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Little By Little To the Truth; or, a Narrative of the Atlantis Expedition

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If for some reason I had forgotten that today was the day Doctor McKay was to be returned to us, the sight of Colonel Sheppard and a full section of Royal Marines, along with, of course, Specialist Dex and Miss Emmagan, waiting before the Stargate this morning would have been a more than sufficient reminder. I know that, as he so often does, Colonel Sheppard thought me quite cold-hearted when I reminded him that the MinRanai would not be expecting him until midday on their world. I cannot fault the Colonel's devotion to his teammate, but I do wonder if he remembers that Doctor McKay is my dear friend as well, and that, without his staunch support, I would not be Head of this Expedition.

from the private diary of Lady Elizabeth Weir, Dowager Countess Menlow, June 29, 1904

 

As he prepared to step through the 'gate to MinRan, John checked his revolvers and ammo belt and wished for the comfort of a Gate-Ship with a full complement of drone weapons. While I'm at it, I might as well wish for one of McKay's more deadly explosive devices, he thought.

"And if wishes were horses," he murmured.

"Another one of your people's sayings?" Teyla asked.

"One of my father's," he replied. "'If wishes were horses, John Patrick, beggars would ride.' Horses are...."

"I have seen pictures of horses; Lady Elizabeth speaks fondly of riding them."

John smiled a little. "That doesn't surprise me at all." He glanced up at Lady Elizabeth, who was standing in her customary spot on the balcony outside her office. As Sergeant Campbell finally began to dial the 'gate, Lady Elizabeth nodded at John, who sketched a casual salute in her direction before turning to his men.

"Miss Emmagan will be negotiating with the MinRanai; we're just there to back her up." He paused and took a deep breath; he needed to seem calm and collected even when he was neither. "I don't want to lose another man to the MinRanai judicial system, so stay in place and do not wander off."

Even after two and a half years, he still felt a little foolish giving orders to Royal Marines, most of whom had seen more combat in one tour of duty than he had in his short war. That they listened and obeyed those orders, from an American no less, was a source of secret pride.

The wormhole engaged and John took a deep breath, promising himself yet again that this time they wouldn't return without McKay. "Move out," he said, shouldering his rifle.

The MinRanai were exactly where they'd promised they'd be, and if they were surprised or alarmed at the size of the Atlantean contingent, it didn't show on any of their elaborately painted faces. The Chief Justice stepped forward and greeted Teyla, who returned the greeting with the poise of a natural aristocrat, never mind that John had met her in a tent. Occasionally he wondered what his mother would have made of Teyla.

"As Doctor McKay has completed his service, he is permitted to leave," the Chief Justice finally said. John bit his tongue and continued to loom behind Teyla, hoping that his presence and that of Ronon, not to mention the Marines, made it clear that if McKay weren't permitted to leave, the Chief Justice and all his fellows wouldn't be permitted to live.

When they led McKay forward, John gave serious thought to killing the Justices anyway. With his face bare and in a simple dark tunic and pants, McKay stood out among the painted, brightly robed MinRanai as much as if he'd been naked. John found himself wishing that he'd brought clothes for McKay, not his usual uniform, but the evening suit McKay had been wearing when John first met him at the captain's table on the airship Odyssey.

At first John thought it was just the clothes, or lack of them, that made McKay look somehow diminished; then, as the Justices stood aside and he passed through them to join his team, John realized that he had lost weight. Still, there was something more than that; something about his demeanor made him seem smaller, as if he was hunched in on himself against a cold wind.

John turned and glared at the Chief Justice, who looked back at him impassively. "We did not treat him any differently than we would have treated one of our own, had he or she transgressed against our laws."

"He is not," John said tightly, "one of your own." He'd learned the last time they'd been on MinRan that he could push the boundaries of polite conversation quite far without legal consequences, and frankly, right now he would almost welcome an excuse to start shooting.

"Colonel," Teyla said, keeping to the careful formality she used when there were people other than John's team around. "I believe it would be best if we left now."

With one more hard look at the Chief Justice, John nodded. As he turned to head back to the 'gate, he noticed that he wasn't the only one frowning. Not only did Ronon look livid, but several of the Marines were scowling as well. He hoped McKay would notice and realize that he'd been missed by all of Atlantis, not just his team and close friends.

Unfortunately, given that McKay's gaze remained fixed on the ground, John doubted that he noticed anything. When John happened to glance down, drawn to McKay's line of sight, he saw that it was more practical than anything else; McKay wasn't wearing shoes.

John turned and glared at the Chief Justice. "Where are his things?" The uniform was one thing; they were making them out of cloth they'd bargained for here in the Pegasus galaxy. But boots...well, boots were a soldier or explorer's best friend and, more practically, were not very thick on the ground in Atlantis.

"It's not," McKay began, but the moment John opened his mouth to interrupt, McKay went silent.

Taken aback, John just stared at him for a moment.

"There was nothing in your judgment that mentioned keeping Doctor McKay's possessions," Teyla said with just the right note of bland disapproval. "I hope you are not going against your own decree."

One of the other Justices, a tall man with meticulous face paint, blinked and then nodded. "His belongings will be returned when your trading party comes through."

John opened his mouth to say something.

"Please, Colonel," McKay said very softly. When John turned to look at him, McKay was still looking at the ground. His tone, however, made John's trigger finger itch. "Please."

"That's acceptable," John said to the Justice. "And now, if there is nothing else?" He nodded curtly to the Chief Justice and turned on his heel. "Let's move out."

They were just about to step through the 'gate when McKay reached out almost tentatively and touched John's arm. Accustomed to being grabbed and dragged all over the place by him, John was startled and disturbed by McKay's new reticence.

"Please Colonel, I...would it be possible for us not to return to Atlantis right away?"

"I'm not sure where we could go that wasn't Atlantis," John said, his mind already turning over possibilities. "Don't you want to return home?"

"More than anything," McKay said and for a moment, he sounded more like himself. "However, in my current state...if it is at all possible, Sir."

"Don't...." John all but shuddered at the wrongness of it; McKay had never called him "sir," not even sarcastically.

"Perhaps one of our alternate sites," Ronon said quietly. "We could travel to an empty world and then...."

"Very well." John thought it over. "That planet where the gate was in the middle of a prairie?"

As Teyla punched the numbers into the DHD, McKay bobbed his head. "Thank you."

"You can thank me by getting better," John said, his voice harsher than he intended.

At first, I was somewhat uncertain as to whether allowing Doctor McKay to recover on New Kent was the right decision; however, both Colonel Sheppard and Doctor Beckett argued in favor, and in the end, I accepted their advice. Having seen Doctor McKay, I am glad that I did agree; he is withdrawn, quiet and very much a shadow of his former self, both physically and, more unnervingly, emotionally. He is...meek, for want of a better word, and I find that far more disturbing than if he had been returned to us with multiple broken bones. Not once did my old friend forget my title and use my Christian name, nor did he scoff at anything I said and imply that I was dangerously ignorant. I find myself regretting every time in the past when I have wished that he was more polite and biddable, and I can only hope and pray that time, a safe harbor and the company of his team and friends will enable the return of the Meredith McKay we all know and care for.

from the private diary of Lady Elizabeth Weir, Dowager Countess Menlow, July 5, 1904

 

While it might have been July on Earth, it was winter on Lantea and spring on New Kent. Although the season hadn't occurred to John when he chose the planet for McKay's recovery, he found himself glad he hadn't chosen the Nordica colony, where the short fall was sliding into the long cold winter. For all that McKay liked to brag about the winters he'd endured as a boy in Canada, John had noticed that he wasn't really all that fond of the cold. New Kent, with its rolling green hills, its sheep-like creatures and the few small farms set up by the first colonists from Earth, seemed ideal--quiet, peaceful and bucolic.

John hoped that McKay would be bored out of his mind and demanding to be returned to Atlantis and his labs in no time.

"Don't try and put a deadline on his recovery," Beckett warned him. "Physically, there's nothing wrong with him that eating decently and resting for a few weeks won't cure. His spirit...well, that's another story."

"Has he told you what they did to him?" John hated to ask, hated to intrude on McKay's privacy like this, but he had to know. "You said there was no sign of physical abuse, that he wasn't tortured or even beaten all that recently. Obviously he wasn't fed as well as he should have been, but...." John looked down at his own hands.

"Was he...? Did they...? Was he abused in...less obvious ways?"

"You're asking me if he was violated?" When John nodded without looking up, Beckett continued. "If he was, it wasn't...recent or vicious. I did a very thorough examination and he showed no visible signs of that sort of damage."

Rising to his feet, John paced to the window and stared out without seeing the pretty view. "If he was," he said tightly. "I will go back to MinRan and...."

"Colonel," Beckett said. "You must not dwell on what happened or what may have happened. That's not what Meredith needs right now, and it's not what you need right now."

As John walked out into the back garden a short time later, he found himself resenting the easy way Beckett used McKay's name. Even when they were all alone as a team, even when John felt comfortable using Teyla's given name, he was careful and limited the number of times he used McKay's name.

Thinking of his reasons led him back to his questions to Beckett and his hands clenched into fists yet again.

"Want to spar?" Ronon asked, standing up and leaving his mending in his chair. "You look like you could use it."

"I was talking to Beckett," John explained as they walked toward the lower part of the garden. "And...."

He was interrupted by the sound of Teyla's voice. "I do not believe you need to be doing anything right now, Meredith. Doctor Beckett wanted you to rest and get your strength up."

"It feels wrong," McKay said. John could see them now, McKay kneeling near a bed of vegetables, a pile of weeds next to him.

"You never have been good at doing nothing. Doctor Zelenka sent some work...."

"No. I don't really think I...I'd rather not, if that's all right, Miss Emmagen."

"Of course it is. You are off-duty now and may do whatever you like." Looking up, she caught sight of John and Ronon. "John, Ronon! Have you come out to enjoy the sun as well?"

""Sure," Ronon said, settling down next to her. "Hey, McKay."

"Ronon," McKay said and then looked horrified. "I mean Mr. Dex. I'm so sorry...."

"S'all right," Ronon said easily, leaning back on his elbows. "Sun's nice today."

John could see McKay bite back a sarcastic comment, ducking his head instead. "So," he said as he settled down next to Ronon. "I was thinking we could take a short hike up the ridge tomorrow, maybe take some food, make an afternoon of it." He smiled at McKay, knowing it probably looked false, but really, John was doing the best he could. "We got your boots back," he added, not looking at McKay's bare feet. "You'll need some time to get used to them again."

"As you wish, Colonel. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm tired and I need to rest."

"Of course," John said. Once McKay had left, John sighed. "Am I pushing him too hard?"

"I wonder," Teyla said after a moment's thought, "if you are not pushing him hard enough."

"He's spent three months as a...with everyone able to tell him what to do and him not able to say no."

"Would you want people to coddle you?"

"Well, no, but I want to make sure he feels he has choices."

"Anyone thought of asking him what he wants?" When John stared at Ronon, Ronon shrugged. "It's a place to start."

According to Doctor Beckett, Doctor McKay is physically ready to resume his duties; in fact, he says that Doctor McKay is more fit now than he was six months ago. And while I am glad to hear it, I still worry about my friend. According to Miss Emmagan and Colonel Sheppard, Doctor McKay remains hesitant to check Doctor Zelenka's work or to do any of the more complicated mechanical tinkering that has so engaged him as long as I have known him. The only subject on which he seems firm is his determination to remain here in the Pegasus Galaxy. When I spoke to him this morning and told him that he could return home, he protested and I was relieved to hear a bit of his old arrogance when he reminded me that the Expedition would fail were he not a part of it.

from the private diary of Lady Elizabeth Weir, Dowager Countess Menlow, July 20, 1904

 

When John came down to breakfast early one morning, he found McKay engrossed in something on the screen of his personal computing machine. There was a pile of paper next to him and he was alternating between scribbling madly on it and punching numbers into the machine. It was an older machine, big and brassy, probably one of the ones McKay had developed before he'd had much of a chance to study Ancient mechanics.

Leaning in the doorway, John took in the familiar sounds of McKay working--the clack of the ivory keys, the hum and gurgle of the computing machine, McKay's muttering about everything and nothing. There was a steaming cup of coffee sitting next to him and John smiled as he remembered McKay's scorn when he learned that John preferred tea. McKay was in uniform, the epaulettes on his khaki jacket helping to emphasize his broad shoulders, and for a moment, John ached with the desire to move forward and put his hands on McKay's shoulders.

Gritting his teeth, he moved further into the room. At the sound of his footsteps, McKay looked up apprehensively.

"Oh," he said. "I'm sorry; I hope I wasn't disturbing you, Colonel. Let me tidy up my things and put the kettle...."

"Will you stop it, Meredith?" John snapped before he could stop himself. "If I want tea, I'll put the damn kettle on myself. You're not my slave!"

John's words hung in the air between them and then, disgusted with himself, John managed to get out a broken apology before turning on his heel and escaping. He left the cottage and kept going, following the rough lane until he reached the river that flowed about half a mile east of the small settlement.

He stared at the water for a long time, trying not to think about anything more complicated than the duty rosters Lorne had sent through with Lady Elizabeth. He was lucky in his second, he knew that; Lorne didn't seem to mind that John had never commanded a garrison before. What little command experience John did have had been with the loosely organized Rough Riders and after that...well, his crew on the Odyssey had been more like friends than subordinates. While that made him an ideal leader for an exploratory team, he was still surprised that Lady Elizabeth had insisted on retaining him as the expedition's military commander.

"Have you, at any point in your life, actually been incompetent?"

John had known McKay was there for at least five minutes before he spoke; but still, his words, coming right on the heels of John's thoughts, startled him into honesty.

"I woke the Wraith, McKay."

"Poor luck is hardly incompetence," McKay said. "Yes, you did wake the Wraith, but you did so in the middle of a mission whose objective you completed. I'm talking about being just plain bad at something."

John thought about the several times he'd crashed back when he'd test piloted aeroplanes in Germany. But no, he'd taken to flying as if he'd been born to do just that. The faults had been in the 'planes themselves; steam power and jury-rigged motorcar engines were simply incapable of creating the kind of speed and distance the Daimler company and John had wanted to get out of the heavy 'planes.

"I can't dance," he finally said. "Even the simple one, two, three of a basic waltz escapes me. Both my mother and my fiancée despaired of me."

"Problematical for an officer and a gentleman, particularly one of your birth." McKay paused. "I was a terrible slave, simply abysmal."

John waited, but McKay was silent. "Did they...were you punished?"

"All the time," McKay replied with a snort. "A great deal of it was verbal, but they also fed me less."

John thought about the way McKay became shaky and anxious if he didn't eat every three or four hours. "You must have been miserable," he said and then felt like a fool for stating the obvious.

"Moderately. While I was an incompetent slave, I did become very good at stealing small candies or sugar. They use lumps the same way we do, did you know?"

"No one here thinks you're incompetent," John said after another long pause.

"I'm aware of that." McKay sighed. "The problem is...Colonel, what happens during training when a young soldier is told over and over that he's not any good at soldiering? He either rises to the challenge and proves himself in front of his fellows and his officers, or he takes the harsh words to heart and fails, either washing out or dying early."

"True enough," John said. After all, he could hardly argue, having seen exactly what McKay was talking about. "But you're not a slave any more, no one is expecting you to...well, put the kettle on and make tea. Ronon's not going to ask you to mend tears in his coat."

"Actually," McKay said with a slight chuckle, "I've always been quite handy with a needle. And yes, I know that I'm not expected to wait on anyone, but the mind is a very strange and somewhat confusing thing, Colonel. There is a reason I am both a man of science and unmarried."

John couldn't help laughing. "You and I both, McKay. There are days when I can barely understand my own thoughts."

He waited a long time and then when McKay remained silent, took a deep breath. "I think Ronon was right. We should have asked you what you wanted."

"The greatest question of them all," McKay said lightly. "And one that I'd answer differently now than I would have then."

"Very well," John said. "I'm asking."

"Treat me the way you always have," McKay said promptly. "I know that I've been lacking in confidence, and to be honest, looking back on my own behavior makes me cringe a little, but I like to think I'm getting better. I'd like to return to Atlantis soon, perhaps tomorrow or the day after, if you, Teyla and Ronon are ready to get back into it."

"You want to go on missions again?" John couldn't help his smile--a genuine smile at last.

"Well, 'want' is such a subjective word," McKay said, but he was smiling as well. "I think I should, because clearly the team...."

"Isn't the same without you," John said, surprising both himself and McKay, if McKay's expression was to be believed.

"Oh," McKay said, and John felt a moment of triumph; he'd been able to render McKay speechless.

"So," he said. "Let's go see what Mrs. MacLaren has managed for dinner."

That night, as he gave up on sleep, John had one of those moments when he realized just how strange his life was, how far he'd come from the expectations placed on him at birth. He made his way downstairs as quietly as he could and poured himself a glass of whiskey, the real stuff from Earth.

It was cool outside, but not so chilly that John was uncomfortable. He settled on the bench near the flower garden and looked up at the night sky. Selene was a mere sliver of light and Pandia hadn't risen yet, so the sky was thick with stars. John wondered how many of those stars he'd seen as suns while on missions, wondered which shone down on Wraith worlds or planets belonging to the Replicators.

"It's so mundane from here."

John jumped a little; he hadn't looked around before sitting down. McKay was sitting on the grass a few feet away.

"Did I actually manage to surprise you?" he asked, his voice slightly smug.

"Yes," John replied, sliding off the bench to sit next to McKay. "But then, you're not smoking."

"All my cigars are back home in Atlantis." McKay paused. "Home in Atlantis. It sounds so strange sometimes."

"It's more home for me than anywhere else," John said. He stared at his glass, wondering if he was losing his tolerance; it would be easier if he could blame the alcohol for his words.

"Oh, for me, too," McKay said. "Sometimes I find myself wondering what happened to me. I had a lab at Cambridge and a nice regular life, with scones and deferential students and a cat. And now here I am; home is a ten thousand year old city with occasional weekends in a cottage on our most distant colony, and instead of teaching, I'm exploring strange planets." He paused and, for some reason, John handed over his glass. McKay took a sip. "I occasionally wonder if I was mad to come on this expedition."

"I came on a whim," John admitted. "I'd already gone as far from home as I could on Earth and...." He wasn't sure he could say it, but then McKay handed the glass back. The smooth whiskey went down easily and John figured he owed it to McKay to finish his sentence. "When you dropped that artifact at dinner that night on the Odyssey, when it lit up for me, it was like nothing I'd ever felt before."

"I understand that; when I first saw the Stargate and the Ancient outpost there in Egypt I was actually dumbstruck. Couldn't say anything for at least ten minutes or so."

"You?"

"Mock me all you want, John, but yes. I felt like a mystic who'd seen God for the first time."

"I'm sorry; I shouldn't laugh at you. After all, I think I saw God the first time I flew a Gate-Ship. It was everything that flying should be, everything I'd been looking for when I tested aeroplanes in Germany." John tried to focus on the conversation, but even as he spoke, he was concentrating on the sound of his name on McKay's lips.

I should go back to bed; this is dangerous.

McKay reached out to take the glass out of John's hand and John shivered as their fingers brushed. "Hmmm...." McKay murmured. It was the sound he made when he was examining some new piece of equipment or contemplating a chess move, and given that, John shouldn't have been so surprised when McKay's fingers slid over his again, curling around the glass.

As a soldier and a pilot, John knew what pivotal moments felt like, knew what it was to find yourself on the edge where one step would commit you to a possibly fatal course of action. He'd seen it during the war and he'd crashed both motorcars and aeroplanes multiple times, always because instead of backing away from those moments, his instinct was to move forward. But this isn't the same; this isn't just my life at risk. It's far more important than that, and if I crash here, there is no walking away.

Maybe it was all the sleepless nights of the past four months, nights he'd spent missing McKay, or maybe it was the memory of how wrong it felt to step through the 'gate without him on the team. Or maybe it was just that the longer he sat there, fingers all but entwined with McKay's, the harder it became to pretend that this was only about not wanting to drop the glass. Whatever it was, John realized that he didn't want to step back, that even now, even with this greater risk, his instinct was to press on ahead.

"John?" McKay's voice was oddly gentle and deeper than John was used to.

"I...." John began, even though he had no real idea what to say next. "I should...."

"Have you ever? With a man?"

He thought about Cuba and the nights he'd sat up watching Holland sleep. He thought about the way he'd felt after a race spent staring at the back of the man in front of him as they rowed for Yale. He thought about the pretty young men seen on the streets in Stuttgart and the sleepy-eyed boys sucking on hookahs in the opium dens of Shanghai and the teahouses of Cairo. He thought about sleepless nights and cold baths and the unsatisfactory touch of his own hand while he desperately tried to think about women.

"I...it's not...." He took a deep breath. "No. I never could." All the reasons tumbled around in his mind, but this was McKay...Meredith, and he was the smartest man in two galaxies. Maybe John didn't need to explain.

Keeping their fingers entwined, Meredith reached up with his other hand and took the glass, setting it aside. "I'd like to kiss you," he said. "May I do that?" He paused and then, before John could answer, chuckled. "No, never mind that. I'm going to kiss you."

His lips were warm and soft, and John could smell just the faint touch of whiskey. Meredith brought his free hand up to cup John's face, the broadness of it reminding John, if he'd needed the reminder, that this was no woman he kissed. John's heart pounded and his fingers tightened around Meredith's as he wondered what the hell he was doing here, kissing Meredith where anyone--Ronon, or Teyla, or God forbid, Mrs. MacLaren--could see them.

"It's all right," Meredith said, leaving his mouth against John's so John felt the words as well as heard them. "I know this is new; I know what it's like to be afraid of it."

Maybe it was wrong that Meredith was the one reassuring John, but right now, John needed it, needed the warmth of Meredith's solid body as he moved closer to John. Meredith's hand on his cheek moved to cup the back of his head and as his deft fingers caressed John's neck, John moaned softly.

Meredith seemed to take that as encouragement; his lips twisted slightly and when John's mouth opened just a little in response, he felt the soft brush of Meredith's tongue across his lips. It was shockingly good and John let his mouth open further, allowing Meredith to deepen the kiss. Shifting a little, John pressed up closer to Meredith, finally letting go of his fingers so he could slide both arms around Meredith's waist.

This was nothing like the chaste kisses Nancy had allowed during their rare moments alone, nor was it similar to the perfunctory kisses John had exchanged during his few times with whores in San Francisco and Havana. It was more than the fact that Meredith was male, although that lent a thrill to it that had John hard and aching; it was the fact that these kisses meant something. Like walking through the Stargate that first time, there was no going back from this moment. And, like his first trip through the 'gate, John was sure this would change his life in ways he couldn't even imagine now.

"There are things," Meredith murmured after a particularly deep kiss left them both gasping a little. "Things I want to do to you...with you. But I want this to be good, and I want you with me the whole time, so I'm going to go slow and ask that you trust me."

If he'd asked that even a week or two ago, John might have hesitated. But a week or two ago, Meredith wouldn't have pressed, wouldn't have been so forward. "Yes," John said, the palm of his hand warmed by the small of Meredith's back. "You know I do."

"Good." Meredith leaned forward and kissed John again, stronger this time and a little wilder. John moaned against his mouth and returned the kiss, trying to give as good as he got. As it went on and on, he wondered if it were possible to reach a climax from kissing alone.

Then Meredith was pulling him down until they were on their sides on the grass facing each other. Before John could be apprehensive about what came next, Meredith kissed him again and it was somehow better lying down. "I'm going to touch you now," Meredith murmured, running his broad hand up the side of John's thigh.

Tentatively, John reached out and mirrored the movement, Meredith's khaki wool trousers rough under his hand. This is a man...this is Meredith that I'm touching.

"Finally," he said when they took a break from the kissing. "Finally."

"How long have you known?"

"About myself? Forever, I think. Before I knew it was wrong." Here, in the soft darkness of a garden on an alien world, John could say it. "About you? I don't know. One day I just looked up and...there you were."

"I was sure when I met you that you were either married or had a girl or two in every port," Meredith said. His hand moved up John's chest and John gasped loudly as Meredith's thumb swept across one of John's nipples. "And then, when there was no wife and polite disinterest toward the women who wanted to spend time with you, I began to hope."

"I'm sorry," John said. "I didn't know." It seemed like a crime that they could have had this and hadn't until now.

"Don't be. I only guessed when you were so careful around me," Meredith said. He leaned in to kiss John thoroughly. "And even then, I wasn't sure you'd ever act on it."

"If I'd known...." If he'd known that he'd be more aroused by just kissing and touching a man than he had by anything a woman had ever done to him, if he'd known that being at the center of Meredith's attention would make him want to light up and hiss like one of Meredith's patented mechanical devices...God, if he had known, he'd have followed Meredith back to his cabin on the Odyssey and they could have laid down on Meredith's narrow little bunk....

"Oh, oh God!" Meredith had moved in closer and now one of his thighs pressed against John's aching erection. "McKay...Meredith, that's...God."

"Yes? Oh, good," Meredith said. "Come here, no, like...yes, that's it." Meredith manhandled John much like he did when they were exploring the city or had found some power source on a mission, only now he was pulling and shoving until they pressed up against each other, Meredith's thigh hot against John. He could feel Meredith's erection against his own leg and it was like some pressure inside him eased even as he became more aroused.

"We can do this," John murmured against the skin of Meredith's neck as Meredith pressed harder against him. "Oh God...Meredith!"

"Yes," Meredith said, his voice rough. "We can. You can, John. It's all right...let yourself...."

When John came, Meredith's voice in his ears, it was like the first time, bright and new and sharp. After, as he panted and clung to Meredith, he felt it against his thigh when Meredith came, choking out John's name.

Gate Team One came back through the Stargate in great triumph this afternoon. On only their second mission after Doctor McKay's recovery, they have found an abandoned Wraith laboratory. Doctor McKay was able to retrieve a great deal of useful information, both tactical and scientific, that will help in our struggle with the Wraith. Colonel Sheppard is quite pleased, and, although he tries to hide it, I can clearly see that he is relieved to have Doctor McKay back at his side in the field, as am I. Even though there are times when they would try the patience of a saint, it would not be Atlantis without Doctor McKay and Colonel Sheppard and I know how lucky we are that they are part of this Expedition.

from the private diary of Lady Elizabeth Weir, Dowager Countess Menlow, July 29, 1904

 

The End