged him from his very important work. He stopped struggling and allowed himself to be practically hauled down the corridor and into a transporter.

John spent such little time in his office that Rodney was surprised when he led him there, face purposely bland. Those who knew him well, like Rodney, would have noted the tension in his body. It made Rodney hold his tongue, his complaints wisely swallowed down. Contrary to popular belief, Rodney did know when to hold his tongue.

John’s office was spacious and well decorated, but lacked any windows or natural light. This room, though beautiful, was too closed in for John’s tastes, who had a well known love of the sky. The Royal Advisers refused to allow John to move to another room, one with a window. The King’s safety was paramount , they said. He must make do. Though Rodney agreed John’s safety was important - for a multitude of reasons - he thought the decree was ridiculous. John had an open door policy when he was in his office, easy for some would-be assassin to advantage. When he wasn’t in his office, which was most of the time, he could be found wandering Section One, bothering scientists and engaging in military activity.

The sound of the door locks engaging startled Rodney. When John began to pace Rodney felt a sense of foreboding come over him. Rodney was not at all spiritual, had no interest in Ascension, and thus had not gained any of the Gifts. Still, at this very moment, he could not shake the idea that something big was coming, that his life was about to change.

His King wasted no time throwing him in the deep end.

“What are your thoughts on marriage?” John continued before Rodney could do more than open his mouth. “Never mind. Will you marry me?”

What ?” Rodney squawked. He felt like all the blood had rushed out of his head. Dizzy and lightheaded, he staggered over to the overstuffed chair John kept for visitors and collapsed into it. John followed him, hovering. “Did you take a little after hours trip to the botanical gardens? Smoked something you shouldn’t have?”

“The Council is once again pushing for a royal union.” John wrinkled his nose, looking unfairly attractive. “This time they have the full support of the Advisers.”

“Oh...crap,” Rodney said. The Council was always going on about John producing an heir, was always pushing pretty royals John’s way. John’s chosen group of Advisers was made up of those with more common blood, who were less concerned with bloodlines and the Ancestral gene. But if the two groups had come to an agreement, there was no way John was going to escape making a choice.

“Have they come to an agreement on who the best candidate is?”

“It’s been made clear to me that Chaya Sar is a strong contender,” John answered, moving around his desk to slump bonelessly in his chair. Rodney felt his back twinge just looking at him.

“That doesn’t seem too bad? You two have a history,” Rodney commented. Sar had the ancestral gene and was kind to the commoners; she was the best of both worlds, really. He felt a little sick at the idea of Sar as John’s wife, but he was certain that was just because he didn’t care for the woman. Definitely not any other reason.

“Chaya is great. I’m very attracted to her physically.” John grinned slyly. Though Rodney didn’t know what caused their split, he did unfortunately know it wasn’t an issue in the bedroom. “I just don’t think I could be married to her.”

“Leaving aside why,” Rodney said impatiently. “What makes you think marriage to me will be a better prospect?”

“We’re friends. You know me,” John said simply. He leaned forward, looking intent. “I like spending time with you. You’re smart and good looking, we have the same interests. It’s a good idea.”

“It is not a good idea. Are you mentally unstable? You can tell me. I won’t let people know their King is unfit,” Rodney asked. He tried to look earnest and trustworthy, though he’d been told he mostly just looked startled. The accusation of insanity seemed to calm John, oddly. It was part of what made their relationship work - John never took Rodney seriously, except for those times when he did. John seemed to find him amusing, his rants relaxing. His genuine regard for Rodney by turns baffled and pleased him. Rodney worked hard to be worthy.

“Rodney,” he said firmly. “I’ve given it a lot of thought. You’re the best option.”

“You got this idea from a holovid, I know it. Or a trashy romance novel - don’t think I haven’t seen your hidden stashes.”

“Rodney,” John said again, his voice going low. “I don’t care for any of the people they’re suggesting. I want to make my own choice.”

“I...that’s understandable, but I really don’t think choosing me will improve your life any. The Council certainly won’t be pleased. I don’t have the gene, and I’m not the, the kindly, generous image a Queen or consort should be. I won’t be making pilgrimages or visiting orphans or - oh god, children. You’re expected to produce, pass on your genes!”

“There’s always the child crèche.”

“Yes, but - we’d have to raise them. Can you see me with a child? A baby? I don’t know anything about children, John.”

“It’s not like we’ll be doing this alone. Jeannie lives nearby now and Teyla is always on hand to provide help. We could get a nanny if necessary.” John shrugged. He seemed completely at ease, totally accepting of the idea of his and Rodney’s genes combining to form a little person.

“You’ve given this some thought,” Rodney realized, eyes wide. “How - is this why you’ve been so busy lately?”

“Kinda,” John admitted, and rubbed the back of his neck with one hand. “I had to go through the candidates and consult some people on the ramifications of choosing each person. When I realized I didn’t want any of them, I had to figure out who I did want.”

“I don’t understand,” Rodney said plaintively. “Why me? Ronon or Teyla would work just as well.”

John shook his head. “I thought about it briefly, but Teya is seeing someone from Athos and it’s getting pretty serious. Ronon wants to carry on his people’s legacy.” Ronon had talked - as much as he ever did - about Satedan customs and traditions while he had been dating Doctor Keller. Rodney knew it was important to Ronon that he honor his heritage with so many of his people killed or scattered. Though accepting of all walks of life living in the city, the Council was going to want someone who will adhere to their traditions. Snobs, the lot of them.

“So I’m your third choice,” Rodney muttered. It was ridiculous to feel hurt by that, but he couldn’t help it. Teyla and Ronon were gorgeous and just as good friends to John as Rodney was. Teyla would have made a fantastic Queen and Ronon a striking Consort. Still, Rodney wanted John to want him, specifically.

“You were my first choice,” John said impatiently. “But I knew you’d ask about Ronon and Teyla.”

“Oh.” Rodney paused to give it some thought. He certainly didn’t object to marriage to John but the idea of having a child made panic dig its claws in. He wanted to pass on his own genes, however he had thought it was some ways off. He rather liked the idea of being a co-parent with John, though. His best friend. The man Rodney - well. There was never anything said about love or sex, but getting to spend the rest of his life with John was tempting. A lifelong partnership. Could he do that? Be so close to John and not touch? Raise their child?

For all that John was King, he never asked for anything for himself. But he was asking Rodney, and if Rodney said no, then John would be forced to pick a stranger. He’d hate that.

“You know me, Rodney. You don’t want to make me something I’m not or use me for your own gain.” John’s voice was quiet and even. Rodney didn’t have to hear the please to know it was there.

There was really only one thing for Rodney to say: “I can keep my position as Chief Science Officer, right?”

 

Gene Therapy

As Rodney had thought, the announcement that John was marrying him created quite a stir. Rodney had anticipated the bafflement, the envious glances, the sharp stares, and the conversations that cut off when he entered the room. Rodney didn’t have the gene, didn’t hold a title, and wasn’t related to anyone important. To say he was an unconventional choice was an understatement, but then, John was an unconventional King.

On top of his scientists talking about his upcoming nuptials more than their assigned work, Rodney suddenly had people popping out of the woodwork to discuss his sartorial choices, coach him on his vows, walk him through the wedding ceremony. They wanted to discuss his plans for after the wedding (“I will continue my research and work projects. Don’t even think of my doing anything else!”), and worst of all, they wanted to know the details of how he and John had fallen in love.

“What business is it of theirs?” Rodney snapped to John during one of their increasingly rare lunches. He jabbed at the side salad he’d been encouraged to take and took a big, resentful forkful. Rodney had managed to put off answering their nosy questions - since there wasn’t a big secret romance - and had escaped to drag John off for food and planning.

“People love a good romance,” John said, frowning down at his own salad. Rodney bit back a diatribe on the collectively low IQ of the masses, knowing there wasn’t time for that. These days they were too busy for down time. Rodney had to get their story down now, before he was asked again.

“So how did we fall in love?” Rodney asked, stealing one of John’s napkins.

John rolled his eyes. “How about we stick as close to the truth as possible?”

“What, that we met when I became the CSO of Atlantis, inexplicably became friends after you shot me -”

“You asked me to,” John interrupted, taking a drink of his goza juice.

“And then you fell for my manly charms and we began an illicit affair, kept secret due to societal pressure regarding my lack of suitability, until you were tired of the secret and asked for my hand in marriage.”

“Something like that,” John agreed. “Gotta add more zing, though.”

“Like what?” Rodney had never been one to watch those popular daytime holo-shows, the ones with secret twins and frequent comas. Just thinking about them gave him hives.

John appeared to give it some thought, his brow furrowed. When John’s lips curled into a small, pleased smile, Rodney knew he’d come up with something truly terrible. “How about you desperately wanted to be open about our relationship but thought we never could be, so you broke it off with me to spare yourself the heartbreak of watching me someday marry another.”

Rodney sputtered. “Wouldn’t I cling all the more if I were so desperate? Try to convince you we should take a chance and tell everyone?”

“Nah,” John drawled. “Not if you were convinced I’d never agree to it. Why stay in a relationship and fall more in love with that person, knowing it’ll someday end, when you can break it off now, before you’re in too deep?”

“Whatever,” Rodney sighed. He supposed John knew best; he was the one who read those trashy novels, anyway. Rodney would follow his lead, as he always did.

The rest of the meal was spent arguing over one of the few holovids Rodney did watch, a drama set on a spaceship set on a pre-determined path, with a crew unable to change course. Though it wasn’t Rodney’s favorite, the science and plots was compelling enough that he tuned in every week. John disagreed; he hated most of the characters and found some of the episode plots offensive.

Rodney hated for the meal to end. He saw John throughout the day when he stopped by the labs, but having John to himself had always been the highlight of Rodney’s day. These days they were so busy with their wedding responsibilities on top of their normal duties that Rodney hardly saw him at all. The only time Rodney wasn’t a nervous wreck concerning their marriage was when he was actually in John’s presence.

“I should go,” John sighed. “I have a meeting with Ronon and Teyla in fifteen minutes.”

“Wouldn’t want to be late for that,” Rodney agreed. John trained in hand-to-hand combat with them - annoying them really wouldn’t be in his best interests. There’d be an uproar if he was bruised on his wedding day.

John paused in the doorway to the corridor. He bit his lip, looking pensive and hesitant. Rodney tensed; was this where John explained that their marriage would be in name only? Rodney liked to pretend, if only to himself sometimes, that this was something real. That their wedding day would have honest vows, soft eyes, genuine smiles.

“Can you meet me tonight, around 2100? In my quarters,” John added.

“What?” He’d never in his life been invited to John’s quarters. He wasn’t even sure where they were.

“It’s important, Rodney.” John looked very serious, his eyes meeting and holding Rodney’s. He looked every inch the King he was. “You can’t tell anyone you’re meeting me, and you can’t tell anyone what we discuss.”

Rodney found himself wordlessly nodding, giving John a little wave as he left. The room seemed less bright without John in it. A secret meeting, in John’s quarters. At night.

What was going on?

 

/~*~\

Rodney was just beginning to worry about how he’d find John’s quarters on his own when his door went off. To say he was surprised to see Carson was an understatement. He knew John and Carson were friendly, but John was much closer to Teyla and Ronon. Carson’s kind face was set in grim lines. Seeing it made Rodney’s heart begin to pound.

“What - is something wrong?” Rodney asked, reaching out with one hand to grip the door jamb.

“Oh, no,” Carson responded, face becoming dismayed. “Everything is fine, Rodney. I just have - there’s some things you need to be informed of, that’s all.”

“Nobody’s sick? Dying?”

“No, no,” Carson said, shaking his head. “All is well on that front. Just a rather serious subject matter to be discussed.”

Rodney took a moment to lean against the doorway. Rodney had always been zealous about his own well being, and even before this whole marriage farce, Rodney had been rather attentive to John’s own state of health. Rodney couldn’t imagine what John’s private discussion had to do with Carson, unless it concerned a health issue...but Carson wouldn’t lie to him. John was fine. Rodney was fine. This was something else.

Carson let himself in when they reached John’s quarters. Rodney was pleased at how tastefully decorated - if a little sparse - they were. After their engagement was announced, Rodney had been invited into the homes of high class people who had formerly looked down on him, and he found their homes overwhelming with the amount of gilded, bright, distracting decorations. There were plenty of rooms for Rodney to choose from for his own bedroom, and Rodney let Carson go on ahead as he contemplated whether he wanted a room close to John’s (proximity) or far away (less likely to hear John if he had any...guests over).

He hadn’t come to a decision before he found Carson in John’s room, with John leaning fetchingly against the far wall, Carson taking a seat at the large desk. John’s bed dominated the room, looking large and warm and inviting. Rodney tore his eyes away from it to find John watching him, one corner of his mouth curling up. He held Rodney’s eyes for a moment before straightening, turning to Carson to give him a single nod.

“What I’m about to say can not leave this room,” Carson began. “The potential consequences of this leaking out...it’s terrible to contemplate. It would cause an uproar, people could get hurt.”

“I can keep a secret,” he said dryly, shooting a glance at John. He’d worked on highly classified projects, had listened to John complain and grumble about political meetings, headache-inducing negotiations, and his advisers and members of the council in equal measure.

“I don’t doubt you, Rodney,” Carson responded. “I just wanted to be clear -”

“Yes, yes,” Rodney interrupted, gesturing for him to continue. Carson gave him an exasperated look and got on with it.

“I’ve discovered a way to artificially induce the Ancestral gene.”

Rodney couldn’t find the words to form a response. Carson was right, the potential consequences of this...the royals were considered such because of their connection to the Ancestors. They made Atlantis sing in a way others didn’t, couldn’t. If every ‘common man’ could interact fully with the city, there would be no reason at all for the hierarchy system in place. Their entire way of life could fall into chaos.

Rodney rubbed the bridge of his nose and felt a headache forming. “You don’t do things by half, do you, Carson?”

“It wasn’t the intended result of my research, Rodney,” Carson snapped.

“There’s more,” John said quietly, finally joining the conversation. Rodney closed his mouth, his response to Carson forgotten. John had pushed up the sleeves of his casual shirt, revealing his forearms, and Rodney’s mouth went dry.

“How so?” Rodney croaked, and cleared his throat. He needed to get himself under control. Marriage in name only , Rodney reminded himself, and made himself meet John’s eyes. John’s ability to put him off balance, to make his hands sweaty and his face flush had always been annoying but dealable. Now, with the promise of commitment, Rodney found himself increasingly taken in by the pieces that make up John Sheppard: his strong hands, the curl of his mouth, the crinkle of his eyes when he smiles, his terrible laugh…

“We’re giving you the gene,” John said, running his hand through his hair.

What? Why? Nobody is going to believe - all of my scientists know I don’t have the gene!” Rodney squawked.

“During the marriage ceremony, you’ll be required to touch one side of an Ancestral device,” Carson broke in. “John touches the other side.”

“We’re going to claim it gave you the gene,” John added. “As a symbol of our compatibility.”

“And people will believe that?” Rodney frequently spoke about the stupidity of the masses, but this…

John shrugged.

“Most won’t put up a fuss,” Carson said. “Those that don’t believe won’t have any proof to the contrary. As you said, it’s well known you don’t have the gene. That you suddenly possess it will be all the evidence they need.”

Rodney had long wanted the gene. Not for the prestige or to be accepted by a higher class of people - who tended to be dull and self-absorbed - but because he wanted that deeper connection to the city, to see it respond to him as it did John or Commander Lorne. He didn’t want to have to fill out a request form and wait for someone with the gene to fulfill their duty and stop by the lab to assist them.

“Why am I being given the gene? Wouldn’t the other royals prefer this be buried and never used?” Rodney frowned. Some of the royals believed in tradition, in safeguarding blood purity. He wouldn’t put it past them to hire a Genii assassin, or take their revenge by politically blocking John and his allies.

“You’re fresh blood,” John explains.

Carson nods. “When you and John have children, they’ll have a strong expression of the gene. They’ll introduce new blood among the Royals.”

“Our children aren’t a thing to be bred -” Rodney began hotly, feeling protective, as though they already existed.

“Of course not!” Carson looked scandalized.

“Nobody will use our children for anything ,” John said firmly, moving close to lay a hand on Rodney’s upper arm. He tilted his head, meeting Rodney’s eyes, and smiled. “Promise.”

Rodney leaned into John’s hand and relaxed. He smiled back at John, his cheeks heating as the seconds ticked by and neither looked away.

“People will certainly believe your love story,” Carson said, amused. John’s hand dropped and he cleared his throat; Rodney felt his flush spread down his neck, to his chest. He shot a glance at John to see him rubbing his neck, head down. The tips of his ears were pink.

“When do I get this, uh, therapy?” Rodney mumbled.

“The night before the wedding,” Carson suggested. “We don’t want to do it too soon, or you’ll be unable to work until the wedding.”

“Absolutely not!” Rodney protested. He’d go crazy if he didn’t have his work to keep him preoccupied from all the wedding preparations.

“Thought so,” Carson grinned. He stood, dusting off his pants. “I’m sure I’ll see you before then, so for now I will just say goodnight. Gentlemen.” And with a small wave, he was out into the hallway, the sound of the front door closing moments later.

Awkward silence reigned in John’s bedroom. Rodney fidgeted, uncertain whether he was supposed to leave now, too. He didn’t want to, but he wasn’t sure how to broach the subject. Especially with the bed taking up so much of the room, taunting him. If he asked to stay, would John assume he was hoping for sex?

“Want to watch a holovid?” John asked, finally. He picked at his arm band, carefully not meeting Rodney’s eyes. Rodney jumped on the offer, nodding and bouncing on his toes. John grinned, pleased, and led Rodney to his living room with a hand on the small of Rodney’s back, his touch warm and firm through Rodney’s shirt.

John’s living room was less tension filled, more neutral ground. Rodney perused John’s collection while John set up the snacks and drinks. When John settled in next to him on the couch the cushions sank and settled in such a way that they ended up pressed together shoulder to knees. John didn’t try to move away, so Rodney certainly wasn’t going to. He and John exchanged smiles as the beginning credits rolled, and for the next two hours Rodney didn’t worry about what the future held. He was here, with John, and that was enough.

 


Wedding Jitters

The day of the wedding is a whirlwind of activity. Rodney was immediately overwhelmed by the sheer number of people herding him from place to place. He was tired of being poked and prodded, of his day being discussed without him. He shut himself into his bedroom with his meager lunch and ignored the repeated calls from the door. He attempted to make up for his sleepless night with a nap but can’t let go of the anxiety and relax enough to fall asleep.

His arm continued to ache from the shot Carson gave him the night before, and Rodney found himself rubbing it absently. It was difficult to tell if the therapy worked; Carson seemed confident it would, but Rodney was unable to sneak down to the lab to grab a piece of Ancient tech to test it out. He couldn’t hear the song of the city John had attempted to describe once, and he couldn’t tell if the city is responding to him in a way it hadn’t before.

By the time the actual wedding ceremony was set to begin, Rodney’s head was pounding, his stomach trying to devour itself, and his irritation had reached an all time high. He gave serious contemplation to biting the hand that was adjusting his attire so it looks exactly the same as before and wished, for the first time, he had thought to ask if he and John were getting a honeymoon. Time away from people sounded even better than sex at the moment, and that’s when Rodney realized  he was overstimulated and exhausted.

Rodney and John entered the ceremony room at the same time from side doors at the front of the room. Rodney met John’s eyes and swallowed hard. John looked pale, almost uneasy, but his gaze was steady and his steps did not falter. It was easy to forget the people packed into the room, the knowledge that this ceremony was being transmitted all over Atlantis for the people to watch. Somewhere out there, Jeannie was watching, and Rodney wished she could be there.

“Hey,” Rodney whispered when John stood next to him, his hand brushing Rodney’s. He gave John a tremulous smile.

“Hey,” John echoed, and his smile was better. Brighter. The knot in Rodney’s chest eased a little, and for a moment he wanted to laugh at the ridiculousness of the situation.

“Ready for this?” John asked, tilting his head. He looked serious, like if Rodney backed out now John would back him up, call off the wedding. The colors of his ceremonial garb suited him. He looked handsome and stately and concerned, and Rodney wanted him, wanted this marriage, more than he had wanted anything in a long time.

Rodney nodded, straightening his shoulders, standing tall. “I’ve got your back,” he promised.

John took his hand, the press of his fingers warm and welcome, and the officiator began to speak.

 

/~*~\

Rodney was grateful tradition allowed them to make their escape immediately after the ceremony. His fingers tingled from where they touched the device and his eyes had not yet fully recovered from the bright light that had temporarily blinded him. By the time they reached the door to their quarters, the nerves were creeping back. He had no idea what would happen from here. He and John had never discussed it, Rodney too afraid to hear John tell him he wasn’t interested in Rodney that way. Kindly, of course, John would never be deliberately cruel, but he wouldn’t have to be.

Rodney wished he had paid attention, at least somewhat, to the many things he was told regarding his marriage to John. Was consummation a requirement? Would they know if he and John didn’t seal the deal, as it were?

“So, uh,” Rodney started. The lighting in the room was dim, John’s face difficult to make out. Rodney wondered if John had set the mood lighting, or if one of the annoying assistants had taken it upon themselves to do it for him.

“Rodney, I -” John said, rubbing at the back of his neck. He took a step closer, then another, into Rodney’s personal space. Rodney’s breathing went shallow and he made a quiet noise. John was looking at his mouth, was reaching for it, his thumb rubbing at Rodney’s bottom lip. “We never talked about this, but I. Would like to. Uh.”

Rodney nodded, “Me too, me as well, with the touching.”

John’s mouth quirked. “Yeah?”

“Mmm,” Rodney said, and kissed John’s thumb.

It was like a spark had lit, like one of them had been waiting for a definitive move. John cupped the back of Rodney’s head, pulled him in. The first kiss was tentative, a brush of lips, but Rodney had been wanting this for so long, too long. He pressed in, kissed John harder. He couldn’t help the happy noise he made when John let him in, and the kiss deepened. Rodney whimpered at the noises they were making together, the wet cling of John’s mouth against his. John pressed forward, moving him backwards with his body, until Rodney was pressed against the cool wall. Rodney wrapped his arms around John’s slim waist and moaned at the feel of John’s dick pressed against his leg, warm through their clothes. He rolled his hips, seeking pressure on his cock, but John had him pinned.

“Please,” Rodney gasped. “Bed. Now.”

John wrapped his hand around Rodney’s wrist and pulled him along the hallway. When they were through the doorway, Rodney pulled John to a stop and pressed a kiss to the side of his neck. John shivered, turning to face his new husband. He leaned in for another kiss even as he started on the buckles of Rodney’s clothes. When the shirt was undone, he rubbed at Rodney’s nipples, making him moan loudly. John leaned forward, taking Rodney’s nipple into his mouth, and sucked on it until it was tender. He switched to the other nipple, giving it the same treatment. When he pulled away, he flicked them with his thumbs, and Rodney’s legs went weak at the bolt of lust.

He attacked John’s own shirt with fervor, peeling it off him and tossing it carelessly across the room. John’s nipples weren’t as sensitive as Rodney’s, but it still felt good. Rodney nipped at John’s collarbone, left biting kisses along the length of John’s neck. He moaned loudly in response, tilting his head for more access, and Rodney clutched at John’s hips, pulling him close.

“Clothes off,” John rasped, and pulled away. Rodney whined and tried to follow. John gave him a brief, hard kiss, and tugged at the buttons of Rodney’s pants. “Pants off, McKay. I want to see that ass.”

“Yours too,” Rodney said, pulling the top button of John’s pants undone. John grinned, making quick work of his own pants, and they were down his thighs, being tossed aside by the time Rodney reached to touch John’s thick cock, wrapping his hands around its length, rubbing his thumb over the head. John said something, but Rodney was too caught up in the feel of John’s cock in his hand, the warmth and weight of it. His mouth watered, wanting a taste, but John was pulling his hand away, unbuttoning his pants, and the brush of his hand against Rodney’s cock nearly made Rodney come right there.

“Stop, stop, I got it,” Rodney protested, pulling away from John’s touch, not wanting to come before they had a chance to really get started. He pulled his pants down, the one leg getting caught around his right ankle, and he had to shake his leg to get it free. Rodney was embarrassed by his lack of grace, but John only looked fond, and soon they were kissing again, John steering them toward the bed. Rodney broke the kiss when the back of his knees hit the bed, and he crawled backwards, never looking away from  John.

John followed, crawling on the bed, looking intense and predatory, and Rodney spread his legs to let John settle between them. John rolled his hips, rubbing his cock against Rodney’s. Rodney gripped John’s hips, thrust up against him.

“John, I’m -”

John reached down and gripped Rodney’s cock, holding off his orgasm. He rubbed his hand over Rodney’s belly soothingly, and soon the tremors eased and Rodney nodded to show he was good to go. John hesitated to stretch back over him, despite Rodney tugging on his arm.

“Rodney, I - can I…” John swallowed. He watched his hand rubbing Rodney’s belly, avoiding Rodney’s gaze. Rodney grabbed John’s hand and held it, waiting until John met his eyes. Whatever John wanted, Rodney wanted to give it.

“Yeah,” Rodney responded. “Yes, John. If you want - you can have whatever.”

“Are you sure? You don’t even know what I want,” John protested, squeezing Rodney’s hand.

“Whatever you want,” Rodney said quietly. He was startled when John moved away , off the bed, and Rodney propped himself up on his elbows to watch him hurry over to a small table. He yanked open the drawer a bit too far, almost pulling it right out, and grabbed something out of it. He barely pushed the drawer back in before he was hurrying back, climbing onto the bed, and waved a tube of lube at Rodney. Rodney licked his lips, spread his legs wider, and knew John got the right idea when John’s cock twitched and he dropped the lube.

John ran his hands up Rodney’s inner thighs, shoving them wider, and Rodney gasped at the roughness. A drop of precome fell onto this stomach and John grinned slyly.

“Like that, do you?” John murmured. Rodney nodded, voice gone. John’s nostrils flared as his eyes went distant, imagining the possibilities. “More about that later.”

John popped the top on the tube and coated his fingers. The lube was cold against Rodney’s heated skin, and he flinched away at first. John murmured an apology, his touch firm, and Rodney had to concede he seemed to know what he was doing. John had made no secret of his interest in men, but he’d never been seriously linked to a male lover, either. Rodney gasped and arched his back when John hit a good spot, pushing down on John’s fingers, wanting more. John smirked and hit that spot again, pressing hard, and Rodney made an undignified noise and closed his eyes, John naked and smug and making him feel these things too much for Rodney.

When John pulled his fingers out, Rodney’s eyes snapped open. He opened his mouth to protest, but John was moving into position, guiding his cock into Rodney, and the first press of it took Rodney’s words, his breath, and all that was left was wordless want. John slipped in slowly, his breathing loud in the quiet room, and when his balls hit against Rodney’s ass he tilted his head back, eyes closed, mouth open. He was sweating, his hair wet and messy, and he had never seemed more beautiful to Rodney than in that moment. Rodney tugged on John, asking silently for him to move closer, and John carefully stretched out over Rodney, blanketing him in his warmth.

“Now, now, fuck me now,” Rodney plead. John’s hips moved smoothly, driving his cock in. Rodney moved with him, moaning. Yes, this, this is what he’d wanted, it was so good . Rodney wrapped his legs around John, encouraging him to continue. He ran his hands down John’s back, clutched at him. He looked down between their bodies, could just barely see John’s cock moving in him. He whined, liking the view.

“Oh fuck, Rodney,” John gasped. “You feel - you’re so tight,” He thrust harder, faster, and Rodney moved with him, wanting more, wanting this forever. He cried out when John hit that spot inside him again, swearing and pleading in equal measure for more, for him to never stop. John kissed his ear, sucked at the muscle in his neck. Rodney tilted his head to give him better access, and was startled when John sunk his teeth into his neck - not too deep, but there would definitely be a bruise tomorrow. Rodney’s entire body jolted, his orgasm slamming into him. Rodney’s cock jerked, come spurting out, landing on Rodney’s body, on John’s above him.

“Oh, oh,” John gasped, pounding into Rodney, thrusting deep. Rodney felt wrung out, completely sated, but when he felt John come, his cock twitched. There was no way he was getting it up again, but he could enjoy the feeling of John coming inside him. John thrust against him twice more, weakly, and then collapsed on him, smearing Rodney’s come and their sweat between them.

“Fuck,” Rodney huffed. “We’re doing that again.”

John lifted his head, giving Rodney a disbelieving look.

“What? I didn’t mean now!”

John laughed and slid off Rodney, stretching out next to him on the bed. “I don’t think I could get it up right now even if you tried.”

“I know the feeling,” Rodney agreed. As they lay there in peaceful silence, Rodney wondered exactly where they stood. He still didn’t know if this was just a matter of consummating the relationship, or if John could be interested in continuing what they started. Could he come to love Rodney? Not knowing was making Rodney anxious. He didn’t want to spend the next few months questioning his every move, wondering at John’s motives.

“Are we - that is, I mean. I would like to know exactly how we’re going to proceed. I’m fine with whatever you decide -” liar liar , Rodney thinks, “- but I would really like to know what to expect. Was this a one time thing? Do you plan to take a lover on the side? I’d really like - I plan to be faithful, because you, I’ve always felt that you were different, not the idiot so many other people were, and you like me and know about my allergies and listen to my rants, and it’s very hard to find someone who can fully appreciate my genius -”

“Rodney,” John said, nudging him.

“- we probably should have discussed this before the wedding, but I got so caught up in things, and I would just really like to know what to expect here.”

“You were my first choice,” John said, very loudly, and Rodney shut up. He worried, idly, about his chances of a heart attack as he waited for John to continue. When he did, his voice was quiet, halting, his head turned away from Rodney. “When they started pushing for me to get married, all I could think of was...you. As the person I wanted around. For that long.”

“Oh,” Rodney said, uncertain how to respond.

“I want,” John struggled. “I want a relationship. For a very long time now, I’ve thought about - us. As a pair. You’re so - much. And I was...noticing. Things.”

“You wanted to be married to me,” Rodney realized.

“Mmm,” John agreed.

“You love me,” Rodney continued, a smile curling his lips against his will, smugness and joy in his every breath. He wiggled happily.

“Kinda, a lot,” John said, still turned away. Rodney rolled over on his side, reaching with his right arm to wrap it around John’s waist and drag him close. Rodney pressed up against John’s back, gave John’s pointed ear a gentle kiss, and buried his face in John’s neck.

“John,” Rodney said. “I love you. I want to be here...with you.”

John grabbed Rodney’s hand and squeezed. Rodney felt his neck heat in response and smiled.

He cleared his throat. “Good. Me too.” He rolled to face Rodney, keeping his grip on Rodney’s hand, and pressed a kiss to the tip of Rodney’s nose, licked at Rodney’s mouth, and if it was a bit difficult to kiss deeply when both were smiling, neither complained. Their kisses slowed, their smiles faded, as sleep began to creep in, the chaos and the stress of the day forcing its will on their tired, sated bodies.

Stuck in that half-asleep state, Rodney at first didn’t notice. When it became more clear, however, Rodney jolted upright, staring at the walls, the ceiling. John, who had jerked away when Rodney had moved so suddenly, was staring at him with concern. Rodney reached out with shaking hands, rested his hand on John’s chest, felt his heart beat. He felt their happiness and love echo back at them from the very walls around them.

“John,” he whispered reverently. “John, I can hear her .”

John’s smile was a thing to behold as he wrapped his arms around Rodney, his genuine happiness mirrored by what Rodney felt. Rodney could feel it, could feel John, his fatigue and his joy, and knew John could feel him too.

Atlantis sang in the background, forging a palpable bond between them.