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Weapons of Some Distraction

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John sat down at his desk on his first official day at Stargate Command. He nudged the touch pad mouse and stared at the 'computer locked' dialog box that appeared on the laptop monitor. He tapped on the keyboard, examined his empty penholder, then smacked his palms on the arms of his office chair, and went in search of the coffee machine and an IT guy.

IT guy turned out to be IT girl, who had candy red hair and purple fingernails. She wasn't impressed with either John's smile or his coffee-seeking skills; when he produced sufficient ID, she scrawled his username and new network password on a folded piece of printer paper.

John found his way back to his office, which was about as fun as finding any specific room in Atlantis that first week, but at least back then everyone had looked a little conspicuous and goofy as they tried to figure out where the hell they were, like American tourists with big folding maps and fanny packs. John sat back down at what he was pretty sure was his desk, and logged in, sipping at his coffee. John spent eight minutes reading his e-mail, and wondered exactly how much he could surf the internet at work before somebody yelled at him.

The phone rang. John made a face at it. It rang again, and John picked up because he couldn't find the volume button to make the noise less obnoxious. When he brought the receiver to his ear, somebody was already talking. "...because, seriously, what's your office like? Hello? Sheppard?"

"Rodney," John said, squinting at his computer clock. "What time is it there?"

"Oh, please," Rodney said. "It's only an hour time difference, and it's not like there's anything else to do out here in the desert."

"My office is... you know," John shrugged, leaning back in his chair.

"Oh, I can picture it now," Rodney said. "Four walls and a desk. Very modern."

"It's an office." John couldn't fly it or shoot anything with it, and it didn't go really fast. He wasn't impressed.

"Well, then let me tell you about mine. It's huge," Rodney said, and told him about his computers and his leather ergonomic chair with lumbar support and his pristine new white boards and his big, big lab. Rodney kept him on the phone for over an hour like that. He could hear Rodney walking around his office, doors opening and closing, Rodney's new coworkers asking questions while Rodney shouted "on the phone, moron! go away now!" Rodney was chewing on a doughnut and explaining why the coffee in the break room of Area 51 was ass on an entirely new level of ass when one knew what passed for coffee in the Pegasus galaxy, when suddenly he choked and shouted, "No, no, don't touch that you imbecile --" After a few seconds of dead air, John hung up. His ear felt hot where it had been pressed to the receiver.

The phone calls kept coming at weird intervals, almost as if Rodney had written a program to randomize them. The first day it was kind of endearing. The second day John answered only when the number of Rodney's phone calls reached a prime number, and on impulse, he got on FTD and shipped Rodney a cactus for next day delivery with a note saying that plants liked it when you talked to them. The third day he hung up on Rodney fifteen times, and then unplugged his phone. An hour later, General Landry came down to his office with a Post-It note in his hand. The rigid smile on his face made John squirm in his cheap desk chair.

"I am nobody's messenger boy, Colonel," Landry growled, stabbing the sticky note to John's desk. Rodney's name and phone number were written in block letters, underlined three times. The third line was darker than the others were, and the ball of the pen had ripped through the pink paper.

"Sorry, sir. It won't happen again," John said

"No, it won't," Landry told him, then turned on his heel and left.

John plugged in his phone once Landry was gone. It rang immediately. John snatched it off the cradle.

"Are you trying to get me fired?" John hissed.

"What, you want me to apologize?" Rodney demanded. "You could have been dead for all I knew!"

"Right," John said. "I could have bled out at my desk from a really deep paper cut. I hear a manila envelope's worse than shrapnel."

"Fine, I didn't realize it was his extension, all right?" Rodney said. It was as close to an apology as Rodney got most of the time.

"What, did you call all the extensions?" John asked.

"Of course not," Rodney huffed. "It only took me seventeen tries to find someone physically in his office. Do none of you people work?"

"They're probably out in the field, Rodney," John said. He sighed, just a little. John didn't even have a gate team yet.

"Right, right," Rodney said. "Well, I'm glad you're not dead. It sucks here."

"Tell me about it," John said. "I haven't even figured out where they're hiding the good coffee."

"It's on the fourth floor sub-basement next to the office supplies," Rodney told him. "At least, that's where it used to be. Hey, you should ask Sam!"

"I think I can handle this one on my own, Rodney."

"No, no -- I'll e-mail her," Rodney said, and John could hear him typing in the background.

"Seriously, don't you have any work to do?"

"Nothing that can't wait. It's not life or death over here," Rodney said. He sounded a little wistful.

"Yeah." John knew what he meant. Riding a desk for three days straight was already making him twitchy, and there were only so many cats a guy could stack while waiting for orders.

After the Landry incident, John answered Rodney's calls whenever he was in his office, but switched to speakerphone. It was easier if he had both hands to type e-mails and reports, and to throw his stress ball around while Rodney talked at him.

John went home Thursday and found a note in his mailbox saying he had a package at the main office of his apartment complex. He picked it up, went back to his apartment, ordered a pizza, and ripped open his mail. It was a gift box from Rodney. The Perfect Cosmo. John snorted, and put the vodka in the freezer and the cherries in the empty refrigerator. The Cosmo mixer went in the back of a cupboard somewhere. When the pizza arrived, John was on his laptop sending Rodney a citrus gift basket, because he had combat pay to burn and this was war.

John should have known something was up when Rodney stopped calling him after 1600 hours on Friday. He was in the foyer of his apartment building, checking his mailbox for any suspicious packages, when a cab pulled up outside and a familiar figure got out. Rodney waved at him from the sidewalk, hauling his laptop bag and duffel from the back seat of the cab.

"Hi," Rodney said when John opened the door to let him in.

"Fancy meeting you here," John said. It surprised him that he wasn't more surprised.

Rodney followed him up a flight of stairs. "Yeah, about that. You busy this weekend?"

John opened the door to his apartment and gestured for Rodney to go in. "I was thinking about taking in a movie, maybe play some golf."

Except he didn't particularly want to go to a movie with Beckett, Elizabeth kept saying "maybe some other time" when he suggested lunch, and although there were some marines from Atlantis around, as their superior officer, he'd never really hung out with them much, anyway. Let alone invited them on a golf scramble.

"I like movies," Rodney said, flinging his duffel at the couch, and putting his laptop bag down far more gently on the carpet next to John's entertainment center.

"Yeah, I know."

"Wow. You live here?"

John put his hands on his hips and surveyed his bare apartment. He hadn't bothered with anything but the essentials. "Home sweet home."

"Oh my god, you don't have anything. C'mon," Rodney said, snapping his fingers under John's nose. "We're going shopping."

Turned out, by "anything" Rodney meant an Xbox, a Playstation, a Bose SoundDock with extra speakers, a TiVo, Civ III and IV, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and Halo 2. John snuck Doom 3, Ninja Gaiden Black, and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas into their cart while Rodney was preoccupied with a small coterie of geeky tech guys he'd run across in the store.

"Excuse us," John said after he got bored looking through the music section. He pulled Rodney away by the tail of his shirt.

"What?" Rodney demanded.

"Food, Rodney."

"Oh," Rodney said. "Now that you mention it, I'm feeling a bit peckish."

Rodney sprang for the toys, saying he could afford it and that they were a housewarming gift, but John knew he only did it so he could call dibs on games. They made a stop for beanbag chairs, another for beer, and then picked up a couple of large pizzas. John's downstairs neighbor pulled in when they were hauling boxes inside, eyeballing them while pretending to check her mail.

"She's cute," Rodney volunteered.

"I thought you liked blondes," John said, pulling the last box from the trunk of his rental car.

"I contain multitudes," Rodney said.

John snorted. "Hold the door, Walt."

John slouched on the couch and ate pizza while Rodney scrambled around on the floor, hooking up everything he'd bought without bothering to consult the manuals. John was kind of impressed, but he made sure Rodney couldn't tell.

"I am as a god," Rodney announced when he was done, raising his arms in victory. His hair was a mess, and he had carpet fibers on his jeans. John almost wished that Zelenka was there so he could say something insulting in Czech.

John slid off the couch and onto a beanbag chair, picking up an Xbox controller when he settled into a comfortable spot. "Took you long enough."

"Ha ha," Rodney said. "Did you eat all the pizza?"

"Maybe," John said. Rodney made a scandalized squawking noise and bolted for the kitchen. "Hey, get me a beer while you're in there!"

Rodney shouted back something unintelligible.

"What?"

"I said," Rodney repeated, this time without an entire slice of pizza in his mouth, "I'm not your manservant!"

John climbed out of the beanbag chair and got his beer. While he was contemplating more pizza, he said, "Maybe we should get a cooler. To avoid this 'getting up' thing."

Rodney pointed at him. "Mini-refrigerator."

"Now there's an idea I like," John said.

They gamed all night. One minute it was a quarter to midnight, and John was thinking that maybe he was ready to pack it in, but there was no way he was willing to admit that to Rodney. The next minute, it was four o'clock in the morning, and John's ass was numb and his thumbs ached, and he wasn't sure he had command of his legs anymore.

"Bed," John said.

"Hm," Rodney said absently, his red-rimmed eyes glued to the TV screen.

John wobbled to his feet. Threw a blanket on Rodney's head. Turned out the lights. Didn't bother to undress. Just faceplanted the bed. When John woke up again, his mouth was dry, he had to piss like a racehorse, and his stomach was making noises like an angry cat. When he came out of the bathroom, he saw that Rodney had fallen asleep on the floor, the blanket twisted around his body and his face smashed against a beanbag chair.

John actually could cook a pretty decent breakfast, assuming he had ingredients to cook with. His refrigerator was empty except for a bottle of mustard, a jar of cherries, the remaining beer, and a BRITA filter. John sat on the kitchen counter and ate a slice of cold pizza.

Maybe it was time he bought a kitchen table.

Rodney shuffled into the kitchen with his eyes half-shut and his button-down pulled askew. He crammed a slice of pizza in his mouth, and pointed at the coffee maker.

"Sorry, ran out," John said. Rodney wilted like a flower passing through a time dilation field. "There's instant in the cupboard next to the microwave."

John watched with fascination as Rodney ate a heaping spoonful of instant coffee like it was freeze-dried ice cream. "Oh, god. Okay. That'll hold me until we get some real coffee."

"That's disgusting," John said, although he did wonder if it tasted as bitter as Rodney's disappointment. "I'm taking a shower."

"Don't use all the hot water!"

An hour later, Rodney's hair was still damp, and they were driving around looking for a supermarket since Rodney had vetoed the 7-Eleven around the corner. They came out of Safeway with eggs, bacon, coffee, milk, two boxes of frozen pizza rolls, and a bottle of Ranch dressing. And more beer.

John played Civ3 all day Saturday. Rodney kept peeking at his laptop screen, and saying, "Hmm. Still not any good at this, I see." John flipped beer bottle caps at him in retaliation whenever Rodney was attempting something tricky in one of his games. Rodney crashed earlier than he had the night before, although John only realized it when Rodney slumped onto John's shoulder and drooled on his T-shirt. John tossed a blanket over him again, and went to bed.

John smelled coffee when he woke up on Sunday. Rodney was sitting on the floor of John's kitchen, back propped against a cabinet. He was curled around a steaming cup of coffee with a look of bliss on his face. Rodney had really long eyelashes for a guy. John hitched up his pajama pants, poured himself a mug, and sat down next to him.

"Chairs would be good," Rodney said after a few seconds.

"The floor is good, too," John said.

"Not really," Rodney confessed. "My ass hurts."

John nudged him with an elbow. "The couch is better."

"But the coffee is over here," Rodney said, pointing at the counter above him.

"Are you sure that you're a genius?" John asked.

"In this universe? Yes. I can't speak for any other parallel-world McKays."

 

John struggled to his feet. "How do you like your eggs?"

"Soggy," Rodney said from the floor. He watched John scramble some eggs. "Look, can you take me to the airport later? Because if you're going to be too busy, I can just call for a taxi."

John was briefly tempted to say something girly, like, "Don't go." Instead he waved the spatula at himself, and said, "Do I look like I'm too busy?"

"Hmm," Rodney said. "Didn't we get bacon?"

John took Rodney to the airport later that afternoon. He punched Rodney's shoulder and said he'd see him later. Rodney blinked at him, and then said, "Right, yes, until next time."

The apartment seemed weird when John got back. His living room was a mess of pizza boxes, carry out cartons, blankets, electronics, and beer bottles. Like somebody lived there.

Rodney called on Monday like clockwork. John played Sudoku while Rodney told him about an assistant he was planning to fire for being an incompetent ninny. John's day didn't get much better than that, but at least it didn't get significantly worse, either.

Another box came in the mail on Tuesday. It was a unicorn desk lamp. John had to run down to the corner store for AA batteries just so he could see how hideous it was lit up.

It was pretty hideous.

That evening, John sent Rodney a pink Hello Kitty digital camera. The gift note said: "Show me your office." On Thursday, John got an e-mail from Rodney with what were probably top secret photographs of his office, his lab, his useless assistants, and several priceless Rodney self-portraits that John saved to CD for future blackmail purposes.

"Did you get it?" Rodney asked as soon as John answered his phone.

"Who's the hot blonde?" John asked.

"The incompetent ninny whom I fired today after I took those pictures," Rodney said. "She cried. I hate it when they cry. I never know what to do."

Neither did John. His usual tactic was to find another woman, and shove her at the problem. Female marines never seemed to take that well.

"How many square feet is your office, anyway?" John asked, and with that, Rodney was off and running at the mouth again.

John was late getting home on Friday. It was dark and raining, and he found Rodney huddled on his front stoop, curled protectively over his laptop bag.

"How long have you been out here?" John asked. He didn't have to ask if Rodney was all right; nobody was torturing him on this side of the stargate except his staff.

"Only about twenty minutes."

John shifted his groceries to one hand so he could open the front door. "Why didn't you call me?"

"I did call you," Rodney said. "It went straight to voicemail."

John pulled his cell phone out of his pocket. The display showed twelve missed calls, all from Rodney. "I, uh, must not get reception inside the grocery store."

"Look," Rodney said once they were inside John's apartment. "If you had other plans, just say so, and --"

"Dry off." John balled up a towel and threw it at him. It smacked Rodney in the face. John smiled. Lack of field time hadn't ruined his aim yet.

Rodney rubbed the towel over his head. His hair stuck up in hedgehog spikes. "I know I didn't exactly have an invitation, Colonel."

"Too late," John said, picking up his grocery bags and taking them into the kitchen. "Already bought stuff for two."

Rodney's answering grin was a little blinding.

"So tell me," John said as he turned on the oven to heat up some pizza rolls. "What game am I going to kick your ass at tonight?"

"Please, like that's a foregone conclusion."

John kicked his ass at Grand Theft Auto just to show him that it was.

On Saturday, John dragged Rodney away from Civilization to civilization. They ate at a restaurant with actual napkins and no pizza on the menu. John didn't even remember what they talked about while they ate, but the food was good, and afterwards they hit the movie theater. It was a little surreal, sitting there in the dark with Rodney, and shushing him every time Rodney leaned over to comment on the film. The movie was pretty bad, but John hadn't expected much, and eventually he stopped shushing and started listening to Rodney bitch about the crappy physics. By the end, they were sitting there with their shoulders pressed together, making fun of the hero's improbable daring deeds, and making bets on how quickly Teyla could kick his ass.

They were quiet on the drive home. Halfway there, John looked over to find that Rodney had fallen asleep, his mouth open and his temple pressed to the glass of the passenger-side window. John was sincerely tempted to take a corner too fast just to see him do the Scooby Doo legs while pinned by a seat belt. He didn't, if only because John's car wasn't that big, and Rodney's flailing tended to involve collateral damage.

"Call me if you're going to be late next time," Rodney said on Sunday as he got out of John's car at the airport.

"Yeah, about that," John said. He reached into his pocket and tossed Rodney a spare set of keys. Rodney fumbled them, dropping his duffel bag trying to make the catch. While Rodney was picking up the keys from the ground, John pulled the passenger door shut and took off with a wave of his hand. He could see Rodney staring after him in the rear view mirror.

On Monday, John got a package delivered to his office. He eyed the box warily. Nothing actively dangerous probably would have made it out of the SGC's mailroom, but that didn't mean John was comfortable opening it where there were surveillance cameras. Boredom quickly won out over his reputation, probably because John didn't have much of a reputation left at this place. He opened the box to find a dartboard inside, with a grainy picture of Helia taped to the bull's-eye.

John picked up his phone and called Rodney. "Thanks," he said at Rodney's hello.

"I thought you might like it --" Rodney said triumphantly. John hung up on him so he could put the dartboard up on his wall. An hour later, Landry introduced John to his new gate team. Babbis, Wallace, and some marine whose name John couldn't remember. Smith? Johnson, maybe? There was no way they'd measure up to his real team, but John was willing to give them a shot. Anything if it got him away from his desk.

John's first mission out with the new guys made him reconsider.

"There were some weird energy readings around the cave, and Babbis was trying to get a sample of the rocks," John explained to Landry.

"And that's when he woke up the bear?" Landry asked.

"No," John hedged. "I think the grenade is what woke up the bear."

Landry rubbed his eyes. "I've heard some odd mission reports in my time, Colonel."

"Yes, sir."

"Any way I can convince you to admit that you're just telling an old man some tall tales?"

John sighed. "I only wish, sir."

John could say what he liked about Rodney, and he frequently did, but at least Rodney had gotten them out of as many jams as he'd instigated. With these guys, it was more like Nanny 911.

He hoped Ronon and Teyla were doing okay.

On Tuesday, John ordered Rodney a metal desk catapult. An hour later, he went back and ordered one for himself. The way things usually went when he was off world, John figured he could use the practice on primitive siege machines.

Later that week, Rodney called him and said, "No one is willing to come into my office now. This is great!"

"Good aim, huh?" John asked.

"I'm blinding them with physics," Rodney said. John ratcheted his catapult into place. Rodney must have heard the metal clinking over the phone. "Wait, wait -- did you get one, too?"

"Yep," John said, and let his stress ball fly.

"What kind of distance are you getting?"

"Depends on the ammo," John said.

"Right, right, let me just -- there, check your e-mail," Rodney said.

John did, and found a giant graph Rodney had made, listing volume, mass, surface area, and chemical composition of all the projectiles he'd tried. "The Junior Mints went how far?"

"That's not a typo," Rodney told him.

"You realize this requires further testing," John said.

Rodney made a happy noise. "I was hoping you'd say that."

That Friday, John discovered that if he left Rodney alone in the apartment too long, Rodney would do nefarious things to John's TiVo. Okay, to be honest, John had kept the Batman stuff and the Airwolf marathon, but he still owed Rodney pain for the season pass of Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee. Rodney had hacked the TiVo somehow, and John couldn't make the scary food lady go away.

As soon as John finally got home from his mission, they ran catapult tests until two o'clock in the morning, with Rodney faithfully recording data on his laptop. John was tired from making sure Babbis didn't touch anything dangerous, and Rodney knew where the extra blanket was, so he went to bed while Rodney was still in the shower.

John was half-asleep when he heard someone walk into his bedroom. He tensed, and reached for a gun that wasn't there.

"Your couch is terrible for my back, and you have a Queen. Deal with it," Rodney said, and climbed into bed with him.

John didn't move while Rodney wriggled around and got comfortable under the blankets. Rodney smelled like soap. They'd bunked together under worse circumstances in the field, so John resolved not to think about it. He turned on his side, and went to sleep. John woke up with Rodney's warm back pressed to his. It wasn't so bad. John almost didn't complain when Rodney did it again on Saturday night, but he couldn't help mentioning that he wasn't going to buy an orthopedic mattress. Rodney just said, "Whatever, stop hogging all the pillows."

During the week, John got a USB Laser Guided Missile Launcher. Rodney got a Lightsaber. Wallace and Babbis caused a minor diplomatic incident, and General Landry didn't take it as well as Elizabeth used to when John and Rodney were at fault. And on the last Friday of the month, Rodney didn't show.

John watched a movie on cable, put half the Chinese food in the gaming mini-refrigerator, and went to bed early. He woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of someone pounding on his apartment door. John scrambled out of bed, wrenched open the door, and blinked when he saw Rodney standing on the other side.

"You have a key," John growled.

Rodney was beaming at him, his face flushed and his eyes wide and shining. He bounced on his toes once, and said, "Guess what? I saved the world today." Then Rodney stepped inside, dropped his bags, took John's face between his hands, and kissed him. It was a happy kiss, wet and exuberant, and the kind of thing John usually got when he saved someone's life.

"Please. You can't tell me that you're surprised," Rodney said when he was done. He tasted faintly salty and spicy, like airplane snack mix.

"Kind of am," John said. "Can we close that?"

Rodney kicked the door shut with his heel. "Seriously? I'm pretty sure we've been dating for a while now."

"We have?" John asked.

"Why did I ever call you Kirk?" Rodney marveled. "You're worse at this than I am."

"Beats me," John said. He put his hands on his hips for a few seconds, and then crossed his arms.

"Well, this is awkward," Rodney said. He fidgeted, clearly still buzzing from whatever he'd done to save the planet today, but his light had gone out, and he was coming down. "I'll just... go, then."

John sighed, and grabbed Rodney by the collar. "Don't go."

Rodney hesitated. "Are you sure?"

John liked Rodney. He knew that had to be true, because John kept spending time with him voluntarily, and there had been a knot of something scary in his gut when Rodney hadn't shown up by ten o'clock. John really didn't feel like talking about it, though, or even thinking about how screwed he would be if he didn't at least have Rodney with him here on the wrong side of the universe, so he just hauled on Rodney's collar and kissed him, because that first kiss hadn't been all that bad. Rodney made a happy, surprised noise that shot down into John's belly. It made John kiss Rodney a little harder and deeper, and this kissing thing seemed to be getting exponentially better as they went along.

Rodney's hands were broad and hot underneath John's T-shirt. John shivered. Alone in the dark with Rodney. It was still completely surreal.

Then Rodney kissed his neck, and John's dick started paying a lot more attention. John bent his head to the side and Rodney bit at his throat, then shoved his hands down John's pajama pants. John thought, hell with it, and started taking off Rodney's clothes. Rodney tried to help, and stepped on John's toes with his shoe.

"Ow," John said.

"Sorry," Rodney said, and dropped to his knees. "You'd better appreciate this. My knees haven't been the same since M6H-922."

"What --" John said, but then Rodney pulled John's dick out of his pants, stroked him a couple of times, and then sucked on the head. "'kay."

Rodney smiled at him, that 'you'll like this' smile he got whenever he was about to show John something cool. He sucked John's dick into his mouth, cupped John's balls in his hand, and did some pretty fantastic things with his tongue. Sweat prickled under John's arms and at the small of his back, and he rested one hand on top of Rodney's head.

"Jesus, Rodney," John said. Rodney hummed something in response, and that made John close his eyes and fuck Rodney's mouth a little. Rodney let him, making these muffled, sucking noises that were ridiculous and hot, and John got a little lost in the warm, slick, wet of his mouth. John's breathing was shaky, and he was so damn ready when Rodney pulled back and sucked hard on the head of his dick. A knot of tension immediately uncoiled itself from between his shoulder blades when John came. He felt relaxed for the first time in weeks.

Rodney hauled himself to his feet. "Well?"

John threaded his fingers through Rodney's belt loops, and yanked him closer. He could feel the hard length of Rodney's dick pressing against him. "I appreciated it."

"Can I fuck you?" Rodney asked. "Do you have anything?"

"No," John said, because a kitchen table and condoms in the nightstand meant he intended to stay here, and John wasn't ready for that yet.

Rodney's mouth pulled sideways. "Oh."

"Stores open in a few hours," John suggested. "Rain check."

"Oh," Rodney said again, because he was getting the picture now.

"So," John said.

Rodney jerked his thumb at the bedroom. "Can we?"

John shrugged. "Knock yourself out."

"Great!" Rodney said, and stripped off his clothes on the way to the bedroom. John watched him go. He wasn't sure how Rodney's brain had made the jump to sex from two guys who liked to bitch about the lack of a multiplayer function in Doom 3, but he'd spent the last few years following Rodney's sideways leaps of logic, and they weren't dead yet.

Rodney poked his head out the door and made a hurry-up motion with his hand. John went.

Rodney was naked on his bed, his dick hard and curving toward his belly. Rodney's shoulders were broad and his eyes were blue, and John thought, yeah, okay, nice. John pulled off his T-shirt and stepped out of his pajama pants, and joined Rodney on the bed. Rodney pulled him closer, eagerly touching John's shoulders and arms and belly and ass. Rodney kissed him, and John wrapped his hand around Rodney's dick. He stroked it a couple of times, and Rodney whimpered. John pushed his tongue into Rodney's mouth and jerked him off, wanting to hear that sound again.

John circled Rodney's nipple with his thumb, and Rodney said "John" in a high, broken voice, the one he got when he was terrified, or, apparently, really turned on. John stopped kissing him so he could lick Rodney's other nipple, and Rodney made an "nnh!" noise and grabbed at John's shoulders.

"Come on, Rodney," John said, and then used his teeth.

"Oh, god," Rodney said, and came in John's hand. John kissed him, and then got off the bed and wiped his hand on his T-shirt. He tossed the shirt at Rodney, climbed in next to him, and yanked up the covers.

"That was..." Rodney breathed.

"Yeah," John said, already half-asleep. "Night."

When John woke up, Rodney was gone, but he could hear a slurping sound from the living room. John rubbed the sleep from his eyes, dragged on some pants and a shirt, and went hunting for the wild McKay. It didn't take him long. Rodney was eating a bowl of cereal on the couch, haphazardly dressed. His shirt was on inside out.

They stared at each other for a little while.

"Hey," John said. He picked up yesterday's newspaper from the coffee table and sat down next to him.

"Huh. I was hoping things wouldn't be weird, you know, between us," Rodney said. He spooned cereal into his mouth.

"Apparently you're my long-distance boyfriend," John said, snapping open the newspaper. "What isn't weird about that?"

Rodney rolled his eyes. "I have plenty of sycophants back at my lab if you'd rather not sleep with me."

"What the hell does that mean?" John asked.

Rodney leaned forward eagerly. "Did that make you jealous?"

"No, it makes me think you're an asshole," John said.

Rodney bristled, but before he could say anything, an arthritic gasping noise came from the kitchen, and Rodney got up. He came back with two mugs of coffee. Rodney offered one. John took it.

"Sleep with any of your assistants," John said as he turned to the sports section, "and I'll kill you."

Rodney beamed.

On Thursday, John got a shipment from Amazon. Curious, he ripped into the box without even taking off his coat. Underneath the bubble wrap, John found two DVD box sets. The complete first and second seasons of Laguna Beach. In horror, John reached for his phone, hit the speed dial, and said, "Is there something you're trying to tell me?" when Rodney picked up.

"You didn't read the gift receipt, did you?" Rodney asked.

"No," John said, and emptied the box looking for it. He found the piece of paper and read it aloud. "Check your mail?"

"Your other mail," Rodney said impatiently. "This was supposed to be a fun surprise, you know."

"Really not having fun so far," John said, picking up his mail from the counter and sorting through it. He found a plain white envelope with Rodney's handwriting on it, and opened the flap with his thumb. Two tickets to Six Flags in Denver fell out.

"Oh," John said.

"I hope you're not busy this weekend," Rodney said.

"Well," John said. "I have this friend coming into town. He snores, so I guess he can sleep on the couch."

"Oh, ha ha, very funny," Rodney said.

"See you tomorrow, Rodney," John said, and hung up the phone.