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And Maybe A Little Bit Wiser

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John was still asleep in his arms when Rodney woke. He suspected – hoped? – it was still the middle of the night and not yet morning.

It had been far too long since Rodney had slept with anyone. There had been the occasional one night stands when Norah was younger, but he had never met anyone he had wanted to bring into their lives.

Until now.

There was something about this man he barely knew… a connection that he never knew could even exist. It certainly hadn't been there with Helen.

"You're thinking," John mumbled against his skin.

Rodney dropped a kiss on the top of John's head. "Yeah, sorry," he said softly.

"Good things?" John asked. Rodney could feel him tense up under his touch.

"A little scary, but, yes, good things," Rodney admitted. It had to be the right thing to say, since John relaxed against him.

They lay there, Rodney gently stroking the skin on John's back.

John turned over so that they were lying chest to chest. John looked up at Rodney and moved his hand down Rodney's side, stopping at his hip.

"Is this okay?" John asked softly.

Rodney murmured, "Definitely."

"We have to be quiet." He nodded to the door where Rodney was very aware of the Marshall – or worse, Marshalls – who would be awake a few feet away from them.

Rodney could only nod. He was suddenly so hard and he wanted so much….

John moved that hand to the waist of the sleep pants, lifting the elastic and reaching inside. A warm hand slid down Rodney's belly and instinct made him suck it in.

"Shhh…" John soothed. "Relax."

"Been too long…" Rodney gritted out, holding in the noises he really wanted to make.

John gave a grin and then leaned in for a soft kiss. "Don't worry. Me, too."

Rodney felt John's hand ghost over his cock for a moment, like he was figuring out where to start. But then John took his length in a firm grip. Rodney bucked up, the bed giving a loud groan. They both froze, wondering if that would draw any attention to them.

"Let me do the work," John murmured, not taking his hand away.

Rodney bit back his own groan at that. He deliberately relaxed, focusing on his breathing.

"That's it," John said, moving his hand up and down Rodney's cock.

Rodney could only focus on breathing as John whispered encouraging words that Rodney could not quite make out… the sensations running through his body overwhelmed everything else.

Suddenly, he was coming, harder than he had in a long time. He gritted his teeth to hold in the shout he wanted to give.

He opened his eyes to see John's very pleased smile. Rodney drew him in for a long, messy kiss. When Rodney tried to reach down to reciprocate, John admitted, "You made me come when you did."

"That's officially the hottest thing I've ever heard of," Rodney grinned.

"You're pretty hot all by yourself," John said, eyes crinkling in pleasure.

"Come here," Rodney held his arms open. "I'm not done with you yet."

John lay back down in Rodney's arms. Rodney ignored the mess in his sleep pants, he'd figure it out in the morning.

Although, when he woke again, he had forgotten how really gross and messy dried semen was. His sleep pants were stuck to him in what could be painful ways. But John was sound asleep against him and he would put up with the mess to wake up like this every day for the rest of his life.

He glanced at the bedside clock and was amazed that it was after 8 am. He normally didn't sleep this late and he suspected John didn't either. But even the faint pressure from his bladder wasn't going to make him move before he had to.

Rodney must have dozed because it was almost 9 before John moved.

"Hey, sleepyhead," Rodney said gently.

John wriggled slightly, like he didn't want to even think about waking up. Then he tensed up.

"Hey," Rodney repeated. "I don't want to move either, but at some point they'll send a search party in for us."

John's head came up and he looked Rodney in the eye for a long moment. What he saw must have reassured him since he relaxed against Rodney's body.

"Come on," Rodney said. "I need to pee and take a shower before we go out there."

John said against Rodney's chest, "I haven't slept this well since… well, I don’t remember."

Rodney held him close for a moment, not knowing what to say but wanting to help.

Deciding that 'normal' was probably the best approach, he said, "Well, come on. Let's get dressed."

"You can go first," John offered.

"Up to you. It's big enough to share," Rodney said what he hoped was an encouraging but undemanding voice. "But I do have to pee."

"I'm fine," John said, rolling away slightly.

Rodney leaned in for a kiss. "Okay," he said.

He got up and grabbed clean clothes. Once in the bathroom, he realized the sleep pants were firmly stuck to what would be painful places just to rip away from, so he turned on the shower to soak everything. It took a few minutes and a couple of sharp pulls to get the pants off and he quickly washed up.

Finally getting to pee was something of a relief. He brushed his teeth and decided he could shave later.

He wrung out the sodden sleep pants as best as he could and wondered if they could get any laundry done at some point. The pants would dry but they probably wouldn't be pleasant to wear again until they were washed.

John was still lying in the bed when Rodney came out. "I'll see if there's coffee," Rodney volunteered. "Take your time."

"Okay," John said.

Norah and Donna were already up and watching the television.

"You never sleep in like that," Norah teased, coming over to give him a hug. "Morning."

"Morning," he echoed back. "Must be the change of mattress," he suggested.

"Must be," she said with a smile.

"What's for breakfast?" he asked.

"Someone's on a donut run," she reported, "and I'm going to make scrambled eggs and sausage."


"Already made," she pointed. "Finish it off and we can make more."

"Thanks," he said.

He fixed himself a cup of coffee and poured a second when he heard John come out. He handed John the cup and fussed about, starting another pot.

"I guess breakfast is under control," Rodney commented. "Which means we are to take our coffee and get out of the way."

"Sounds like a smart move," John replied with a small grin.

Matias came in with three boxes that must be the donuts. Three dozen donuts? That was a lot for even the group of them.

"You went to Paula's!" Donna enthused.

"Hey, only the best!" he replied. "I don't get there often myself, so I thought everyone would enjoy the treat."

"You're my hero!" she batted her eyes at him.

"Paula's?" John asked.

"Decadent, oversized donuts," Rodney explained. "Like donuts used to be when we were kids."

John's eyes lit up. "Hmm.... sounds interesting!" he said.

Breakfast was fun. The three boxes were actually two dozen donuts, which were more than enough for the eight of them. Rodney figured there most likely were other Marshalls in the hotel or nearby, but they evidently were on their own for meals.

By the time everything was organized from breakfast, it was almost noon. Being Sunday, at least there would be football on the tv today.

Judie handed Rodney his laptop as they settled in. "You need to be careful who you talk to," she said. "Just tell your department you're sick and will be back in a couple of days."

"I can have my TA conduct class for a couple of days," Rodney had been thinking about options once he knew he wouldn't be getting out of here immediately. He knew Ghadir could handle the undergrad classes at this point in the semester. He had already taught most of the course content and his students were working on drawing projects. He'd have to figure out what to do with his grad students, most of whom needed more feedback than Ghadir was able to give.

"No one else," Judie directed.

"You better let Norah call her grandparents at some point," Rodney said. "They were out of town with friends for Thanksgiving but they tend to call on Sundays. We try to let them know when we'll be away so they don't worry."

"I'll get a clean phone for that," Judie said. "Good to know."

"Any chance we can get the paper?" John asked.

"Good idea," Rodney endorsed the suggestion.

"Sure," Judie agreed.

The paper arrived about the time the early game started. The Buffalo Bills were playing a home game but had sold out, so that the game was on tv. Judie and Matias swapped in and out a couple of times during the losing effort.

"Being a Bills fan is a faintly hopeless endeavor," Rodney explained. "They get so-o-o-o close and then... nothing. It's not for the faint of heart."

John teased, "Always been a Miami fan."

Rodney looked at him in horror and dramatically put his hand on his heart. "Say it ain't so!"

John shrugged. "Nah," he laughed.

"Phew," Rodney said. "That would have been a deal breaker."

John looked at him with a fond look and Rodney caught himself grinning what was probably a goofy grin at the other man.

"Dad?" Norah asked, startling Rodney.

"Yeah, sweetie?" Rodney replied.

"What do I tell Grandma?" she said, waving the phone Judie had evidently given to her at some point.

"Mostly the truth," John put in. "There were some problems at the house -- the electric went out, you're in a hotel for the weekend and you forgot the charger for your phone and you're using Donna's phone to call them. You can't talk too long since Donna's running out of minutes for the month."

They looked at him and he shrugged. "The fewer lies you have to tell, the easier it is to keep everything straight," he explained.

"That's pretty good," Rodney admitted.

"I can do that," Norah said. "Thanks!"

Norah sat on the couch next to Rodney to make the call. It went just as John had described. Norah was her normal cheery self, apologized for not calling earlier and promised to call again as soon as the problems at the house were resolved.

"Grandma says we're welcome there," Norah reported. "But she understands about school. Just told me to tell you."

The older Norah got, the better Rodney's relationship with his in-laws had gotten. They were happy with how he had managed their granddaughter, and time had mellowed everyone. The offer to stay with them was an honest one, something that would not have been true when Norah was a small baby.

"And, speaking of school, did you have any homework that needed to be done?" he asked.

"Yeah," she said. "There's a test tomorrow in math that I would have gotten a 100 on, even without studying. I've already written the report for English on Othello. There's a history report that I was going to finish up on Saturday but I need my textbook and internet access. I need to work on my science fair project, but that's not due for another week. I have some of the things I need, just need to work on it."

"What are you doing?" John asked. "For the science fair."

"It's for Earth Science and one of the section is on earthquakes," she explained. "Donna and I are doing a joint project on the difference between p-waves and s-waves as they travel through solids. I have the p-waves and Donna's going to do the s-waves."

"What did you think you'd do?" John leaned forward.

"I thought we'd get some really firm gelatin," Donna explained. "We'd demonstrate the different types of waves with the gelatin. It will let us demonstrate both the compression involved in the p-waves and the shear possible in the s-waves."

"That's a good project," John replied.

"We thought so," Norah replied with a smile.

They more-or-less watched the late afternoon football game. Philadelphia versus Tampa Bay was a closer game than anyone would have suspected but Philly held out to the end.

Norah and Donna made hamburger casserole for dinner. It was comfort food at its best, warm, cheesy and filling.

After dinner, Rodney worked on some of his coursework while the night football game played in the background. He corrected another set of papers and left directions for Ghadir to deal with classes for the next two days.