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The building makes a loud creaking noise, then there is a tremor and a terrible crash and everything’s falling, they’re falling and McKay is screaming and John thinks, of all the ways to die in the Pegasus galaxy, it has to be because the ancients were only good at structural engineering when it came to Atlantis because all the other ruins they’re come across, including this one, are absolute crap.

Then the noise and the movement stop and oh hello, not dead. In fact, when John tries to experimentally move all his limbs, nothing is screaming at him, so all in all, this went better than expected. When he says nothing is screaming, he means nothing except McKay, which also, good news. A screaming McKay is a living and breathing McKay.

“Rodney, are you alright?”

“Oh my God, I’m dead, aren’t I? This is my version of hell. Pitch black, enclosed space, John Sheppard yapping at me...”

“Rodney, you’re not dead. I’m here, I’m alive and so are you.” John feels his way around. There is indeed not a lot of space in any direction. He can’t even sit up properly. But he finds McKay to his left.

“Well, that’s just worse, isn’t it! Slow death from suffocation, join the Atlantis expedition they said, explore the unknown wonders of another galaxy...” Rodney is hyperventilating and okay, that just can’t happen.

“Hey, if you breathe that fast the air won’t last as long.” Which is, apparently, the wrong thing to say, because Rodney breathes even faster and starts scrabbling and pushing at the walls and ceiling of their enclosure, pushing at John too, and dammit, he is going to die from a heart attack at this rate.

“Okay Rodney, you need to calm down! Our people will get us out of here, they know we’re here, they won’t take long. Just... relax.”

“I can’t relax! I’m literally buried alive, if there’s ever a right time to panic, it’s now!”

“Okay.” John isn’t feeling too good about being buried alive either, if he’s telling the truth, but he can’t start panicking, too, because they’ll just rail each other up and by the time they get out of here they’ll be ready for the loony bin. So, project calmness. Much relaxation.

He grabs Rodney’s hand where he’s scrabbling at the ceiling and Jesus, his fingers are wet with what has to be blood, and this won’t do at all. Within a second, he’s lying on top of Rodney and holding his wrists down next to him.

“Stop. Rodney, stop. You’re hurting yourself.” Rodney stops struggling and whimpers.

“I have to get out of here, John...”

“Shh, I know. You know what? Close your eyes.”

“It doesn’t make a bloody difference with how dark it is in here!”

“Just do it! Close them. You’re in a wide open field. It’s night, which is why it’s dark. If you were to open your eyes, you’d see the stars, but you keep them closed.”

Rodney’s breathing is starting to calm a little. “I’m in a field at night with you lying on top of me?”

“Sure. You’re completely relaxed. You hear the wind in the trees. You feel the breeze on your skin.” He can feel the tension leaving Rodney’s body as he talks. Good.

“I’m holding you safe, protecting you. I’m holding you to the solid, unmoving ground.” He lies down more solidly on top of Rodney because it seems to work, his body now completely relaxed under him and his breathing slowed to a normal rate. He has his feet on Rodney’s ankles, his hands on Rodney’s wrists and his complete body weight on top of Rodney. He’s breathing into Rodney’s neck, smelling his sweat, which isn’t as awful as he’d have expected. The contact is calming him, too. He also knows if this goes on, he’s going to have a problem because his cock is really liking the warm body under him and is chubbing up. He can’t move away from Rodney and risk him flipping out again. Well, he can always chalk it up to adrenaline.

“Sheppard, you pig. I’m not one of your space babes.” Of course Rodney notices and doesn’t mince his words. John laughs into his ear.

“No, I didn’t think you were. No similarities there.” He tries to keep it light. He also wants to say he doesn’t get this close to women, but that, yeah that would be the wrong thing to say.

“What? I could totally be a hot space babe.” John rolls his eyes theatrically. Unfortunately, Rodney can’t see it.

“Seriously, what isn’t a competition with you? Alright, you wanna be my hot space babe, in a field under the stars? That what you want?” He grinds down into Rodney’s hips and pushes his nose into his neck and oh God, one day he’ll have to face why it is so easy for Rodney to wind him up, but it’s so good. Rodney’s moan startles him and he stops.

“Sorry.” Yeah, that was probably a mistake. Damn McKay.

“You’re using up too much air like that.” John laughs again.

“That’s your complaint?”

“Well, I don’t know about you, but I’d like to keep living, thank you very much, so yeah, that’s my complaint!” Rodney snaps.

“Not complaining about this?” He grinds down once, pointedly.

Rodney surprises him by pushing his hips upward and meeting him. “You would do this if we were in a field, under the stars?” Jesus, Rodney is killing him, making him say it.

“Rodney, I...” He is saved by a noise above them, followed by the bright cone of a flashlight and the worried face of Major Lorne. (He makes a mental note to highlight his professionalism in his next report, because he shows no reaction at all to their position, or the obvious tent in his pants.)

--

Later, he’s showered and changed and just about to have a well-earned few hours of sleep when Rodney comes in. Of course, he doesn’t knock like normal people but just barges in with his superior knowledge of door controls.

“Hi,” says John, glad he got dressed in boxers and t-shirt a minute ago. Although it would serve Rodney right for barging in unannounced.

“Hi,” Rodney says. “Look, I wanted to say thank you for getting me out of my panic attack back there. That wouldn’t have ended well.” He wiggles his by now scabbed fingers at him.

“I should probably say sorry, though,” John says, glad that Rodney hasn’t yelled at him yet, “for, you know, certain inappropriate behavior.”

“Are you serious? That was the best thing that happened to me since we came to Atlantis.”

“Oh.”

Rodney looked abashed. “I mean, if it was just an adrenaline thing for you, I understand...”

“No. Look, Rodney, I took advantage of you. You were scared, you obviously weren’t enjoying yourself...”

“Are you kidding me? Yeah sure, I didn’t get hard because I was buried alive at the time, but that didn’t mean I wasn’t into it. Which I was. Very. Into it.”

John swallows. He doesn’t know what to say. “So you’re here to...”

“Say thank you. And hoping that maybe, we can... finish what we started, back there?”

“You wanna do it outside, under the stars?”

“Don’t be ridiculous, you have a perfectly fine bed right here.” And John is learning all kinds of new things here, like Rodney’s demanding, snappy tone? A surprising turn-on. “So if I got this right, and I’m pretty sure I do, you want it, I want it, so I’m just gonna go ahead and you can join whenever you feel ready.”

And with that, Rodney takes off his clothes (all of them, and he can move surprisingly fast when he wants to) and gets on John’s bed. And oh, what a sight that is. Rodney is built broadly, his skin is pale with more subcutaneous fat than John has and it makes him look solid, and soft, and oh, his belly that John remembers thrusting against now has Rodney’s own cock lying on it, hard and flushed a pretty shade of pink and uncut and yeah, John is on board with that. Very on board.

Not bothering with his own clothes for the moment, he crawls up over Rodney and presses a kiss on his lips. Yeah, this is going to work. He lowers himself on Rodney’s naked body and gets a groan.

“I can see you now as my hot space babe.”

Rodney grunts in response. “Are you ever gonna let that go?”

“Nope.” John smirks, sits back, takes off his t-shirt and, with only a little ungraceful shuffling, his boxers, too. Rodney stares at him. For a moment, John feels weirdly self-conscious about his wiry body and his hairy everything and his rock hard, weeping cock. “Too... male for you?”

“What? I like male. No, you’re hot. I mean, you’re seriously hot. I imagined, I mean I thought about it a lot, but you’re even hotter than my not insignificant powers of imagination could come up with.” He lifts his hands to stroke over John’s chest, through the thick hair there and over his nipples, making his breath hitch.

“Unfortunately,” Rodney murmurs, “my fingers might be out of commission, so you will have to do most of the touching.”

John doesn’t think that will be a problem.