It was like a treasure hunt, except for the small detail that they could end up killed if they weren’t careful. Still, they would be fine as long as they could outsmart a bunch of long dead people from a pre-industrial society, so it was a much milder danger than the type they usually faced. Any mission in which no one actively tried to kill them was a good one.
“Are you sure we shouldn’t wait for the others?” Rodney asked as they were preparing to enter the chamber for the second time.
“Why, are you missing your girlfriend already?”
John knew that from a tactical standpoint it would be better, but he could no longer stand to watch the train wreck that was Rodney and Alina flirting. He told himself it was just second hand embarrassment, which would only get worse if he were to be the third wheel now that Teyla took Ford back to Atlantis. Only Ford could hurt himself on a mission with no enemies, and even though it was just a sprained ankle, John would be sure to tease him later for it.
“I don’t think she actually likes me all the much. Did you see how she acted when I tried to be nice to her?” Rodney asked before his feet even hit the ground.
“Maybe that’s because you don’t know how to be nice,” he said, trying to hide the fact the was glad things hadn’t worked between them, and most importantly, trying to deny to himself why he was glad in the first place.
“Very funny, Major.”
“Hey, you were the one that didn’t stop her from going to search for the stone in the tower, she’s probably still there.”
“I didn’t even notice she was gone!”
“My point exactly.”
“You could have stopped her, why didn’t you?” Rodney placed the center stone on the pedestal.
“Shouldn’t we concentrate on retrieving the ZPM? Any clues as to what to do now?”
“I assume we place the stones on the pedestal, touch the palm print, and then hopefully we can get the ZPM. The only question is, what order do we put the stones in?”
John looked at the grid, there was something more there, if he could only visualize… “It’s not as straightforward as one to nine, everything they did so far was too cryptic for this to fit their style. Nine to one?”
“Possibly. Look, the center stone is the only that locked in the place, so all the others must move around it. I’m just trying to think of a combination that makes sense with five in the middle.”
John noticed how frustrated he sounded for not being able to crack a number puzzle, it was almost… not cute, definitively not cute, funny is the word he was going for, he had no idea where that cute came from.
“Fifteen, it’s gotta have something to do with fifteen. Or nine… or five,” John said to interrupt his train of thought. It was not one of his brightest moments.
“Shut up, please, I’m trying to think.”
“Shut up? I’m trying to help! Look, there are forty thousand three hundred and twenty possibilities, so trying all combinations isn’t an option for us right now, but I don’t think they would leave that option open for anyone. Otherwise, it would take thirty seconds at most for each try, so someone could easy try every combination in three weeks if they only stopped for the essentials, two weeks if two or more people worked in rotating shifts.”
Rodney was staring at him with that face that was oddly similar to ‘I just remembered other people have brains too’, but John knew Rodney well enough to know that ‘I’m impressed that Sheppard can do math’ was a separate expression. He knew that because he made a habit of occasionally showing off, just to put that look on Rodney’s face.
Rodney licked his lips, and made movement towards John, but then he stopped, and shook his head. “Right. I’ve got nothing. Nine to one is all I can think of.” He cursed his traitorous brain for choosing this moment to stop working, even though, as he told himself, it was entirely Sheppard’s fault for acting like that.
John decided to concentrate less on Rodney and more on the pedestal, the thought was just there below the surface, all he had to do was concentrate on the answer. “I got it!” he said excited. He was sure Rodney was going to love this.
“The brotherhood of fifteen!” It was so obvious, he couldn’t believe he hadn’t noticed that before.
“What about it?” Rodney asked, still confused.
John smiled, he really beat Rodney to it this time. “The numbers one to nine can be put in a three by three grid so they add up to fifteen in every direction.”
Rodney swallowed hard, trying not to let the fact that John was the one who solved the puzzle, nor his obvious joy while explaining it, affect him. “Oh, you are right.” It almost pained him to admit it. “How did you know that?”
John shrugged. “It was on a Mensa test.”
Now Rodney was really shocked. “You are a member of Mensa?”
“No, but I took the test.”
“When?” Rodney was almost angry. He couldn’t look like that and be this smart, it simply wasn’t fair, and it was too much of a test of Rodney’s self-control. At this point, Rodney wasn’t even sure if he was envious or wanted to blow him until his brain melted.
“Do you wanna talk about this now, Rodney?” John asked mockingly. “We still have that ZPM to find.”
“Right, ok,” Rodney said looking at him, and then licked his lips again reflexively.
“Two, nine, four,” John said, placing the stones.
Rodney’s pride ordered his brain to concentrate, so he took the remaining stones, quickly placing them. “Seven, five, three, six, one, eight. That’s it, that’s gotta be it.”
“Well, unless it’s two, seven, six, nine, five, one, four, three, eight, or four, three, eight, nine, five, one, two, seven, six, or–”
“Fine, let’s assume they were logical and made the puzzle so it can be solved with any combination, as long as it’s right, otherwise we’ll have no way of knowing,” Rodney said frustrated. He just had to point that out so casually, didn’t he? Really, he seemed to have taken that day to push Rodney to the limits of his self-control.
John rolled his eyes, but he had to admit Rodney was right. “Move back a little, I’m gonna try it.”
For once, Rodney obeyed without question. John placed his hands on the palm print, and a ZPM immediately popped out from the wall. It seemed too wonderful to believe, and Rodney froze for a moment, so John was the one to take it.
“One ZPM, now we just have to know if it’s charged,” John said, extending the ZPM to Rodney.
Rodney took it almost in awe. John showing off his math skills and then giving him a ZPM? This couldn’t be real, it was something out of his fantasies, now if he could only… No, he couldn’t risk making a move on Sheppard, not when he could count his friends on one hand and this had high potential to end badly. He placed the ZPM safely in his backpack. “As we already established, it’s most likely fully charged.”
John offered him his hand, which he took. “Think of all the cool things we can do now,” he said while helping Rodney up. “Any chance we can fly the city?”
Rodney was close enough to see his eyes light up with wonder as he imagined everything they could have access to with this much power, and that was it, it was all too much. He let go of the bag that was still thankfully close to the ground and grabbed John’s face with both hands. Rodney didn’t hold back or gave him any time to escape, he kissed John hungrily, desperately, trying to hold him in place by his unruly hair.
John needed a moment to catch up, then all his denial about how Rodney made him feel flew out the window and he placed his hands on Rodney’s waist, pushing him against the wall. In the back of his head, a more cautious part of his mind warned him insistently that knowing Rodney this was probably just an inadequate response to finding a ZPM and had nothing to do with him. However, the majority of his mind and all of his body seemed to agree they were fine with being used like this.
John forced a thigh between Rodney’s legs, grinding against his half-hard cock and making Rodney moan against his mouth. Doing this offworld, especially when they had no backup, was beyond reckless, and normally that would be enough to stop him, but he couldn’t risk missing his chance if this really was just Rodney being horny because they found a ZPM. Hell, if this was the cause, he would be sure to find every ZPM left in the Pegasus galaxy alone with Rodney.
They were unwilling to stop kissing for long enough to catch their breaths, making their kisses quicker and more desperate, often interrupted by panting. Rodney realized he wouldn’t last much longer if they kept going like this, and the last thing he wanted was to have an embarrassingly quick orgasm. He had no idea why John was going along with his, but maybe he was just reacting to a combination of Rodney’s own advances and his joy over finding the ZPM. It didn’t matter why he had this chance, if Rodney could use it to make John come back later begging for more, he would. He pushed John, forcing him to turn until they switched positions.
Rodney considered his options for a moment, and finally dropped to his knees.
John opened his eyes confused at the loss of contact, and saw Rodney fumbling with his belt. “What are you–?”
John had to admit his brain was working a little slower than usual, and for a moment he struggled to form any thought, but next thing he knew he had both his hands on the wall and was pressing his whole body against it for support, and Rodney’s mouth was working his cock to full hardness. This was a very bad idea, anyone could come in and he didn’t have easy access to his weapon, and Rodney would have a hard time getting up to face any threat, but then Rodney swallowed around his head while playing with his balls and John found that he really didn’t care much about anything else.
John kept alternating between dropping his head back and closing his eyes, just concentrating on the sensations, and looking down at Rodney, knowing he was just adding fuel to his fantasies. If Rodney never wanted to do this again, he wouldn’t be able to keep pretending to himself that it wasn’t Rodney he thought about when he masturbated.
Rodney appreciated John’s consideration, keeping his hands to himself and keeping his hips still even though Rodney could feel how tense his muscles were from trying to contain any movement, but he would have thought that by now he already had demonstrated that he had some experience with this. He took one of John’s hands and placed on his head, rolling his eyes exasperatedly when John just kept his hand there without any pressure.
John thought he would have come the moment he saw Rodney looking up at him, but instead the eye roll was such a Rodney thing that he chuckled. John wouldn’t have thought it was possible to convey his classic ‘I’m surrounded by idiots’ with a cock in his mouth, but Rodney was nothing if not resourceful.
Rodney was tempted to bite him for laughing, not actually his cock since he hoped to have use for that in the future, but maybe his thigh or something. However, he decided he would prefer if John just got on with the program, so he pressed John’s hand hard against his head, then urged his hips forward, and John finally got the message. Rodney looked up at him, seeing John like this, eyes closed, whimpering, hips moving erratically, reminded him of his own pressing erection, but he ignored it in favor of concentrating solely on John.
John tried to push him away when he felt his orgasm approaching, but Rodney slapped his hands away, taking him as deep as he could and looking up defiantly. John felt his knees weaken as he shot down Rodney’s throat, but Rodney helped keep him on his feet. Only when his orgasm had completely passed, Rodney let go of his soft cock with a popping sound, making sure to maintain eye contact. John thought Rodney looked too smug, but he wasn’t about to point that out while he was sliding down the wall to sit on the floor.
“I hope you appreciate the sacrifice of my knees, because the floor is even harder than it looks and I’m not sure I can walk to back to the gate.”
John had to laugh at that; of course Rodney would demand recognition while he still had come on the corner of his mouth. “Actually, I was thinking of showing my appreciation of a different part of your body,” he said moving in to kiss him while opening his belt. He started pushing Rodney down to the ground when Rodney protested, causing John to pull back.
“No, I didn’t tell you to move away, you idiot,” Rodney said, pulling him back. “Just don’t even dare try to make me lay down on solid rock, I already have enough back problems as it is.”
John smiled, and pulled Rodney to his lap, forcing a surprised noise out of him. It was comforting to see how much like his everyday self Rodney was during sex, it made the whole situation less bizarre. Unfortunately, this hindered his plans of reciprocating, so he kissed Rodney instead, chasing his own taste on Rodney’s mouth while searching his pockets. It only took him a moment to find Rodney’s homemade sun block, not ideal, but better than doing this dry. The chamber was filled with the smell of coconut as John started to jerk him off.
Rodney rocking his hips forward and slightly upwards made John wish he was twenty years younger just so he could fuck him now, or at the very least press him against the floor and hump him until he could get another erection, so he picked up the pace not to give himself a chance of acting on his impulses. He wanted nothing more than to make it last, but this was risky as it was, and someone could show up at any moment.
He trailed Rodney’s jaw with kisses, going all the way up to his ear, then down his neck, wishing they could afford the time to lose some clothes. When Rodney dropped his head back and started moaning too loudly, John pulled him by the neck and kissed him to muffle the noise. Rodney came against his vest and then dropped his body forward.
John held his arms loosely around Rodney. “I’ve got you,” he said, still out of breath.
“I can’t believe I just did this. There were so many ways this could have gone wrong,” Rodney said against his neck.
“Well, not that I’m complaining, far from it, but why did you?”
Rodney sighed. “It’s all your fault, with all the math and smiling.”
He raised a point that John hadn’t considered. “Seriously? You have a thing for math?”
Rodney sat back just enough so John could see him rolling his eyes. “Yes, I have a ‘math thing’,” he said making quotation marks with his fingers, “and that’s why I’m always jumping Zelenka when he’s working.”
“Hey, you were the one that brought math up.” Then John realized what he meant. “You like it when I do it.”
“You correct my scientists when you come to pick me up for lunch,” Rodney said, which was the closest he would come to admitting he actually thought John was smart. At least too smart for a major. “You have been provoking me all day, showing off your brains, looking like that, giving me a ZPM.”
“I thought the ZPM might have something to do with this.”
Rodney rolled his eyes again. “Please, have you any idea how many times I had to contain myself around you, and only because there were people around to see?”
“Well, it’s good to know it’s isn’t just a just-found-a-ZPM thing.”
“What, so you thought I would drop to my knees to anyone that gave me a ZPM?” Rodney asked offended. “I mean, maybe, if it was a condition to get the ZPM, I would think about it. Wait, why I am even saying this?”
John archived that information so he would remember never to let anyone proposition Rodney in exchange for a ZPM. “No, what I’m saying is that we don’t know where to find another ZPM, but I can always do math. In fact, don’t you want some help with those equations for the power intake of the jumpers?”
“Do you really mean that? I mean, is that an euphemism for more sex or are you really willing to do the equations?” Rodney asked in a hopeful tone. “That would be so hot. That is, doing the equations first then having sex. I had fantasies like that, actually. I could make it worth your while.”
John smiled. It would appear he didn’t need to worry about this being a one-time deal, at least not while he had the brains to keep this up. “You know, I’ll do some equations if next time we can do this in a bed and with no clothes on.”
“How about you do all the equations and then you can fuck me?”
John pulled him for one last kiss. “Deal. But now we have to get out of here before Teyla sends in reinforcements.”
“You expect me to walk? Didn’t I tell you about my knees on hard rock? You go first and ask for a jumper.”
John laughed, getting up and pulling Rodney with him. “Come on, let’s see what this ZPM can do for us.”
Rodney did complain about his knees the whole way back, but John discovered that a fresh orgasm did wonders for his ability to tune out the complaints, a little fact he would be keeping to himself.