Doctor Rodney McKay, Ph.D., Ph.D., compulsively orders books on astrophysics and the like just for the sheer pleasure of writing insulting comments in the margins.
Naturally, this means that he gets frequent visits from the UPS delivery guy – the very tan (presumably from driving around with the door open all the time, wearing those brown uniform shorts) UPS delivery guy, who, Rodney suspects, is the one responsible for leaving kitty treats with catnip in them on the stoop, not to mention an assortment of strange toys for Rodney: A pencil from the Supreme Court with a double-ended eraser like a gavel. A small Happy Meal Power Ranger. Two juggling balls. Once, a potato.
Seriously, a potato, placed on the table under the No Soliciting sign. Not only had it been weird, it had been fortuitous, because he'd been in desperate need of starch.
So Rodney lies in wait one day (instead of ignoring the doorbell like he usually does or spending all day at work), determined to figure out who left the potato and the actual 1980s Transformer on his steps. When the doorbell rings, he throws back the door with an almighty "HA!" and a very pleased finger wag – which stops mid-wag because this is the first time he's seen the delivery guy up close, and he's just standing on the other side of the door and smirking. Rodney's vaguely aware that his mouth is hanging open and he needs to shut it, but his brain is sending him critical mass warnings, and he can only stare as the UPS guy hands him a pin shaped like Florida along with this week's books.
"Nice to finally meet you, Doctor McKay," says the delivery guy, and the fact that Rodney isn't saying anything at all just seems to make him smirk even more.
Rodney waves the Florida pin weakly. "And you – " The questions logjam in Rodney's head. Who are you? How are you so hot? Where did you get the pin? Seriously, how are you so hot?
"How's the cat?" the delivery guy asks.
"Sits in the window?" the delivery guy prompts.
Rodney tries to figure out why the guy looks so preternaturally pleased with himself. "Oh. Oh – um. Quark. He's – she's fine. Fine. Shedding." What is he saying?
There's no answer forthcoming to that question, mostly because his brain is too busy trying to assimilate sloppy dark hair, tan skin (Rodney knew it), sweaty from the warm day. Except – No. Wait. Cat. About the cat. Shedding, all over the place. Aviator glasses, the kind that went out in the eighties, and what's going on behind them Rodney has no idea.
"It's fall," he offers feebly, and the delivery guy nods behind his aviators very slowly, as though dealing with someone with brain damage (and he kind of is, Rodney realizes with distant horror, and the longer delivery guy stands here smirking, the more synapses Rodney's going to lose). "So. Uh. Yes. Well, nice to meet you, you probably have – you know. A package." He blushes crimson as soon as the words are out of his mouth. "Packages. Other packages. Packages belonging to – oh hell." He looks at the floor – but not before he swears he sees the delivery guy look down his own body and then shoot a glance at Rodney's, and, wow, really? Wow. Rodney's not entirely sure what to do with that.
"Well, I'd best get back to delivering my . . . package," the delivery guy says. "I'm John, by the way. I always take this route."
"I'm Rodney," Rodney says. "Dr. Rodney McKay."
The delivery guy – John – smirks again and brandishes his electronic clipboard. "I know. Already got your autograph. Also, the package has your name on it."
"Oh, right." Rodney feels kind of dumb, something to which he's entirely unaccustomed. "I'm actually very smart, you know," he blurts. "Seriously. Like – a genius."
"Like a genius, or a genius?" John asks with another smirk and a tilt of his head.
"A supergenius," Rodney says, relieved to be talking about his intelligence. It's familiar ground, and safe, even though he can see the teasing behind those ridiculous aviators.
"Oh, super," John agrees with more nodding. Rodney can't quite tell whether he's impressed or not. He notices the patch that reads SHEPPARD on John's brown shirt. He's not exactly sure why he wants the delivery guy to be impressed.
"Yes. Super. Super – super – I . . . okay, I have to go now. I have very important books to read and you are quite largely unclothed and bad for my brain. In a good way. I mean – something. Yes. Nice to meet you and – " Rodney slams the door shut in John Sheppard's too-good-looking face and rushes to his computer to order four books by next-day delivery.
Later, after he manages to rid himself of John Sheppard and his crazy dark hair and sunglasses and his stupid brown shorts, he thinks about canceling his order.
He sends the cursor skittering around the screen, hovering over the CANCEL ORDER button, tells himself he really doesn't need these books (because they're utter crap), and it's not like he's obsessed or anything, but then again, he kind of does need these books (because they're utter crap and their authors need to know it) and, well . . .
"Oh my God," Rodney says to his faint reflection in the monitor. "Oh, my God."
He has a crush. He has a big, ridiculous, hairy crush on the delivery guy – John. John the barely-clothed UPS man of doom. John the leg-flashing book handler of lewdness. John the scorching-hot, aviator-sunglasses-wearing strumpet.
The problem with his crushes, Rodney knows, is that they tend, very rapidly, to develop into what most people would call "disturbing obsession," and John, in whose mouth package becomes something other than three-day ground from the University of Chicago Press, has just set the new speed record.
Oh shit. He just thought the words "John, in whose mouth," and now it's going to be nothing but cocksucking dreams 'til sun-up.
The problem with being a genius (a supergenius) is that Rodney remembers things really well. Things like John's mouth, shiny like he'd licked it when sweat beaded on his upper lip. Also things like John's tongue, which Rodney really hadn't seen but can imagine very clearly, licking salt water away.
And John's stubble, which would be rough against Rodney's thighs, and John's breath, which would be warm …
Rodney swallows and gathers his dignity around him – he is not going to jerk off (again, alone) thinking of John The Beyond The Telling Of It Hot Delivery Guy. He's going to get a good night's rest – after drinking two, three beers – and tomorrow this will all be a bad dream.
At least it will be a bad dream until John shows up wearing that grin and his . . . his tarty brown shorts, carrying his electronic clipboard and Rodney's absolutely very necessary books.
Maybe, he thinks, he should switch to hard liquor. Vodka-induced amnesia would almost be worth the hangover. But the problem with that is that vodka makes him stupid and horny (which he already is, but this is completely beside the point), and so it'll be a horrible vicious circle of drinking and imagining John's moist mouth wrapped around his cock and jerking off and drinking and imagining and jerking off until it finally stops at unconsciousness. Bad unconsciousness. The kind he experienced on that exchange trip to Siberia in '92 when he woke up without his shirt and 'I love Ivan' written between his nipples in lipstick.
He shivers. Maybe if he just stays awake all night and watches – something. On TV. He has 1286184 channels of cable and –
Why is the doorbell ringing at this hour?
"Ignoring. Ignoring!" Rodney stomps into the den and is about to graft himself onto the couch when he realizes it's quite possible that, in his John-induced fugue state, he'd ordered pizza or flowers or something and had forgotten about it. He's done weirder things under far less influence. Hoping he's at least ordered something palatable and not involving citrus, Rodney barrels through the house and pulls open his front door. "Oh," he says, because there's not really anything else to say.
"It's a bit unconventional," John says, hitching one shoulder in something Rodney supposes is nonchalance. "But you looked like a guy who could use a beer." He lifts the six-pack in his hand.
"I could – yes." Rodney nods to emphasize this, in case it isn't obvious that a beer has definite utility at the moment. "Yes I could."
John's decently covered up now, in indecent dark jeans that hang off his ass and a shirt that hints delicately at the long torso beneath it. It's weird, seeing him holding a pack of – Rodney squints.
"Please tell me that isn't Budweiser. Please."
"Nah," John says. "Local microbrew – it's got raspberries in it." He waggles his eyebrows ridiculously, and Rodney can feel his face scrunch up.
"I think that's actually worse. And also, surprisingly girly."
John looks like he's a bit irritated now, or maybe he's just worn out from a long day of delivering things to people, but he sounds exceedingly bland when he says, "Well, Rodney, I can take my girly beer and go home if that's the way you – "
"No! No, I mean, I have a couch. It's a really nice couch."
One of John's eyebrows lifts – an eloquent arch that makes Rodney replay what he just said (I have a couch, and I think it would be great if the two of us could be on it together) and try to take it back.
"Well, I mean, if you want to watch TV. But if you don't, I also have chairs. In the kitchen." The nice, safe kitchen, where Rodney will not fantasize about John's tan body stretched across his table.
"Whichever," John says complacently, tapping his girly microbrewery raspberry beer against one thigh and being absolutely no help at all.
Clearly the move is his, so Rodney stands aside, stops blocking the doorway with his body, and John takes it for the invitation it is, steps over the threshold and drifts naturally in the direction of Rodney's den. All Rodney can do is follow and be hypnotized by the way John's shoulders and back move under his shirt so that he almost walks into John when he stops and plunks the six-pack down on the coffee table. John's the kind of guy who has a beer pull on his key chain – of course he is, Rodney thinks a little desperately – and he pops the caps from two beers, falls back onto Rodney's couch, kicks up his feet on Rodney's coffee table, and all in all makes himself at home as if this is his twentieth late-night visit, not his first.
"Hey, you kept this stuff," John says, sounding surprised and pleased – he's found Rodney's stash of mysterious gifts on the side table. Rodney tells himself he puts those there because there's nothing else to do with them, and Quark enjoys playing with the Power Ranger as much as the catnip toys. She's already gnawed off one of the arms, and Rodney doesn't know what happened to it.
"Yes, well, I didn't keep the potato," he says, and John grins up at him, smile bright in the darkness of Rodney's den. Rodney finds himself groping desperately between the couch cushions for the remote, until he realizes that he's groping awfully near John's person, and he snatches his hand back and holds the remote to his chest like it might somehow protect his virtue, and oh god, what is wrong with him?
John's still smiling at him – smiling almost kindly, which is so unexpected and strange that Rodney's brain goes completely offline – and all he can do is sit obediently when John pats the sofa right beside him. John's thigh is warm all along where it's pressed to Rodney's, and John's weird raspberry beer isn't actually all that bad, and Rodney stares at John's throat when he swallows, at the hair peeking out of the vee of his shirt collar, at John's hand resting on his knee: his battered knuckles, his crooked middle finger, the black spot on the fingernail of his pinky. And there's no reason, at least that Rodney can see, for John (hot, beautiful, scratched-up John) to have manifested himself on Rodney's doorstep in a non-delivering-books capacity, because most (read: all) of the people Rodney knows or doesn't know don't do this. But John is looking at him like he knows something of frustration, knows Rodney, which is weird and inexplicable, unless –
"Is this a pity visit?" Rodney blurts, prepared to be mortified.
John shifts his hand to Rodney's knee (warm, firm grip oh God) and squeezes a little, sounds exasperated and maybe a little fond when he huffs, "McKay. I don't do this, okay?" John tucks his beer between his thighs so that he can rub the back of his neck with his other hand. "I don't just – show up at people's houses on my route. Unless I'm bringing them something."
You brought me beer, Rodney thinks. He says, "Then why are you here?"
John smirks, looking a little bewildered. "I just – guess I wanted to . . ." He shrugs. "Know you better."
"That's a new one," Rodney says, painfully aware that John's bewilderment is transmogrifying into annoyance, but he can't help it, and it's embarrassing to explain. No one wants to get to know me better, unless for purposes of writing on me with lipstick and leaving me drunk and unconscious on the floor, Rodney wants to say. But the words will not come out and John's sitting there, holding his beer in one hand and playing with Rodney's one-armed Power Ranger figure with the other and waiting.
"I – I just . . . I'm – not . . . " Rodney blows out a long breath, aware that pink is creeping up his throat from his chest. "Good at – at . . ."
"Yeah," John says, plainly teasing, and Rodney bristles. "I kinda got that."
"Yes, well," Rodney splutters, relieved to be indignant, "I apologize for the unfortunate freak of genetics that wired my brain to be, oh, let's see, brilliant at matters of physics and rather subpar at matters of flirting with the delivery guy." He tilts his chin defiantly.
"We all have our strengths," John says, that infuriating smirk flirting with the corner of his mouth. He puts the Power Ranger back and picks up the Supreme Court pencil. Its gavel is mostly gone, and it's dented where Rodney's chewed it.
"Oral fixation, much?" John asks, and twirls the pencil between his long fingers. Rodney ducks his head and tries to order his stomach to stop with the fluttery butterfly things. When he looks up, John's leaned in closer, and oh god, that's mesmerizing, the shadow of stubble along his jaw and the flecks of gold in his eyes and and and – "So we are flirting, right?" John asks.
"I – I guess?" Also mesmerizing: John's long, tan arm along the back of Rodney's couch, his shirt that gapes at the collar so Rodney can look down and imagine what John's body feels like under the fabric of it. He swallows. "Genetically deficient, remember?"
"How about I drive, then?" John says, and he's pressing his mouth to the corner of Rodney's – soft, soft drag of his lip – and when he pulls back a little, Rodney chases the taste of him with his tongue.
"Yes," Rodney says, that taste elusive and so not enough, "yes, okay."
"Okay," John says, leaning close again, and if he's laughing into Rodney's mouth, well, Rodney doesn't mind so much, because it feels like he's in on the joke, especially when John opens to him easily, lets Rodney push inside, and this is probably the hottest thing that's ever happened to him.
Then his hand lands on John's shoulder – the hand still clutching the remote – and the TV blares to sudden life.
They both flail wildly and beer goes everywhere – down Rodney's shirt, down John's pants – and Rodney can't speak for anyone else, but his heart's trying to make a mad escape from his chest. He thumps the remote against the couch cushions until the TV shuts off again and licks his beer-covered fingers. "Shit, sorry," he says, blushing wildly as he chases the beer that's running down his wrist.
They're plunged into silence again, the smell of malt and hops and raspberries all around them (all over them), and oh god, oh god, John's pinning Rodney's arm to the back of the couch and swiping his tongue against Rodney's wrist and saying, "You can make it up to me."
Rodney blinks and makes a small, choked noise because John's licking at him and, oh, sucking gently over the heel of his thumb, and apparently he really likes beer. Or – or, outside chance, he likes Rodney, but . . . is there any beer left on his skin now? Is he licking up beer or licking up the taste of Rodney and – Rodney's toes curl and his eyes fall closed before he can finish the thought. Oh, god. New thought – is there protocol here? Should he offer John the use of his washer? It's small and European, so things come out of the dryer wrinkled, but maybe John's not the type of guy who cares about beer soaking into his jeans, especially not while he's using his tongue to chase salt and beer through the creases of another guy's hand.
"You should get out of that shirt," John whispers. "It's wet."
"Yeah," Rodney agrees, because hypothermia is never a good thing and his shirt is sticky and uncomfortable, and John offers him a quick, subdued grin, and their fingers tangle when John reaches for the hem. Then, oh, then John's hands slide against Rodney's skin, warm against evaporating coolness, gathering up the fabric and encouraging Rodney to lift his arms, and reason's not so important anymore.
Rodney has a moment of feeling terribly exposed, sitting naked from the waist up on his couch in the dimly-lit den with dark, beautiful John Sheppard, Delivery Man right there, and then John's smoothing down Rodney's mussed hair, fingers tingling along his neck, hand coming to rest heavy on Rodney's shoulder, looking so expectant that Rodney can't help but surge forward, can't help kissing him again and again.
John breathes – it feels like want and relief that he's pressing into Rodney's mouth – and his fingers paint the words across Rodney's face. Then all of John – all of that long-limbed, sun-dark body – stretches out (hard, perfect, real) and settles down on top him. Rodney's never been blanketed by another body on this particular couch, but even if he had, he knows it wouldn't have been anything like this, like John, who's touching Rodney from his ankle bone (wriggling toes) to his earlobe (wandering, wondering fingers), who's watching him and smiling just a little.
Rodney hiccups twice and makes a soft, bewildered noise that he feels sums up everything, presses his face to John's throat, wraps his arms around John's back, and holds him in place. John's pulse rackets against his lips, and this is as terrifying as it is easy, twining around each other on a too-small couch, beer-drenched and already so far gone there probably isn't any going back.
"Kind of hard to move," John says, and Rodney can feel the words reverberating through his chest, chasing across his cheek, his neck, where John traces out his skin with kisses, sharp teeth at his earlobe – and yet he can't quite make himself let go. Not until John kisses right below his ear, and then it's the most natural thing in the world to loosen his grip, to slide a palm to the back of John's head, to kiss him slow and warm and find that when John turns the kiss dirty, he can keep right up. It's natural to let his thighs fall further apart, to welcome the snug fit of John's hips against his own, to rock up into the warm weight of John's body and accept the answering push back, to twine his fingers in short, dark hair and welcome the slide of John's slick tongue. He's even starting to feel a little brave, since John's right here, breathing hard, and John's erection is pressing against Rodney through beer-damp jeans, so he inches his hand toward John's hip, hopes he isn't ticklish (because nothing puts a damper on a romantic evening like a black eye) as he slips the tips of his fingers just beneath John's waistband and feels hot skin.
John hitches against him, a hot, fervent breath, sharp flex of his hips down and in, dragging rough-wet denim across Rodney's cock, and oh fuck, it's electric, it's brilliant, and John's watching him with wide, dark eyes that Rodney finds he can suddenly read.
He can't help sliding his hand further down the back of John's jeans, and the quiet sound John makes, the way the muscles in his ass tense and relax make Rodney feel tender and powerful all at the same time, something out of the blue, that hadn't offered itself as a possibility this morning. Unexpected is one way to put it, unbelievable another, with John cradled between his legs and John's hands all over him, his fingers (callused, strong) stuttering where they're splayed against Rodney's sides, slipping down his hips, his thighs, into the humid heat between the two of them. Rodney tries to reach further into John's pants (he wants more, more), but it's just too tight, and just when Rodney's on the edge of getting really frustrated, John's saying "Okay, okay, hang on," and sitting back on his heels, snapping open the button on his fly and drawing the zipper down slowly, slowly.
And Rodney looks up, up up up the long line of John's torso, the loosening shell of his jeans as John shoves them down his hips – skinny, slinky hips, powerful thighs pushing Rodney's apart – and John's eyes are dark with brighter flecks, and he wears shadow and the dim yellow light from the side lamp. He's – oh God, he's beautiful, rough at the edges and imperfect, his hair even more disordered than usual by Rodney's fingers running through it, and Rodney has to touch, has to see, and he leans forward awkwardly, wanting to plot the graceful curve of John's torso.
He tugs at John's shirt and John doesn't bother with the buttons, reaches for the hem and pulls it off, and Rodney dazedly follows the twist and arc of his spine, the fine weave of muscle at his flank, his shoulders as he shrugs the shirt off and tosses it away. It's movement Rodney barely has time to process before John presses down into him again, only this time with skin and heat. Right away Rodney's hands are back on him, tracing the crease where John's ass meets his thigh. Soft, and hot, hotter because of the way John's eyes flutter shut, the way he lifts his hips up into Rodney's touch like he's aching for it – it makes something twist low in Rodney's belly. He's aching for it too, he realizes, someone else stretched out on top of him, someone who's probably not inclined to write on him with lipstick – maybe not just someone, he thinks, as John slides beautifully under his fingertips. And for the first time since John Sheppard showed up at his door (again), Rodney wishes they were in his bed instead of tucked on the couch – because he'd like to have John spread out under him; he'd like to be able to take care of John, take care of him and take the wheel for a while, and he's officially, completely, brilliantly insane.
John looks at him. "This is – " His voice is rougher now, sandpaper sweet against Rodney's skin.
Rodney watches whatever unnamable thing's flickering over John's face, fits his hands to the warm, smooth hollow of John's lower back and presses down at the same time as he rocks up, thinks, how is this so easy? This has never been easy at the same time as he's murmuring, "It's okay, come on."
"Okay," John says, the word thick and hoarse, too much behind it for Rodney to identify, to even think about. Then he's kissing Rodney again – fast, thorough, heady with relief, hand back between them again, shaking a little when he reaches for the button of Rodney's khakis. Rodney drinks him in, breathes him in, groans into John's mouth when John's fingers are finally on him, knuckles bumping his belly, and he's half-wants to suck in his gut even as he's arching to make the touch firmer, to get more. John's cock is hard, slick already, shockingly real in the crease of Rodney's groin, and the thought of it tightens the coil of want deep down inside. It loosens in a reflexive thrust up into John's hand as John twists down into him, the long curve of him low over Rodney, fingers firm on Rodney's cock and at his neck, pressing against his pulse point and holding him still against John's mouth. Under Rodney's hands, John's back is a smooth machinery of muscle and skin, supple movement Rodney encourages with his body, with oh my God you're so hot and come on come on and please.
John's panting against his throat, tiny, impossibly hot puffs of air that make goose bumps race along Rodney's skin, make him shiver and gasp, which makes John tighten his grip and speed up, which ratchets up Rodney's desperate arousal, makes him dig his fingers into John's muscles, a perfect loop of give-take-give. Give and take and give, and John is everywhere – over him, in him, everywhere, heat and light and his mouth on Rodney's again to swallow his desperation and give it back to him in breath.
Somewhere in that haze (flashes of bright, of hot, of John's skin, John's hands, John's mouth), Rodney comes; he feels it surge down his spine, feels it spark as his whole body arcs into John's, solid and grounding on top of him. And John bows over him, head low like it hurts, body locked tight against the rush, twisting down into Rodney, slide of sweat, friction of his jeans against Rodney's thighs, and in flashes of black and brilliance his face is blank of everything except the release that shakes him and spills heat across Rodney's stomach.
Heady and reckless, still zinging with aftershocks, Rodney licks the shadow under John's jaw, lets his fingers dip down into John's crease and wrings one more wild shudder out of him.
"Knew it," John confesses hoarsely, face pressed into the damp curve of Rodney's throat.
Sluggish, his brain's so sluggish, and Rodney thinks, knew what? "Knew what?" he asks, and his voice is louder and shakier than he expects it to be.
John slides to the side, insinuates himself between the back of the sofa and Rodney's body, a leg hooked over Rodney's thigh. "Knew you'd – " He licks his lips, pulls in a long breath and sighs. (John looks, Rodney realizes, wrecked). "Saw you once. Talking." John gestures, then lets his hand go lax, smacking gently back against Rodney's stomach, trailing carelessly through come and sweat. "Lecturing."
Rodney's still not sure what he means, but the idea that John (full-lipped, rough-jawed John) saw some potential in him, that John's seen him, as more than the guy in the ratty t-shirts who signs for all the boxes of books, makes something achy press against Rodney's breastbone.
"At the – " John lifts his head and frowns. "Um. Thing. In the spring. With the lecture."
Rodney swallows – spring; the prize lecture at the University – 1200 people crammed into an auditorium, most of them so stupid they shouldn't be allowed to breathe, and John was one of them. "The Schmitts-Devon Prize Lecture in Physics?" he says, and his voice never used to sound so insubstantial before, he's sure of it.
John's face breaks into a dazed, happy grin. "Yeah." He sets his head back down on Rodney's shoulder. "You were . . ."
Rodney waits for him to supply any number of the usual adjectives – petty, arrogant, bad with people.
"Hot," John murmurs. "Math's hot."
Several things try to crowd their way out of Rodney's mouth at once: "Oh my god!" and "So you knew I was a supergenius!" and "You're hot!" and "Oh god, math, really? How much do you know?"
But what he says to the dark, disheveled top of John's head is, "I'm, um, I'm giving another lecture next week."
John thumbs Rodney's sticky navel. "What about?" he asks.
Rodney takes a deep breath. "Maybe – maybe you could come and find out?"
"Mmmmmm," John mumbles, and his breath chases across Rodney's skin, intimate and warm. "Okay. Doctor Doctor McKay."
Rodney hums happily, dips his head so John's hair brushes the tip of his nose, and wow is he far gone. "And see, I was right. About the couch. It is a good couch. Don't you think?"
John snuffles into Rodney's neck. He's really heavy, and they're both sticky, and Rodney totally doesn't even care. The air between them is heavy with sweat, the come still cooling on Rodney's belly, John's warm, sleepy breath.
Rodney feels good. He feels energized, double-espresso energized; maybe he should spend a couple of hours with his latest equations . . . except John's breathing deep and slow and steady, and Rodney shivers through an enormous, jaw-cracking yawn, and he's actually amazingly comfortable, even though John's using him as a mattress, and okay, okay, maybe the thing to do is just to stay right here.