Evan sat on the balcony that was off the rooms he shared with Sheppard. It had been two days since he'd seen the man and Evan had moved past the stage where his skin was crawling and itching, past the stage where he couldn't hold still and kept circling restlessly through the halls of Atlantis, but not yet to stage where he collapsed because he couldn't see and the pressure in his head had grown to be too much. Instead, he was just relegated to sitting and watching his hands shake and listening as his boot tapped helplessly against the railing.
The only comfort Evan had was the knowledge that Sheppard was going through the exact same thing. It would be more comforting if he couldn't feel the echo of feedback coming from Sheppard, feel Sheppard's hands shaking as they rested in his lap while he sat through his meeting. If Evan concentrated hard enough, he would almost be able to hear what they were saying, see Dr. Weir's concerned yet hopeful expression and McKay's hands flying through the air as he explained about one thing or another. But Evan had practiced pushing away the feedback he got from Sheppard until it was at an absolute minimum, until no matter how much time he spent at it, he couldn't get rid of the last of the sensations. He didn't know if Sheppard did it too, hadn't bothered to ask and wasn't sure he cared.
He'd given up on the notion of privacy when this had first happened, when he'd collapsed in a room deep inside of Atlantis, and felt Sheppard fall down beside him and they'd woken up moving in unison and feeling far more than just physical sensations from the other. That had been the most noticeable thing at first, a twinge in his back that he hadn't noticed before, a stiffness and pain in his chest that after a few days Evan realized was where the feeding scar was located on Sheppard's chest.
Evan sighed and got up, going back inside their rooms and into the main bedroom, to the bed that neither of them slept in. Sheppard wasn't stupid, no matter how many times Evan had cursed and sworn that the man was stupid and arrogant and just plain mean. Which meant that he would show up in their quarters in the next few hours, before they both wound up in the infirmary. After the second time, they'd reached an unspoken agreement, that they would do what they had to do in order to stay alive and functioning. The agreement including nothing about not hurting the other person, and sometimes, when Evan sparred in the gym, he let the other person take him down or land a hit that he should have dodged, just to know that no matter how good at pushing away the sensations, that Sheppard at least felt that much.
Sometimes, Evan told himself that he shouldn't be quite as bitter and jaded as he was. But then he'd see the other bonded pairs, sitting together in the mess hall, or working on a project with movements matched with such clarity that Evan was struck breathless when he was reminded what their pairing should have been. What he had wanted it to be, even when he and Sheppard had gone to bed for the first time, which had been just about as disastrous as sleeping with his commanding officer should have been.
When Evan took the time to think about it, that was what hurt the most; coming to Atlantis should have been the thing that made his life complete. He had his own team, he had the ATA gene, he had a position of leadership. It was almost everything he had wanted. And then Atlantis had gone all psychic matchmaking, and he and Sheppard had been thrown together without anything that could be done about it. For the briefest of moments, Evan had believed that he'd finally found the last piece; the person he was meant to be with, the person that was his other half and all those ridiculous romantic notions that came from reading too much 19th century literature. Now all that was left was cursing Atlantis, the ATA gene, Sheppard, and very much wishing he was back on Earth. Wishing that he'd never even heard of the Stargate program and that he was back in some falling down shack in the middle of a desert where artillery fire woke him at two in the morning.
He felt Sheppard's presence in the hallway long before he heard the door of the main room open and shut; he'd felt the moment of indecision, where Sheppard had nearly just walked by. But Sheppard hadn't, which he supposed all that mattered. Evan bent down and started unlacing his boots, his fingers getting tangled in the laces as he felt Sheppard undoing his own just a room away. The proximity made it harder for him to ignore the feedback he was receiving from Sheppard, and the anticipation of actually getting the physical contact he craved only increased his tremors.
Evan shed his shirt, pulling it over his head and discarding it on the floor with his boots. Pants followed, taking his underwear with them. He dropped himself down onto the bed, moving to the middle and rolling onto his stomach. As much as he wanted this, wanted Sheppard to be close to him and to touch him, he had grown to hate it as well. He could feel the rage rolling off of Sheppard every time they were forced into this, which tainted his own relief.
Sheppard slipped into the room, stealthy as if he was coordinating a Special Ops maneuver instead of walking into their bedroom. It didn't really matter; Sheppard could no more sneak up on Evan than he could hide from him. Their awareness of each other was constant and unwavering. Evan imagined that Sheppard's silent footsteps were more a method of distancing himself from the scene; in and out as fast as possible, as if he'd never been there at all.
The bed dipped down behind Evan as John shifted his weight, and Evan felt all of the muscles in his back and shoulders relax a little as John rested his hand on Evan's bare calf. Just the contact alone was enough to make the shaking subside some and the lightheadedness that had been creeping up disappeared completely. Evan had a quick flash to seeing some of the other bonded pairs, their fingers casually interlaced as they walked through the halls, or knees rested against each other while they ate lunch in the mess hall. If just a simple skin on skin touch was enough to bring this kind of relief, Evan couldn't imagine what it would feel like to have Sheppard by his side for more than the bare minutes they saw each other by necessity. He imagined that it was something like dying and being permanently rested and peaceful. He never had these kind of thoughts before he was bonded to Sheppard, and he still wasn't sure if the thoughts were an indication of how frustrating the situation was or if they were a sign that Sheppard's thoughts were somehow commingling with his own.
Evan closed his eyes and let his head drop down, the feel of Sheppard moving behind him, more touches of his hands against Evan's side and back, pushing back the wave of Evan's thoughts. He relaxed into the sensation, the sheer rightness of of their connection and the reflected feelings from Sheppard as he took in a similar relief. Sheppard started to move, their bodies reacting appropriately despite the situation and their respective feelings about their circumstances. Evan hadn't yet decided if that was a blessing or a curse; a blessing because it let them do what had to be done without more frustration that necessary, a curse because maybe they would have worked something out if they had to actually stop and talk about the problem together.
Sheppard at least had the courtesy to do a minimal amount of preparation before he pushed in, Evan focusing on relaxing the right muscles to help the process along. After the initial flood of relief and comfort that their joining brought, all of the tension and pain that had built up within Evan obliterated in its wake, he could feel Sheppard's hate and anger starting to build again. His thrusts grew rougher and faster, even though Evan could tell that Sheppard was nowhere near release yet. Biting his lip, Evan tucked his head down against his shoulder, trying to push away the emotional feedback from Sheppard. It was pretty much impossible when they were physically joined, and Evan felt his spine bow reflexively trying to pull away from the now punishing invasion.
It had taken him a long time figure out what Sheppard's problem was, why it had to be like this between them. At first he'd wondered if it was some kind of deep seated homophobia, but he'd never gotten that impression from him, before or after their joining. After a while, Evan had noticed where Sheppard's gaze would wander to in the mess hall, or in the hallway, when no one was looking. Evan had never noticed it before, and if he hadn't felt that foriegn tug of desire and longing he never would have. It wasn't enough of an explanation, not to Evan, but he could at least understand a little bit even if he didn't agree with it.
Sheppard achieved release, his fingers gripping painfully tight on Evan's hips; Evan's body joined in without any input from Evan, the orgasm physically draining but otherwise lacking. Sheppard pulled away as soon as he was able. Evan broke their unspoken rule without even thinking, turning onto his side as his eyes searched Sheppard out, their gazes connecting for a long moment. He was sure he felt his body go entirely still; lungs, heart, everything. Evan couldn't identify the emotion that swept through them, their connection almost tangible despite the fact that they weren't in physical contact at the moment. They breathed in unison, their hearts beat with the same rhythm, all of their muscles in perfect sync.
The moment broke and Sheppard left the room, dressing quickly and jogging across Atlantis, like there was enough room on the planet to put distance between them. Evan collapsed onto the bed and stared up at the ceiling, suddenly finding it difficult to draw even breaths without Sheppard there breathing alongside him. They were maybe two halves of the same whole, but he and Sheppard were an awful long way from being whole.