Notes: A much belated response to Terriís challenge back in September, though we made it both John and Rodney who were affected.

The World According to Rover XXII
Please Donít Play it Again

Orithain and Rina

May 2006

Disclaimers: We only wish they were ours. Sadly, this is as close as weíre going to get.

John staggered and swore, startled to find himself stepping through the door into Rodneyís lab when a moment before he and his team had been ducking for cover as a lightning boltóa really, really big lightning boltóstruck an Ancient device that Rodney had just powered up on P7R837. John had lunged to knock Rodney away before he became an overcooked barbecue, and the next thing he knew, he was back in Atlantis. "Rodney?" John was proud of the steadiness of his voice.

"John?" Rodney asked between choking coughs. "What the hell happened?" He glanced around, his eyes narrowing at the sight of his lab, and jumped when Rover rubbed up against his leg.

"I have no idea. Whatís the last thing you remember? As in about ten seconds ago?" John patted Rover, seeing that the cart was shivering against Rodney.

"Umm... checking that machine, then you and Rover slamming into me and a really bright light andódo I smell ozone?"

"That would be the lightning that almost flash-fried you," John said. "So how the hell did we end up back in your lab? And why arenít Ronon and Teyla with us?"

"How would I know? I hadnít even figured out what that device did!"

"Some kind of transporter that doesnít need a chamber?" John suggested. "It certainly moved us. And we should let Elizabeth know that weíre back and check on the rest of our team." He shook his head. "Why am I surprised by more weirdness?"

Rodney snorted out a laugh at that comment. "Well, at least weíre both still male." He keyed his earpiece. "Elizabeth, Col. Sheppard and I have something to report."

Sounding startled, Elizabeth responded a moment later. "Rodney? Thereís something strange in the lab?"

"Why isnít she wondering why weíre here?" Rodney muttered before answering. "Other than the fact that the colonel and I are here rather than on P7R837?"

"Are you feeling all right, Rodney? Youíre not scheduled to leave for P7R837 for another two hours."

John exclaimed in surprise, his shocked gaze meeting Rodneyís.

"No, weíve been on the planet for six hours, but somehow weíre back here," Rodney said carefully.

"Perhaps you should meet me in the infirmary. John, are you there?"

"Yeah, Iím with Rodney, Elizabeth, and heís right; we spent the last six hours on the planet. Weíll meet you in the infirmary."

"Iím on my way."

"Well, at least weíre not women," Rodney repeated with a sigh.

"Or pregnant," John chuckled, thinking of Rodneyís dream after his birthday. "Itís really weird though that Elizabethís forgotten the last eight hours. I hope she hasnít picked up some weird bug that causes temporary amnesia."

"Or that something didnít happen here while we were gone..." Rodney continued in that vein as they headed toward Elizabethís office, coming up with wilder and wilder scenarios with each minute.

"Rodney..." After trying and failing several times to get Rodneyís attention, John resorted to his guaranteed success move. He caught hold of Rodneyís arm to stop him and kissed him until the scientist wasnít thinking about anything but him. "Iím fairly sure Elizabeth hasnít been replaced by a pod person while we were away," he chuckled when he finally raised his head again. "So what do you say we hold off on the apocalyptic possibilities till we get to the infirmary and find out what really has happened, okay?"

"Unless Carson has been replaced by one as well," Rodney replied darkly.

John glared. "Rodney! Stop that. Youíre scaring Rover."

"Sorry, Rover," Rodney soothed, crouching down to pet the cart, waiting until he had stopped shivering before standing again. "So? To the infirmary?"

"Definitely. We need to figure out whatís going on here." John frowned, staring past Rodney at Dr. Stillman, who was walking down the hall. "Hey, Rodney, wasnít Stillman supposed to go back to Earth on the Daedalus this afternoon?"

Rodney frowned. "Why, yes, yes, she was. Dr. Stillman," he called, "why arenít you on your way back to Earth?"

The scientist stopped and looked back in surprise. "Dr. McKay? Um, because the Daedalus isnít leaving for another few hours?"

"A few hours?" Rodney started to say more but stopped himself. "Yes, a couple of hours, of course; I must have lost track of time."

"What the hell is going on here?" John demanded as soon as Stillman rounded the corner. "Has everyone lost their memory?" He patted Rover, who had squeezed between them so he could huddle against both men.

Rodney frowned, reaching down to stroke Rover as well. "Perhaps the lightning combined with that artifact caused some kind of time jump..."

"You think weíve jumped back to this morning? Wait, wouldnít that mean that there should be another us around here somewhere? Werenít we in your lab this morning? Why didnít we see us?"

"I donít know!" Rodney hissed in frustration.

"Sorry, not pressuring you for an instant miracle," John said hastily. "But this is really weird."

"Iím not arguing that at all, and I fully intend to investigate the phenomena once we understand just what it is."

"And beat it into submission if I know you," John chuckled, relaxing. Whatever it was, Rodney would figure it out, and they would fix it. They always did.

"This makes no sense," Rodney sighed a little later as they continued on to the infirmary.

"Nothing has made sense since we found ourselves back in the lab," John pointed out. "Which particular senseless event were you referring to?"

"The whole situation, John," Rodney explained impatiently. "I can see us being transported physically, but weíve moved temporally as well and apparently replaced ourselves."

"I remember reading one file at the SGC," John started slowly, frowning.

"You actually read something there?"

"Iíve read most of the mission reports now, SG1ís at least," John retorted. "There was one, though, where OíNeill and Tealíc were stuck in a time loop. Well, actually, everyone was, but they were the only ones who remembered from sequence to sequence."

"You really believe weíre in a time loop?" Rodney scoffed. "That would mean that weíre going to go to the planet, get zapped by lightning and wind up here over and over again?"

"If thatís what happened. Of course, if thatís what happened, weíll know for sure in about eight hours."

"Wonderful. Do you happen to recall what they had to do to get out of the loop?"

"I donít think thatís going to help us. There was an Ancient device, and they had to stop this crazy guy from trying to activate it. Thatís what started the whole mess, that and lightning." John frowned. "Do you think that we activated that thing back on the planet? If so, then just not going should fix it, maybe." But he didnít look confident. Things never turned out to be that simple.

"And how are we supposed to explain why we arenít going on the mission?"

"Whatís wrong with the truth? Itís hardly the strangest thing thatís happened around here. And Iím sure Elizabeth has read the mission report too."

"So we donít go on the mission, and we donít get zapped back in time..." Rodney shook his head. "I donít know; it seems too easy for me."

"Me too, actually," John admitted with a sigh. "But letís try easy first. The universe might surprise us. Then if that doesnít work, we can start getting more creative."

Rover shivered in between them, and Rodney bent down to stroke his housing. "Donít worry, Rover; next to me, Johnís the most creative person I know."

"So between the three of us, weíll sort this out. And hey, it could be worse. At least weíre all together while we work on it."

"True," Rodney mused, "We could have been stuck with Kavanagh."

John and Rover both shuddered. "Iíd have to kill myself," John said with horror. "Letís hope that just staying here will solve the problem."

"And that weíve figured out what the problem is," Rodney nodded as they walked into the infirmary.

Both Carson and Elizabeth looked up, identical concerned looks on their faces, and John sighed. "Youíd think by now that insanity would be the last case scenario. With everything thatís happened here, weirdís the norm."

Elizabethís eyebrows rose. "And what weirdness have you encountered now?"

"Oh, nothing much," John said before Rodney could start. "Just that ten minutes ago it was this afternoon, and we were on P7R837."

Carson glanced at Elizabeth and nodded slowly. "I think ye both should have a seat on an examining table."

"We arenít crazy, Carson," Rodney growled. "We were near an artifact when lightning hit, and nowóweíre here." He glared at Ciora when the cart tried to push him and John toward a bed and silently applauded Rover when he pushed the other cart back.

"Itís not like itís the first time it happened," John pointed out, glaring at Ciora as well and moving behind Rodney and Rover. "You must have read the reports of when it happened to Gen. OíNeill and Tealíc a few years back."

Elizabeth frowned. "Well, yes," she said slowly, "but there was outside cause for that event."

"Ancient artifact. Bolt of lightning. I would classify those as outside causes."

"Man intentionally activating the artifact to change the past," Elizabeth countered.

"Yeah, well, we didnít have one of those, but considering that all three of us remember living this day once already, itís the most viable hypothesis," John retorted, patting Rover, who was again shivering against their legs now that Ciora had retreated.

"Iíd still prefer giving ye all physicals," Carson commented. "It may be a form of mass delusions."

"We are not delusional!"

"I donít think Rover can have delusions," John pointed out, catching hold of Rodneyís arm to keep him from getting in Carsonís face. "And you have to admit that heís pretty upset."

They all looked down at the clearly unhappy cart, and Elizabeth nodded. "Still, Iíd be happier if Carson checked you over."

John shrugged. "Sure, itís not like we donít have time. Since weíre not going to P7R837 until after the moment this started."

"Or at all," Rodney grumbled. "Being nearly fried by lightning once is more than enough for me, thank you."

John shuddered at the memory, moving closer to Rodney as if to reassure himself that he was still there at the same time that Rover did the same. The sudden movements from both of them knocked Rodney off balance, and he had to clutch at Johnís arm to stay on his feet. Watching them, Elizabeth frowned slightly. The reaction was clear and went a long way toward convincing her that theyíd actually been through what they claimed.

"So can we do this already?" Rodney sighed.

"Aye," Carson nodded, "the sooner the better, I believe, and perhaps Radek could take a look at Rover as well."

John shrugged and hopped up onto an examining table. "Itís your time to waste. Just try not to freak Rover out any more. I donít think heís enjoying this at all."

Rodney sighed and moved to another table, Rover following closely beside him. "And when you find nothing wrong, we can all say ĎI told you soí."

"Itís best to check all possibilities," Elizabeth murmured. "Since thereís nothing I can do here, Iíll be back in Operations. Youíll keep me informed, Carson?"

"Of course. Now then, lads, shall we?"

Rodney groaned. "I think I liked the lightning better."

John shuddered. "Donít even joke about that. Iím going to be having nightmares about it for months."

"As am I!" Rodney retorted loudly.

John looked over at him, remembered fear shadowing his eyes. "I thought you were going to die for a minute there, Rodney. I could really live without reliving that moment."

Rodney immediately shut his mouth as he rubbed his hands together. "Iím sorry," he said quietly.

"Not your fault," John replied, reaching across to grasp Rodneyís hand. "But I still donít like it."

"Iíll do my best to avoid lightning from now on," Rodney promised, tightening his fingers around Johnís.

"Thank you." Rover pressed against Rodneyís leg to express his approval as well. John smiled at the sight, all of them well aware that Rodney had no control over lightning, no matter how much he might like to think that he could control the universe.

"So, now that weíve been poked, prodded, scanned and sucked dry of blood, do you believe that weíre telling the truth?"

"I believe that thereís nae anything physically or mentally wrong with ye," Carson commented slowly.

"But you still donít believe us," John finished with a sigh.

"Ye have to admit itís a very strange situation."

"One that we wouldnít be lying about!" Rodney glanced at his watch at that. "Well, weíre supposed to be on our way to P7R837 now, so weíve broken the cycle."

"And in a couple of hours, weíll know if that was enough." John swung his feet where he sat on the bed.

"You arenít telling me we have to stay here all that time, are you?"

"Hell no! Unless Carsonís planning to strap us down." Johnís expression made it clear that was the only way heíd be staying in the infirmary.

"No, ye both are clear to go, but Iíd like ye to stay in touch, especially if ye feel any other side-effects."

"Such as rolling back in time again?" Rodney asked snidely as he stood.

"God, I hope not. I really donít want another physical," John grumbled.

"One today is enough," Rodney nodded, shifting when Rover sidled up next to him. "And now we should go back to the lab."

John looked at his watch. "We have two hours till the start of the loop. Or the end. Whatever it is. Any ideas how we should fill the time?"

"I want to rig up sensors to each of us to see if it records any anomalies if it happens again."

"If you want," John shrugged, "but if it happens again, weíll go back to before you set up the sensors. There wonít be anything to record."

"Good point, but it canít hurt to try."

"No, that never hurts. What weíll really need to do is figure out how to convince everyone whatís going on more quickly next time around, if there is a next time. If we only have eight hours, wasting this much time arguing with Carson, Elizabeth and probably Kate and then being examined isnít going to help us out of this."

"And if we donít tell them, weíll end up on the mission again," Rodney mused.

"I really hope this works," John said fervently, thinking about it.

Rodney nodded as the three of them entered a transporter and exited it nearer to his lab. "So do I, Colonel. So do I."

"So we sit here and play cards till we see if it works or not?"

"Itís safer than being flipped back in time in the middle of more carnal pursuits."

"Two hours," John said simply.

"You get the cards; Iíll get the sensors."

"Spoilsport," John muttered, but he went over to the cabinet filled with a variety of things the scientists used to distract themselves when they were trying not to think consciously about a specific problem and got out a deck of cards. "Strip poker?"

"Colonel..." Rodney warned before attaching a sensor pad to Johnís forehead, deliberately letting the leads trail down in front of his face.

"It was worth a try," John chuckled, flipping the leads out of his face without comment. Rover rose into the air next to them, hovering at eye level as he watched curiously.

Rodney sighed and sat across from John after attaching himself to the monitor and checking to see that it was reading correctly. "If we roll back again and have time, we can play then, all right?"

"Much as I enjoy playing with you, Rodney, I really hope that opportunity doesnít arise." John grabbed the cards and started shuffling. "Iíd much rather have time to relax because things are quiet for a while."

"Time loop or not, quiet is never an option around here."

John chuckled wearily. "We can always hope, right?"

"Never hurts, now deal." Rover banged a pincer on the table, apparently demanding to be included in the game.

"Oh Lord, who taught Rover how to play poker?" John wanted to know, dealing each of them five cards.

Rodney groaned when the cart studied his cards, discarded two, and bumped the table to request more. "Had to be Zelenka."

"Pyromaniacs and card sharks, what next?" John chuckled, shaking his head as he tossed three of his cards and waited for Rodney to make his discards before dealing the replacements.

Rodney tossed in a single card and shuddered. "Donít ask."

Glancing down at Rover, John would have sworn that the cart was smiling smugly at them. "Good idea," he muttered, dealing out the cards and looking at his own. "We bothering to pretend to bet anything? If so, what?"

Rover backed away from the table, keeping his cards tucked against his housing, and rolled over to a cabinet, opening it and pulling out a box of candy bars, making Rodney laugh. "I guess that answers that, though what heís going to do with them if he wins is beyond me."

"Probably the same thing I do with most of mine," John snorted. "Feed them to you as needed."

Rodney grinned as he studied as his cards. "So Iím a winner at this game no matter what happens."

"Like it was ever in any doubt," John snorted.

Rodney grinned again before laughing at Rover when the cart displayed his cards, beating both their hands. "Weíre doomed."

"Heís a card shark," John chuckled. "I think weíve been had."

"Weíre entering him in Batesí next poker game," Rodney announced.

"Weíll make a fortune. He can support us in our old age." John reached over to pat Rover, not wanting the cart to think he was serious.

Somehow, Rover managed to look smug as he gathered the cards and shuffled them before dealing out another hand.

Chuckling, John glanced at his cards and tossed two chocolate bars into the pot. "Get the feeling heís laughing at us, Rodney?"

"Itís a permanent state of affairs now." Rodney glanced over at the card. "I think Radek tampered with his personality when we re-uploaded him."

John snorted. "You know perfectly well he didnít. Personally, I think knowing that youíd move heaven and earth to save him just made him secure in his place with you, so now he feels comfortable laughing at both of us."

Rodney nodded before looking up at John. "Iíd do the same for you, you know."

"I know." John reached across the table to cover Rodneyís hand with his own. "I know."

Rodney managed a half-smile and looked down at his cards, glancing at his watch from time to time as the afternoon wore on.

As the time approached when this had all started, all three of them laid down their cards and unconsciously moved closer together. They were fidgeting nervously, Rover again pressed between them for comfort, and then suddenly John was walking through the door into the lab again.

"Oh fuck!"

Rodney rubbed at his forehead while Rover shivered between them. "All right, hit on the time loop scenario, miss on it stopping because we didnít activate that piece of technology. I think we need a plan."

"I think I need a drink!" John groaned as he came to sit beside Rodney, his hand automatically reaching down to pat Rover comfortingly.

"Maybe if we went on the mission and you kept the device from turning on..."

"It might deactivate it and stop this whole mess? Good idea. And it has the added benefit of not needing to tell anyone whatís going on. Iíd really rather not have another physical."

"Ditto!" Rodney exclaimed while Rover bumped against them in agreement. "So for now we do what we were doing before the mission and pretend everything is normal, got it?"

"Yes, sir!" John snapped off a salute before relaxing back onto the tabletop he was leaning against. "Iím sure I remember that including a trip to a supply closet."

"How can you think about sex at a time like this?" Rodney shrieked.

"You look really hot in that shirt, and why not? We have a plan, and weíre basically killing time till we go on the mission."

"Yes, but I had things I was doing that morning, you know!"

"Which youíve already done once, so you can do them faster this time around and still have time for me."

"John, you have a one-track mind," Rodney sighed.

"Youíve never complained about that before."

"Iíve also never been stuck in a time loop before!"

"Then weíd damn well better get out of it soon!"

"We will."

"Itís going to seem longer if we canít have sex," John grumbled.

Rodney leaned over and patted John on the arm. "Weíll have sex again, I promise."

"Damn right we will!" John looked appalled that there was even a question. "Just not right now, apparently."

"Right now weíre going to do what we were doing at this time the first time; we can have sex in the closet when we were supposed to."

John gaped at him. "You do realize that weíre scheduling sex now, right?"

"Would you rather we not schedule it?"

"I would rather it was spontaneous!"

"Itís somewhat hard to be spontaneous when youíre reliving the same day time after time."

"Itís only the third time." John crossed his arms over his chest and sulked.

Rodney groaned. "Fine, John, if we get stuck in the loop again, weíll have spontaneous sex wherever and whenever you want."

"Youíre making me want to stay stuck!" John laughed. "And if we do, Iím holding you to that!"

"Somehow, I knew you were going to say that; now can we go about our business normally this time?"

"Oh fine," John agreed. "But I have to tell you, if we are stuck in this damn loop, Iím not doing the personnel evaluations every damn time! This is the last time until I see tomorrow start." He stole a kiss on his way to the door.

"Poor baby," Rodney murmured, shaking his head as he patted Rover when the cart pressed up against him. "And at least you arenít complaining about all this."

Rover rubbed against a table leg, making a high-pitched grating noise.

"Much." Rodney patted the cart again, then looked around the lab. "Well, Iíd better get to work."

An hour later, right on schedule, John appeared at the door to the lab. "So, ready for lunch, Rodney?"

"Lunch?" Rodney caught the gleam in Johnís eyes and chuckled. "Ah yes, lunch."

"Donít forget to turn your radios off," Radek muttered, glancing up briefly.

John flushed faintly. "Weíll see you later."

"Why is everyone here so worried about our sex life?" Rodney sighed once they were in the corridor.

Lisa Lindstrom happened to be passing by just then, and she stopped with a chuckle. "Itís because you relieve the boredom and arenít life-threatening."

"Oh, now thatís really funny," Rodney glowered.

"I thought so." She grinned and waved as she continued on while John snickered beside Rodney.

"You enjoy this, donít you?"

"You mean how most of the female marines seem to have adopted you as their mascot? Yup."

"Mascot? You have got to be kidding, John."

"Well, itís that, kid brother, or pet. You choose."

"While they all look at you like some sex god."

"Hey, if youíve got it..." John grinned at him.

"Donít flaunt it to the universe!"

"You know youíre the only one I flaunt for," John replied virtuously.

"Do you have a bridge to sell me as well?"

"Okay, youíre the only one I give it up for."

Rodney gave in and smiled. "Damn right."

"So, lunch in bed?"

"I thought this was the supply closet?"

John rolled his eyes. "Live a little, Rodney. It doesnít have to be exactly the same as the first time through. We could go take a long lunch in our room and enjoy ourselves."

Rodney rubbed his chin. "And it will save me that bruise I got from the shelf."

"Poor baby," John crooned. "Should I kiss it better anyways?"

"Feel free to kiss it and any other body parts you desire to."

"We definitely need to get back to our room and I will. In fact, Iíll..." John stopped abruptly. "Good morning, Colonel," he greeted Caldwell as the other colonel came around a corner.

"Gentlemen," Caldwell responded, eyeing them closely. "I was under the impression you had a mission to prep for."

Rodney rolled his eyes. "Trust me, Colonel, weíre fully prepped regarding this particular mission."

John snorted. "You have no idea, sir. Now if youíll excuse us..." Not waiting for a reply, he hustled Rodney around the corner, Rover behind them in case Caldwell decided to follow.

"Everyone on this base is insane," Caldwell muttered under his breath as he continued on his way, trying to ignore the occasional cart he encountered.

"If we donít break out of this loop, next time through weíll give Caldwell something to really stare at," John vowed.

"And what exactly do you mean by that?"

"Well, since no one else remembers what happened from one loop to the next, we can do anything we want with absolutely no consequences." John smiled evilly. "Can you imagine his face if I was going down on you when he came around that corner?"

Rodney snorted. "With our luck, that would be the time that we didnít roll back."

"Naw, weíd make sure not to do anything to stop it that time, and we already know that not going to the planet doesnít stop it. So just imagine the fun we could have." John snickered. "Hell, I could give in to my fantasy of fucking you over a console in the control room or on the conference table. Yeah, this has definite possibilities."

"Control room? Conference table?" Rodney sputtered. "In front of everyone?"

"Itís not like theyíd remember it," John pointed out before laughing at Rodneyís expression. "Okay, so I probably couldnít manage actual fucking with an audience either, but groping and kissing? Hell yes!"

"I donít believe you," Rodney sighed before caving to Johnís pout. "Fine, fine, but only kissing and groping; the only one I want to be naked in front of is you!"

"Well, itís not as if I want anyone else looking at you either!" John pulled Rodney closer for a hard kiss.

"Thank you, and I wonít even mention the fact that youíre the one they want to continually grope!"

"You know youíre the only one I let grope me."

"Good thing, or Rover would separate you from the parts that you like groped!" Rover clacked his pincers to emphasize the point.

"Damn, you two are blood-thirsty!" John laughed. "Itís a good thing I love you."

"Itís one of the reasons you love us; now are we going to our room or standing here talking until we have to go on the mission?"

"Demanding too, another reason why I love you. Our room of course. That would be why weíre going into the transporter." John nudged Rodney inside and back out near their room while the scientist was still grumbling at him.

"You love me because I manage to keep up with your overactive libido!" Rodney exclaimed, opening their door and pushing John inside to kiss him.

"Itís not overactive," John retorted once he could talk again, hands busily stripping himself while Rover settled in front of his collection, admiring it. "Itís just enough to keep you satisfied and away from the blondes."

"It better be enough to keep you away from ascended Ancient babes, or my heartís going to give out!"

"Iíll handcuff myself to you next time I leave the city," John said, rolling his eyes.

"Very funny," Rodney snorted, reaching for John and pushing him to the bed then following him.

"Or you could handcuff me to the bed and have your wicked, wicked way with me," John suggested huskily.

"Handcuffs, eh?" Rodney asked, his grin slowly growing as he began to strip off his clothes. "I like it."

"Iím shocked," John said dryly, his eyes intent on Rodney, watching each inch of flesh as it was bared.

"This from the kink-monster of the Pegasus Galaxy."

"Apparently youíre giving me competition for the title. Lucky me!"

"Oh, hush or Iím going to have Rover sit on you."

"I love the little guy, but heís not who I want sitting on me."

"Oh, but if youíre handcuffed, you have no say in whoís doing what, do you?"

Rover darted forward and pinched Rodney, making John laugh. "You know suggesting he and I get it on is the one thing that makes him turn on you, Rodney."

"Ow! I meant maybe I wouldnít be sitting on you," Rodney sniffed, examining his thigh.

"Címere and Iíll kiss it better for you."

"I thought I was supposed to be getting handcuffs."

"Whatís wrong with doing both?"

"Because itís rather hard to have you kissing my thigh while Iím trying to look through your box of perversions!"

"And here I thought you could multi-task," John chuckled. "But far be it for me to distract you. You go find the cuffs, and Iíll just lie here and amuse myself." Smirking up at Rodney, he started stroking his own erection.

"I can multi-task," Rodney grumbled, trying not to let his gaze stray to the other man. "I just canít stretch my leg from here to there."

"Pity. I like tasting you."

"You know, if I kill you, youíll be alive when we roll back again."

"Youíd miss me. Not to mention freaking Rover out."

Rodney sighed. "Sad but true, so Iíll just have to stick to cuffing you and playing with you." He held up the handcuffs as he spoke and advanced on the bed.

John shivered, his hand stilling on himself and his eyes darkening as he watched Rodney come closer. "Promise?"

"Promise," Rodney whispered, crawling up on the bed beside John, catching one hand and drawing it up over his head.

John caught his lower lip between his teeth, whimpering faintly as Rodney bound him. He squirmed on the bed, his hips thrusting upward pleadingly as the loss of control pushed all his buttons.

Once Rodney was sure the cuffs were secure but not too tight, he rocked back on his knees and sucked in a breath as he stared at John. "Damn, the way you look."

A shudder of pure lust wracked John, and he licked his lips. "You like it?" he asked huskily, not above teasing Rodney.

"No, I hate it," Rodney snorted, leaning in and stroking a hand up Johnís thigh before licking at his nipple.

John gasped and arched up, his back rising off the bed. "It might kill me if you liked it then."

"Oh, I donít intend to kill you, Colonel; I intend to make you scream for once."

Shuddering again, John could only stare up at Rodney, harder than heíd thought possible. At least this time it wouldnít be broadcast to the entire city, he mused even as he twisted in the restraints.

Rodney shifted to kneel between Johnís legs, running his hands up the long lengths before leaning in and sucking his erection into his mouth.

"Oh fuck yeah!" John fought the instinct to close his eyes, wanting to watch Rodney suck him. There was nothing hotter than seeing those mobile lips stretched around his cock while feeling the heat and wetness surround him.

"You like that?" Rodney whispered, pulling back enough to swirl his tongue around the head of Johnís cock as he played with his full balls.

"N-no, I hate it." John threw Rodneyís own earlier comment back at him, though the effect was somewhat diminished by the way his voice hitched when Rodneyís tongue probed the tiny slit in the head.

Rodney chuckled and dipped his head, taking John deeper into his mouth then sucking strongly on him.

"Guh!" John thrust upward, no longer able to hold still and not capable of considering whether he might choke Rodney or not. Rodney hummed in response, moving with Johnís thrusts, wanting to taste him, to feel him. "Rodney!" John thrashed under him, his hands twisting uselessly in the cuffs. "God, not going to last..."

In answer, Rodney rubbed his thumb over Johnís balls and sucked harder.

"Rodney!" John wailed the name this time as he thrust helplessly into that greedy mouth and came hard.

After swallowing down the gouts of liquid, Rodney surged upward to kiss the prone man, sharing his taste as he ground down against John. "Iím going to fuck you now, John. Are you ready?"

John only managed a dazed look and a garbled mumble of affirmation, but apparently that was enough. Rodney chuckled and kissed John again before backing off to grab the lube and squeezing some onto his fingers before sliding them into Johnís pleasure-relaxed body, making the colonel moan his enjoyment and squirm lazily, spreading his legs wider.

"John..." Rodney hissed, slicking up his cock and pulling his fingers back in time to replace them with his heavy erection, slamming forward even as he raised Johnís legs to his shoulders.

"Yes," John groaned, biting his lip as he stared up at Rodney. The initial burn only made him squirm with the painful pleasure of it, and he clenched down, wanting to feel every inch of Rodney.

Rodney grunted as he moved, thrusting into John with as much speed and strength as he could manage, wanting them both to feel it as long as possible. John stared up into the impossibly blue eyes, needing that connection when he couldnít touch Rodney. "So good," he panted, feeling the pleasure even though it was far too soon for him to rouse again.

Rodney nodded, turning his head to kiss the inside of Johnís knee before the look on Johnís face did him in, and he came, groaning loudly as he shuddered.

"Oh yeah, that was definitely a great change from the script," John panted a little later.

Rodney rolled to his back and chuckled breathlessly before pushing up to his elbows. "Very true, but one thing... Do you happen to know where the key to those is?"

There was a long moment of silence before John said in a carefully even tone, "It should have been with the cuffs. Are you telling me it wasnít?"

Rodney snickered as he rolled out of bed. "Gotcha."

"Bastard!"

"Now, now, no taunting the man who can let you out of those..."

The hazel eyes narrowed. "Just remember that one way or the other, Iíll be out of them in a few hours, and I will remember how I got out of them!"

"Now, Colonel, you know I love you," Rodney said quickly, reaching for the key and edging around the bed, Rover at his side.

John grinned up at him. "Of course I do. Why else do you think I let you manacle me to the bed?"

"Because youíre a slut?"

John shook his head slowly. "Rodney, look at me and tell me you honestly believe Iíve ever let anyone else restrain me."

"For me," Rodney amended with a smile as he leaned over to kiss John and unlock the cuffs.

"Good answer." John caught the back of Rodneyís neck with one newly freed hand and held him still while deepening the kiss.

Rodney chuckled into the kiss, sliding his hands into Johnís hair and looking into his eyes when they pulled apart. "Just for me."

"Right back atcha."

"Good answer," Rodney grinned before staggering when Rover pressed against his leg. "And you know we love you too, Rover."

"One big happy family, thatís us," John chuckled, steadying Rodney and simultaneously patting Rover.

The cart shimmied with pleasure before tugging at the sheet.

"Looks like itís getting close to mission time," Rodney commented. "Weíd better clean up."

"Before Rover washes us along with the sheets," John agreed with another grin. He stood up and stretched lazily, scratching at his chest. "So, shower and then see if we can stop this damn loop."

"Just remember not to think Ďoní near the device," Rodney reminded him sternly.

John gave him an innocent look. "What device?"

"Well, that didnít work."

"Gee, ya think?" John glared at Rodney as he came into the lab. Again. "Iím really starting to hate this lab."

"Donít take it out on me!"

"Iím not taking it out on you; Iím taking it out on the whole damn universe."

"All right, so not going doesnít change it; going but trying to keep it off doesnít change it; whatís next..." Rodney began pacing around the lab, Rover at his heels.

John hopped up onto a lab table and watched Rodney morosely. He was really starting to understand the frustration OíNeill and Tealíc had felt when theyíd been caught in a similar situation, but at least he and Rodney had the advantage that the person most likely to figure out a solution was also the one who could remember from loop to loop. Still... "This really sucks."

"Not arguing that in the least," Rodney sighed, leaning on the benchtop and tapping his fingers in an uneven rhythm. "There has to be something I missed."

John blinked. "Did I hear you right?" Time loop or no time loop, he wasnít going to let that comment pass unremarked.

Rodney turned, frowning. "Yes, you heard me admit that I may have missed something. Happy now?"

"About as far from it as itís humanly possible to get. Well, no, thatís not true. Iíd be a hell of a lot less happy if I didnít have you and Rover with me. But overall, yeah, this ranks down there among my Ďmost to be avoided repeatingí experiences."

Rodney was silent for a moment before huffing out a laugh. "Repeating, you said repeating."

John groaned. "I should spank you for that."

"Excuse me?"

"Very bad pun!" John shook his head. "Letís go get something to eat. You think better on a full stomach, and I need this day to be different from the last few times." He sighed heavily. "Would Radek be able to help if we could find a way to convince him of the truth?"

Rodney shrugged. "Possibly, but I really donít feel like going through tests again if he decides to drag us to Carson." He looked down when Rover grabbed his pant leg with a pincer, pulling him forward and doing the same to John when he got nearer.

"I think Rover wants us to follow him." John shrugged easily. "Lead on. We havenít been doing so well on our own; maybe youíll have better luck."

The cart led them to a transporter, tapped the panel, and darted out when they arrived at their destination, making Rodney shake his head. "I think he was taking you up on your food suggestion," he commented as they walked into the mess hall.

"Too bad. For a moment there, I hoped for a miracle."

"Maybe they have turkey; that would be a miracle for you."

"If they have turkey, weíre sticking around for a few more loops!"

Rodney muttered something about John growing pinfeathers as he joined the short line to get his meal.

"Youíd probably be allergic to them," John snorted before leaning closer to kiss away the pout.

There was the sound of a throat clearing behind them, and Rodney half turned, groaning when he saw Col. Caldwell standing there.

"I guess weíre going to wait this loop out," John murmured in Rodneyís ear nuzzling it. "Afternoon, Colonel. Lovely day, isnít it?" He slid an arm around Rodneyís waist, blatantly sliding his hand under the shirt to caress Rodneyís bare skin.

"John..." Rodney began as he watched Caldwellís complexion turn a mottled red.

"I understand military discipline is lax here, Sheppard," Caldwell snapped, "But this? This is beyond the pale."

"Actually," John said, both tone and eyes suddenly hard as granite though his hand remained gentle on Rodney, "whatís beyond the pale is that archaic, discriminatory rule that means itís all right for a soldier to fall in love, but only as long as itís not with someone of the same gender."

"Between this and Dr. Weirís so-called leadership, itís a wonder this place hasnít been blown up yet."

Rodney turned and glowered at the colonel. "Whatís the wonder is the fact that no oneís punched you in your smarmy, hypocritical face before now!"

John beamed at Rodney. "And heís all mine," he murmured.

Caldwell stared at him like he was insane. "Col. Sheppard, Dr. McKay, we need to talk to Dr. Weir now."

John sighed. "Are you sure you canít wait about twenty minutes?" He watched with interest as Caldwell got redder.

"And itís nothing Dr. Weir doesnít know about," Rodney commented, getting into the game and sliding his hand under Johnís shirt to stroke his stomach. "In face, sheís the one who suggested I move into the room next to Johnís to make it appear as if we arenít living together."

Caldwell sputtered more, and John wondered if it was actually possible for a human beingís eyes to pop out of their head. The way Caldwellís were bulging, he wondered if he should duck. "You really ought to get laid, Colonel. It might help your mood."

"True, but whoíd have him?" Rodney snickered.

"Kavanagh?" John suggested, trying to keep a straight face.

"Col. Sheppard!" Caldwell nearly bellowed, only to be interrupted by the calm voice of Elizabeth Weir.

"Is something wrong, gentlemen?"

"No, nothing at all, Elizabeth," Rodney said brightly as he continued to rub Johnís stomach.

"Dr. Weir, I knew you were lax in running this expedition, but this is inexcusable!" Caldwell bellowed.

"We havenít lost our minds, Elizabeth," John hastened to reassure her, despite his amusement at Caldwellís impotent raging. "Weíre stuck in a time loop, so weíre taking a break this time Ďround to do what we wish we could do any time." He grinned down at Rodney and kissed him, vaguely aware of Rover moving between them and the furious colonel.

"Next weíre going to hang Kavanagh over a balcony while Rover cuts his hair," Rodney grinned before sobering slightly at the pained expression on Elizabethís face. "Really, Elizabeth, itís okay. It is a time loop, and no one will remember this next time, I swear."

"Weíve already been through it a few times," John added, "and our first few ideas obviously didnít work." He shrugged. "So this time, weíre indulging ourselves a little before we get back to trying to fix it in the next loop." He eyed Caldwell. "Which means I can tell you how incredibly annoying it is that you keep trying to undermine me because you want Atlantis. Trust me, the city doesnít want you. You wouldnít like the results if you ever did manage to take over."

"You do realize that Iím going to make a full report of this incident," Caldwell answered tightly, causing Rodney to sigh.

"No, you wonít because you wonít remember it inó" he looked at his watchó"about four hours, and thereís no way Iíd be stupid enough to jeopardize Johnís career by doing this in front of you otherwise because I knew you would react this way!"

"Which makes it all the more satisfying to be able to do it and know you canít do a thing about it," John added, giving Caldwell a dirty look. "Itís a stupid rule."

"Damn right it is, stupid military..." Rodney grumbled, pulling John in for a kiss.

"Are you insane?" Radek demanded, running up to them and looking like he was considering hitting Caldwell with something to knock him out.

"Either that or they really are stuck in a time loop," Elizabeth sighed.

"Weíre fine, Radek," Rodney laughed, glancing down as Rover rolled forward, enjoying being able to bully Caldwell.

"Better than fine," John agreed. "For four hours we can do anything we want and not have to worry about consequences."

Radek frowned. "If thereís a time loop, shouldnít you be trying to fix it?"

"Been there, done that, taking a break," John said while Rodney was still drawing breath to defend himself.

"And we certainly arenít going to try to fix it this time," Rodney added, glaring at Caldwell.

"Which we decided before doing this. The next time I see Jack and Tealíc, Iím offering them my sympathy," John said feelingly.

Rodney nodded. "But donít worry, Iíll find a way for us to get out of this next time around."

"I have confidence in you," John said simply, though he wasnít entirely sure that it would happen the next loop. He knew Rodney would figure it out eventually.

"What started it?" Radek asked, getting right to the important point, all of them ignoring Caldwell.

Rodney sighed and looked forlornly at the food. "Can we at least get something to eat so I can do that and explain at the same time?" He looked at Radek sharply. "And youíre taking this better than Carson didóhe gave us complete physicals!"

Radek shrugged. "You have your hand under Johnís shirt in front of Col. Caldwell. You would not do that even if your life depended on it in normal circumstances because you protect his career. Time loop makes sense."

"I do?" Rodney looked down at his hand and flushed. "Yes, I do, and of course I protect his career!"

John raised a hand to cover Rodneyís through his shirt. "And I love you for it."

Caldwell shuddered and stepped back. "You donít deserve to wear the uniform."

"What?!" Even as Rover slammed into the side of Caldwellís legs, Rodney was pulling away from John, his expression furious and just this side of psychotic. "Shut up, you officious, rule-bound ass!" he snarled, giving in to temptation and punching the colonel in the face, then immediately cradling his right hand in his left. "Oh, fuck, I think I broke my hand."

"Let me see." John gently took the injured extremity and examined it. "No, you managed not to break anything. My hero!" He pulled Rodney in for a kiss while Elizabeth hastily stepped between them and held up a hand.

"Colonel, while violence may not be the answer, I have to admit to a great deal of sympathy for Dr. McKayís incentive. And donít bluster at me! I am still in charge here, and Iíll thank you to remember it."

Caldwell glared at each of them through slitted eyes. "Fine, Doctor; Iíll make sure to include full details of this incident in my report to the SGC."

"You do that, asshole," Rodney growled, pulling his hand back from John and examining it. "Are you sure it isnít broken because it hurts like hell, and thank you, Rover," he added when the cart brought him a cup of ice.

"Of course it hurts. If youíd hit him even the slightest bit harder, you would have broken it. But itís just bruised. And unfortunately didnít even make a dent."

"Well, damn," Rodney muttered.

"Itís okay, I still love you even if you donít kill anyone for me."

"I would much rather you didnít," Elizabeth put in.

"But theyíd be alive when we rolled back again..."

"Behave, Rodney," John, Elizabeth and Radek chorused.

Rodney grumbled and pouted.

"Youíre cute when you pout," John chuckled before kissing him again, making Caldwell stomp away in disgust.

"Oh hush, and if youíre placating me, can we go cut off Kavanaghís hair now?"

"I thought you wanted to eat?"

"Oh yeah, so we eat and Iíll fill Radek in, and then weíll go do it, and yes, Rover, you can do the honors," Rodney promised when the cart tugged at his trousers.

"There had better be a time loop," Elizabeth said warningly.

"Oh, there is, trust us."

"Considering your actions, I have to believe so. I canít imagine youíd do any of this otherwise." Elizabeth watched as Reza pressed up next to Rover, who seemed to huddle against her.

Rodney nodded and smiled briefly at John, who had gotten them both food. "Exactly; Iím glad youíre being more trusting this time around."

Elizabeth shrugged slightly. "I know you, Rodney. Youíd chew off your own hand before youíd hurt Johnís career, so like Radek, I have to believe you."

"Oh damn, that means you have to maul me to convince them," John said, trying to sound disappointed.

"I can tell youíre so upset, though next time I can do without the hurting myself."

John caught hold of Rodneyís hand again and kissed it. "Better?"

Rodney smiled and nodded. "Much, now."

Radek made gagging noises, then yelped when Rover banged his shin. And then he snickered when Reza banged Roverís Ďheadí with her pincer.

"My cart is an abused spouse," Rodney muttered. "Whereís Ciora to protect you?"

Radek reached down and patted Rezaís sensor array. "Sheís with Carson, helping him. Reza can handle Rover on her own."

John eyed the two carts, and an eyebrow rose. "Uh huh."

Rover Ďgrumbledí by rubbing against the table leg but didnít retaliate.

A moment later Reza was leaning against him, her pincer lightly gripping his.

"I canít believe this," Rodney groaned.

"What? Theyíre holding hands. I think itís cute." John grinned down at the carts while Radek groaned into his coffee.

Rodney muttered something that sounded like Ďmini-carts, a whole litter of themí.

Radek eyed him suspiciously while John tried not to laugh.

"Problem, Radek?" Rodney finally managed to get out.

The blue eyes narrowed, and Radek growled something John was glad not to understand.

"Donít worry; you wonít remember it in a few hours."

"But you will, which strikes me as a disaster waiting to happen," Radek said wryly.

"Trust me, itís not anything I havenít thought of before."

"I do not find that comforting!"

John snickered, which brought Radekís gaze to him. "Donít encourage him!" the Czech growled.

"But I like it when he encourages me," Rodney pouted.

"No offense, Radek, but Rodney offers a hell of a lot better incentives than you."

Radek threw his hands up in the air and growled at them both in Czech.

"All right this time weíre working on the problem, got it?"

"Right, no jumping you in front of Caldwell. Check." John perched on a stool, propped his chin on his hand, and stared at Rodney.

"Exactly," Rodney chuckled before looking at John closely. "What?"

"Just enjoying the view."

"Well, look but donít touch, got it?"

"Once we get out of this, Iím locking us in our room for a week!"

"Not arguing that at all, and Iím sure Rover will keep us safe." Rodney looked down at the cart who huddled by his chair, looking miserable.

Following Rodneyís gaze, John slipped off his perch to crouch down next to the cart. "Weíll get you home to Reza and Ciora soon, Rover. I know itís no fun for you with them not remembering what happens each time." He patted Rover comfortingly.

Rover shivered again and leaned into Johnís touch, and Rodney slammed his hand on the counter. "Thatís it! Weíre going on the damn mission now."

John looked up at him. "I sympathize with your position, but can you actually get us out of this yet? If not, it makes more sense to continue working until you can."

"Thatís what weíre going to do, but at the site, not here. Iíll have more time to study the device and possibly to disable it."

John frowned slightly, but if Rodney thought he could finally get them out of thisóeven tormenting Kavanagh and Caldwell had lost its appeal after a few timesóJohn was right behind him. "I have to admit Iíve had enough of this day."

"Thatís an understatement if Iíve ever heard one," Rodney sighed, giving in and sliding down off his chair to sit with John and Rover.

John slid an arm around Rodney, drawing him into the group hug. "At least weíve been together."

"Thank goodness." Rodney took a moment to lean against Johnís side, one hand on his knee and the other on Roverís sensor array.

"Yeah, this would have been a lot worse if you or I had been alone and had to do it by ourselves." John shuddered faintly at the thought of having Rodney forget him over and over again.

"Exactly." Rodney squeezed his knee and gave Rover a pat before slowly clambering to his feet. "So letís talk our way out of here so I can fix it."

"Well, you are the champion talker of two galaxies."

"And you have the top puppy dog eyes."

"So between us weíre unbeatable. Weíll be on the planet within five minutes."

Rodney chuckled and nodded. "For the last damn time." He held out a hand to John as he spoke.

John laced his fingers through Rodneyís as he pushed to his feet. "Thank God."

"Once Iím done, youíll be thanking me."

"Any way you want me to."

"And that fits into that week weíre hiding away," Rodney commented as they headed down the hall.

"I like this plan already."

"Thatís because youíre almost as smart as I am."

"Thatís how I know you wonít get bored with me when Iím not pretty anymore."

Rodney snorted. "Like thatís ever going to happen."

"Someday Iíll be old and wrinkled and ugly," John said, pretending to sniffle.

"And Iíll still jump you every chance I get," Rodney assured him.

John beamed at him and pulled him into a quick, hard kiss. "I love you."

"Same here." Rodney gave a crooked smile.

"All right, are you ready to try this?" Rodney looked down at the device as he spoke, then over at John.

"Iíve never been more ready for anything in my entire life," John assured him.

Rodney smiled slightly before taking the casing off the device and starting to work on the wires and conduits inside. John stood back, trying not to hover since there was nothing he could do.

"All right," Rodney sighed an hour later as he straightened up and rubbed at the small of his back, smiling at Rover as the cart stowed away the tools heíd been using. "And I know how to put the damn thing back together as well if need be. Now I suppose we just need to get out of the way and wait."

John reached over and caught his hand. "So thatís it? We just stand here and wait to see if time ticks on or restarts yet again?"

"I donít like it any more than you do, but, yes, thatís it."

"I guess we should have brought a deck of cards to pass the time."

"I donít know about you, but Iím planning on taking a nap!"

"You go ahead; youíve had a lot more to do. Iíll just keep watch. Iíd hate to get ourselves killed right when we get out of this."

Rover revved his wheels in the grass.

"I think heís reminding us heís here to save us," Rodney commented, stretching himself out with his head in Johnís lap.

"Good point." John leaned back against the wall and lightly stroked the hair away from Rodneyís face. "We could both use the rest."

"Considering weíve gone, what? Six cycles and havenít slept? Itís a wonder weíre still on our feet."

"Yeah, the body may reset to the start of the loop, but the mind knows how long itís been and wants downtime. Which we havenít been getting."

"Exactly." Rodney sighed and closed his eyes, enjoying the light pressure of Johnís hand on his hair.

"So get some sleep, and tonight weíll have the whole night, uninterrupted, to rest in our bed."

"Perfect," Rodney murmured, rubbing his face against Johnís leg as exhaustion claimed him. John smiled down at him, continuing to pet him lightly until John too dozed off.

"What the hell?!" Rodney exclaimed some time later as he was woken out of a sound sleep by a thunderous bang.

John nearly jumped out of his skin. "What was that?!"

Rodney stared and his eyes widened. "Wait a minute, if itís destroyed and weíre still here...

"Oh my God, itís over!" John leaped to his feet and yanked Rodney up to hug him tightly.

"Ow, ow, sore back, herniated discs," Rodney complained even as he grinned and Rover spun in a circle.

"Iíll kiss it better when we get home!"

"Damn right you will!"

Johnís smile rivaled the sun. "Letís go home."

Rodney nodded, grimacing as Rover and John helped him to his feet. "And weíll worry about the damn mission report another day."

Rover whirled around in a circle, nearly tripping them both in his excitement, making them both laugh, and the trio set out for the gate and home.

END

  Since 07-08-06

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