It was a Wednesday night, which, catastrophes and away-missions allowing, meant movie night in John and Rodney's world. This particular Wednesday, Rodney had scored a copy of The Terminator, and they were sitting on the sofa in John's quarters, a bowl of popcorn between them, cracking one-liners back and forth in badly-faked accents.
Rodney had been kind of edgy all night, but John hadn't thought much of it--Rodney was often edgy when he was involved in a major project, which was pretty much always. But half-way through the movie, as Kyle and Sarah were making pipe-bombs in the kitchen, the edginess morphed into something else. John was reaching over to grab a handful of popcorn, a joke about the size of Kyle's pipe ready on his tongue, when he noticed that Rodney was looking away from the screen and distractedly plucking at the bottom edge of his shirt. The joke dissolved back into nothingness, and instead John said, "We don't have to watch this if you don't want."
"It's okay," said Rodney, still not looking at the movie.
"Right," said John, "because you're clearly riveted to every frame." He eyed Rodney warily, recognising all the signs of a full-blown Rodney-esque crisis.
"I'm just resting my eyes for a minute."
John sighed; maybe it wasn't a crisis after all. "Rodney, if you're tired we can--"
Rodney turned to glare at John. "Oh, for God's sake! Just skip to the chapter after the sex scene then, if it's so important for my eyeballs to be glued to screen!"
The look John aimed at Rodney was speaking; both eyebrows arched in the universal language of skepticism.
"Fine!" said Rodney. "I'll tell you, but don't blame me when you want to scrub your brain out with steel wool!"
"I'm on tenterhooks already," said John, finishing his interrupted grab for the handful of popcorn and tossing a couple of bits into his mouth.
"I've always liked the sex scene," Rodney said, waving at the screen and going a little pink. "It's one of my favourites. I used to jerk off to it."
John choked on a kernel of popcorn.
"Serves you right," said Rodney with a palpable lack of sympathy.
"Jesus, McKay," John wheezed, "give a guy some warning before the TMI."
"Warning!" said Rodney, opening and closing his hands as though they were flashing hazard lights. "It's been over five years since I last got laid--"
John reluctantly dropped his handful of popcorn back into the bowl and wiped his fingers on his shirt. Yep, Rodney was definitely in crisis-mode.
"--with someone other than me, that is," Rodney clarified, as though making sure John really would need that mental suds-and-rinse, "and I'm starting to think it's going to be at least that long again before I get another chance. Frankly, I'm finding that a depressing prospect, especially as there's a real chance I won't live that long." On the screen, Kyle began to tell Sarah that he'd gone through time for her, and Rodney leaned forward and pressed the Stop button with a vicious snap of the wrist. "That scene makes me want things I can't have."
"Last time I checked, there were over 200 people stationed here in Atlantis," John pointed out reasonably. "A third of them are even women."
Rodney made a dismissive hand gesture. "They bore me."
"I thought we were talking about sex," said John.
"Oh, please!" Rodney snapped, his eyes bright with annoyance. "Maybe that whole casual sex thing works for you, but it never has for me, and I'm not going to get into a relationship I know is doomed to failure from the start just because I'm horny. If I had any doubts about that before, the whole thing with Katie drove the point home. We're living in a closed society, Colonel," and there went the chin thrust, right on cue, "and I'm the Head of the Science Department. For me to fuck my way through... who? Your marines? My staff? In either scenario, it'd be destructive to morale, not to mention chronically stupid, even assuming any of them would say yes." Rodney crossed his arms. "Do I look stupid to you?"
John thought Rodney looked suspiciously close to tears actually, so he nudged the topic in what he hoped was a more positive direction. "So what about non-casual sex? I can't believe all 200 people in the expedition bore you. That's misanthropy on a level that's excessive, even for you."
"I can count the people I find interesting on one hand," said Rodney, holding one hand up, all five fingers spread out.
"Five possibilities," said John. "There you go!"
"Not really," said Rodney, looking at his fingers despondently. "None of them are an option."
"Have you asked any of them?"
"Well," said Rodney.
"Then how do you--"
"I'm not sleeping with my boss!" said Rodney, holding up his thumb. "Tried it before; still have the scars. Besides, Elizabeth isn't really my type. And also," he looked right at John as though daring him to contradict his next point, "she wouldn't be interested. She just sees me as a giant walking brain."
"You say that like it's a bad thing," John said, managing to coax a grudging half-smile from Rodney. An inkling of where this was going eased its way into John's awareness; he wondered if Rodney really had the guts to take it all the way. "Number two?" he asked, a dash of self-interest flavouring his curiosity.
"Teyla," said Rodney, his smile turning enthusiastic. "Totally hot, very interesting."
"And able to snap you like a twig," said John.
"Part of the attraction, actually," said Rodney, "but..."
John casually dropped the popcorn bowl onto the floor and inched into the space separating them. "But?" he prompted.
"She's like Everest," said Rodney with a note of awe in his voice; he drew mountainous curves with his hands as he spoke. "How do you even begin to satisfy a woman like that?"
"Yeah," John agreed, draping himself a little more expansively over his new spot; he moved his leg until his knee wasn't quite touching Rodney's. "I've wondered about that a few times myself."
They grinned at each other, united in their appreciation of Teyla.
Rodney's smile faltered. "She's not interested either," he said. "I kind of said something. Once. She was very... kind."
"Ouch," said John with genuine sympathy; he'd experienced his own moment of kindness from Teyla.
"Yeah," said Rodney. He glanced down at his three remaining fingers, and then sidelong at John.
"Beckett or Zelenka?" John asked in a neutral tone.
Rodney gave him a searching look. Then, with obvious relief, he relaxed, his body language opening up for the first time since the conversation had begun. His knee brushed against John's, then pressed in more firmly. "Yes and yes," he said, and folded back fingers three and four.
"So, what's wrong with them?" John asked.
"Where to start?" said Rodney. "I mean, Carson has to be the neediest man I've ever met. Getting involved with him would be like dating a sponge!"
"Not to mention that Cadman would probably kill you," said John. "Slowly and with extreme prejudice."
"They'd never find my body," Rodney agreed, not sounding particularly perturbed by the prospect.
"But what about Zelenka? I would have thought he'd be your perfect match."
"Exactly!" Rodney said, pointing a finger at John. "Even a moron can see it!"
Dryly, John said, "How on earth can he resist such fiendish charm?"
Ignoring the sarcasm, Rodney replied, "He insists he's in love with Elizabeth. It's sickening."
"Hard to argue someone out of being in love though," said John.
Rodney nodded, looking glum; he slowly slumped sideways into John. "See? It's hopeless. I'm never going to get laid again."
John reached over and touched Rodney's little finger. "You've still got a finger left."
"No good," Rodney replied dismissively, slapping John's hand away. "He's totally straight."
"Totally straight, huh? Let me guess," said John, "Caldwell? No, wait! Kavanagh?" Without waiting for Rodney to finish snorting with disgust, John continued, "Bates? Lorne?" Then, with a frown: "Actually, I think Lorne has a crush on Parrish."
Rodney's mouth had twisted into a thin line of displeasure. "Don't be an ass. You know perfectly well it's you."
"Can't be me," said John, shaking his head.
"What do you mean it can't be you?" said Rodney, indignantly. "That's the most condescending, homophobic thing I've ever heard you say. For God's sake, John, it's not like I'm going to suddenly leap on you or something." A bright patch of colour was burning high on each of Rodney's cheeks. "But if you can't handle it, I'd rather you didn't make snide little comments. Just come out and--"
"Well, I'm not totally straight," said John. "So it can't be me."
Rodney just sat there, mouth slightly open, staring at John as though he wasn't sure his ears were working right.
"Come on," said John. "You suspected, or you wouldn't have hitched a ride on this wagon train in the first place."
Rodney swallowed hard. "I, uh..." he swallowed again, his eyes going very wide as he suddenly seemed to realise that they were pressed together as closely as two people could get on a sofa without it becoming cuddling. "Oh my God," he blurted out, "you're saying yes, aren't you?" He didn't exactly look thrilled at the idea; more like scared half to death.
John frowned. "You didn't really think I'd put you through all that and then say no."
"It could happen," Rodney snapped, but he was inching forward on the seat, as though preparing to flee if John so much as twitched in his direction.
It was almost as though... if he didn't know better, John would be tempted to think... he narrowed his eyes, taking in the tension visibly thrumming through every line of Rodney's body. "You've never actually had sex with a guy, have you?" he said. It came out a bit more accusing than he'd intended.
As though the question was a trigger, Rodney was up off the sofa so fast the cushions might as well have been spring-loaded. "I should have known!" he said, pacing on the far side of the table. "Is there any kind of sex you haven't tried?"
It wasn't the first time Rodney had implied John was a slut, and for a long moment John seriously considered pulling the plug on the whole thing. He really didn't need to deal with Rodney going through the kind of full-scale gay freak-out that was looking more and more likely with every pace Rodney took, and he especially didn't need Rodney freaking out anywhere that curious marines might pick up on it. "Necrophilia," John said, playing for time while he figured how to send Rodney home without totally alienating him in the process. "Bestiality. Scat play. Married sex. And strangely enough, I've never been to an orgy either."
Rodney stopped pacing and turned to face John; he looked deeply unhappy as he said, "Oh, yes, that makes all the difference!"
That's when John had one of those intuitive clicks, and everything fell into place: Rodney had wanted John to be a virgin for gay sex. In fact, John could practically hear Rodney's dialogue in that scenario; he would have oh-so-casually pointed out that gay sex was the perfect solution to their mutual problem. Hell, he'd probably read a book about it--The Gay Kama Sutra or Gay Sex For Not-Dummies or something. With an effort, John bit back his grin. He could work with this.
"Why don't we just let it go?" John suggested in the mildest voice he could manage.
Right on cue, Rodney crossed his arm, annoyance replacing unhappiness. "What? You're taking it back? That's just so fucking typical of--"
John raised his voice and went on, "For now. We can pick it up again another time." The When you're ready remained unspoken, but it was right there, in the air between them.
Instead of blustering indignantly at the implied lack of confidence in his abilities, Rodney dropped his arms to his sides and gave John a knowing look. "How do you do that?" he asked. "Do they teach it at officer training school or something?"
"Yes, Rodney," said John. "They teach a whole stream of Advanced Homosexuality during officer training. You should see the practical exam."
"Not that," Rodney said, waving it aside impatiently. "The way you can lower the bar like that. The way you make difficult things seem easy with just a few words." He walked around the table until he was within arm's reach of John. "I've seen you do it in the field too, when the marines are doing training exercises." He took another step forward, put a hand on the back of the sofa for balance, and straddled John's thighs. "It's kind of hot."
John didn't move until Rodney was settled, then his hands found a natural resting place on Rodney's thighs. "Actually," he said, "they did teach that during officer training."
"Thought so," Rodney said smugly. He lifted a hand, hesitating with his fingers an inch from John's skin. "Can I..."
"You can do anything you want," said John.
Rodney slid his hand into John's hair: feathering the strands between his thumb and index finger, feeling the texture; combing a handful between his fingers and tugging gently; stroking around the curve of John's head and back again.
The perfect pressure along John's scalp sent a shiver all the way down his spine.
The corner of Rodney's mouth twitched up, and he did it again, watching with obvious pleasure as John responded to his touch. Then he branched out, tracing the rim of John's ear, the smooth skin of its hollow; let his fingers follow the line of John's jaw, paused to feel the flutter of pulse beneath the skin where jaw met neck. He lingered at John's mouth, playing with the swell of his bottom lip; and then, with a look of intense fascination, he ran his nails over the stubble on John's cheek.
John was hard; had been since the first butterfly-soft contact with his ear. He clutched and released Rodney's thighs, not letting his hands wander anywhere else.
Rodney leaned forward and touched his nose to John's. His eyes were open as he gently rubbed their noses together, but then he closed them, and said, "I'm going to kiss you now."
Rodney's hands were clenched on John's shoulders in a way that signalled exactly how nervous he was, but his kiss wasn't hesitant at all, his tongue pushing its way into John's mouth and making itself at home.
When Rodney's hands finally slid up John's neck to play with his hair, John gave up the battle to stay still. He grabbed Rodney's hips and pulled him closer, revelling in the hard press of Rodney's cock against his belly and the warm weight of Rodney's ass against his own cock. He kissed a fast and dirty hello into Rodney's mouth, then nipped Rodney's top lip, just to feel the perfect give of it between his teeth. He paused for a moment, trying to choose what to taste next, then nudged his away around to the curve of Rodney's neck and sucked a string of not-quite-bruising kisses down to the collar of his shirt. Rodney tasted like popcorn, seasoned with the salt of a hard day's work.
"Oh God!" Rodney said; he was panting in John's ear, his fingers pulling at John's hair in a way that meant the exact opposite of stop. "That's... You... Oh God!"
Giving into temptation, John ran his hands up Rodney's chest and brushed his thumbs across Rodney's nipples.
Rodney whimpered, hips jerking forward.
John did it again, pressing harder this time: Rodney shuddered beneath his touch, making a sound that was pure sex, and John had to bite Rodney's shoulder hard through the cotton of his shirt to muffle the moan that forced its way out of his mouth.
"Fuck!" said Rodney, pushing up into the bite. Then he was suddenly all knees and elbows as he leaned away from John and started fumbling with the button of his pants. "I have to... I'm going to..." As soon as he got the zip undone, he glanced up at John, face flushed, looking undone and desperate.
"Yeah," said John, and pushed aside Rodney's boxers so that he could wrap his hand around Rodney's hot, sweat-damp cock. Two hard, efficient strokes and Rodney made a hurt noise and came so hard it hit the underside of John's chin and ended up all over his shirt.
After the last tremor had run through him, Rodney collapsed against John, his breath warm against John's neck.
John ran his hands soothingly up and down Rodney's back, and they stayed like that until Rodney's breathing had evened out. Then he slowly unhitched himself from John's lap and collapsed back onto the sofa.
"Sorry," Rodney said, staring at a spot on the far wall. "That... really wasn't the plan."
"What are you sorry for?" John said, undoing the button on his own pants to ease the pressure a bit. "You're going to get to come twice tonight. After five years of celibacy, I'm not seeing a downside there."
"Don't think I'm so brain-dead right now that I can't tell you're doing that bar-lowering thing again." Rodney turned his head to meet John's gaze. "I'm finding it surprisingly hot, given how hard I just came."
John grinned at him. "If you're looking for hot, wait 'til you try one of my blow-jobs."
Rodney eyed him warily. "You're doing that on purpose, aren't you?"
"Doing what?" said John, before adding in a conversational tone, "Or if you want, you could fuck me."
Rodney let his head thunk against the back of the sofa. "You should come with a hazard label. I think I'm getting lust-induced chest pains."
"Take your shirt off and I'll kiss it better," John offered. "Or if you want a little rest first, I could provide some in-house entertainment," and he slid a hand inside his pants.
"Stop it!" Ignoring John's pout, Rodney reached over and pulled the hand back out. "I want the full John Sheppard thrill ride. Don't spoil my fun."
"The thrill ride has a very strict dress code," John said. "And by dress code I mean an undress code." He stood up and pulled off his shirt. "Take your clothes off, Rodney."
With a steady stream of muttered complaints, Rodney complied, managing the whole process without once getting up from the sofa. Then, still complaining, he levered himself up, made a beeline for the bed, and collapsed onto it. He lifted his head from the pillow just long enough to glare at John, and demand, "Well, come on then!" and dropped back down again.
John stepped out of his pants and prowled over to the bed; he didn't slow down when he reached its foot, making his way on all fours until he was directly above Rodney.
Rodney's eyes widened just as John made his move, taking Rodney's mouth in a ruthless kiss, demanding Rodney let him in and give him everything, and when Rodney surged up into the kiss, trying to touch John everywhere at once, trying to pull his body closer, John broke their mouths apart and pinned Rodney to the bed at the wrists and waist.
"You know," Rodney tried to free his hands, "that stuff I said about wanting the whole thrill ride--" then his voice broke around the vowel of an, "Oh," as John's tongue made contact with his nipple.
Mouth watering, John sucked hard, playing the tip of his tongue around and around the areola; Rodney's head rocked from side to side as he strained against John's grip on his wrists. The nub of Rodney's nipple slid between John's teeth, firm and salty-sweet, textured like some kind of exotic fruit. Lychees maybe. And when John bit down, Rodney cried out, his hips arching up off the bed, seeking connection.
"Please," Rodney begged. "Please."
John's mouth made a wet, slick sound as he let go. "You want something, Rodney?" He moved so that they were almost close enough for a kiss, but wouldn't let Rodney close the gap, even when the tendons on his neck stood out in ropes with the strain of trying.
"Bastard!" said Rodney. "This is revenge, isn't it?"
"Not so much revenge," said John, ducking his head to lick one of the stress lines on Rodney's neck, "as the positive reinforcement system." Another swipe of Rodney's neck. "Give me something I want, and I'll give you something you want."
"So wha--" The words came out as a stutter. Rodney tried again, blurting out the words between one lick and the next. "So what do you want?"
John pressed a kiss to the soft skin just below Rodney's ear and murmured, "Tell me what this was like when you imagined it, alone in your own bed with your hand on your dick."
"Oh, God," Rodney said, and when John pulled back to look at him, his eyes were all pupil, and sweat had turned his hairline into a row of tiny kiss curls. "Like this," he said, staring up at John. "Me on my back. You on top. But touching. Your dick hard against mine." He shivered. "God, can we do that now? Please can we do that now?"
John rewarded him with a kiss; the moment he made contact, Rodney grabbed John's bottom lip with his teeth and the kiss turned into battle. It didn't end until they came up for air.
"Now!" Rodney demanded. "I did what you wanted!"
"But you haven't told me everything yet," John said, ignoring the insistent way his cock was throbbing.
Rodney turned his head and closed his eyes, but the words tumbled out as though he'd been rehearsing them all along: "You say... when I'm about to come, you say you're going to fuck me... You say you're going to fuck me next time." He took in a shaky breath. "You can if you want. You can fuck me now if you want."
John let go of his hold on Rodney, dropping down on top of him, pressing skin against skin. "You know what I'm going to do to you, Rodney?"
Rodney wrapped both arms around John, hooked his legs over the back of John's thighs, and thrust up against him frantically. "Don't say it yet," he said. "Wait, wait."
It was so hot, so good, Rodney slick and solid beneath him, and John struggled to make it last, struggled to find the right words. "I'm going to teach you how to give a killer blow-job... I want to feel your mouth on me." And he sucked an open-mouthed kiss onto Rodney's jaw to illustrate.
"Yes. That sounds... yes," said Rodney, rocking up in a relentless rhythm. "What else are you going to do?"
"Bite you," said John, rapidly approaching the edge, his skin prickling all over with it, "somewhere it won't show. Somewhere I can leave marks." He slid his hand between their bodies and pressed his thumb hard against Rodney's left nipple, the one he'd been biting.
Rodney moaned, movements going erratic, head arching back to expose his neck.
"I want to fuck you," John said, "Next time, I'm going to fuck you so fucking hard..."
With a broken cry, Rodney convulsed beneath him, the sudden slick heat of his come against John's cock sending John crashing over the edge right behind him.
As soon as John's body stopped turning itself inside out, he collapsed, draping over Rodney in a boneless sprawl. He didn't even try to move until Rodney poked him in the ribs, and then he reluctantly rolled over onto his back. He rested a hand on Rodney's thigh and let his mind drift, still high from the best orgasm he'd had in... ever, actually.
"I've never had sex like that before," said Rodney.
It didn't sound like a complaint, so John just patted his thigh companionably and said, "Duh."
"No," said Rodney, "you don't understand. That was the best sex I've ever had!"
"Yeah," said John, and patted Rodney's thigh again. It felt nice; solid and a little bit hairy. "Cool, huh?"
"I'm gay, aren't I?" Rodney slung an arm over his eyes. "How could I not know that? How is that even possible?"
Feeling way too mellow to deal with a gay freak-out, John decided a distraction was in order. "Hey!" he said, and nudged Rodney with his elbow.
Rodney lifted his arm and scowled at John. "What?" he said. "I'm kind of busy having a panic attack here, if you don't mind!"
John gave Rodney his best smile--the one he saved up for special occasions. He figured Rodney had earned it. "Would it help if I said I love you? Because I totally will, if it'll help."
Rodney jerked upright as though someone had pulled him up with a string; he gaped down at John. "I don't believe you! First the bar-lowering thing, and now this! How do you just say stuff like that?"
"Don't tell anyone," John said, as though about to confess his sins, "but I really blitzed that practical exam in Advanced Homosexuality."
"Oh, ha ha," said Rodney, flopping down again in a way that took up most of John's personal space. "Step aside Jerry Seinfeld."
The distraction seemed to have worked like a charm: instead of the freaking-out look, Rodney was wearing his thinking look, one hand idly carding through John's chest hair as he mulled things over. After a while he said, smugly, "You do realise you can't get rid of me now? You're stuck with me. Probably for years and years!"
"The horror," said John, dropping a kiss onto Rodney's temple. "Speaking of which, let's do the Ring movies next Wednesday. I hear Miko has both versions, so we can do a compare and contrast."
"Oh, please!" said Rodney. "Have you been taking moron-tablets? There's no comparison! The Japanese version is infinitely superior in every way. To start with--"
For a moment, John considered reminding Rodney of the hot blonde factor in the remake, but then, with a twinge of something he suspected might just be happiness, he decided to save it up for a day when he felt like gloating and rubbing Rodney's nose in the awful truth that he'd gotten himself hitched to a brunette.