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Beat Down Out in the Universe

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Matt strolls down the corridor, the very picture of casual innocence. He nods at a couple people he passes but doesn't stop to chat, which is kind of hard for him since he knows everyone and almost always has something to say. As he approaches Bob's quarters, he hears someone round the corner behind him, so he keeps walking. After he passes Bob's door, he glances nonchalantly over his shoulder and sees that it's Teyla. He lets out a relieved breath and turns around to go back to Bob's room.

"Good evening, Doctor Skiba," she says, with a graceful tilt of her head. She makes no mention of his apparently random change of direction.

"The lovely Ms. Emmagan," Matt says with his most charming smile. "How are you?"

"I am well." She casts a sideways glance at Bob's door. "I trust Captain Bryar is recovering?"

"Yeah, if he's telling me the truth, he is."

"Why would he lie about his recovery?" Teyla smiles wryly, and Matt figures that she may not know Bob very well but she works with Ronon Dex and Sheppard and knows how the Marines are in general.

"You know how it is. He'll deny there's anything wrong until his head falls off," Matt answers, even though she's just teasing and doesn't actually need an answer. He shrugs and lifts his hands, because there's not much he can do about it. "Can you believe he tried to walk off a broken ankle once?"

"Yes, I can believe it. I have known many warriors like that." Teyla laughs and moves around Matt to proceed down the corridor, saying, "Give him my best wishes."

"Hey, Teyla?" Matt says before she gets too far away. "Could we keep this--" he nods toward Bob's door. "--just between us? The military...well."

"Indeed. I will say nothing of your friendship with Captain Bryar." She smiles in understanding and continues on her way.

Once the coast is clear, Matt lets himself into Bob's room with a cursory knock. "Are you decent? I hope not."

And hey, score. Bob is lying in bed with the sheet pulled halfway up his bare chest. Matt grins as Bob puts aside the book he's reading, raises himself up on his elbows, and shakes his head. "I hate to break it to you, but I'm wearing pants."

Matt gets a weird little flutter in his stomach at how tired Bob sounds, and the bruises on one side of Bob's chest and all down his arm are unsettling. He's always been completely covered whenever Matt saw him over the last few days. Matt distracts himself by saying, "Well, damn. Let's see what I can do about that."

"Matt, I'm not really in the mood." Bob turns his head away like he expects Matt to leave now. Which...what? No, Matt didn't come for a quickie before jetting back to his lab or whatever Bob seems to think.

"That's not what I came for anyway. I brought you something." Matt pulls his iPod out of his pocket and holds it out to Bob. "I thought you might like some new music to listen to while you're stuck in here."

Bob sits up and takes the iPod, turning it over and over in his hand like he can't believe someone would loan him one. He swings his legs out from under the covers and sits on the side of the bed, and Matt sees that the big liar is actually just wearing boxers not pants. "Dr. Beckett's going to release me tomorrow to go back to light duty."

Matt eyes the fresh bandages covering the side of Bob's calf almost to his ankle and says, "Did he tell you that or did you just decide you're going to bitch until he releases you just to shut you up?"

"William said it's looking good, no sign of infection," Bob says, which on the surface doesn't answer Matt's question but tells him everything he needs to know anyway. Bob pins Matt with a look. "And I guess I have you to thank for William coming around to check up on me?"

Matt did ask William to come by and make sure Bob's bandages were changed and that whatever else medical shit needed to be done was getting done. He's not going to apologize for that because he warned Bob he was going to take care of him, and if that sometimes involves other people doing the actual fiddly bits, well, Bob will just have to accept it. "You're not going to be mad about it, are you?"

"He counted my antibiotics to make sure I was taking them." Bob sighs and concedes, "No, I'm not mad. Wouldn't do any good anyway, you meddling fucker."

"You secretly like it."

"I secretly think you're a pain in the ass. Oh wait, that's not a secret."

"You can be as grumpy as you like." Matt smirks at him lecherously and adds, "You know that just turns me on."

"What kind of masochist are you?" Bob asks incredulously and Matt nearly laughs at him.

"The kind that puts up with your accident-prone ass and does it gladly."

"Oh, I'm accident-prone? How's your dinosaur scar doing?"

"See, we're made for each other." Matt grins and Bob rolls his eyes, but he doesn't argue and that makes Matt happy.

"I don't know why you put up with me," Bob says, and it sounds like more cranky banter, but he can't seem to meet Matt's eyes and Matt doesn't miss the way he's gripping the edge of the mattress and the iPod so hard his knuckles are turning white.

"That's part of your charm." Matt pries the iPod out of Bob's hand and puts it on the nightstand before he crushes it. "You want to hear about the rest while I get you back in bed?"

"No," Bob says, but Matt is already bending over to pick up his feet and swing his legs back up onto the bed.

"One, you are stubborn beyond belief." He repositions the folded blanket so that it's propping Bob's foot up again, and then fluffs up his pillows. "Two, you're a Marine who blushes at the most innocent flirting. Three, you--"

"I'm not convinced anything you do is innocent." Bob watches Matt take off his boots like he thinks that's a prelude to ravishment. And maybe under different circumstances, it would be, but not tonight.

"What? I'm completely harmless."

"How the hell did you say that with a straight face?"

"Practice." Matt carefully lies down along Bob's uninjured side and props his head on one hand. "And natural talent. Oh, hey, did I ever tell you I was in a punk band all through college?"

"No. You talk a lot without ever really saying much about yourself."

"So do you. Not the talk a lot part. I don't even know where you're from."

"I'm from Chicago," Bob says as if imparting a great secret, but his mouth twitches like he's fighting back a smile. Matt's noticed he does that a lot, so Matt knows he's getting to Bob even if Bob sometimes doesn't want to admit it.

"What, really? Me too. Right up until I left for grad school and fell in love with California. Then I ended up in another galaxy, what the hell." Matt laughs because sometimes he doesn't believe that last bit either, and then he slides a hand across Bob's bare stomach. "Now you know some stuff about me...wanna make out?"

"Well, that's nothing new. I already know that you're predictable," Bob says and this time he does smile. He rubs the back of his hand against Matt's thigh.

Matt notices how stiffly he's holding himself and wonders when he last had a pain pill or whether he's given them up altogether. He'll ask later but for now he lets it go and just says, "I prefer to think of it as dependable. You can count on me, Bob."

"Uh huh," Bob mutters and watches him like Matt is a snake that could strike any moment, and Matt can't help but think about how different Bob's life must have been from his before they came here. They probably never would have met, had it not been for the SGC. Bob would have gone on living even deeper in the closet, denying himself what he really wanted, denying himself this. Matt lays his head on an unbruised part of Bob's chest and sighs. Bob softly says, "Hey."

"Hey," Matt says, just as quietly. "All joking aside, I'm really glad we met."

"I...yeah, me too." Bob still sounds tired, kind of worn down, but then he clears his throat and says, "The estrogen's getting pretty thick in here."

"Fuck you, Captain Bob, having emotions doesn't make you a girl. And I am secure enough in my manhood to cuddle without shame so don't be a sexist dick about it."

"I thought you liked it when I was 'butch'." Bob works his arm out from where Matt's got it trapped between them. He wraps it around Matt's back and cups his hand over his shoulder. Stroking his fingers over the still healing scar on Matt's biceps, he says, "Pegasus is really beating the shit out of us, huh?"

Matt hums in agreement and turns his face so he can press his lips against Bob's chest. He drops little butterfly kisses across Bob's skin and Bob relaxes a little. It's not Vicodin, but it's something Bob will accept so Matt sets out to make Bob feel better the only way he's allowed at the moment.

Shifting his position so he can reach more of Bob, Matt brushes his lips the length of Bob's collarbones and tongues the little dip in between. Bob's breath catches in his throat and he says, "What're you doing?"

Matt appreciates how Bob left the "you big weirdo" unspoken but managed to make it clear that's what he's thinking. He licks Bob's neck and says, "It doesn't have to always be about sex."

"But--" Bob starts but Matt shuts him up with his tongue and then goes back to pressing chaste little kisses down the center of Bob's chest and slowly Bob starts to relax even more, sinking into the mattress with an almost silent sigh. Matt licks across Bob's ribs and avoids the places he knows are ticklish because, while fun, it won't be very relaxing if Bob starts squirming and trying to get away.

After he has given each rib on Bob's uninjured side his full attention, he slides his open mouth up a little and flicks the tip of his tongue over a nipple, smiling when Bob doesn't tense up again. "Matt," Bob murmurs, half warning him not to go too far and half accepting that he's going at least a little way. A flood of warmth goes through Matt at how much meaning Bob can pack into his name. He does it again, catching the nub between his teeth and sucking on it until Bob starts stirring under him.

"Too much?" Matt asks, not really expecting a verbal answer. He presses a wet kiss to Bob's sternum and then brushes his lips very gently over the dark purple bruises. It's just a whisper of a touch because he's so afraid of causing Bob more pain, but Bob cards his fingers in Matt's hair and pushes his head down, shoving Matt's mouth firmly against a particularly large bruise.

As he gives Bob what he wants, Matt reaches down and feels him up. Bob is not hard, but his cock twitches a little under Matt's fingers. Matt gives him a brief, friendly squeeze and says, "Bob, you kinky fucker."

"No. I'm not. It's not..." Bob licks his lips, and he does that thing where he clearly wants to say something but doesn't know how to, so his eyebrows crumple and he looks everywhere but at Matt. After the world's most awkward pause, he shifts his gaze back to Matt and says, "When it hurts, I know it's real." The wave of his hand seems to encompass Matt, the bed, the city, and possibly Bob's whole life.

Matt would like to point out how fucked up that is, but he can sort of see where Bob's coming from. At least from a uniquely Bob-perspective. From what Matt can tell from observation and the few vague hints that Bob has let slip, nothing has ever come easy for Bob. He's always had to work hard and fight for everything he's ever gotten. Even Atlantis, which he got assigned to by having the Ancient Technology Activation gene, turned out to be more about constant struggle and danger and life-threatening injuries than the exciting adventure and exploration the SGC sold it as. Matt can't blame him for not readily taking their relationship as the gift--to both of them--that is obviously is.

Matt places his mouth right over Bob's heart and just breathes against his skin for a moment before saying, "I get it. But I still wish you'd take a pain pill when you need one. They gave them to you for a reason."

Bob snorts a laugh and says, "You're a bigger nag than both Becketts combined."

"Yeah, I know you love it," Matt says and then freezes with his mouth still hovering over Bob's chest when Bob sighs. He thinks maybe this is it. This is the moment when Bob proves that everything Matt thinks he knows is wrong and Bob doesn't want this nearly as much as Matt does, that when Matt wouldn't let him break up in the infirmary, it was just postponing the inevitable.

Matt braces himself for rejection, but then Bob's arms tighten around him and he says very quietly, "Maybe. Maybe I do."

Matt relaxes and hides his relieved smile against Bob's skin. If that's all he ever gets out of Bob, it'll be enough because he's fairly adept at reading between the lines.


the end.