Spoilers (vague): The Siege 1-3, The Hive

Good Intentions

Orithain and Rina

December 2005

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

It was the holiday season in Atlantis, and given all theyíd been through in the last year and a half, including the resumption of contact with Earth, the inhabitants had much to celebrate. No matter the country of origin or religion, the original expedition members were all in good cheer, and their enthusiasm was infectious, drawing the newcomers into the festivities and cementing bonds between the old and new explorers of the new galaxy.

One person who seemed immune to the good spirits, however, was Rodney McKay; in fact, the chief science officer seemed more moody and snappish than ever, at least to his staff. Privately, he was simply morose, contemplating the holiday and how he was going to get the same gift he did last yearóscars.

Relative time distortions aside, the previous December had been when the twenty year storm and the Genii had both hit Atlantis, leaving him with marks on his arm and nightmares that hadnít faded for months. This year would bring with it less visible, but ultimately more painful scars, and this time they were ones of his own making.

With no hope of contacting Earth, it had been easy to fall into an insular life in the city, and stupid regulations were of little importance when compared to the real life or death situations they faced almost daily. Now though, the US military was a real force in the city, each new, camo-clad body reinforcing the necessity of his decision. Heíd fought it for months, ever since contact had been re-established, but he couldnít deny reality any longer.

Even with all the problems theyíd faced that first year, it had still been an amazing time: an amazing, exhilarating, make you sick to your stomach rollercoaster ride that had landed him in a relationship with the most amazing and infuriating man heíd ever metóthe man he now had to walk away from for his own sake.

Donít ask, donít tell had no room in it for what had developed between himself and John, and Rodney was going to save the colonel from himself even if it killed him to do it.

"Hey, Rodney." John let himself into Rodneyís quarters and sprawled out across the bed that was as familiar to him as his own. "I was starting to think you were avoiding me," he laughed. "Itís been impossible to catch up with you lately."

"John." Rodney gave a brief smile that didnít quite reach his eyes. "Itís been hectic, trying to get all the new people who came on the Daedalus this time settled in and keep them from causing a catastrophe along the way."

"Yeah, yeah, I know; no one can do anything as well as you can. But everyone seems to be settling in pretty well, so we can finally take some time for ourselves again." John leered at him comically, waiting for Rodney to join him on the bed.

"You do know that the Daedalus is here right now, donít you?" Rodney asked, setting his laptop down on his desk and turning to lean against it.

John frowned, sitting up straight. "Whatís that got to do with anything?"

Rodney sighed and rubbed at his forehead before raising tired blue eyes to look at John. "We arenít a closed community any more, Colonel. Think about it."

"I wasnít planning to throw you down over a table and go at it in the dining hall," John shrugged. "Though it would be fun," he grinned.

Annoyed by Johnís flippant attitude when it was his own career they were talking about, Rodney slammed his hand down on the desk. "Donít you get it, Colonel? This isnít going to work any more!"

Finally realizing that something was really wrong, John stood up, frowning in confusion. "What are you talking about, Rodney?"

"You. Me. Itís not going to work any longer, Colonel." Rodney thought his voice was amazingly calm as he stated this fact. "Not that it hasnít been fun, but situations change, and ours has."

"What?! Rodney, where the hell is this coming from? Weíre damn good together," John exclaimed, dismayed.

"We were good together," Rodney corrected. "New factors have complicated the equation, and it doesnít give a rational answer any longer; now if you donít mind, Iím very tired and would like to go to bed."

"If I donítóHell yes, I mind!" John sputtered. "Donít I get any say in this?"

"Honestly, you donít."

"Excuse me?" Now John was getting mad. "Last I checked, we were both involved in this and pretty happy about it too. Now youíre dumping me with no warning and no fucking explanation?"

"Like I said," Rodney said slowly and clearly, "we both enjoyed it for what it was, but thatís over now. Iím bored; I want to move on. I was hoping we could still be friends, but if you canít handle it, Colonel, obviously we wonít."

Furious and hurt, John grabbed hold of Rodneyís arms and wrenched him close, into a passionate, angry kiss, determined to make him respond. Instead of fighting back, Rodney stood there passively, not resisting, but not responding in any way either. After several seconds, John drew back, his hands falling to his sides where his fists clenched. "Fuck you then," he snarled, turning on his heel and walking away before Rodney could see that there was as much pain as anger in his eyes.

"No need, Colonel," Rodney murmured, once the door slid shut behind John, "Iíve already done that to myself." Wearily, he sat down at his desk, hoping work would distract him, but the laptop screen swam before his eyes, and he finally closed them, resting his head in his hands.

For the next few weeks, Sheppard grew increasingly short and sharp-tempered with everyone who dared to speak to him. Most people put his mood down to the recent encounter with Aidan Ford and John having to face the fact that the lieutenant was probably dead, but the few who were close to himóand that number no longer included Rodney McKayówondered.

One day at lunch, Teyla was sitting with Dr. Weir and Dr. Beckett, her attention on Col. Sheppard, who sat alone in a corner, his whole posture screaming Ďkeep awayí. "Is there nothing we can do?" she asked quietly, not wanting anyone else to overhear. "Both Col. Sheppard and Dr. McKay are unhappy, and their work is suffering."

"Iím not sure, lass," Carson sighed. "Iíve tried to talk to Rodney about what happened, but heís very close-mouthed, which, for him, is something of a miracle."

Elizabeth nodded, also sighing. "I have my suspicions, but I really didnít think Col. Sheppard would let a ridiculous policy come between them. I expected better of him."

"Which policy is this that you are speaking of?" Teyla asked.

"The American military, which Col. Sheppard is part of, has a stupid rule that they call Ďdonít ask, donít tellí. Many cultures on Earth are not tolerant of same-sex relationships," Elizabeth explained, "and this was supposed to protect gays, men in same-sex relationships, in the military. In reality, it makes things much worse. It means that as a soldier, Col. Sheppard could never tell anyone that he was involved with another man, or he would be thrown out because of it. I just never thought heíd let that concern make him dump Dr. McKay; he should have known Iíd stand by them."

"This is an absurd rule. Why would the military consider a person in a relationship with another of their own gender to be inferior to a person in a relationship with someone of the opposite gender?"

"íTis a good question," Carson said, nodding. "And one thereís no good answer for. It is the US governmentís policy though, not that Col. Sheppard ever was one to follow policy when it didnít suit him."

"I know; thatís what baffles me," Elizabeth agreed, watching John. "And he doesnít seem very happy with his decision. Iím about ready to send him to Dr. Heightmeyer and ground him. He looks exhausted."

Carson looked over at the colonel as well and sipped his tea. "Iím nae sure heís one for being psycho-analyzed though. Perhaps Iíll try to have a friendly little chat with him later, after sharing a bit of Hallingís new brew of course."

"Good luck," Elizabeth murmured, knowing from personal experience that getting John Sheppard to talk when he didnít want to was much worse than pulling teeth... with eyebrow tweezers.

Teyla nodded, her dark eyes expressing her concern for the colonel. "I wish you fortune as well, Dr. Beckett. To see Col. Sheppard in such pain, even if the situation is of his own making, is not a welcome thing."

"Aye, well, Iíll do my best, and if that doenae work, Iíll send him to see Kate."

"I hope it wonít come to that," Elizabeth said, her eyes going to Rodney McKay, who also sat alone, as far away from Col. Sheppard as he could get.

"Dr. Beckett?" John raised in eyebrow in surprise when he opened his door in response to the soft chime and found the doctor outside.

"Colonel." Carson smiled pleasantly. "Iíve managed to acquire a bottle of Hallingís latest brew and was wondering if you cared to test it out with me."

Even though he was still somewhat surprised, John wasnít about to say no to alcohol, so he gestured Carson in. "Have a seat, Doc. To what do I owe this pleasure?" He found a couple of glasses and handed them to Carson.

"Honestly," Carson began as he filled Johnís glass and handed it over, then did the same for himself, "I saw you in the messhall and thought to myself that you looked as if ye needed a drinkófor medicinal purposes, of course." He recorked the bottle and set it aside, then lifted his glass. "Shall we drink to the holidays, lad?"

John barked a bitter laugh. "The holidays suck." Not so very long ago heíd been looking forward to them, his first Christmas with Rodney; he even had a present tucked away in a drawer, but it was never going to be given now.

"Well, now, Iím sorry you think thatís the case." Carson reached out to catch Johnís arm and steered him over to his chair. "Iím quite looking forward to them myself."

John shrugged. "I put myself down for patrol duty those days. Let people who want to celebrate have the time."

Carson sipped his own drink, musing that this batch tasted something like honey mead and went down very smoothly. With that in mind, he refilled Johnís glass before continuing, counting on the alcoholic content to make this discussion easier. "It must be difficult, things the way they are."

Well aware that, as the man who examined them on a regular basis, Carson had been aware of his relationship with Rodney almost as soon as it started, John didnít try to lie. "You mean being dumped? Yeah, it pretty much sucks." He took another long swallow of the sweet alcohol and slumped in his chair. "He said he was bored, and it was time to move on."

"Rodney dumped you?" Carsonís tone and expression both mirrored his surprise.

"Yeah, shocker huh?" John gave him a painful smile. "So how the hell do I stop loving the bastard?" Heíd never even had a chance to tell Rodney that.

"I-I never dreamed..." Carson stammered before recovering and feeling a new rush of sympathy for John. "Rodneyís selfish; he holds on to what he considers his, and I assumed that meant you also. Did he give ye a reason?"

John shrugged. "Just what I already told you, that he was bored and thought it was time to move on. I guess I should have stuck to women after all. Apparently Iím not very good at this." He stared down into his glass before tossing the contents back in a single long swallow.

"Och, laddie." Carson patted Johnís arm sympathetically as he refilled his glass. Getting drunk might not be an approved medical procedure for heartbreak, but it was the best he could offerówell, that and an ear to listen. "He was happy with ye; I know I certainly heard it enough."

"It sure didnít sound like it. He started out by saying we could still be friends," John laughed sadly, drinking more slowly now. "Then he decided I wasnít even good enough for that."

"And yeíve not spoken to him since then?"

John shook his head. "Thereís not really much to say after that, is there?

"I was thinking of requesting a transfer, but what the hell do I have to go back to?" He shrugged as he looked up, meeting Carsonís concerned gaze. "Maybe Iíll get lucky, and the Wraithíll solve my problem for me."

"Ye donít mean that!" Carson exclaimed, shocked. "It hurts to lose someone you love, I know that, son, but that doesnít mean ye can just throw your life away!"

John shrugged, not wanting to argue about it. It wasnít as if he had anything else, really. They didnít even need him to protect Atlantis anymore, not with the Stargate open and the Daedalus going back and forth, making him easily replaced. "Iím not going to kill myself if thatís what youíre worried about."

"No, not if ye mean going up to the top spire and jumping off it, but ye get yourself into enough dangerous positions that it would be simple enough."

John shrugged again. "The jobís all I have right now; Iím not going to fuck that up too."

"Ye have friends here, John," Carson said gently, patting his arm again. "Never forget that."

"Fewer than I thought though." John gave him a wry smile. "Rodney was my best friend too, you know?"

"I know, and thatís what makes this all so bloody strange." Carson refilled both their glasses again. "I will ask ye to promise me one thing though if ye would."

"Depends what it is, Doc."

"If ye need to talk to someone, call me. It doesnít matter the time. Can ye do that?"

"Sure. But I donít really think Iíll be taking you up on it. Thereís really nothing to talk about. I got dumped, and I was too stupid to see it coming." John stood up and moved over to stare out the window. "Sorry, Doc, but Iíd really like to be alone right now."

"Ye can talk to me, or youíll be talking to Kate officially." Carsonís voice took on more of the ĎIím the doctor and I know whatís bestí tone.

"I have talked to you. Now please get out of my room." John still didnít turn around, unwilling to face anyone at the moment. He just wanted to lick his wounds in peace.

Carson winced but decided pushing it at this stage would do more harm than good. He did intend to talk to Kate himself and see what advice she could offer.

And then there was the matter of Rodney...

"All right, John. But have a care for yourself, will ye?" Not getting an answer, he shook his head and left the room, hearing the locks engage behind him.

Kate Heightmeyer stared at Dr. Beckett in shock, opening and closing her mouth several times before she managed to exclaim, "Rodney dumped Col. Sheppard?!?"

"That was my response exactly," Carson said mournfully. "I canna imagine why though. Col. Sheppard told me Rodney said he was bored, but I canna believe that to be the truth."

"That doesnít sound like something the colonel would make up, though," Kate mused. "Especially not with the way you said heís taking it. That worries me, Carson; that worries me a great deal. I think Iíd better talk to Dr. McKay."

"I wish ye luck with that; the man is stubborn as the devil himself."

"Yes, well, something about this isnít right. So if youíll excuse me, I think Iíll go beard the lion in his den." Kate stood up and strode out of her office purposefully, intent on sorting another odd McKay-Sheppard situation. She didnít stop until she was outside the chief scientistís quarters, waiting for him to let her in.

Opening the door, Rodney rubbed his eyes and shook his head to clear his vision before frowning. "Sorry, didnít call for any head-shrinking, maybe some other time."

"Would that be before or after Col. Sheppardís either grounded or dead?" Kate asked bluntly, knowing she had to shock him if she wanted to get past his defenses.

"Pardon me? What do I have to do with either of those things?"

"Apparently youíre the reason he hopesólet me, how did he put it to Carson? Ah yesóhe hopes that the Wraith will solve his problem for him."

"What?!" Rodney grabbed Kate by the arm and dragged her into his room, shutting the door behind them. "When did he say this? And why? This is for his own good damn it!"

"Everyone is worried about him, Rodney," Kate said gently now that she had his attention. "Carson went to see him tonight. Everyone thought heíd been the one to call off the relationship, but apparently that was your decision, and heís not doing very well in the wake of it."

"Why would people think that?" Rodney asked, frowning. "I never gave anyone that impression." He paced around his room, ignoring Kate as he rambled. "This is to make things easier for him, to protect him."

"Right now, all the colonel knows is that he lost his lover and his best friend because he was too boring to keep him. He was apparently talking about transferring out of Atlantis before he decided the Wraith would be preferable. Does that sound like anything is easier for him, Rodney?"

"I didnítódamn it, I didnít meanóFuck!"

"Part of being in a relationship, Rodney, is talking to each other. Iíd suggest you try it. Before we lose him."

Rodney gave a harsh laugh and looked over at Kate. "And just what am I supposed to say?"

"Iíd suggest the truth, whatever that may be." Turning to leave, Kate hesitated and looked back. "Do you really think that there was anyone in Atlantis who didnít realize you were together? Or that pointless rules donít get bent all the time inside the stargate program?"

"Yes, well, that was before we were in regular contact with the SGC, wasnít it? I just wanted..." He sighed and collapsed on the bed, his face in his hands. "I just wanted to protect him."

"I think heíd rather you loved him." Kate left then, knowing Rodney had to think it over.

Rodney waited for the door to slide shut before murmuring his answer into the now silent room. "Oh, I do. I do."

"John." Rodney stood at the entrance to jumper one, a place he knew John sometimes came when he wanted to be alone.

For an instant there was an eager, happy smile on Johnís face as he spun around, but his expression was quickly shuttered. He crossed his arms and moved back, eyes looking over Rodneyís shoulder rather than meeting the other manís. "I didnít expect to see you here."

"No, I wouldnít expect you would have." Rodney took a few steps forward and leaned against the rear bulkhead wall. "How are you doing?"

"Fine." John bit off the monosyllable.

"Thatís good, though itís funny, you donít seem too fine to me; in fact you seem pretty damn upset to me, not that I blame you, considering everything thatís been going on."

"What do you care?" John snapped, goaded. "Iím boring, remember?"

"Donít you know by now Iím a horrible liar?" Rodney sighed. "It was all I could come up with!"

John stared at him, not budging. "Why?"

"Because if SGC got word that you were fucking the lead geek youíd be gone, is that clear enough, Colonel?"

John continued to stare, gradually beginning to frown. "You did this to protect my career?" he demanded in tones of disbelief.

Rodney stared at him. "Why the hell else would I do it, Colonel? I almost failed kindergarten because I wouldnít share my toys! One week at Cheyenne Mountain and I already heard commentsóand we didnít even touch each other there!"

"You fucking put me through hell because you didnít trust me to make sure everything would be okay?" John was nearly yelling now.

Rodney winced but set his jaw to retaliate. "No, I put us both through hell to make sure you were fucking here on Atlantis! If they found out, they would have canned you and dumped you, and that would have been it!"

"You thought I would stay here after you dumped me?" John demanded incredulously, thinking of the transfer request sitting on his desk. Heíd just been working up the courage to admit that everything was over before he submitted it.

"Youíre leaving?" Rodney turned pale, and he slid to the floor, his face pressed against his knees. "Well, I really fucked this up, didnít I? We were supposed to stay friends; that way if I couldnít have you, at least I could have you."

"Rodney, you were my friend first, but how the hell did you think I could stay here after I fell in love with you and you dumped me?" John stared at him as if he was nuts, which at the moment the colonel thought likely.

"I donít know! I didnít plan that far in advance andó" Rodney paused and slowly raised his head from his knees. "What was that you said?"

"I said Iím leaving. I canít stay here and see you every day and know I wasnít good enough. Iím not that much of a masochist."

"No, no, not that, the other thing, and by the way you are not leaving."

"What other... Oh." John suddenly realized what heíd said, and he flushed, looking away. "It doesnít matter. And yeah, I am. I have my transfer request all written. Iím sure Gen. Landry will be more than happy to reassign me."

Rodney pushed to his feet, shaking his head. "He wonít do that because he wonít be getting any paperwork."

"Are you even listening to me?"

"Are you going to say anything that makes sense?"

"I think Iím making a lot of sense." John backed up a step for every one that Rodney advanced.

"Since you obviously donít give a shit about your career, why should I?" Rodney asked.

John stopped and stared at him again. "Of course I care about my career. Just ask Elizabeth how many times she had to hear about my promotion. And what the hell does that have to do with anything?"

Rodney stopped at that and ran a hand through his hair, obviously resisting the urge to pull it out by the roots. "Because, Colonel, those pretty little eagles on your shoulders that youíre so proud of? Kiss them goodbye if they found out about us. Címon, Caldwellís just looking for a reason to bust you."

"Thatís what all this was about?" John nearly screamed. "Weíre in the freaking Pegasus galaxy, all the senior staff in Atlantis knows and is on our side, and thereís the whole donít ask part! Fuck, Rodney, Iím not about to do anything to hurt either of us!"

"Yes, thatís what this is all about!" Rodney yelled back, getting up in Johnís face. "I donít give a crap about getting hurt, but I donít want it to happen to you! When we were on our own, it didnít matter, but all it would take would be the wrong look to send you back through the gate!"

"For a supposed genius you can be a total moron!"

"For trying to protect you because I love you? Fuck you!"

John shut his eyes, savoring the words for a moment. "Idiot," he said fondly, suddenly much calmer now that Rodney had said it. "People in love stay together."

Rodney sighed. "Tell that to the US military."

"Iím not planning to tell them anything. Donít tell, remember?" He eyed Rodney. "So I take it this means I donít actually bore you?" He couldnít prevent a hint of defensiveness from creeping into his voice.

Rodney gave a helpless laugh and reached out for John before stopping and rubbing his face with his hand instead. "John, you are the least boring person Iíve met in my life."

John still stood there, watching him. "And how do I know youíre not just lying to make me feel better? Iím not an idiot; I realize you showed up awfully soon after Carson felt the need for a little chat."

Rodney crossed his arms over his chest and rolled his eyes. "John, have I ever lied to you to make you feel better? Youíre supposed to have a brain; think about it."

"You never lied to me to dump me before either!"

"I lied to you to protect you, and now Iím telling you the truth to protect us! If you wonít believe me, then believe this." Surging forward, Rodney caught John by his jacket and pulled him in for a desperate kiss.

John held back at first, but he couldnít resist the familiar taste and feeling of Rodney for long, and soon he was returning the kiss with equal desperation. Eventually he drew back just enough to say, "Donít ever do that to me again."

Rodneyís expression turned stunned, and he took a half step back. "Kiss you?"

"Leave me, you idiot."

"Oh." Rodneyís whole body slumped with relief, and he managed a shaky smile. "Well, I wasnít planning on doing that, so weíre safe."

"Good. ĎCause if there is a next time, I wonít wait to leave," John warned, knowing he couldnít face another few weeks like the last. "Oh, and for the record, yeah, I love you."

Rodney sighed happily and wrapped his arms around Johnís waist, pulling them together again. "So Iím forgiven?"

"Well, I think you ought to make it up to me, but yeah." John leaned his cheek against Rodneyís and inhaled the comforting scent of him. "God, I missed you."

"Iím sorry. Iím so, so sorry," Rodney whispered into Johnís throat. "And yeah, whatever you want, tell meówithin reason, of course."

John grinned finally. "I want to go back to my quarters and have you fuck me through the mattress."

Rodney pulled back, weighing Johnís expression, before smiling as well. "I think that falls within reason."

"Glad to hear it." John held him tightly for a long moment before stepping back, forcing himself to let go. "After you." He gestured toward the jumper hatch.

Rodneyís smile turned into a smirk, and he gave John another quick kiss before walking backwards toward the ramp. "This will be the only time tonight that happens, though."

"Promises, promises." John hesitated, then added, "Stay the night?"

"If you tear up your transfer request."

"That sounds like a fair trade to me." John followed him out of the jumper and closed it up again with a thought. As they walked through the corridors toward the transporter, they passed Elizabeth and Carson, who both smiled at the sight of them.

"Colonel, Doctor, Iím glad to see you both looking better," Elizabeth said graciously.

John paused. "Thank you," he said with heartfelt sincerity.

"Yeah, what he said," Rodney muttered, ducking his head when Carson frowned at him.

"Weíre okay now."

"Thatís good to hear, son," Carson said, smiling once again. "Itís good to have ye both back."

"We never really left," Rodney began before giving a sickly smile. "Yeah, itís good to be back the way things were before."

"And it wonít happen again. Right, Rodney?" John prodded.

"Right! Exactly! Never again"

"Itís good to hear that." Elizabeth nodded at them. "And so you gentlemen know, our morning briefing has been cancelled. Carson, shall we?"

John watched them walk away with a growing grin on his face. "Rodney, I think weíve just been ordered to sleep in. Got any ideas how we can fill the time?"

Rodney chuckled and let his hand brush against Johnís as they started walking again. "Well, the first hourís booked, but Iím sure we can come up with something for the rest of the time."

"I like the way you think. Now." John couldnít resist that little jab.

"Havenít you ever heard of doing the wrong thing for the right reasons?" Rodney grumbled.

"Yeah, I lived through it, thanks." But John smiled crookedly as he said it. "At least weíre back together before Christmas. Returning your present from here was going to be a bitch."

"You got me a present?"

John rolled his eyes. "Of course I got you a present."

Rodney grinned. "You got me a present. What is it?"

"Youíll have to wait till Christmas to find out."

"I knew youíd say that, but thatís okay because you have to wait until then for mine too."

John smiled. "Fair enough. As long as I get you in the meantime."

They reached the transporter and stepped inside, Rodney hitting the panel to send them to the location nearest to Johnís room. "Youíll get me every chance we get."

"That might be almost enough. After all, we have a lot of time to make up for."

"So weíre forgoing missions and important discoveries to stay in bed?"

"Well, I suppose we need to get out of bed occasionally. But weíll go back as often as we can." John leered at Rodney comically, waggling his eyebrows.

"You know, this I didnít miss," Rodney sighed as they walked into Johnís room, before grinning and jumping him the moment the door closed. "I take it back; yes, I did."

John staggered back against the door, his arms around Rodney. "So do something about it," he challenged, locking the door with a thought.

"Is that a challenge, Colonel?" Rodney asked, breathing the words along the stubbled line of Johnís jaw as his hands pushed aside the layers of fabric between them.

"Hell, yes," John groaned, tilting his head to the side while his hands busily tugged at Rodneyís clothes.

"Then hold still and let me handle this." Rodney got Johnís jacket off his shoulders, effectively trapping his arms behind his back, and dove in to taste his throat, groaning at the familiar and long-missed flavor of his skin.

"Hold still?" John repeated in disbelief before moaning at the sensation of Rodneyís mouth on him. "Are you trying to kill me?"

"I didnít mean hold yourself still; I just meant no touching me for now." Rodney bit down on a tight tendon to emphasize his point.

"But I havenít touched you in weeks!" John practically whined even as he shivered with pleasure.

Swallowing hard as he was reminded just why that had happened, Rodney nodded, letting the jacket fall to the floor to free Johnís arms. "Do what you want, John," he whispered, raising one hand to stroke the back of Johnís head.

"Donít stop, I just needed to touch you too to know that this wasnít another dream."

"Iím here, weíre here, and itís not a dream," Rodney whispered, rubbing his hands over Johnís t-shirt, then under it, his fingers carding through the scattering of chest hair there and rubbing over the flat circles of his nipples, bringing them to taut peaks.

"I hope not because Iím going to be really pissed if I wake up alone again," John half laughed, pressing into Rodneyís caress. Now that he could touch Rodney, having his hands on the other manís hips was enough for him, and he waited for whatever Rodney wanted to do next.

Rodney made a noise that probably indicated disagreement and pushed Johnís shirt up higher, twisting to brush his lips over the path his fingers had taken, dragging his tongue over Johnís nipple before sucking on it.

John whimpered, and his fingers tightened on Rodneyís hips. There would be bruises later, but just then, neither man cared. "Lying down would be good," he suggested shakily.

Acquiescing without a word, Rodney straightened up, catching Johnís wrists in his hands and walking backwards toward the bed, only releasing him to pull Johnís shirt over his head, then drag his own up as well. John was busy unfastening his belt and pants and then fumbling to get his boots off without moving away from Rodney.

Rodney got the rest of his clothes off as well, not caring where they fell as he threw them away, then his hands were on John again, pulling him down to the bed, groaning as he followed. "You feel so damned good," he whispered, rubbing the length of his body against Johnís.

"You too," John groaned, wrapping arms and legs around Rodney to hold him close, not caring that he was being mashed into the mattress.

"Didnít want to let you go, but had to," Rodney whispered, breathing the words against Johnís throat as they rocked together, the movements growing more frantic as the long weeks apart crashed down on them.

"No, you didnít, and I wonít ever let you again," John panted. He wanted Rodney in him, but it had been too long for both of them; neither could hold out. And it felt so good having Rodneyís cock gliding against his own, precome easing their movements while he clawed at Rodneyís back.

"Promise, swear, oh fuck, John, that feels good!" Rodney arched up into the pain scouring across his back, accepting the marks as his due for his part in all of this, hoping they would scar so he would have a reminder never, ever to do anything like it again.

"Oh God yeah, so fucking good," John agreed, his voice rasping from deep inside him as each movement pushed him closer to the edge. He didnít realize he was drawing blood on Rodneyís back, just needing to feel him, to hold him close and ground himself in reality.

Rodney groaned and thrust forward, driving his cock against the hollow of Johnís hip and biting down on the flesh beneath his mouth as his orgasm hit him hard and fast like a Wraith stunner, and it was just as devastating.

"Rodney." John whispered the name, hazel eyes wide and intent on Rodneyís face as he came, watching every change of expression, every ripple of pleasure, and when he felt the hot spatter of semen against his own belly, he moaned harshly and came as well.

Breathing deeply, Rodney inhaled the smell of their coming together, and he smiled down into Johnís eyes. "I love you," he whispered. "Iím so, so sorry."

John met the blue, blue eyes with a smile in his own. "I love you too. And just donít do it again."

"I wonít, I swear."

"Then weíre good." John looked up at Rodney. "Iím not a complete idiot, you know. I did think about the consequences, but Iím pretty sure we can avoid any problems, and if not, well, Iíd hate it, but Iíd rather have you," he admitted almost shyly. "And Iím sure Elizabeth could find room for another mathematician on the expedition if it came right down to it."

Rodney chuckled quietly at that. "You do know that would mean I was your boss then."

John shuddered, pasting an expression of comical horror on his face. "Which is why itíll never come to that."

"Oh ha ha ha, so funny, Colonel." Rodney shifted to the side, to get his weight off of John, but he stayed next to him, their bodies pressed together from shoulders to toes.

"Thatís me, the Atlantis entertainment committee." John shifted to press closer, still having trouble believing that this was real. He had dreamed of this so often in the last weeks, every night if truth be told, and it was hard to grasp that they were together again. But the warmth at his side was very real, and he could feel the tension draining from him.

"We can hold a stand-up comedy night, and you can be the headliner," Rodney promised, stroking a hand over Johnís stomach and chest and kissing his ear.

"Iíd rather do a lie-down sex night and share the top billing with you."

Rodney smiled and pushed up to shift his kisses to Johnís lips. "I like that idea a lot."

"Good," John replied with deep satisfaction. A moment later he peered suspiciously at Rodney. "Youíre not going to freak again the next time the Daedalus arrives, are you?"

"I wonít if you wonít if Hermiod winks at you again."

John shuddered. "You had to remind me of that, didnít you?"

Rodney leaned in and kissed him lingeringly. "That make it better?"

"Hmmm, I think so. Maybe. Letís try it again to be sure."

"Always glad to provide experimental data."

"Such a good scientist," John chuckled after the next kiss and then licked his lips, tasting Rodney.

Rodney smiled and kissed John again, sweeping his tongue into his mouth and exploring the contrast of hard teeth, soft palate and velvety tongue. Sighing his pleasure, John simply lay back and enjoyed, arms loosely around Rodneyís shoulders and their combined seed drying on his belly.

"Think we should take a nap before round two?"

"Sounds good." John smiled, willing to agree to just about anything at that moment.

"Yeah, it does." Rodney managed to grab the blanket and get it over them both, not caring for once that he was going to wake up sticky and itchy. "Especially the waking up together thing."

"Yeah, I really, really like that part."

"Me too." Rodney continued rubbing Johnís stomach, wanting to relax him into the sleep he so obviously needed.

John gave him a sweet, sleepy smile, one that was reserved just for Rodney, and closed his eyes. As he began to doze off, his eyes flew open, and his hand slid down Rodneyís arm until he could intertwine their fingers. With Rodneyís hand grasped firmly in his, he closed his eyes again and finally fell asleep.

Rodney stayed awake for quite a while after that, pushing up on one elbow to watch John sleep, but making sure their hands never slipped apart. Even when he finally fell asleep, his last act was to tighten his fingers around Johnís, wanting John to know he was there, even in sleep.

"Merry Christmas," John murmured before kissing Rodney awake a few days later.

"ís too early to be Christmas," Rodney muttered, keeping his eyes closed in a vain attempt to prove to John that he was still asleep.

"Nope. Itís been Christmas for more than seven hours. Time to wake up," John sing-songed in his ear. "Or donít you want to see your present?" He nudged the box heíd put down on the bed a little earlier closer to Rodneyís hip.

"Present?" Rodney opened one eye to peer at John. "Yup," he smiled, pulling John in for a kiss, "there it is."

John grinned down at him some time later. "So you donít want your other present? I should put it away then." He reached for the box.

"Donít you dare!" Rodney yelped, flailing with the blanket to grab for the box, then groaning when he caught sight of the cartoon character on the brightly colored wrapping paper. "Are you comparing me to this egomaniacal little psycho, Colonel?" he asked, eyeing the pictures of Dexter on the paper.

"Would I do that?" John gave him an angelically innocent smile.

"Asshole," Rodney sighed. "Get me my jacket, will you?"

"You want to wear your uniform in bed? Kinky!" John laughed as he went to get the requested garment.

Rodney flopped back onto the mattress, dragging the pillow over his face to hide from the maniac he was in love with.

"What, are you an ostrich now?" John pressed a kiss to one nipple as he sat back on the bed, jacket in hand. "And are you ever planning to actually open that?"

"Has your sanity returned?"

"If youíre waiting for that, youíre going to starve to death under there."

Rodney groaned but pushed the pillow aside and sat up again, taking his jacket and pulling a thick envelope out of the inside pocket. He weighed it in his hand a moment before offering it to John. "Sorry." He gave a lopsided smile. "No cartoon characters."

"Thatís okay; Iím not really a cartoon kinda guy." John grinned at Rodney as he accepted the envelope. "And Iím not into waiting either!" Unlike Rodney, who still hadnít opened his giftógifts actually since there was second box inside with the firstóJohn immediately tore his open and tipped the contents into his palm. His eyes widened as he looked down at the shiny titanium band with the engraved infinity symbol, and he smiled slowly.

"Itís perfect, thank you," he said softly. He held it for a long moment before pushing it onto the ring finger of his right hand and holding it up for Rodney to admire.

Rodney swallowed hard and caught Johnís hand, bringing it up to his lips to gently kiss the finger with the ring on it. "Iím glad you like it, and Iím glad I bought it even though I never thought... Well, it fits, thatís what counts."

"Yes, it is," John replied, not about to bring up their weeks apart again. "Now open yours," he urged, anxious to see Rodneyís reaction.

"Didnít anyone ever tell you to relax and savor the moment?" Rodney asked even though he lifted the box to his lap, surprised at its weight. "Are you trying to give me a hernia here?" he asked as he slowly began to ease the tape off the edges of the paper.

John rolled his eyes. "Yes, Rodney."

Taking his time to prolong the moment, Rodney got all the paper off the box, eased it out from under it and folded it off to the side, glancing at John before he removed the lid.

"You got me paper?" he asked, grinning, before removing the packing material and slowly lifting out a stonework sculpture. A small box fell to the bed, but for the moment, Rodney was entranced buy the graceful dual curves of the sculpture. They were reflective of each other but each had their own identity, and while they came near to each other, they never quite touched.

"John, itís gorgeous, itís us," he whispered, finally looking away from the artwork to the man beside him.

Johnís smile widened. "Yeah, I had to get it for you when I saw it. So youíd know how I felt."

"If I hadnít known before, this would give me a pretty good idea." He twisted to set the sculpture on the bedside table, caressing it as he put it down, then picked up the smaller box from the bed. "And is this my lump of coal for being bad?"

"Why donít you open it and find out? Though for the record, I like it when youíre bad."

Rodney shook his head and the box at the same time, finally giving in and opening it. He lifted out the MIT class ring, and his chuckle died away when he saw the two sets of initials inside of it. "I guess we both had the same idea," he murmured, sliding the ring onto his right ring finger in a move that mirrored Johnís.

"I knew Iíd find someone I wanted to give that to eventually."

"And let me guess, now that you did, you expect me to put out..."

"Hell yeah!" John grinned as he swung over Rodney on all fours.

"But will you still respect me?" Rodney laughed, shoving the boxes off the bed.

"Even more for your talents."

Rodney smirked. "Colonel, Iíve got talents youíve never dreamed of." He caught John by the middle and yanked him down on top of him.

"Oh, I can dream an awful lot." John squirmed on top of Rodney, enjoying the sensation of their erections sliding together.

"Well, is your Christmas morning dream fucking or being fucked?"

"What a choice," John laughed. "But right now I think Iíd really like to feel you inside me, pounding me into the mattress until I scream," he rasped.

In a move that proved heíd been paying attention in the mandatory hand-to-hand lessons, Rodney had John on his back and was looming over him. "Always happy to help make dreams come true," he whispered in Johnís ear before sucking at the tender lobe.

"Lucky me," John panted, spreading his legs to let Rodney settle between them. He arched up, wanting to feel Rodney against him.

"Yeah," Rodney breathed, slowly beginning to inch his way down Johnís body, taking the time to kiss, suck, and taste every inch of tender, sensitive skin he passed by. John shuddered with the pleasure of it, his hands moving shakily over Rodneyís back while his legs shifted restlessly.

"I used to think the breakfasts my mother made Christmas morning were the best thing Iíd ever eaten," Rodney murmured against the taut, warm skin of Johnís abdomen. "Pancakes with real syrup and real butter, sausages, eggs, toast, and hot chocolate that didnít come out of a tin, but this..." He pressed a kiss to Johnís navel. "You beat them by a parsec."

John laughed breathlessly. "A whole parsec better than real chocolate? Wow." He squirmed, trying not giggle as Rodney teased him.

"See? I try to say something romantic and look what it gets me?" Rodney grumbled, biting Johnís hip in retaliation.

"I didnít say I didnít like it," John murmured, inhaling sharply at the jolt of pleasure when Rodney bit him. Rodney took note of that reaction, formed a hypothesis, and, like any good scientist, had to test it by biting John again, this time on the inner thigh.

"Oh fuck," John moaned, hips jerking. "Do that again!"

Smiling evilly, Rodney licked the reddish mark, and when John took a breath to protest, delivered another bite next to the first, the impressions creating a mark not unlike the infinity symbol on the ring John now wore.

John groaned, wondering wildly if Rodney was going to make him come from nothing but this.

"Do you want me to make love to you now, John?" Rodney asked, lifting his head to stare up the length of Johnís body, past the hard cock oozing precome, up the lean torso heaving with the effort to draw breath, to the flushed face and wild hazel eyes.

John could only nod jerkily, never looking away from the promise glittering in the blue eyes. "Please," he rasped, grasping his knees and pulling them back.

Now it was Rodneyís turn to be on all fours over John, though that only lasted as second as he had to shift his weight to grab the lube from the drawer of the nightstand the sculpture sat on. Giving up on the niceties such as taking his time, he coated his fingers and pressed one in Johnís ass, stretching him as he leaned in to kiss him, sucking Johnís tongue into his mouth so they were both penetrating each other.

John rode Rodneyís fingers, whimpering into the kiss as he clenched his ass, trying to entice him to give him more. Groaning, Rodney added a second finger and managed to balance himself on his knees and the pressure of Johnís lips under his as he stroked lube on his erection. Once he was certain John was at least minimally stretched, he reared back, pulled his hand free, and slowly pushed into Johnís body, his every nerve-ending telling him to go faster. But John didnít want slow, didnít want to wait, and he thrust up suddenly, forcing Rodney into him. He gasped at the slightly painful entry, but the pleasure quickly overwhelmed it, and he clutched at Rodney, trying to make him move.

Rodney gasped, his eyes going wide as he fought to keep from coming, but once he had himself under control, he gave John what he wanted, curving his hands under the trim ass to lift and tilt it for a better angle as he thrust inward, each stroke full-length and hard.

"Oh fuck yeah, merry Christmas to me," John panted, grinning wildly up at Rodney as he met the hard rhythm.

"To both of us," Rodney grunted, angling his strokes to hit Johnís prostate and beginning to stroke his cock at the same time.

"Together," John said, pulling Rodneyís head down as he arched up so they could kiss. He yelled into Rodneyís mouth as he came, his body going rigid with his pleasure.

If Rodney had an answer to that, it was lost in the depths of Johnís hungry mouth, and he stuttered through a few more thrusts into the writhing body beneath him before he was coming as well, riding out his climax before sliding out of the kiss to rest his forehead on Johnís shoulder, gasping for breath.

"I think I like our new Christmas morning tradition," John finally said after heíd caught his breath.

"I think I could live with that," Rodney rasped, after half rolling, half falling off of John to lie draped over his side.

"And thatís the best present I got." John smiled as he pulled Rodney closer.

Rodney gurgled in reply and squirmed a bit more, already half asleep again, one arm and one leg thrown over Johnís body to keep him in place.

"Merry Christmas to us," John repeated, smiling as he settled back down and closed his eyes.

Rodney managed to turn his head to unmash his mouth from Johnís shoulder at that. "And to all a good nightómorningówhatever the hell time it is, now shh, Iím sleeping."


  since 02-03-07

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