Every Day in Every Way
Big Bang 2007.   After season 3.
"I'm here to propose an arrangement. Between us. I assume you remember our talk from earlier today and how... challenging dating can be on Atlantis. And since we've established that you're attracted to me, I think it would be mutually beneficial for us to have sex."
McKay/Sheppard, minor non-explicit McKay/OC and Sheppard/OC
Word Count
58476 words
Companion Artwork
  • Independent Love Song by mamoru22
  • Intimate by Crysothemis

John didn't know how they always ended up in these situations. Although to be fair, they'd never quite been in this situation.

Their mission to P3X-937 had begun harmlessly enough. They'd walked from the gate to the town and greeted the natives, who had been suspicious, but not threatening at first. Then Rodney had insulted what turned out to be a representation of their God, and Teyla had started to smooth things over. So far so normal.

Things had started to get out of hand afterwards when the natives had shown their determination in not accepting a simple apology and John had been equally determined to let them know that, no matter what Rodney had said, he wasn't planning on letting them set things straight by administering corporal punishment to Rodney.

It went downhill from there, and now John found himself in a cell with Rodney while Teyla was trying to negotiate them out - and keeping Ronon from using force, at least for the moment. All of this wasn't unheard of.

What was different however was that the natives had seen fit to gag Rodney with a piece of cloth in and one over his mouth. That and the fact that they had tied them together face to face - tightly.

It was this that distracted John from thinking about how they could escape or hoping that Teyla could talk them out of here or, if that didn't work, that Ronon would get them out with no one getting harmed. It was what he should think about. Instead his brain ran in circles over the fact that he'd never been this close to Rodney.

He wasn't sure if it was a bad or a good thing.

Rodney looked at him, face surprisingly expressive even without a mouth. He was pissed off. John didn't blame him. Then Rodney tried to say something through the gag but gave up, sighing in frustration. John was tempted to tell him that it was a miracle that nobody had thought of this way to shut him up sooner.

And then Rodney started moving, and that thought along with just about any other went out of the window while John's blood started to race to his dick.

Definitely a bad thing.

"Stop it!" he hissed.

Rodney did, then glared and tried to say something. When nothing intelligible came out, he rolled his eyes and started moving again, against John's body, which didn't seem to care in the slightest that this wasn't one of John's few and far between fantasies and most certainly not the right time.

"Seriously, stop that," John said forcefully, to Rodney as much as to his body.

This time Rodney didn't even pause.

"McKay," John said warningly, trying to pull his lower region away from Rodney in a futile attempt to hide his growing erection.

John knew the exact moment that Rodney felt it. Rodney stopped abruptly and stared at John, his eyes widening impossibly, before he took a step back. Tied closely, John had to follow his movement and, tripping, crashed head first into the wall.

"Ouch! Dammit, McKay."

John moved his head from the wall and stood upright, fighting the urge to try and put his tied hand to his head to check for blood. Rodney's eyes were still big, but he was frowning sadly now and John could practically see his trembling down-turned mouth.

Damn Rodney for making him feel bad for yelling at him, when this really was all his fault. It had nothing to do with this thing that he had for Rodney. "I told you to stop," John still said, half annoyed, half gentle.

Rodney's frown disappeared and he just looked at John for a long moment. Then he started moving again.

"What the hell are you..." John trailed off. His dick, that had softened when he'd hit his head on the wall, took renewed interest and was clearly far ahead of John in terms of what was going on.

"Rodney." It was half a question and half said in wonder.

John had started to realize that he had feelings for Rodney that weren't quite covered by words like teammate or even friend, but he'd refused to examine them more closely and deliberately tried not to allow himself to indulge in fantasies. There was no point in getting worked up over something that would never happen. Except now it was.

John pushed against Rodney until Rodney was with his back to the wall. Rodney stopped moving, so John picked up and started rubbing himself against Rodney. Rodney made some noise and John leaned forward. He couldn't kiss Rodney on the mouth because of the gag, so he pushed his lips against his neck.

Rodney made a high-pitched sound and started moving again, more frantically now.

John kept leaning on Rodney, pressing his whole body against Rodney's to give them the glorious friction that they both wanted. His dick was already fully hard by now. He couldn't help the moan that escaped his lips and sighed Rodney's name against his neck.

Rodney stilled against him, and when John took his earlobe in his mouth, he slumped against John.

John pushed against him, wishing he had his hands free to support and touch Rodney, to kiss him, to caress his skin. Instead he rubbed steadily against Rodney. He could feel Rodney's erection through their pants now and it was an amazing feeling.

"Incredible," he whispered into Rodney's neck. When he added, "You feel so good," Rodney groaned through his gag. The sound shot through John, electrifying every nerve ending. He moved more forcefully, straining against the rope and Rodney in a haze of want.

If he had known that he could actually have this, he would have asked Rodney sooner or given him a sign. There was so much time that they had to make up for. The thought of all the things that they would do now, combined with the smell and feel of finally having Rodney against him made John come, tied up and in his pants as he was.

He ground out Rodney's name and the force of his orgasm made him push against the ropes enough to loosen them to the point where he could pull them apart.

The ropes were still sliding down their bodies, when John frantically undid Rodney's gag and pulled his face into a kiss, before he could so much as take a breath.

Rodney groaned against him in half pleasure and half complaint and John would have smiled if he wasn't so busy pushing his tongue against Rodney's dry one.

He should have known that Rodney would be impatient, so he moved one hand from Rodney's hair and opened up the fly on Rodney's BDUs.

When John took Rodney's hard cock in his hand, Rodney mumbled something against his tongue that sounded suspiciously like "Oh God". Then John jerked him quickly a couple of times and Rodney shuddered and came.

John put his hands on Rodney's hip, and leaned his head against his shoulder, letting them both take a breath. He smiled against Rodney's uniform, listening to Rodney's harsh breathing, wondering what he would say.

"Uh, Colonel," came Rodney's voice eventually.

John laughed. Leave it to Rodney to be formal even now. "I believe you can call me John after what we just did."

"Well. Yes, I suppose so, Colonel, but maybe we should concentrate on escaping now."

John moved his head back at that because this wasn't just Rodney being formal and nervous. He sounded actually uncomfortable. When he looked at Rodney, Rodney stared resolutely ahead, lips pinched together.

"Rodney?" John asked helplessly because he didn't understand.

"As I said, we should concentrate on our escape. We can discuss this later," Rodney said, still not looking at John.

"Discuss?" John felt something twisting in his gut. Not just because discussions after impromptu sex could never ever mean anything good. The way Rodney said it made it sound like an unpleasant discussion. He couldn't imagine what could make Rodney behave like this. After all he had initiated it by moving against John.

And then it suddenly hit him. He immediately pulled away from Rodney's body, stammering "I..."

"It's all right, Colonel. In any case it worked. The movement loosened the ropes and we're free."

"That was your plan. Loosening the ropes. Just that."

Rodney finally looked at him with a quick smile that didn't reach his eyes. "Escaping seemed like a good idea."

"Of course. Yes." John nodded and looked away, putting even more distance between himself and Rodney. When Rodney tucked himself in, John turned away, trying not to think and instead to pull himself together. They were captured by natives off-world after all.

He went to check the door and when he turned to look at Rodney, there was no visible sign of what they had done. What he had done. He shook the thought away and instead gestured to Rodney to come over, all business now.

Rodney complied. When they left, John almost managed not to think about how close Rodney was and that his boxers were drying inside his BDUs.

This was exactly what he had been trying to avoid.

He had known Rodney was straight. There were many other good reasons for not ever trying anything with Rodney, for not even fantasizing about it. They were teammates, he was always watched by his superiors and the IOA, and John simply wasn't all that good with relationships.

But those reasons were nothing against the simple fact that Rodney McKay was not into guys and as such not into John. It wasn't even personal. It was just bad luck and John had accepted it and dealt with it by ignoring it.

And that was what he should have kept doing. But instead of listening to his brain his dick had taken over and with an enthusiastic "Rodney, yes!" had not just outmaneuvered his good reasons for not going there, but made him overlook the obvious reason for Rodney moving against him.

Now he'd not just outed himself, of sorts, to Rodney, what was worse, he had actually done something to him that he clearly felt uncomfortable about.

John hadn't had much time to think during their escape, due to the trying not to be shot at and running, but in the post mission briefing, he'd stolen glances towards McKay, who'd sat stiffly and not looked at John at all. The expression on his face had said that he just wanted the day to be over and forget it ever happened.

John was tempted to do the same. In fact he was so tempted that after the post mission checkup and showering he'd voluntarily started working on the mission report straight away.

There had been another awkward moment when Rodney had dragged him into an empty room close to the infirmary and stumbled out something about scrapes on John's wrist and safety and it had taken a moment for John to get what he actually meant. He'd reminded Rodney about how often they were tested and Rodney had looked relieved, nodded, and said, "Good point," and then mumbled something about blood-suckers, before leaving without a further look at John.

It was just another reason to do anything but think about the matter. But an hour later, after writing the report so that it was mostly the truth, except for the part where they managed to untie themselves, he sat in his office and couldn't help thinking about Rodney.

They didn't talk about their feelings, even the ones that John felt safe to say they both shared: the platonic, friend-like feelings. But that had been okay because it wasn't necessary to talk about them because they just knew. And if John's feelings went slightly beyond that, that was okay, too, because Rodney didn't have to know about them. John himself wasn't sure what they were, so what would be the point?

But now Rodney knew something, and what made John nervous and what made John give into that gut feeling that told him he couldn't let this one slide was that he didn't know what exactly Rodney was thinking and that he had to make sure he didn't get any wrong ideas. Or right ideas.

That and the fact that he had molested his best friend against his will, even if it was unintentional.

He found Rodney in the lab.

"Colonel?" Rodney asked with just enough exasperation to make John believe Rodney had feared that he would come.

But John still went on. "Rodney. I wanted to... I have two things to say." He stopped but Rodney didn't say anything; only the left side of his mouth moved downwards a bit. So John continued. "What happened today is not... I mean, I'm attracted to you... obviously... but I'm not... it's not..." John knew that he stammered, but when he'd decided to have this talk, he unfortunately hadn't decided what exactly to say to Rodney. So he was relieved when Rodney interrupted him.

"Some deep-rooted passion that keeps you awake at night? A crush? Making you fantasize about me while we're on missions. Or making you masturbate thinking of me. Love. That kind of thing?"

John frowned, almost regretting his relief because that was just a bit disturbing. "Yes. Most of what you said," he quickly said, not going into the details of what Rodney had said. Embarrassing as it was, it was a good thing he'd decided to settle things. It was necessary to disabuse Rodney of his insane notions about John's attraction.

"You don't have to worry, Colonel. I wasn't expecting you to start bringing me flowers and chocolate." Rodney paused. "Although I wouldn't say no to chocolate. Or coffee. Or-"

John interrupted him, before McKay could get into another ramble.

"Yes, I'm glad we're clear on that. The other thing is... well, when I did what I did today, I was under the false impression that it was what you wanted, too. I think you know that, but I still wanted to say it. I don't have a habit of molesting people against their will. I'm sorry. I just hope you... are you feeling all right?"

Rodney looked at him for a long time and John got the distinct impression he was being gauged for sanity. "Are you asking me if I feel abused?" Rodney finally asked incredulously, then straightened up. "Never mind, I think I should be glad that you're actually... sensitive enough to consider this. The answer however is no, really not. You must have noticed that I reached... I climaxed, so really, I'm not complaining. I wasn't planning on anything like that - ever - but I have to admit as sex goes I've had worse and I can't say there's an overabundance to compare to anyway. I'm just glad you didn't go down on me." John's eyes widened. He immediately and involuntarily pictured it, himself on his knees in front of Rodney. Thankfully Rodney just went on. "Because I suspect I would have let you and that would have been... let's just say, as it is, my heterosexual sensibilities are mostly intact and I'll happily go back to pretending this never happened."

John took this in for a moment. There was a very small part of him that regretted the official confirmation that Rodney was indeed straight, but he'd known that, if not before then certainly after the incident on P3X-937. And really this wasn't about his little thing for Rodney, this was about their friendship and professional relationship. Rodney was okay, mostly at least, and he hopefully wouldn't go further into the crazy ideas he had about John's feelings. This was what John had wanted.

"Great. I'm glad we could clear that up." He nodded. Rodney just looked at him. "I'll leave now," John added, pointing at the lab door.

Rodney didn't say or do anything, so John turned around and left.

Rodney was relieved. Really he was. The whole thing had been excruciatingly embarrassing.

Messing up the mission with the really rather friendly and helpful natives, being gagged for it and then of course helplessly coming with Sheppard's hand around his dick.

If the situation had been different he was sure he'd never hear the end of it from him. As it was the whole thing was at least as embarrassing for Sheppard, who apparently was not straight. At least not entirely. And his accidental outing should have been fodder for teasing, but unfortunately Rodney had come with a guy's hand on his dick, so any digs in that direction would fall flat.

It was all rather unfair and he was sure he didn't deserve it. It never should have happened. And after it did happen, they should have pretended it didn't happen. Sheppard of all people should know that. Thankfully the talk had led to agreeing on exactly that.

So Rodney could put all of it behind him.

And he did. Except that he couldn't stop thinking about the fact that he had had sex with his team leader and friend. And he definitely didn't have enough sex, because it hadn't been all that bad.

Sheppard being so desperate that he came in his pants had been hot. Fodder for teasing, but also hot.

Really, the whole thing had been pretty cool in a freakish sort of way. Accidental bondage sex with the hottest guy on Atlantis. Or one of the hottest. He'd overheard discussions about the relative merits of Sheppard and Ronon, although personally Sheppard was more his type.

If his type was male, which it wasn't, which made this whole thing not cool and very humiliating. So he was relieved that they had had the talk and would pretend it didn't happen.

And that tiny bit of disappointment was just an aberration of his brain, which somehow had liked the idea of having regular sex - even with Sheppard.

He really needed to start dating again.

Two days later, when Rodney still had flashbacks to the sex with Sheppard, he figured he should give dating another try.

If a hand job from another guy was this good for him, sex with a woman would be great, even if she wasn't perfect.

Her name was Barbara Lester. She was a linguist and had shown interest in him before.

"I hear you're having a date today," Teyla said, the teasing version of her smile on her lips.

They were on another mission before he would meet Dr. Lester for dinner.

Ronon kept walking. John quickly glanced over to him.

"Yes, I do, although I don't know how everyone always finds out about these things."

"Betting pool," Ronon said.

"What?" Rodney exclaimed. Gossip he could understand, but betting on other people's misfortunes was low. Especially if it was his own.

"Some people thought it would be amusing to bet on the outcome," Teyla said disapprovingly in Ronon's direction.

Ronon shrugged. John's eyebrows rose, but he didn't say anything. Rodney had the feeling he hadn't known.

"Do I want to know what you bet on?" Rodney asked Ronon.

"Probably not."

Ronon kept walking straight ahead and Rodney ran to come up next to him. "What? Why?"

"One," Ronon said, looking at Rodney.

"One what?"

"One date," Ronon said matter-of-factly.

"One date?! That is... I'll have you know that she is very interested," Rodney huffed, appalled at Ronon's insinuation.

He looked back to John, expecting a snide remark, but John quickly turned away from Rodney's gaze, eyes fixed straight ahead.

He was uncharacteristically quiet today.

"I hope you have a very pleasant evening," Teyla said friendly.

Rodney mumbled, "Thank you. I will," and they continued on to the village.

Ten minutes into the date Rodney remembered why he didn't date.

Barbara Lester had the most annoying laugh imaginable. It was some weird hybrid between a snort and a giggle. He knew everyone had their faults and as faults went this wasn't too bad, certainly something that could be overlooked if he cared about her.

The thing was he didn't. She was pretty hot, for a brunette. But any vague attraction he'd had vanished when he'd made an off-hand remark about his underlings and she had laughed.

The first few times he just tried to assess if it really was that horrible. After deciding that it was, he couldn't help waiting for it, trying to brace himself. He could hardly listen to a word she said, so he inserted random remarks, which just made her laugh more.

This date was a total train wreck. He tried a new strategy. Not make her laugh under any circumstances. So he started talking about every mission where one of the team had been injured or about the tragedies caused by the Wraith that they had witnessed and been told about.

This made her stop laughing, but it didn't exactly improve the quality of the date.

He looked longingly over to where Teyla and Ronon ate dinner. Sheppard had left earlier, soon after he and Barbara had arrived.

He had been pretty quiet all day and Rodney had begun to wonder if this was a delayed reaction to the thing they were pretending didn't happen. He'd been surprised when, after their talk, Sheppard had acted just like before.

Of course they had agreed to do just that, but still Rodney would have thought you'd notice something after impromptu sex against a wall. Then again, Sheppard had also managed to hide quite well that he was into guys, too, so maybe it was just practice or the natural ability to hide his emotions.

Unlike Rodney, who had to try very hard to not let his horror show as Barbara tried to change the subject and tell a funny linguist story.

Sex wasn't worth this. If he hadn't been able to make it with Katie, who had been very understanding and not annoying, then he'd never be able to fake it with Barbara.

Hell, he'd prefer dating Sheppard to this. At least he was entertaining and though very annoying at times it was in a way that suited Rodney just fine. His laugh was its own brand of scary, but at least he didn't laugh very often. And with Sheppard, Rodney felt, he'd be able to overlook it.

He wondered if Barbara would notice if he faked an emergency on the comm.

After hearing her laughter float to their table for a few minutes, John just couldn't take it any longer and left. He went to his room and tried reading, but eventually he gave up.

This was ridiculous. It shouldn't bother him that Rodney had a date.

Or even if it did bother him, he shouldn't let it get to him. He'd been perfectly willing and able to ignore it when Rodney had dated Katie Brown. It wasn't as if he wanted him to be alone. He wanted his friends to be happy, he really did.

He'd have given Teyla's marine a shove in the right direction a long time ago, if he didn't fear Teyla would kick his ass. And he hoped that Ronon would eventually find someone again, too.

And Rodney deserved happiness, wherever he could find it. Katie hadn't been it. In the end Rodney had been so unhappy that John didn't feel like an asshole at the relief he felt when Rodney broke up with her. Or she with him, he still wasn't quite sure what had happened and Rodney sure didn't talk about it.

So now Rodney was dating again and John should be okay with that, too, except that he couldn't help thinking about the reason.

As far as John knew Rodney hadn't dated since it had been over with Katie, four months ago. And now, a week after sex with John, he started again. John wished he could attribute it to coincidence, but no amount of denial could make him actually believe that.

After their talk Rodney had been a bit awkward at first. He'd almost seemed surprised that John really behaved as if nothing had happened, but soon they'd fallen back to where they were before and everything had seemed normal.

Except that apparently it hadn't been. And the one reason that came up again and again in John's mind was that having sex with John had been so... traumatic or at least weird that Rodney had to erase the memory by sleeping with a woman.

The thought did nothing for his ego and he worried that despite appearances their friendship had suffered from the unfortunate incident.

He also worried about himself. He had been able to take Rodney's dating so much better with Katie. And now he was sulking and leaving dinner early. This just couldn't go on.

No matter why Rodney chose to date Lester now, John had better deal with it in an adult way.

He found Rodney in a lab the next morning and put on a smile before sauntering in and leaning against his desk.

"So how did the date go?" he asked easily.

When Rodney turned to him, John straightened, away from the sheer force of the glare. Apparently it hadn't been going well. John tried not smile.

"I take that as a 'not so good'."

"And it would be an understatement. We've had missions where we encountered the Wraith that were better."

"Sorry," John said and tried successfully to make it sound like he meant it. In a way he did, because he could definitely empathize with bad dates, even though in this case he welcomed it.

"It was such a waste of time and I should have known it. It was the most excruciating almost-an-hour of my life. And the thing is, since Atlantis is such a small closed society I couldn't even go and have sex with her and then never call. They know how to find you."

Rodney said the last as if it was a conspiracy. John couldn't help a small smile, even though he didn't really feel sympathy for Rodney. Such behavior was bad, even if you were self-centered and generally obnoxious on occasion.

"So you're that kind of guy?"

"Oh please, don't tell me you never had a one-night-stand."

"My one-night-stands usually know that they're one-night-stands and don't find out a week later when I still haven't called," he drawled.

John's self-righteousness imploded when he remembered the last one-night-stand he had, if you wanted to call the thing that didn't happen that. In any case his own behavior was certainly lacking as much as Rodney's if not more. He shifted uncomfortably.

"You mean when they know they're having sex in the first place," Rodney said helpfully.

John wished the ground would just open up and swallow him. Hadn't they agreed to never bring this up again? But if Rodney wanted it that way, he could have it that way.

"I do seem to remember that at least parts of you knew."

Rodney flushed. "You don't have to remind me. Do you realize that was the last time I had sex?"

John didn't quite know what to do. Rodney hadn't ever talked about his dating problems with him before, apart from a few general curses, when things had gone downhill with Katie. But of course having sex with John put the intimacy of such a discussion into perspective. And Rodney really did sound quite frustrated.

"It was only a week ago. You can't tell me you've never gone that long without sex."

"No, of course I have!" Rodney snapped, but John could sense that his anger wasn't directed at him, but the situation. "I've gone much longer without, but it was because I was busy or didn't want the hassle."

"And now?"

"Now I'm beginning to think the only sex I'll get again is on Planet Sex or other missions where the opportunity arises." Suddenly he perked up. "You know, we could go there more often."

"Rodney." John could understand him. He really could. Everyone loved Talum, or Planet Sex, as it was known as on Atlantis. It was a relatively highly developed society, which among other things had a lax view on sex and an actual place where you could pick up one-night-stands. Every team wanted to go there. John always scheduled missions for his own, claiming that they were the ones that had initiated contact and were known to the people, never mind that it didn't matter on other planets. But enjoying his privilege as commanding officer and abusing it were two different things.

"What? Their progress on the purifying machines has been good. I'm sure they'd benefit from us dropping in more regularly."

"I'm not scheduling missions so that you can get laid."

"Why not? Regular sex will certainly improve my general mood and well-being, which would be good for all of Atlantis."

"Come on, Rodney. You just had one bad date." John tried to sound encouraging.

"It isn't just that," Rodney said, the corners of his mouth turning downward in such a pitiful way that John wanted to hug him. "Yes, yesterday was a nightmare, but I'll give you that it was a singular event. But the thing is it's not going to get better. Katie was the best shot I had. Under normal circumstances I'd never admit it, but I can be difficult at times."

John pressed his lips together to keep the 'No, really?' inside.

"But she was as patient as they get and still it all went to hell. This wasn't just one bad date. It was me realizing that the whole relationship thing is not going to work for me. Certainly not while I'm on Atlantis and since I'm not planning on leaving until it's destroyed or they declassify the program at which point I'll be needed on Earth to present my numerous findings, this is it." He took a deep breath and let his head hang down.

John put his hand on Rodney's shoulder. "Hey. It might not look like it right now, but you never know when you'll meet the right person. Atlantis is small, but there is some fluctuation and sometimes people you know turn out to be something you never even considered if the right moment comes. It could happen."

Rodney snorted, but a small smile formed on his lips. "I sure hope so. Because at this point the idea of getting captured with you again sounds pretty tempting."

John's eyes widened and his heart skipped a beat. Then it was as if they both realized that John's hand was still on Rodney's shoulder. John removed it and took a step back.

"I didn't actually," Rodney started hastily. "I mean, I'm not suggesting we actually go back to P3X-937."

"Yes, of course," John said. It was a joke... or something. Rodney didn't actually want to have sex with John again.

"I'm just really... frustrated."

"I understand, Rodney," John said sincerely.

Rodney nodded.

John gave him a quick smile. "Hang in there." He tapped Rodney with his fist and went to leave.

"Thank you," Rodney called after him.

John turned. "You're welcome."

Rodney sighed. Things had to be bad, when he not only talked to Sheppard about sex, but actually brought up the thing they weren't ever going to talk about again.

The problem was, he wasn't lying when he said that scenario seemed tempting at the moment.

In every one of his relationships there'd come the point where his girlfriend expected him to be someone he just wasn't and where he wasn't willing to fake it any longer. That had been the problem with Katie, when he stopped saying he was sorry, when he ignored her for a week. His job was important. It didn't mean that he didn't like her, because he really did, but he couldn't start arranging his life around a relationship. His job was the most important thing in his life.

He just really would like to have something for his downtime, rare as it was, too.

Of course there were team nights and playing chess with Sheppard and dinners with Elizabeth. But he was sick and tired of masturbating to the image of Samantha Carter or one of the natives in the more interesting ritualistic outfits.

An easy relationship with an understanding person was what he needed. Or not even a relationship, at this point regular sex would be fine.

The problem was that women always seemed to want it all or if they didn't they could take their pick and Rodney wasn't quite at the top of such a list.

The incident with Sheppard had been the closest he had come to someone openly admitting they wanted him in quite some time. At least he thought that was it.

It was all a bit of a blur, because what he mostly remembered was thinking 'Oh my God, I'm having sex with a guy.' But Sheppard had been into it, that much Rodney was sure of. And he was willing to bet Sheppard was willing to make it a regular thing.

For a moment Rodney wondered what would have happened if he hadn't made it clear that is was an accident.

He imagined Sheppard dropping by after the briefing for another hand job or maybe a blow job. Oh, what he wouldn't give for a blow job. Of course maybe Sheppard would have had other ideas. Maybe he would have wanted to fuck Rodney, which... no, just no. So really, pretending to be gay or at least not straight, wouldn't have worked in the long run.

Which sucked, because he couldn't think of anything more convenient than regular sex with Sheppard. He wouldn't have to worry about expressing his feelings or ignoring him in public, because Sheppard was a guy and military so they'd have to hide it anyway. Plus he just couldn't imagine Sheppard getting that look that said, 'Why are you ignoring me?' Okay, he could, but he could just make that disappear by a well-placed slap against the back of his head.

It would be so perfect.

Rodney straightened suddenly in his seat.

He couldn't believe that he was really thinking that, but there was no actual reason not to have sex with Sheppard. Okay, there was the whole guy thing, but Sheppard knew that he was straight, so they could keep it to simple hand jobs, just helping each other out every now and then. And his dick apparently hadn't been able to tell the difference.

He got excited and stood up. It was a great plan. Sheppard hadn't seriously dated anyone on Atlantis since they came here, so that shouldn't be a problem. And it wasn't as if Rodney was asking for a relationship or really any kind of commitment. Just a mutually beneficial agreement. And if either of them did meet a woman they could stop. Or a man in Sheppard's case. Rodney wasn't sure which way exactly Sheppard swung, but what did it matter?

Sheppard was attracted to him. Rodney's dick had liked the attention. It was a win-win situation.

When after dinner and another hour in the lab, the whole thing still seemed like a good idea, Rodney went to find Sheppard.

"McKay, what's up?" Sheppard asked, after opening the door of his room.

Rodney found that when actually faced with the man himself, he wasn't quite as confident anymore. Not about the idea itself, but about asking him.

"Uhm, can I come in?"

Sheppard nodded and stepped aside. When Rodney didn't start talking, Sheppard prompted him. "So?"

"Right, yes. I have... I'm here to propose an arrangement. Between us," Rodney stumbled out. Before his courage failed him completely he quickly pressed on. "I assume you remember our talk from earlier today and how... challenging dating can be on Atlantis. And since we've established that you're attracted to me, I think it would be mutually beneficial for us to have sex. Nothing..." he made a gesture with his hand, "just a regular hand job to relieve some pressure."

Sheppard stared at him.

"Or maybe not. I'm sorry, Colonel, I thought this would be something you'd welcome, too." Rodney was ready to go and leave the memory of this humiliation behind him, when he thought about how perfect this would have been and that Sheppard should really be okay with this. He had started it after all. It was his damn fault and he should be okay with it, even grateful. He turned back and began heatedly, "Quite frankly I don't understand your reaction. It would be regular sex without having to go through excruciating dinners first, no pressure about when to call, what to say, no expectations, just sex once in a while. A week ago you literally jumped at the chance."

Sheppard sighed. "McKay. I didn't say no. I didn't say anything. I'm a little surprised by your indecent proposa-"

"It's not indecent! It's a perfectly practical-"

"Yeah, yeah, yeah, regular sex, no strings attached," Sheppard said with just enough edge in it.

"Is that bothering you? I mean you said that you didn't actually..." He made a vague gesture with his hand. Sheppard didn't actually have any... feelings for him, did he?

"It's not that. I'm just surprised that you're asking me, as in a guy. Wasn't there something about 'heterosexual sensibilities' when we talked about that? Where did those go?"

"Come on, that's just a label. My dick liked you well enough. And it's not as if I'm begging to get on my knees in front of you. I was thinking along the lines of a friendly hand job when things get tense."

"Just releasing some pressure with a fuck buddy?" Sheppard smiled his wide smile that even Rodney recognized as fake.

"Yes, I'm sorry, I really didn't think it would be such a big deal. It's not as if I'm asking for anything we haven't already done. Anyway, I'll just go and we can go back to pret-"

"Wait," Sheppard said, sounding almost defeated.

Rodney turned back.

"Rodney, I'm not saying no, okay? I just want to know what we're doing here."

"Basically what we did on P3X-937, just without being tied up and in my case artificially muted. Really just..." he gestured towards Sheppard's lower region.

Sheppard swallowed. "All right."

He stepped closer to Rodney, who jumped back.

"What? Not now! I'm not..." He wasn't ready for actually acting on his great idea. He'd only geared himself up for proposing this arrangement. He hadn't prepared himself for more. "I just wanted to make this suggestion. For the future. I'm not exactly sure about the technicalities here. I've never had a..."

"Fuck buddy?"

"Well, yes, I wasn't sure if you'd get all confrontational again," Rodney said in a huff. Sheppard rolled his eyes. "So yes, I've never had a fuck buddy. Can I just approach you, when I feel..."


Rodney sighed. "Yes, thank you. So is that okay? I'll contact you. You'll let me know if you have time and feel like it."

"That would be perfectly all right."

Rodney was strangely relieved. It had worked. Sheppard had agreed.

"Great. Do we need some secret lingo. Like 'playing chess' or so." He made quotation marks in the air.

"It won't be much use if you say it 'like that'." Sheppard repeated the motion.

Rodney glared at him. Well, it was good to know that their agreement wouldn't change anything. Sheppard was still annoying as hell.

"Good night, Colonel."

"Good night to you, too. And if not, you know where to find me."

Was he waggling his eyebrows? Because that was disturbing. Rodney shook his head and left with a wave of his hand.

After Rodney had left, John let himself fall down on his bed.

He wasn't sure if this was a good idea.

Rodney certainly had a point. John was attracted to him. They both didn't have the time or patience for a real relationship and a helping hand would be welcome for both of them. It was a mutually beneficial arrangement.

Except that John wasn't so sure about the mutual part. Sure it might seem like a perfect deal in Rodney's head, but accidental sex in an unusual situation was not the same as voluntarily having sex with another guy. If you were straight and John was pretty sure Rodney was. He had practically jumped away, when John had approached him.

John could picture it clearly. Rodney's eyes squeezed shut, every part of his body pressed against the wall as far away as possible from John and then a stiff "Thank you, Colonel" and a nod before rushing off.

And his dick still liked the idea of it.

Which was a whole other problem. He had always tried not to imagine having sex with Rodney. And he'd had to double his efforts after they'd actually had sex. He kept having flashbacks to the feel of Rodney's tongue against his and Rodney's hard dick in his hand. And now he was agreeing to regularly do this with Rodney?

He really hoped that his dick understood that this was just a matter of convenience and didn't get used to anything or get its hopes up. Although if he was honest he shouldn't worry about his dick as much as his heart.

This changed nothing. John was just convenient for Rodney. Like a glorified masturbation aid. Rodney was interested in getting off, not in John. Rodney was as unattainable as he had been before. And John forced himself to remember that, because he couldn't afford to let his thing for Rodney become more.

Every reason that he had for not indulging in any fantasies about Rodney was still true. Rodney was straight. John couldn't have him. Even if he would now in a way. If.

He turned to get a book from his nightstand. He'd be better off not thinking about this too much.

Two days later Rodney went to Sheppard's room again. After standing a couple of minutes in front of the door, wondering if he could really do this, go and have sex with a guy, put his hand on another guy's dick to get him off, he decided to stop thinking and ran his hand over the panel.

Sheppard opened the door and when seeing Rodney wordlessly stepped aside to let him in.

"Do you have a moment?" Rodney still asked, going in.


The door closed. Sheppard took a step back looking at Rodney, but Rodney couldn't get out a word. Sheppard came a bit closer, but not too close. He inclined his head, but Rodney still didn't say a word, because he feared what would come out of his mouth would be something like 'Uhm, sex please?'.

"You are here for sex this time, right?" Sheppard asked carefully.

Rodney nodded frantically. "Yes, yes. Sex."

"Good." Sheppard waited another moment. "Do you want me to start?"

"Yes, please." Rodney sighed a bit in relief. It couldn't be helped.

Sheppard came closer and looked at him, then he slowly reached out and stroked his knuckles over Rodney's crotch.

Rodney took a sharp breath. He was getting hard. It was so strange, doing this in Sheppard's room, but it felt okay.

Sheppard opened up Rodney's fly and slowly pushed his hand along Rodney's dick into his boxers. Rodney felt his pants slide down his legs and was ready to panic just a bit, when Sheppard started to move his hand up and down his dick, gently stroking him.

It felt more than okay. Rodney's breath hitched as he tried not to moan, because that would be unmanly. It became more difficult when Sheppard went faster and held him more firmly, giving his dick a tight hole to fuck into, even though Rodney didn't move.

When Sheppard's hand moved further down to fondle his balls, Rodney couldn't suppress the gasp. Sheppard went on, stroking up Rodney's dick, his thumb rubbing just below the head and Rodney got just a bit unsteady on his feet.

"Maybe you should..." Sheppard gently moved his left hand on Rodney's shoulder and pushed him a bit backwards. Rodney was a bit confused at first, but then got the idea and moved back to lean against the wall behind him.

Sheppard left his hand on Rodney's shoulder and then started rubbing again with the hand on Rodney's dick. Fast, firm strokes and Rodney was glad that he had the wall to lean onto. He closed his eyes and let his head fall back against it. This was great. It was fantastic.

Sheppard jacked him off with quick movements of his wrist now. Rodney started whimpering and moving a little and then Sheppard moved his thumb against the ridge of the head on the underside of his dick and Rodney let out a half-swallowed "God" and bit his lip as he came in Sheppard's hand.

Sheppard kept stroking him, letting him come down. Then he removed his hand and Rodney took a few more breaths, smiling. It had been exactly what he'd hoped for. Maybe even better.

He opened his eyes and looked straight into Sheppard's. "Just give me a moment."

"You don't have to."

"Oh yes, I do," Rodney insisted with a smile on his face. Because he wanted to return the favor and make Sheppard feel as good as he'd made Rodney feel. "This arrangement is about mutual benefits."

Sheppard smiled back. "If you insist."

"I do. Okay, I think I can stand on my own again."

Sheppard stepped away and Rodney stuffed his dick back into his boxers and pulled up his pants. Then he moved Sheppard against the wall with both his hands on his shoulders. For a split second something flickered in Sheppard's eyes that Rodney couldn't quite decipher.

Then Rodney's hands moved downwards and he opened Sheppard's fly. Sheppard was hard already. Rodney looked at him and grinned. Sheppard had gotten off on giving Rodney a hand job. Well, not off yet, but he was close.

Rodney hesitated for a second. He'd only once had his hand on another guy's dick in a threesome in college. But this was different. He was alone with Sheppard and Sheppard somehow seemed a lot closer than that guy back then. Still he reached out and moved his hand around Sheppard's erection. After a second of getting used to the feel of it he started stroking up and down, slowly at first, but then speeding up quickly.

Sheppard moved his head back. "Slow down, will ya?"

Rodney nodded and tried firm long strokes. Sheppard groaned. Rodney kept at it, biting his lip in concentration. He wanted this to be good for Sheppard. He was spurned on by the little moans Sheppard made.

"Now you can go faster," Sheppard said, voice sounding strangled.

Rodney looked up at him again and then back, starting to work Sheppard's dick faster until he came with a moan of "Rodney".

Rodney could only stare at his messy hand on Sheppard's dick. He'd made him come. He'd made another guy come.

"I have a towel," Sheppard said, gesturing towards the other side of the room.

Rodney took his hand away and got it. When he came back, cleaning his hands with it, Sheppard was just tucking his dick back into his pants.

When they were done Rodney didn't quite know what to say.

"Well, that was as relaxing as I'd hoped," was what he came up with eventually.

Sheppard smiled. Rodney almost wanted to hug him. He was just so relieved that this had worked out so well. But Sheppard would probably think he was crazy.

"I still have a few simulations to run, so good-night." He moved to the door, but turned back again. "And thank you."

"Any time," Sheppard said and Rodney felt that he really meant it, which made him feel even better. The whole thing had been as good for Sheppard.

Rodney left with a smile on his lips.

It hadn't been bad. Rodney had closed his eyes and hadn't really touched him all that much, but John was still sure that he'd enjoyed himself.

There'd been the way Rodney's breath had become irregular when he'd come close to climax, the little movement of his hips towards John and the look he'd given John afterwards. It was a look of gratitude and... well, affection. It wasn't that he'd never seen it on Rodney. In fact everyone who'd get him a cup of coffee at the right moment would be the recipient of that look, but still it had meant something to Rodney.

Not in the sense that Rodney had feelings for him. But Rodney appreciated what they were doing, what John was doing for him.

Not that it was a hardship. It had been different than the last time, when John had thought Rodney really wanted him. This time he knew what it was about and what it wasn't. For a second he'd thought Rodney would kiss him. And he hated how his heart had skipped a beat at that thought, because he shouldn't have any expectations.

In a way he was still surprised that Rodney had gone through with it. Rodney's hand around his dick had been good, as clumsy and hesitant and too fast as it had been at times. But he'd listened and learned and in fact John had felt a bit as if he was Rodney's latest experiment, challenging, but something Rodney was sure he would master in time. The thought made John smile.

This was what it was going to be. An experiment for Rodney and a chance for him to get a taste of what he'd thought he'd never have. Like when he'd licked Rodney's come off his hand. He knew that maybe he shouldn't have done it, shouldn't stock up his fantasies, which he was still not supposed to have at all. But if Rodney could experiment, why couldn't he be curious, too?

He saw Rodney again in the next staff meeting and couldn't help remembering how he'd had Rodney's hand around his dick. Rodney only acknowledged him with a nod and a "Colonel".

It was business as usual, which seemed strange to John. After first deciding never to talk about the incident again Rodney hadn't remained so cool. And a small part of John wished there'd be something in Rodney's face to acknowledge what had happened now, even if it was only a helping hand from a friend.

As Elizabeth started with the agenda, John stared at Rodney, thinking about how he wanted to go down on him and suck his dick until Rodney called out his name. When Rodney blushed, John leaned back with a satisfied smile. It seemed Rodney still wasn't totally cool about the whole thing.

Rodney straightened in his chair and looked away to Keller, who had started giving her report on the infirmary.


By dinner Rodney was totally unflappable. When even ostentatiously licking his spoon only earned him a quick amused smile, John gave up.

Well, it was good really. He couldn't afford people to take notice.


The mission scheduled for the next day went to hell very quickly. After 15 minutes of walking through thick forest they had encountered the natives of the planet, who hadn't left a doubt that they didn't welcome strangers. He had shouted for McKay to run to the gate and dial home, while he and Teyla helped an injured Ronon. If he never saw Ronon remove an arrow from his calf again, it would be too soon.

After Keller finally gave them the good news that Ronon would be as good as new, John could finally relax.

It had been just another mission. He hadn't treated Rodney differently. Not that he'd thought he would. But it had been in the back of his mind, because he simply couldn't let what they did affect the team and their work. With that small fear out of the way and Ronon and everyone else safe and more or less sound on Atlantis he didn't have any trouble sleeping that night.


Ronon was let out of the infirmary two days later and the whole team had dinner together. When Rodney teasingly asked Ronon if he was sure Keller had allowed him to eat like that already and Ronon just shoved a fist-sized, orange potato-clone in his mouth, John started wondering if the thing with Rodney had really happened.

It was all so normal. Rodney hadn't come to him again. He was still calling him Colonel or Sheppard and they were still trading jibes at one another. Maybe it would never happen again and despite having enjoyed the first time, or second if you will, Rodney had decided that he really wasn't that frustrated anymore.

John tried not to be disappointed at the thought. It wasn't as if he could do anything about it either way. And even if it would never happen again, he'd always remember what Rodney tasted like.

It did happen again.

Two days later Rodney came to him late at night, when he was just reading a few pages before going to bed.

This time after entering Rodney immediately leaned against the wall.

John slowly reached out again, but Rodney was decidedly less nervous. In fact when John got out his hardening cock, Rodney started thrusting a bit immediately.

John went for hard, quick strokes because that was what Rodney had liked before and it was gratifying to feel Rodney's fully hard erection in a short time. Soon Rodney was really thrusting into John's hand. John enjoyed Rodney's eagerness. Rodney wanted this. He was breathing heavily, with an occasional "Yes" or a more unspecific sound escaping from his open mouth, when John hit an especially sensitive spot or gave his balls a quick stroke.

John took in every motion and sound Rodney made. He memorized the drop of sweat that ran down Rodney's exposed neck, when he let his head fall back against the wall. John wanted to lick it off. He wanted to touch Rodney's whole body, but that wasn't what their agreement was about. So he concentrated on where he was allowed to touch, Rodney's hard cock. He tightened his grip and rubbed the underside beneath the head with his thumb.

Rodney came with a groan and a "God, yes", closing his eyes when he reached his climax.

John let him come down and licked Rodney's come from his hand once again, but this time Rodney opened his eyes in time to see him. John felt panic for a second, because he didn't want Rodney to freak out over this, but Rodney didn't seem bothered. At least not in a bad way.

He actually got a look on his face that John could only describe as hungry. It made John's gut heat up that Rodney was turned on by John's display of want and by what he was about to do to John. Rodney took John by the shoulders, turned them both around and pushed John against a wall. Again John thought he might kiss him and again his heart skipped a beat, but then Rodney opened up his pants and took out John's hard cock.

It was even better this time. Rodney remembered everything John had told him, in words or whimpers. He started with slow firm strokes, driving John crazy in the best possible way and John wondered if he should start worrying if Rodney was learning this fast.

When John couldn't help the little moans that mixed with his panting, Rodney sped up his strokes and John bit his lip to keep from groaning out loud. Rodney gave him a wicked smile and moved his free hand to John's balls, while keeping up his ministration of John's cock.

"Rodney!" John came with a gasp.

While his breathing slowed down, John looked as Rodney studied his messy hand. Then Rodney licked it experimentally and John let out a little whimper that made Rodney look at him surprised.

John couldn't really say anything. Rodney just smiled satisfied and went to get the towel.

John could see Rodney's ass for a moment as he hiked up his pants to be able to walk and once again wondered if this had been such a good idea.

It had been the best idea ever.

Rodney couldn't help congratulating himself for coming up with this arrangement and convincing Sheppard to go through with it. Not that it had taken much convincing, but still he felt justified in feeling just a bit smug, because it had been his idea and it had been the best idea ever.

He finally had regular sex again. And he didn't have to work for it. Unless you counted actually having to go and find Sheppard. Rodney tried calling him over the comm once, but Sheppard asked if he was injured and to get his ass over to him if he wanted something from Sheppard.

So if he felt like sex, he went to Sheppard's room. And his office once, which had actually been kind of hot, even though Sheppard had locked it so there was no actual chance of being caught. Sheppard didn't come to him for sex. At least he hadn't so far, but a few times he'd visited Rodney in his lab or had just given him a certain look during a briefing, so that Rodney had sought him out, if he had the time.

And then they jerked each other off. He had gotten really good at it, too. He knew Sheppard's hot spots by heart, knew when to go slow, when to go fast. He could predict within a margin of error, what would make his breath hitch and when he was ready so that rubbing the spot on the underside would make him come. Sheppard's glazed look, when Rodney licked his come of his hand was a given, so he did it each time, waiting until John was looking. It didn't even taste strange anymore.

And Sheppard was amazing at this. Rodney sometimes wondered if Sheppard was especially into hand jobs, because he was sometimes starting so torturously slow that Rodney had to urge him on and force himself not to blurt out too embarrassing praise. Sheppard was worth every heartfelt "Thank you" that Rodney gave him after they were done or when he left. He always left very satisfied and relaxed.

All that without the tiresome relationship stuff. No dinners he couldn't skip, no apologizing when he had to work late, no feelings to consider. And he was still essentially a free man.

They'd gone to Planet Sex recently. Rodney suspected that after he'd poured his frustration out to Sheppard, Sheppard had suggested the mission. He had denied it of course.

Rodney had had sex with a voluptuous blonde. He'd seen Sheppard leave with one of the long-legged, long-haired brunettes that he favored. It had been nice to have sex with a woman again and to actually fuck as in penetrate.

He very occasionally wondered if it was something Sheppard did. With men, that was. Rodney wasn't sure if he wanted to fuck Sheppard even if he could. Now blow jobs... he had to admit that whenever he saw Sheppard slowly licking Rodney's come off his hands the thought crossed his mind and he imagined what it would be like to feel that tongue on his dick and to come inside that mouth.

But things were good, very good as they were, so he certainly wasn't complaining.

When they tied Rodney to a pole in the Great Hall of Ritualistic Stupidity he couldn't believe it. This whole planet was just a bad lesson for other planets. Of course you couldn't expect more of a society that tried to ensure its survival by regularly sacrificing their best, brightest and most beautiful to their God. It was a really great plan. If you wanted to stay a people of ugly morons that was.

This was the part that Rodney maybe shouldn't have pointed out, especially after announcing that he was the smartest man in the galaxy. The High Priest of the Natarians had practically started salivating at the thought and it had gone downhill from there.

After one hour, he tried to repeat the mantra of 'They'll come for me.' in his head. Because they would.

After two hours, he started wondering how they were planning to kill him. Was there an actual ritual to cause his immediate death or would they just leave him here until he withered and died? Not that they'd get the chance, since his team would come for him. Sheppard wouldn't disappoint him.

After three hours, Rodney started thinking about all the things he'd never gotten to do. He didn't have nearly enough of his findings ready for publication in the event of his death. He really would have liked to accept the Nobel Prize that was waiting for him once the Stargate program was declassified. And he wished he would have managed to build his own ZPM. He knew it was possible, but with missions and maintenance and the whole life-saving going on all the time, he just didn't seem to be able to devote enough time to it. And he really would have liked to fuck Col. Carter. But they were going to get him. He was sure of it.

After four hours, Rodney wondered what kept Sheppard so long. He was hungry and his wrists hurt like hell. He just wanted to go home and eat and sleep for 7 hours straight. And maybe squeeze in sex with Sheppard somewhere. This was no way to die for a man like him.

But they still didn't come. Nobody came. Not his team, not the High Priest, nor any other Natarian. The sun was setting outside and it was getting cold and dark.

He wished he would have asked for more from Sheppard. Sheppard probably wouldn't have minded. Rodney had been hesitant both because he wasn't sure if this would take things too far and also because he believed in the mutual aspect of their agreement. He wasn't quite sure if he was ready to go down on Sheppard. He'd tried with a banana at breakfast once. Sheppard had nearly choked on his orange juice, which served him right for drinking the stuff in Rodney's presence.

Now he thought he might be okay with giving John a blow job or at least trying. He certainly didn't mind giving him hand jobs and the taste of his come was okay, too. In fact Rodney had begun to wonder if maybe he wasn't 100% straight.

He just hoped he'd have the chance to find out.

Sheppard came after 5 hours.

When they'd first taken Rodney, John had been busy assessing if they needed to start shooting now or if he could afford to send Teyla back to the gate for reinforcements.

Later he'd been busy discussing the situation with Elizabeth, although to an outsider it might have looked more like a shouting match. When she'd said "You know I'd never do anything to risk Rodney's life," he hadn't had an answer and stormed off, hoping that Rodney was still fine when he returned to the planet.

Elizabeth and Teyla had started their negotiations while he had been in constant radio contact with Ronon. Ronon had found a position from which he could actually see Rodney. In addition to Ronon, John had half a dozen marines on stand-by to move in on John's signal, which he was willing to give if Ronon so much as breathed differently.

After one hour of negotiating, he couldn't take it any longer and joined Ronon.

Now he didn't have to listen to Elizabeth actually trying to be understanding about their culture and history. Instead he had time to think about Rodney.

Rodney's head hung down and he wasn't moving at the moment, except for the steady breathing, which John had checked more than once through his field glass.

He wished he could be with Rodney or at least talk to him, tell him that they were ready to move in by force if the negotiations failed or the need arose. He was sure he could distract him enough that the time would fly by. Rodney's "Why me? He's relatively smart and pretty!" comment alone was worth at least several minutes of teasing.

John smiled at the thought.

Rodney had called him pretty. Of course that he'd done it to get them to sacrifice John instead of himself put it into perspective, but still. John took what he could get.

He thought about the last time they'd had sex. Two days ago Rodney had waited for him after he'd trained with Teyla. He'd complained about the stink but said there was hardly any point in John having to shower twice. It had been great.

He checked in on the marines that were positioned around the Great Hall, keeping an eye on the few guards that the Natarians had stationed. It would be no problem to overwhelm them.

Still John couldn't shake the uneasiness in his gut. Elizabeth was right. They should try to negotiate first, since they had the option to use force at any moment. There was no point in shedding blood if it could be avoided. They had the situation under control.

But there was no such thing as full control and as long as Rodney was in there alone, he wasn't safe. And John needed him safe.

He'd have done the same for Teyla or Ronon. Yelled at Elizabeth, done everything in his power to make sure they were safe. But with Teyla or Ronon he wouldn't think about how he just wanted to hold them in his arms again.

He kept telling himself that Rodney was going to be fine. That there was no reason for John to think about how he would have really liked to have kissed Rodney again at least once.

But he did. He thought about it and tried to dismiss it, because he didn't think that Rodney would have welcomed that. And the idea of Rodney telling him, politely or not, that he didn't want to do this with John was bad enough to not go there even in his mind.

Kissing wouldn't be worth the risk, but he was pretty sure that Rodney wouldn't mind blow jobs. John remembered the display with the banana. Rodney wouldn't have to reciprocate. Just let John take him in his mouth, taste him, feel the weight of his dick on his tongue and the pressure in the back of his throat. It was what John wanted. He wanted to hear Rodney whimper and feel his fingers claw into his shoulders when he lost control. And then he wanted to swallow everything that Rodney had to give. Rodney sometimes pushed John downwards a bit, when John was working his dick. John didn't even think that Rodney knew what he was doing, but to John it was a sign that he wanted John on his knees.

And John would happily do it. He'd happily let Rodney fuck him, too, but he wasn't sure if this would be too far for Rodney. He was still a straight guy after all.

John hadn't minded their latest visit to Planet Sex too much. He knew that Rodney would enjoy the chance to have sex with a woman. Real sex.

John had done it, too. It hadn't been bad. But it hadn't been great either. It never was. But it used to be enough, better than masturbation. Now that he had his arrangement with Rodney, he wasn't sure if it was worth it. More than that there had been a tiny part of him that had felt like he was cheating on Rodney.

John wasn't going to indulge that part of himself. It was the same part that still thought Rodney might kiss him when he pushed John against the wall. It was the part that wanted him to slump against Rodney after he climaxed and wanted to touch more than just Rodney's dick. But John knew that that part of himself should get used to not getting what it wanted, which was why he didn't listen to it.

But on the other hand there was no point in doing something if he didn't really enjoy it anymore. And Talum had a very nice town center, wonderful for night time walks. Or so he'd been told.

In the Great Hall, Rodney moved a bit, probably to stop his muscles from cramping up.

'Hang in there,' John thought. 'And if you do, I'll offer to go down on you.' He wasn't sure if it was a promise to Rodney or himself.

When Elizabeth's negotiations had finally come to a successful conclusion, John ordered the marines to stay at the main and back entrance, ready to move in on his sign.

Then he went in alone. Rodney's head was cast down and John approached slowly, not wanting to spook him.

Eventually Rodney heard something and looked up and surprise and then relief flickered over his face. John smiled at him and quickly undid Rodney's ties.

Rodney hissed. His wrists were raw and his arms made cracking noises when he moved them forward.

John waited for the complaints to start, but Rodney was suddenly in his personal space, grabbing at his vest and for a moment John stopped breathing because he thought Rodney wanted... but then he realized he was looking for a power bar.

When he'd found it, he began eating hastily. John put a hand on his shoulder and told him to slow down. Then he got out his canteen and handed it to Rodney. While Rodney gulped down the water, John quickly looked out of the window, where Ronon was keeping watch, invisible to them, and nodded.

They found a place where Rodney could relieve himself and then they went outside.

John supported Rodney with an arm around his body, while Rodney had one over his shoulders. He was as happy about the fact that Rodney didn't really seem to need the support as he was that he still let John do it.

They were greeted by the others. Teyla offered a wide smile and Ronon a power bar, both of which Rodney accepted gratefully. Elizabeth squeezed his arm and told him how glad she was that he was okay and that everything ended peacefully. The last she said with a quick look towards John.

John couldn't bring himself to smile or nod or otherwise give her a sign that he was sorry, because even though it had gone well a thousand things could have gone wrong. There could have been a hidden entrance or a weapon that would go off as soon as the sun set or the pole to which Rodney had been tied could have been poisonous. Rodney could be dead and it would have been his fault.

He tightened his grip on Rodney and went on, no longer willing to dwell on what could have been. He just wanted to get home with Rodney.

When Rodney started complaining about his wrists, John smiled.

Back in Atlantis, Keller checked Rodney's wrists and let him choose between joining her in the infirmary immediately or after he'd eaten lunch. Rodney perked up when a marine presented a tray full of steaming food. So did Ronon for that matter, but after Teyla gave him a pointed look, he just growled a bit and backed off.

Rodney decided to eat during the debriefing and check in with Keller afterwards.

John kept his eyes on Rodney while Elizabeth talked about what she'd negotiated. He didn't really care all that much. He'd let Rodney go back there over his dead body and he had listened enough to hear Elizabeth say that of course the scientists going over for repairs would be heavily guarded.

Rodney had quipped that there might be one or two that would be best used as sacrifice. Now he was practically swallowing his food whole, only snorting every now and then, when Elizabeth relayed parts of the negotiations.

John folded his hands. He was tempted to reach out and touch Rodney.

It was strange. Rodney had been in more immediate danger on missions, even after they had started their little arrangement, but that had always been a rush, when he just stopped breathing for a moment until he realized that the arrow had narrowly missed Rodney or that it was dirt on his face and not blood.

This time Rodney hadn't been in acute danger. Eating a bit late and sore wrists were hardly life-threatening, but still John couldn't help thinking about his promise. He would offer Rodney a blow job.

But probably not today. Rodney had hardly looked at him during the debriefing, only giving him a quick smile in acknowledgment before turning his attention back to Elizabeth or his food.

At the end of the meeting John rushed to help Rodney up, who looked a bit surprised because at this point he could really stand quite well on his own. His muscles had relaxed and the late lunch had done the rest.

John stepped back, but stayed close by as Rodney walked to the infirmary, where Keller checked his wrists and applied some salve. It was only then that Rodney's eyes suddenly set on John as if he'd only just realized that John hadn't left his side since untying him.

And then it was there, that look that meant they'd go to Rodney's room and John would be allowed to touch him. John's knees went almost weak with relief. He hadn't realized it until now, but he needed to touch Rodney, needed to feel him pulse in his hand and to feel his harsh breath on his face that said he was alive.

Rodney listened impatiently to Keller's instructions and then was hastily on his way. John nodded at Keller, who smiled good-naturedly, and then followed Rodney.

Rodney turned around as soon as he was inside his room, waiting for John. The door closed and then they were staring at each other. John couldn't move. His head was full of all the things he wanted to do with Rodney, beginning with taking him in his arms and kissing him to going all the way and fucking him until Rodney was reduced to calling out John's name. But he couldn't do that. He had to let Rodney lead the way. And he did.

Rodney moved with his back against the wall, just as he always did when he was ready for John to take him into his hand and jerk him off. But this time he didn't leave it at that.

Even as John finally moved and quickly stepped up closer to Rodney to undo his fly, Rodney scrambled to free John's cock. With surprisingly little hassle they managed to push down their pants and boxers and then stood holding each other's dicks.

Before John could start thinking about the fact that he just had to lean forward a bit to kiss Rodney or that he'd really like to push up Rodney's shirt for once to feel more of his skin, Rodney starting jerking John off with the slow, firm strokes that he preferred.

John didn't hide the moan and started moving his hand, too.

They stood like that jacking each other off, heads almost touching, pushing into the hand of the other until their hands collided, once, twice. After the third time, John put his free hand on Rodney's and pulled it away.

Then, looking Rodney in the eye for a moment, he pushed his hips forward until their dicks were aligned and he could start jerking them off at the same time.

Rodney groaned, pushing against John's hand and dick. John tried to concentrate on his grip, on making this good for both of them, on not doing anything stupid like kissing Rodney.

They stood so close now that their heads were touching. He could feel Rodney breathe heavily into his ear. Every one of his moans sent shivers down John's spine. Rodney's hands were on his arms and John wished he wasn't still wearing his jacket, so that he could actually feel Rodney's hot palms on his skin.

Instead he concentrated on the feeling of their dicks moving against each other in John's hand, something he'd dreamed about in the short moments that he wasn't able to censor his own fantasies. This wasn't a fantasy though, it was really happening and John couldn't hold back any longer.

He sped up, concentrating on Rodney's dick now and when he heard the drawn-out moan in his ear and felt Rodney come in his hand, he let go, too and spurted out his own release with a quiet whimper.

They caught their breath still leaning against each other. It was Rodney who first spoke.

"That was different," he said in between pants.

John stopped breathing for a moment. He couldn't see Rodney's face so he moved away a step, trying not to let the fear show on his face. Fear that he'd gone too far, that he'd scared Rodney off. He hastily pulled out a handkerchief and cleaned up his hand.

Rodney still must have seen it, because he quickly added, "Good different. I mean I didn't expect it, but that's not to say I didn't enjoy it. I did. Different can be very good. In fact I might be up to... other sorts of different."

He finished, looking nervously at John. John smirked widely. "Is that so?"

"Well, yes, even though there's no reason to be so smug about it." Rodney sounded put off, but he was still glowing so John didn't think he really minded.

"I think I have plenty of reasons, but I'll have to save some for the next time."

Rodney flushed in what looked like anticipation. Oh yes, he was ready for all kinds of different and John couldn't wait.

When Rodney finally came to him the next time, John had to force himself not to just drop down on his knees.

He doubted that Rodney would mind, but he wanted to enjoy this, all of this, including the look of anticipation on Rodney's eyes.

And he could see that Rodney was eager. He'd moved with his back to the wall, as he usually did, but this time it wasn't for a hand job. John could see that Rodney's eyes were fixed on John's mouth. There was no doubt about what he wanted. But John would really love to hear it.

He stared at Rodney, slowly licking his lips, enjoying how Rodney's eyes glazed over at the sight.

"What would you like to do?" John asked in what he thought of as his seductive voice, leaning forward a bit predatorily.

"Uhm," Rodney said, still staring at John's lips.

"The usual hand job?" John asked innocently.

"Uh," Rodney said, his eyes finally moving up to John's. John could see the hesitation there, that he couldn't quite ask for what he clearly wanted.

John's whole posture changed at the thought. He couldn't let Rodney agree to a hand job, denying them both what they wanted. So he swallowed whatever it was that made him want to hear Rodney say it and simply got down on his knees in one swift move.

"God, yes," Rodney breathed out and John smiled.

He freed Rodney's cock, already half-hard and eager. John looked up at Rodney, who was staring at him. Then he leaned forward and licked the head of his dick. John took a moment to memorize this first touch of his tongue against Rodney's cock before sucking it gently into his mouth.

"Oh God," Rodney said above him and it sounded like real awe in his voice.

John took him in deeper, slowly stroking Rodney's shaft. His tongue moved over and around the head, then further down finding a steady rhythm.

Rodney was standing stock-still and John could feel the tension of not moving rolling off of him. He wanted to feel Rodney, wanted him to push into John's waiting mouth. He put his free hand on Rodney's hip and encouraged him to move a bit.

Rodney did, moaning and John took him in even deeper, taking as much of him as he could in this position, relishing the feel in the back of this throat, the noises Rodney made and the smell of him.

Rodney thrust into him, guided by John's hand and careful not to hurt John.

John moved his mouth back up the shaft, firmly licking as he went. Then he started stroking him again, even as Rodney kept thrusting. He concentrated on the head, sucking and licking it, enjoying the taste of Rodney even more than when he'd licked it off his own hands.

He couldn't wait for Rodney to come inside of him.

He sped up the movement of his hand on Rodney's cock and worked his tongue along the head of his dick until Rodney's hips stuttered forward.

"I'm," was all Rodney brought out, before John could feel him shooting inside his mouth.

He kept suckling on Rodney, swallowing everything he had to give until he was finished and he let Rodney's dick slip from his mouth.

"Thank you," Rodney said reverently.

John smiled up at him and stood.

"Thank you," Rodney repeated, putting his hands on John's bare arms. It was the first time Rodney had touched him today and John was glad he was wearing a t-shirt so that he could feel it on his skin.

"You're very welcome," John said, even though he felt as if he had to thank Rodney.

He'd wanted this for a long time and he was incredibly hard, but at the moment he couldn't think about his own satisfaction, only about the fact that he'd actually blown Rodney, that he'd actually had Rodney in his mouth while he came. It had been incredible.

Rodney still looked at him in awe, but then he started grinning and moved to open up John's fly.

"Wow, you really..." he trailed off, when John's hard cock stood out proud.

John couldn't say anything to that so he just watched as Rodney took him in his hand and started stroking him slowly. At this point he didn't think he'd need much to push him over the edge.

Then suddenly Rodney leaned forward and down and John couldn't believe it.

Rodney hesitated for a second, then he pushed out his tongue and John could feel him lick the head of his cock.

"Coming," was the only warning John managed, before he climaxed, spurting several times on Rodney's tongue, mouth and face.

"I'm sorry," he said, even though it was the hottest thing he'd ever seen.

Rodney didn't say anything and John watched in amazement as Rodney licked John's semen off his lips.

"Next time I'll try to be ready," Rodney said, flushing immediately afterwards.

John wanted to lick is face and then push his tongue into Rodney's mouth.

Instead he let Rodney get the towel and clean up his face and started thinking about Rodney's mouth on his dick.

John didn't even try to stop himself from fantasizing about Rodney blowing him. It would be entirely useless anyway, because whenever he thought of sex, his mind invariably brought up a 3D surround sound presentation of Rodney's lips on his cock, while his blue eyes looked up at John.

So he tried not to think about sex too often. They had another mission coming up, which should have taken his mind off of Rodney, except that Rodney regularly felt like having sex after missions. John guessed it was either the adrenaline or boredom depending on the mission. Either way chances were Rodney would be giving him that look after the mission and then they'd go through the debriefing and checkup and back to Rodney's room, because it was closer.

And then Rodney would very possibly go down on John.

Except that it wasn't meant to be.

Rodney slipped during the mission and hurt his ankle. John was relieved when they got safely back to Atlantis.

He was even more relieved when Rodney started complaining in the infirmary about how the world had it in for him this week. Unfortunately John couldn't remind him of the blow job he'd gotten, which hadn't been so bad if he recalled correctly. Instead he just smirked at Rodney, who huffed.

"What do you mean, no painkillers?" he said indignantly to Keller.

"It's not a serious injury. We should avoid unnecessary-"

"Unnecessary?! What kind of doctor are you?"

"Rodney," John said, trying to calm him down. Not that Keller needed his help. She had learned to deal with Rodney in the last months.

"This is all your fault," Rodney said, turning against him.

"You tripped!" John shot back, outraged. He hadn't even made fun of it, so worried had he been.

"Because the road we took was clearly hazardous, as you should have known."

"It worked just fine for the rest of us," John pointed out, unable to help himself.

Rodney growled at him, then at Keller for good measure, before hopping off the bed, careful not to put any pressure on his injured foot.

"Bed rest at least until tomorrow," she ordered, not the least intimidated. "And no missions for a week."

"What so I'm not good enough to walk around, but not bad enough for pain killers?"

"Exactly," she said with a grin. It softened to a smile and she added, "I'll check in on you tomorrow morning."

Rodney's mouth curved downwards and he hobbled off, left arm over his crutch, the other holding his boot.

John waited until he was out of earshot.

"So he'll be okay?"

"Only a first degree sprain. He'll be fine soon. But he really needs to stay off it or he could make it worse than it is."

John nodded. "I'll make sure he does." He turned to leave, when she called him back.

"Colonel? If he's really in pain let me know."

John smiled at her and went after Rodney.

"I really need to check if that woman actually has a degree," was the first thing Rodney said, when John arrived in his room.

It looked like Rodney had just gotten there. He was out of his jacket, but still had on the boot on his good foot.

John walked to where he sat on the bed and crouched down. Rodney's eyes widened. John started unlacing his boot.

"I'm under doctor's orders to make sure you don't move," he said casually, concentrating on the boot.

When he was done, he looked up to find Rodney staring at him. He was at about eye level with Rodney's crotch and when he looked at it, licking his lips, the bulge began to grow.

Well, he had promised Keller to make Rodney relax.

He reached out, looking at Rodney for any sign that he didn't want this, but Rodney nodded almost imperceptibly.

It was as good as the first time he took Rodney's cock in his mouth. But this time the angle was better.

John's head moved up and down, while his hand stroked Rodney. Then he suddenly felt a hand in his hair. John stopped for a second, surprised by the gesture, and Rodney began to pull his hand away, but John reached up with his free hand and put it back.

He couldn't see Rodney's face in this position, so he stopped for a second and withdrew to look up at him, wanting to make sure that Rodney understood that John welcomed his more personal touch. They smiled at each other and then John went back to sucking and licking until Rodney came with a moan.

John moved away and almost regretted it, because Rodney let his hand fall away, still breathing heavily, but looking blissful.

John smiled fondly at him, stroking Rodney's thighs almost unconsciously. He shouldn't enjoy this so much. This was just an arrangement that could be over at any moment. But not this moment.

Rodney reached forward and down to John's fly, but John stood up and stepped away.

"I'm fine," he said.

"It's really no problem," Rodney said.

"You should rest," John insisted. His erection would soften and if not, he'd take care of it later. He pushed Rodney backward and together they managed to push off Rodney's pants without too much pressure on the smarting ankle.

Rodney got under the covers.

"You could jerk off on me," he said suddenly, flushing immediately afterwards. For a moment John really considered it. He didn't think it would take very long and the idea of coming all over Rodney... He took a deep breath.

"Rest," he said firmly, and God help him, Rodney actually seemed to pout.

He turned away and sat down at Rodney's desk.

"What are you doing?" Rodney asked.

"Do you have something to read? Or can I use your laptop?" He had no intention of leaving Rodney alone.

"Yes and yes, but why?"

"Just making sure you're not moving. Doctor's orders, remember?"

Rodney looked as if he wasn't sure if he should be touched or offended.

"Uh, well. Okay, then," he eventually said, settling himself into a sleeping position and closing his eyes.

John won several games of solitaire. But mostly he watched Rodney until he fell asleep. And maybe a bit after.

Rodney woke up the next morning, feeling worse than usual.

It was much too dark and his ankle hurt. Then he remembered his fall and Keller, the quack, and going to bed far too early.

And then he remembered Sheppard and another blow job and not getting to reciprocate because Sheppard wouldn't let him. He flushed as he remembered what he'd offered.

Rodney had no idea where that had come from. It wasn't as if he fantasized about Sheppard jerking off on him. Coming all over him. He shuddered, not sure if he was disgusted with himself or terribly turned on by the thought. He remembered how Sheppard had looked when he'd come on Rodney's face. Okay, definitely turned on, even if it still felt kind of dirty. Or maybe because of that.

All of this was so strange. If someone would have told him a few months ago that he'd have sex with John Sheppard regularly, he'd have laughed in his face and possibly suggested a trip to Heightmeyer. And now he was thinking about Sheppard, about another guy, coming on him and about going down on Sheppard.

Rodney really was strangely disappointed that he didn't get to do it. He was still a bit apprehensive, but he'd trained on that phallic fruit from P7X-122 and he really wanted to return Sheppard's favor. In a way he wanted it to be over and done with so that he could either admit that it wasn't something he was comfortable with or he could get to practicing.

He still wasn't sure which it would be. He was pretty sure that Sheppard wouldn't hold it against him. But if he was honest with himself, Rodney really hoped he'd be okay with the whole blow job thing, because he'd enjoyed Sheppard's blow jobs very, very much and the idea of making Sheppard come that way seemed only fair. And also sort of hot. He was curious what it would feel like to have Sheppard's cock inside of him, stretching his mouth. There was something deliciously decadent about the idea.

Rodney shook his head. He was really getting into this thing they were having. It wasn't surprising really, since it had been his own idea and a brilliant one at that. But sometimes he wondered about the fact that this more than strung him along on his dry spell. It was sex, which was never a bad thing, but he was straight and he would have thought that sex with another guy, no matter how hot he was, not that he'd admit it to Sheppard, wouldn't quite be enough.

But Rodney felt quite satisfied. He still thought about Samantha Carter or other women, when he masturbated. Mostly at least. There might have been some stray thoughts about encounters with Sheppard, real and imagined. But he figured it was normal, since Sheppard was the person he had sex with regularly.

Keller pronounced him fit for light duty, which meant he was allowed to work 3 hours in the morning and 3 in the afternoon, if he put up his leg and lay down the rest of the time. Rodney grumbled and left.

He didn't see Sheppard at breakfast, but didn't think anything of it. When Radek reminded him it was time to go and rest, and he couldn't believe that Keller had actually told Radek to keep an eye on Rodney, he went to find Sheppard. He couldn't sleep again, so maybe Sheppard could kill some time with him. They could play chess again. Or do other things. Even if giving a blow job would be impossible if Rodney lay in bed. Well, not exactly impossible, he thought as he had an image of Sheppard fucking his face. A shiver ran down his spine. Okay, possible, but not practical for his first time. The mere thought made him sweat in panic.

Or maybe he did need to lie down.

To Rodney's annoyance Sheppard wasn't in his office. Rodney tried to call him on the comm, not willing to hobble to his room on his crutch only to find that empty, too.

It wasn't Sheppard who answered but Elizabeth, who informed him that John had gone off-world to help Major Lorne's team.

"What happened?" he said, immediately alert.

"Just a few complications. Don't worry. Didn't Dr. Keller order bed rest for you?"

"Light duty," he said and tapped his headset, before making his way to the control room.

"Rodney, you are supposed to lie down," Elizabeth said once he arrived. "I've asked Dr. Keller," she added before he could protest.

"What's going on?" he asked.

"Major Lorne's team has been held on P3T-930. Colonel Sheppard is there to help convince them that we meant no harm and are no threat to them."

"Because he's such a brilliant negotiator," Rodney said, exasperation covering up his trepidation.

"Teyla is with him. As is Ronon," Elizabeth added and it did make him feel better to know that Sheppard wasn't alone out there.

"There's nothing you can do for him and he's in no danger for the moment," she went on. "You really should rest."

It sounded like friendly advice, but Rodney knew if he didn't take it, the next time it would sound like an order. And she was right. He couldn't do anything for Sheppard.

"Let me know if something happens," he said and made his way to his room once Elizabeth had nodded in agreement.

Rodney was annoyed. His ankle hurt. He wasn't allowed to work and he still couldn't believe that Elizabeth had sent Keller down to check on him.

And for some reason it bothered him that Sheppard was off-world. Okay, one reason was certainly worry, although be believed Elizabeth when she said that everything was under control. Then there was the fact that if Sheppard had been here he would be entertained now, possibly with sex, instead of sulking. What really annoyed him though was that nobody had bothered to tell him what happened.

Okay, it didn't really concern him, since there wasn't any need for his expertise, and his team wasn't in danger. And truthfully it had never occurred to him that someone should inform him, when Ronon was sent to back up one of the teams. But Sheppard...

Rodney grimaced. One of the great things about their little arrangement had been that it didn't actually change anything between them. They were still teammates, they still liked to argue and tease each other, and Sheppard didn't suddenly start hanging around in the lab at all times and Rodney didn't do anything crazy like volunteering to go running with him in the morning. It was all as it always had been except that every now and then they had sex.

Only now Rodney wondered if that really was the case. He tried to imagine this same situation three months ago. He probably wouldn't have found out about it until Sheppard was back in the first place and even if he had, he'd probably have dismissed it, trusting Elizabeth to call him if something serious happened. Now that didn't seem to be enough.

Rodney forced himself not to think about it. He was just annoyed, because his ankle was sprained and he'd hoped for a blow job to ease his suffering. That was understandable and very much okay. So was being concerned about John. And the others; it wasn't as if he didn't care about Teyla and Ronon and Lorne's team. He just hadn't looked forward to having sex with them.

So really, he wasn't feeling anything that wasn't warranted by the situation. He just wished John would be back already.

John sighed. 48 hours off-world trying to convince the Lateri that they meant no harm, when John was increasingly inclined to just call back up and free Lorne's team by force.

He'd contacted Elizabeth regularly to report on their "progress". He'd once asked if everything was all right on Atlantis, but she'd only assured him, not getting that he'd meant to ask, "Is Rodney all right?" And he couldn't bring himself to actually say it, because Keller had been sure that it wasn't bad, so there was really no reason to fuss.

Now he was back on Atlantis, but there was no Rodney in sight. Maybe he hadn't even noticed that John had left. Keller had told John he was on light duty, when he'd asked after Rodney casually during his checkup.

Well, they would run into each other eventually, Rodney was fine, and so was John. Fine, but feeling dirty, hungry and tired and he decided to take care of these things in that order, instead of thinking about Rodney.

The mess was almost empty when he entered, which wasn't too surprising since it was mid-morning, too late for breakfast, too early for lunch. He got himself a few sandwiches and sat down near a window, letting the sun fall on his face, thinking about nothing.

"Oh God, here you are," he heard Rodney saying, before he turned around to see him hobbling towards John at an impressive speed. Okay, so maybe he had noticed that John had been gone. He looked relieved, John noted, which made him feel a bit better.

"I was hungry," John said, lifting up the half-eaten sandwich.

"Yes, of course. And I hear you haven't messed up the negotiations."

He shrugged. "I let Teyla do the talking."

"Good idea."

John smiled. He'd missed Rodney.

He ate his sandwich more quickly and Rodney kept quiet, just watching him and getting more fidgety the closer John got to finishing.

He was about to tell Rodney that he could eat alone and didn't need his company, he was free to go, when he realized what Rodney was waiting for. Or at least he had a suspicion.

It somehow must have shown on his face, because Rodney's gaze focused on John's mouth and he licked his lips.

Maybe John wasn't too tired. He quickly wolfed down the rest of his sandwich.

"You must be exhausted," Rodney asked, obviously trying to signal that he really didn't expect anything from John, except that his big hopeful eyes said something else entirely.

"Well," John said and seeing Rodney's face nearly crumble, he couldn't help smiling. "I am, but I might be up for... a game of chess."

They quickly walked to John's room. He didn't have to worry about Rodney keeping up, crutch or not.

Once inside, Rodney stopped and turned and immediately went for John's fly. He was still leaning on the crutch and John had to admire his coordination.

"Off, off," Rodney said impatiently, opening a button on his own trousers, before proceeding to push John's down. John got the idea and opened Rodney's pants, careful not to unbalance him in the process.

John didn't think it was a balancing problem, when Rodney fell forward and pushed John into the wall, grinding his erection against John's. Still he put his hands on Rodney's hips and maybe let them wander to his ass. Rodney didn't complain. In fact he made noises of encouragement as he started jerking them both off, leaning against John, his face buried halfway in John's neck.

John resisted the temptation to move his face towards Rodney's. Instead he closed his eyes and thrust into Rodney's hand against Rodney's dick, letting the sensations wash over him. He could feel Rodney's harsh breathing on his throat. Rodney was hard against him, pushing urgently towards John, gripping them both tightly in his sweaty hand. It was all heat and need and John clung to Rodney's hips, feeling a bit of skin where Rodney's shirt had ridden up.

"Fuck, Sheppard," Rodney ground out and came.

John could feel his dick pulsing and pulling Rodney close came, too, after two more thrusts.

Rodney slumped against John, one arm still over the crutch. John held him, needing him closer, as close as possible, and let them both catch their breath.

"Damn," Rodney said eventually.

John carefully helped him to stand upright, gaze traveling down to his foot, worrying Rodney had hurt it.

"I wanted to blow you," Rodney finished and when John looked up into his face, they both broke into a grin.

His ankle was finally okay again and he was free to harass his staff for as long as he wanted, which Rodney had taken to heart for the last 11 hours.

He could sense the relief in the lab when he left and was tempted to stay out of spite, but he had other plans that were even more tempting.

The first thing he'd done when he'd been pronounced fit for duty was to walk back to his room and then go down on his knees, just to see if he was ready for that. His ankle had passed the test and throughout the day, Rodney had thought about what he was going to do this evening, if Sheppard wasn't busy.

Although he didn't think that would be a problem. Sheppard had run into him after dinner and, watching him walk around normally, remarked, "Ready for missions again, huh?"

Rodney had answered, "Ready for anything I want to do," and let his gaze drift to Sheppard's crotch.

Sheppard's eyes had widened a bit, but then he'd smirked. "I'm glad you're all right again, McKay."

Now Rodney was finally willing and able to reciprocate for the by now four blow jobs, Sheppard had given him.

When he activated the panel on Sheppard's door, it was opened very quickly as if he had been expected. A smile was playing on Sheppard's lips and Rodney was suddenly nervous.

He'd been looking forward to this for a week, but now that he was actually here the fact that he'd never done this before caught up with him. He had really enjoyed the blow jobs and actually it seemed as if Sheppard had, too. But then Sheppard wasn't straight. At least Rodney thought so, it wasn't as if they'd ever discussed it.

Still, he wanted to at least try this, and before he could reconsider it and lose his nerve, he dropped down to his knees in front of Sheppard and started undoing his fly.

Sheppard didn't say a word and Rodney didn't look up at him, concentrating instead on the half-hard dick in his hand. Another good reason for doing this first. Usually after Sheppard had blown him or jerked him off, he was already hard, and Rodney thought it might be easier if he had a bit of time to get used to it.

Taking a guy's penis into his mouth was not as strange as it should have been. Okay, it was strange in that it was new, but Rodney found that what he worried about was keeping his teeth away and not taking Sheppard too deep and breathing, not the fact that he had a guy's dick in his mouth. Actually it felt almost technical like an experiment he was conducting. Which suction and treatment would cause which effects in the test subject?

Then Sheppard groaned and the sound somehow went straight to Rodney's groin. Suddenly it wasn't just a dick in his mouth, part of the human anatomy, it was John's erection, growing steadily under his ministrations. He put his free hand on Sheppard's thigh and came across one hand, tensely pressed into his flesh.

Rodney realized that Sheppard wasn't moving at all, when all he probably wanted to do was thrust into Rodney's mouth. The thought was hot and Rodney wished he had the experience to remove the hand that was holding Sheppard's shaft steadily and just signal him to go for it. As it was he only took half of Sheppard's dick into his mouth, concentrating on the head of his cock, while his hand stroked steadily up and down the shaft.

Sheppard wasn't complaining. In fact, when Rodney started licking along the ridge and found the spot on the underside of his dick he called out Rodney's name. Rodney teased that point for a few moments and could feel Sheppard's whole body tensing with the need to move. But he didn't. So Rodney did.

He took Sheppard a bit deeper again, sucking on him and then began moving up and down the shaft, speeding up the movement of his hand as well.

"Rodney," Sheppard said again, half moaning it. Rodney risked a look up towards Sheppard, whose eyes were glazing over. Then he felt him begin to shudder.

"Coming," Sheppard warned and Rodney pulled off, jerking him to completion. Sheppard spurted right before his eyes and after the second pulse Rodney went ahead and licked the head.

"Rodney!" Sheppard groaned, shooting one last stream of seed and Rodney sucked and swallowed.

He kept Sheppard in his mouth until he was completely done and obviously exhausted. When Rodney let him slip from his mouth, Sheppard dropped down on his knees opposite Rodney.

He looked sated, but hungry at the same time and there was a moment's hesitation before he pushed Rodney's shoulder backwards until Rodney lay down on the ground.

It was only when Sheppard eagerly pulled Rodney's dick out of his pants that Rodney realized that he was fully hard from blowing Sheppard.

He wasn't sure what to think about that and then he didn't think at all, when John took him deeper than ever before, carefully stroking his balls, while his throat tightened around the head of Rodney's dick.

"Sheppard!" he groaned, already shooting down Sheppard's throat. Sheppard swallowed it all.

Afterwards Sheppard's head lay next to Rodney's soft dick, while his hand rested on Rodney's thigh, lightly stroking. Rodney let his hand run through John's hair.

It had been amazing. He felt like just lying there and basking in the afterglow except that now that the high of sex was gone, he realized that not just his ankle, but also his knees hurt. Why had Sheppard never told him that giving blow jobs was hell on the knees?

"We should do this in bed next time," Rodney suggested.

He could feel Sheppard tense. The hand on his thigh stopped moving, then resumed stroking. "Okay," Sheppard said.

Rodney was pleased, even if getting up was going to be a bitch.

It didn't really hit Rodney until the next day, but when it did, he couldn't help feeling smug about it.

It could be said that he felt too smug about the whole thing, although Rodney thought he deserved it. He couldn't stop grinning to himself the whole day. Radek was very suspicious. But Rodney couldn't help it.

Although there was no real reason. Okay, there was a reason. If Sheppard's moaning and tensing and coming while calling out his name was anything to go by, Rodney had done really good on his very first blow job. Of course his apparent expertise had no practical value whatsoever. It wasn't as if he could use it in future dates and he already had an agreement with Sheppard that didn't require him to give blow jobs let alone be good at it.

And he couldn't even tell anyone that he was good at it. He didn't think the Colonel would appreciate it. Even if he had appreciated it. Rodney thought about the look Sheppard had given him just before he came. Oh yes, he definitely had a reason to be smug.

And not only that, he was relieved that he didn't mind giving head. It made Rodney feel a whole lot better about the blow jobs he got from Sheppard, past and future, now that he knew he would be willing to return the favor. But really, it was more than that. It wasn't just being able to reciprocate and being good at it even with no prior experience.

He had simply liked blowing Sheppard, that feeling of doing this for him, making him feel like this, almost out of control, even if Sheppard had managed not to move. It had been hard for Sheppard to keep that control and Rodney couldn't help the feeling of power it gave him.

"Do you get off on your self-righteousness?" Ford had once asked, when Rodney was more smug about being right than worried about Teyla in one of their early missions.

Maybe he did. He remembered how hard he had been after blowing Sheppard. He wasn't sure what it had been. He just knew that feeling Sheppard get hard inside his mouth had been an incredible turn-on.

It wouldn't be the same to do this in bed.

John couldn't help the mixed feelings he had about this. Having sex in a bed was different from sharing a hand job against the wall or even a blow job. It was more intimate. It didn't have to be of course. He'd had his share of forgettable one-night-stands in beds with people that he didn't care to know the name of.

But those people hadn't been Rodney. Rodney, who'd gone down on a man for the first time in his life, who'd made John come with that talented mouth on his dick and his big blue eyes looking up at John. It had been breathtaking.

And it had left him wanting Rodney so badly that he had to push him down and just take him into his mouth and taste him. He remembered how Rodney's hip had lifted when he thrust up and spent himself, shooting down John's throat. He remembered how Rodney had called out his name. And he remembered half lying on Rodney, Rodney's hand in his hair.

Doing this in bed with Rodney would not be impersonal getting-your-rocks-off sex. It would be intimate, because somehow sex with Rodney had already gotten intimate.

They weren't even fucking, had never once kissed after that first accident, and still John felt that he put too much into this relationship. Hell, it wasn't even supposed to be a relationship. And it wasn't one, not really.

Which was why he had mixed feelings about having sex in bed with Rodney. It seemed like a practical thing, simply a matter of comfort, which was always high on Rodney's list of priorities. It was understandable really, but John feared that it would make it so much harder for him to see this as nothing more than what it was: a temporary arrangement between friends.

He tried to push all those thoughts aside, now that he was looking at Rodney and seeing some hesitation in him. Maybe Rodney could sense it, too, that they were taking one step in a direction neither of them had planned for this to go in.

"Well, this can't be so hard," Rodney said eventually. "And we've been doing... great so far."

John gave him a small smile. Then he gestured at the bed with both hands and inclined his head in invitation to let Rodney go first.

Rodney rolled his eyes, but nodded and pushed off his shoes, before lying down on the center of the bed. His feet were hanging over the edge and he was propped up slightly on his elbows.

John slowly crawled on top of him, knees right and left of Rodney. Rodney's eyes were fixed on him, tracking his progress. When John was on the same level as Rodney he became aware that he'd only have to move down a bit to kiss him. Rodney looked at him so intensely that John wondered if he wouldn't let him, because he trusted John not to do anything he wouldn't enjoy.

John pushed that thought away. He should stop dwelling on what he couldn't have and concentrate on what he did have, which was Rodney beneath him, focusing on John and nothing else. He forced himself further down again.

"Move up a bit," he said, patting Rodney's hip.

Rodney complied, pushing himself backwards up the bed, so that John could easily open Rodney's fly and get out his hardening dick. He also pulled down Rodney's pants and boxers a bit, so that they wouldn't be in the way when he sucked Rodney into his mouth.

John would love to remove every bit of clothing Rodney wore. The idea of seeing and touching his whole body, of learning the texture of his his skin in slow exploration was incredibly inviting. But it was fantasy and it wasn't even supposed to be that much.

John still half-heartedly tried not to indulge in fantasies about Rodney, but it became increasingly difficult, when they did all the things he wasn't allowed to think about. So he concentrated on the reality of Rodney's hard dick in his mouth.

Sliding down the shaft, John looked up at Rodney. Rodney was watching him, still a bit more tense and quiet than John had gotten used to. He started licking up and down Rodney's erection, then licked his own hand before grabbing the shaft with it and sucking on the head of Rodney's cock.

Rodney threw back his head then and a moan escaped his mouth.

The sight made John's dick surge. He quickened the movement of his hand and mouth on Rodney's cock. Rodney began making his general noises of encouragement again, mumbles of "Yes", "Good" and "Oh God". And the occasional "Sheppard", which never failed to make John wonder if Rodney would ever use his first name.

When Rodney started squirming under John, John put his hands on his hips to keep him still and concentrated on the head the way Rodney liked it. It was a heady feeling to have Rodney move not just against, but under him. John wanted to rub himself against Rodney's thigh, but he didn't want to do anything that might cause Rodney to stop the uncontrolled jerks and whimpers. Rodney was holding onto the sheets with his fists and John knew he was close.

One more suck and lick to Rodney's most sensitive spot and he lifted his hips and came in John's mouth.

John swallowed it all down as always, never wanting to miss a drop of Rodney's taste. When Rodney's dick had softened he let it slip from his mouth. Rodney sighed in contentment, eyes still closed.

John moved to lie next to him, pushing Rodney to the side enough so that he could squeeze in sideways on the narrow bed. Then he opened his pants and took out his dick. He started jerking off, eyes on Rodney, who was still catching his breath with closed eyes. John was already very hard and the sight of Rodney lying flushed and post-coital in his bed would ensure that he wouldn't last too long.

When Rodney opened his eyes and saw John, he immediately moved further aside, giving him more space.

John lay down on his back, but kept looking at Rodney. Rodney's gaze traveled down to where John was stroking himself and he moved his hand on top of John's joining him.

John removed his own hand, only wanting to feel Rodney.

Rodney stroked him firmly, knowing what John liked by now. Their eyes were fixed on each other and John lifted his hips fucking into Rodney's fist until he came with Rodney's name on his lips.

"Thank you," Rodney said with feeling.

He still said it every time, like it was part of their agreement and John was torn between fondness and bitterness, because it touched him that Rodney appreciated what they did so much and at the same time it reminded him that what they did was just a favor between friends.

John watched as Rodney got up from the bed, pulled up his pants and cleaned up his hand. He looked at John and gave him a small smile and wave, before leaving without another word.

It hadn't been all that different from what they'd done before. He'd blown Rodney before, Rodney had jerked him off before. But looking down at Rodney's upturned face, so close to kissing, was something he could add to his growing number of fantasies that he wasn't having.

It wasn't that he expected Rodney to remember his birthday. This time there wasn't a big party like the one that Elizabeth and Teyla had thrown for his 40th the year before. He was certainly not expecting any gifts, even though Elizabeth, Teyla and Ronon had given him something. Hell, even Radek had a little experimental weapons booster for him.

"For testing," he'd said, but the wink made pretty clear that it was no coincidence that he'd given it to John on his birthday.

Rodney had not only gotten him nothing, after lunch he'd contacted John over the comm, practically ordering him to get to the jumper bay to fly him to one of the islands.

John had nearly told him to shove it where the sun didn't shine and find someone else, but then he thought that spending his birthday with Rodney in "Don't disturb me, I'm really busy" mode was still better than sitting in his office and pretending to work, while thinking about Rodney away on an island in "Don't disturb me, I'm really busy" mode.

He cursed his own weakness, but he couldn't help himself. In absence of having a spine to actually resist Rodney he resolved to at least aggravate him as much as humanly possible on the trip.

Once they were in the air, Rodney got up and rummaged in the back of the jumper.

"I'm not flying back if you forgot something," John called back.

Rodney returned and before John could really see what he was doing he was squeezed down on his knees next to John, half beneath the narrow control panel.

When Rodney started unbuttoning his fly, John could only say, "Oh fuck."

He tried to concentrate on not crashing the jumper into the water, instead of thinking about the fact that Rodney was fulfilling a fantasy John had had since Rodney had shown him the puddlejumper their second day on Atlantis.

By the time Rodney had freed his cock, John was fully hard.

"I knew it," Rodney only commented with a grin before taking the head of John's cock in his mouth and beginning to suck.

John resolved to never ever doubt Rodney again, because this was, by far, the best birthday present he'd gotten.

Sex and flying at the same time. It was bound to end too soon and when Rodney tightened the grip on his shaft and sucked on his head with all he got, John groaned and came.

Rodney licked him clean and tucked him back in. Then he emerged from beneath the controls looking very pleased with himself.

"Let's see how straight you flew through that," he said smugly.

But when they checked John's path, Rodney's face fell, because it was as straight as Rodney considered himself.

"I hate you," he said dejectedly.

John turned and grinned at him. "No, you don't."

He set the jumper on autopilot, and got up, backing Rodney against a wall. He was ready to drop to his knees, when Rodney stopped him and pointed at the pilot's seat, "Take that."

John recognized a pillow on the ground next to the seat and he laughed and got it and then proceeded to blow Rodney's dick and mind.


When they landed on the island, John got up and out, enjoying the view of the waves crashing into the shore beneath them. It was a bit too cold for a nice walk, but John still felt better than in a long time.

"Uh, I don't actually have to fix anything," Rodney said, coming up behind him.

John turned around and smiled at him.

"I mean I could do some checks, but it's not really necessary."

John wished they kissed, because he would have loved to interrupt Rodney's nervous babble. He had no idea why he was nervous in the first place. This had been his best birthday present bar none. He said as much to Rodney and seeing Rodney's flush added a sincere, "Thank you."

Rodney straightened a bit, flustering, then cleared his throat. "Well, of course I didn't expect the others to keep up with this. What did they get you?"

"You mean today?"

"What did you mean?" Rodney asked confused.

John looked out at the sea, then turned to Rodney. "I meant ever."

Seeing the astonishment on Rodney's face, John looked away again and added, "You know how it is. How often do you get something that you really want?"

He could still feel Rodney's eyes on him and then felt a warm hand on his shoulder.

Rodney didn't say anything, so they stood like that watching the green trees give away to the rocks that broke the waves.

John didn't know what exactly he and Rodney were in this moment or what they'd be in the future, but he knew that he would always remember this day.

Sex in a bed was great.

It was especially practical after a mission with far too little finding a useful source for the energy readings and far too much running for your life. He was tired, but too wired to sleep not to mention that Sheppard had torn up his shirt and pants on their escape in a way that Rodney would have complained about if he'd seen it in a movie, because it was just too damn hot to be real.

But John was real, and here, and had given him looks ever since they'd made it to the gate safe and relatively sound.

They'd already started getting out of jackets and vests when they entered and after dropping them moved towards the bed immediately, pushing down their pants and boxers. Sheppard lay down scrabbling backwards, while Rodney crawled over him. Their pants were stuck somewhere around their ankles and they struggled until they got them off along with their boots and socks and were naked from the waist down.

Somehow Rodney's face landed at Sheppard's neck in the process. Sheppard gasped. Rodney took in the smell of sweat and found that he didn't mind it at all. Sheppard's hands were on his ass, which wasn't a first exactly, but then he gripped Rodney's cheeks and rolled them over. It was a bit of a struggle, but he managed to push them at the same time, narrowly avoiding that they fell out of bed, until he was on top.

Rodney was still getting used to the fact that he didn't mind Sheppard above him like that. It had never bothered him, not even the first time, when he'd been a bit afraid of the whole situation, even if he had suggested it in the first place. But Sheppard had made it great, just like he had made everything great that they'd done so far.

Now Sheppard aligned their hard cocks and Rodney ground out his approval. Fuck, this was so good.

He pushed up and into Sheppard and Sheppard pushed back, grinding into him.

Rodney wanted to hold him, but he couldn't quite bring himself to put his hands on Sheppard's ass. It would somehow imply that he had designs on that ass, which... had crossed his mind, but only fleetingly. So he put his hands on Sheppard's waist, pushing at his shirt, because he wanted to feel Sheppard's skin.

Sheppard was warm and sweaty and he felt amazing and Rodney pushed his shirt up a bit more, moving his hands up Sheppard's back, while they kept thrusting against each other.

Suddenly Sheppard stopped and Rodney was about to complain, when Sheppard moved away and pulled his shirt over his head.

He'd seen Sheppard shirtless before of course, but not like this, in bed, while they were having sex. It left Rodney speechless with want and he only had a vague thought of "yes, skin!", before John was moving back down and resumed thrusting against Rodney.

It took his brain a while to catch up, but when it did, it immediately had a brilliant idea, namely pushing back Sheppard and struggling out of his own shirt. He managed with Sheppard's help and then they were completely naked in bed, pushing against each other.

Rodney pulled Sheppard down onto him, chest to chest and Sheppard moaned into the pillow next to Rodney's head. Rodney held his head with one hand, the other on Sheppard's back and moved his legs apart and then around Sheppard, just wanting him closer, because it felt so good that he couldn't get enough of it.

"Rodney!" John groaned, muffled by the pillow, and then Rodney could feel him shuddering and coming between them.

Sheppard's hand found Rodney's dick and after a few strokes Rodney came, too.

Sex in a bed was great. Naked sex in a bed was a revelation.

Sheppard took a few heavy breaths, lightly stroking Rodney's side. Then he stopped and rolled off of Rodney. Rodney found that he wouldn't have minded if he'd stayed there a little longer.

Rodney didn't think too much about his agreement with Sheppard, which really had been part of the point of it. Easy sex with no need for discussions or responsibilities or even thinking.

And mostly it was exactly like that. Except when the next mission to Planet Sex came up, Rodney felt very strange, when they entered the Club after checking on their trading partners.

Rodney had had sex every time they had visited Talum, but that had been after he'd broken up with Katie Brown. The last time had been after he and Sheppard had made their agreement, so obviously it was okay to have sex here. And yet, the last time he hadn't even given what he did with Sheppard a thought, when picking up a woman, whereas now...

Sheppard had been avoiding his gaze all day long. So maybe he felt it, too. Rodney was willing to take his pointers from him. Crazy as it sounded, he didn't think he'd mind it terribly if he didn't fuck a woman today.

Ronon and Teyla disappeared in the crowd very quickly. Sheppard sat down at the bar and Rodney stood a bit helplessly not quite sure what to do. He wasn't alone for long though, when a woman approached him. He started talking to her, told her he was just visiting and the next time he looked over at Sheppard, Sheppard was talking to a long-legged blond, who was hanging onto his every word - and his arm.

Well, that was that apparently. Rodney didn't even know why he was... well, almost disappointed. He finally got to have sex with a woman again. It was great.

She had long red hair and a body that was made for sex and apparently very intent on just that with Rodney. John watched them leave, not taking his eyes off the couple until they were out of the door. He turned back to his own company. She quickly glanced towards the entrance, through which Rodney had just disappeared, and then to John. She smiled politely and John realized that even just sitting here and talking to her took effort. And he was tired of faking it for the day.

All day he'd tried to avoid looking at Rodney. Planet Sex meant picking up a woman for the night. It was like a ritual. It was the freedom of single men, and women, to have a night of fun without consequences. But not for him. He hadn't really enjoyed it the last time. And he knew that this time he'd have to fake it all the way, very probably thinking about Rodney when he got off. There was no point in doing this to himself.

It was bad enough knowing that Rodney was having sex with someone else. John hated the thought and he hated that he hated it, because he had no right to feel this way. Their agreement was based on lack of commitment. The whole point of it was that they had some fun that didn't mean anything, that in particular allowed them to still have sex with others, like Rodney was going to at the moment.

In a way John felt he should be glad about this mission. Lately their sex had become so intimate that John couldn't imagine them going further if they were in a real relationship. Yes, they didn't kiss or fuck, but when they did what they did, there was no holding back, certainly not on Rodney's part. He pushed and pulled, his hands never still as if he couldn't get enough of John, as if he wanted John like he'd never wanted anything in his life. At this point the memories of what they did were trumping John's fantasies and it made it nearly impossible to keep perspective.

This mission helped him to refocus on the nature of their agreement. Because at this moment Rodney was fucking some pretty thing with firm breasts and killer thighs and John was probably the furthest thing on his mind.

John got up and politely declined his admirer's offer to join him.


The night was pleasantly cool and he walked towards the center of the city, clearing his mind of all thoughts. The buildings got older and the streets narrower and more uneven, as he wandered. It really was pretty and John entered an old market place with a fountain in the middle. The shapes of the two moons were reflected in the moving water.

"Beautiful, isn't it?"

He looked up to find Teyla smiling at him.

He nodded. "I've never been here before." He blushed realizing the implication, but then he noticed that it was probably too dark for her too see.

"Aleksar showed me the first time we were here."

The name sounded vaguely familiar to John, but he couldn't put a face to it. A couple walked by, arms around each other, whispering.

"Of course it is but one of the many attractions of Talum," Teyla said and he could hear the amusement in her voice.

"Oh yes," he said. "And I don't think it will be able to compete. Certainly not for McKay." He couldn't help the bitterness in his voice.

"Dr. McKay seemed very enthusiastic the first time we visited," Teyla agreed. "Although I dare say his enthusiasm has lessened considerably with time."

John wasn't sure where she got that idea. He hadn't really noticed a difference, but then again he had tried very hard to ignore Rodney all day. He also wasn't quite sure what she was trying to say.

"In fact given the chance I'm very sure he'd place his attention where his attractions lie," she continued. "I find he's much more open in what he wants than most of us."

She didn't look at him, but John didn't need to see her to know that she was talking about him. He wasn't quite sure how much she knew about what was going on between him and Rodney. It wasn't the kind of thing she'd openly address, because she knew him and it wasn't her way. It was one of the things he appreciated about her. And in any case he trusted her.

"Sometimes you just can't have what you want," he said thinking about Rodney and how even if John had suggested they spend the night together here in Talum it would still be far from what he really wanted.

"True," she conceded. "The difficulty lies in being able to determine that."

John wished there was something to determine in his case. But he wanted the impossible. So he preferred not to dwell on it, not to even think about it or put a name on it. Instead he tried to think of Rodney having sex with someone else, tried to think of it without bitterness and jealousy, as something that a friend enjoyed. And he should be happy or at least not unhappy if his friend had great sex, shouldn't he?

It wasn't so much great as okay. Well, it was good, really, but Rodney found that he apparently hadn't missed fucking a woman as much as he thought he would. It seemed his body was perfectly satisfied with the regular encounters he had with Sheppard.

Maybe all sex was good sex for a guy, even if it was with another guy and you were actually into women.

Sheppard was still very quiet and polite the next day. Well, okay, it was just a bit awkward, when you knew that the person you were regularly sleeping with, had slept with someone else the night before.

Still he hoped the weirdness would be over once they were back. He was really looking forward to being in bed with Sheppard again. The thought was much more arousing than the whole of last night had been.

It was probably the fact that Sheppard knew his body so much better than a stranger and could do amazing things with just a flick of his tongue on the right spot. It was natural that the greater experience they had with each other made sex with Sheppard so much better.

They had found the documents on building ZPMs a week ago.

John hadn't had sex with Rodney for 8 days. 8 days and 14 hours to be exact, which he really shouldn't know, but did, because he missed sex with Rodney.

He had thought that their latest visit to Planet Sex would make it easier to really get it into his brain that they were just fuck buddies who helped each other out. Rodney had found himself a red-head with all the curves that John didn't have. And if Rodney ever found such a thing on Atlantis their little arrangement would be over, so John would do well to get used to that already. Or better yet, to not get used to sex with Rodney at all.

The last week had reacquainted him with the pleasures of his own hand. Unfortunately he couldn't really call it a success in emancipation from Rodney, because even though he had really tried, more often than not, what had gotten him off in the end had been thinking about Rodney.

God, he missed Rodney. And not just the sex. He'd only seen him twice in staff meetings where his brief appearance had amounted to "We're making progress. Must get back to the lab. Zelenka will fill you in on the rest."

He spent more time with Teyla and Ronon, and they were great but a lifted eyebrow or a grunt just weren't the same as Rodney's comebacks. He missed having someone who'd let himself be riled up and then retaliate. And Elizabeth was nice, but just had no sense of humor about certain things.

It was pretty late and he should probably go to bed, but eventually he gave in and made his way to check in on Rodney.


He found him in the lab. Rodney looked tired, but not exactly unhappy.

"Hey," John said leaning on the desk, next to the screen Rodney was watching.

"Colonel," Rodney said, a smile forming on his lips.

John smiled back. It was nice to know that he wasn't entirely unwelcome, even if he wasn't as important as whatever Rodney was doing right now.

"Things are still going well?"

"Yes! Well, not exactly. What we found is the equivalent of a stack of papers with notes all over, but without any order, reference or priority. I spent all of Tuesday trying to work out some equations only to find out that they were actually about the energy distribution in the living quarters. Which I've been able to improve by 17% by the way, but it didn't help at all with our goal, so..."

"Frustrating, huh?" John said, standing up and putting a hand on Rodney's shoulder.

"Very," Rodney sighed, leaning his head towards John's hand.

It was sort of cute and John wanted to stroke his cheek. Instead he moved his hand away, moving his fingers against Rodney's cheek in what could be an accident if Rodney was inclined to call him on it. He wasn't.

He slumped forward in his chair.

"I don't suppose you want some... distraction," John asked, more than willing to cheer him up a bit.

Rodney turned around to him with big hopeful eyes. Then he shook his head. "I really, really, really do, but I can't leave. This analysis will be done any moment now and it might be the clue we've been looking for." He turned towards the door of the empty lab. "And when someone comes in we'd have about 4 seconds to pretend you just stopped by the lab, which isn't enough even if we only..." he looked at John's crotch longingly.

John smiled. Rodney smiled back sadly and turned around again to the screen that still wasn't displaying any results.

John put his hands on Rodney's shoulders and Rodney leaned back against them.

When John started kneading his shoulders, Rodney sighed contentedly. John moved down and began massaging Rodney's back. It was good to hear Rodney's little noises of approval. It reminded him of the sex they couldn't have.

When Rodney began groaning and said, "God, your hands are amazing," John moved once more down his spine before removing his hands.

"Wha?" Rodney said, turning around.

"Four seconds," John said. A look at Rodney's groin confirmed that they were dangerously close to doing things they shouldn't.

Rodney seemed to notice it, too, because he flushed and then looked up at John dejectedly. Then his expression softened and he pulled John down to him by the back of his neck.

John's heart sped up. Kissing Rodney was what he wanted most of the things they weren't doing. But then Rodney stopped, his lips only inches away from John's.

"Thank you," he whispered and John could feel his breath on his lips.

Rodney let go of his neck and John straightened himself and left with a shaky smile on his lips.

Two days later Rodney came to him late at night.

"It's not going to happen. It's bits and pieces of information, but not enough. Not what we need to build our own ZPM."

He looked so pitiful that John took him in his arms. Rodney hugged him back.

After they'd stood like that for a while, Rodney slowly pushed John's shirt up. John pulled back to look at Rodney.

Rodney looked at him, need plainly written in his face. "Please."

John nodded. They stepped away from each other and got out of their clothes. Then Rodney moved him onto the bed and John went willingly, pulling Rodney with him.

It had only been 10 days, but it felt like so much longer. Rodney ran his hands all over John's body as if re-discovering him. And John hung onto every whimper Rodney made as John conducted his own explorations.

When Rodney ended up lying on top of him, face in John's neck, moaning "I missed you", John nearly couldn't bear it anymore.

It was just sex. They were just fuck buddies. 'Think of Planet Sex,' he reminded himself. But even that didn't have the desired result because even though it brought back that Rodney had had a one-night stand, it also reminded John that he himself hadn't because he had wanted Rodney that night as he always wanted Rodney. Only Rodney. But he couldn't have him.

He would never really have him, even if Rodney was murmuring words of encouragement into his neck and ground his hard cock into John's groin.

Rodney's hips stuttered and he came, moaning "God, Sheppard" into John's neck and John almost hated his last name then, because he'd never be John to Rodney.

Rodney loved this. It was more than enjoying sex and it was more than not minding that John was a guy.

Being close to John was incredible. He should have felt crowded lying beneath him, but Rodney only felt protected and... loved, even if he knew that what they were doing wasn't about love.

He was attracted to John. And it wasn't just that John knew dozens of ways to drive him crazy with want. Rodney thought about the things he was going to do to John. He had begun masturbating to thoughts of Sheppard a while ago, but now the appearance of Samantha Carter or another woman was the exception and not the rule.

Rodney didn't just want sex, he wanted John. He realized that this probably meant that he wasn't quite straight, but strangely the thought didn't bother Rodney.

It wasn't like he'd never noticed guys before. He'd simply thought that was normal and dismissed it. He'd overheard women discussing the looks of other women and had thought that guys simply didn't talk about this kind of thing. But now he figured he might always have been bisexual.

He'd kissed a guy in high school, when he'd suspected he might swing both ways. But it had been terrible, so he'd put it behind him as unsuccessful experimentation.

He thought kissing Sheppard would be different. He was almost sure of it and part of him really wanted to find out. But they didn't do this. Sheppard hadn't once tried to kiss him. So Rodney figured it might be something that he only did with people that he really liked.

And there was a small part of him that was afraid that if he kissed Sheppard, it would be as bad as with Kenneth Niedermeyer or that he'd simply feel nothing. He didn't want to do anything that would ever make him feel indifferent about John.

So Rodney pulled John close, face in his neck but not touching him with his mouth, and let John moan into the pillow next to his head, even if it felt almost awkward at times not to kiss him when they did this.

And sometimes when he masturbated he imagined John grabbing him and closing the distance between their mouths. Rodney would do it. If John wanted it, too.

It hadn't been anything in particular that had led to this moment.

Rodney had come over after leaving the lab. They'd started undressing each other and Rodney had pulled John with him onto the bed on top of him.

He couldn't deny Rodney this closeness.

Rodney didn't mind the blow jobs and it was easier for John if they weren't too close. But Rodney wanted other things, too. Sometimes he held onto John as if he never wanted let him go or gripped him as if he wanted to crawl inside John.

It was driving John crazy. Trying not to want what he couldn't have. Having what he shouldn't want. And through all of it Rodney had no idea.

So when Rodney pulled him close now, John couldn't really move down and away to blow him. And he didn't want to. He wanted to lie on top of Rodney, so that their skin touched from neck to toe. He wanted to feel Rodney's hands run over his body and his breath in his neck. He wanted all of that and so much more.

He tried to push the thought away as always and just concentrate on feeling Rodney beneath him. It felt so good. They were so good together, moving against each other, as if they were one.

Rodney's hand gripped his head close and he thrust up, moaning, and John let out a "Rodney!".

When he heard Rodney's answering "John!", John froze.

It was stupid and ridiculous, but Rodney had never once called him that, not when they were having sex, not ever. It was just his name, the one that just about everyone on Atlantis who was close to him had used at one time or another. Everyone, except Rodney.

Rodney suddenly stopped thrusting, too.

"Is everything all right?" he asked, turning his head towards John's.

'You called me John,' was what he thought, but he couldn't say it, couldn't tell Rodney that it meant the world to him. But he had to tell Rodney something, so he blurted out the first thing on his mind.

It turned out to be, "Can I kiss you?"

As soon as the words were out of his mouth, John cursed inwardly. Rodney looked at him as if he was wondering if John had somehow lost his marbles on their last mission.

But then he said, "Of course," puzzled.

John couldn't immediately process it. He was allowed to kiss Rodney. His heart was beginning to beat so fast that Rodney was surely going to drag him to Keller any moment now. But he couldn't miss this opportunity.

He leaned forward and without further hesitation pressed his lips onto Rodney's.

Rodney's lips were dry and when John opened his mouth they didn't move at first. John held his breath, waiting for a reaction, waiting for Rodney's permission in more than words.

Then it was as if something was switched on in Rodney. His lips parted eagerly, and his fingers ran through John's hair, holding him in place as Rodney kissed back as if he had waited as long for this as John.

John moved his head, trying to get the best angle, when he felt Rodney's tongue slip into his mouth. His own tongue pressed forward and a wave of emotion crashed through his whole body. He was filled by a tangle of passion and affection and need that was almost too overwhelming.

His fingers wandered up Rodney's neck into his hair to hold him in a way John had never dared to before. Their bodies were moving against each other, but it was all part of the kiss that John had waited for so long.

It seemed like a lifetime ago that he'd pulled the gag away from Rodney's mouth and first done this. He'd been so eager and happily surprised that he hadn't noticed that Rodney hadn't really reacted. Now John cataloged every motion of Rodney's lips, every push of his tongue as it explored John.

When Rodney moaned, John had to pull away for a second to look at Rodney and smile. But Rodney would have none of it. He pulled John close again, leaning up at the same time, and the idea that Rodney wanted this so badly, wanted him so badly, broke something in John.

His hands grabbed Rodney, his arm, his shoulder, his waist, anywhere John could reach to pull him closer. Their legs became entangled and their bodies started moving again. To John, it almost seemed like desperation that drove them.

And maybe that wasn't so far off. John couldn't believe how long he'd waited for this. Or maybe not waited, but hoped. Although not even his wildest fantasies could compare to the reality of Rodney writhing beneath him, straining against John's body and making deep noises in the back of his throat that seemed to transfer through their mouths straight into John's core.

Their mouths kept moving, against each other and sometimes apart, just long enough to take a breath, immediately seeking each other out again.

Rodney's hips started thrusting against him more purposefully. John groaned as the friction of his dick against Rodney brought him to full hardness. One of Rodney's hands moved from John's hair, down his back to his ass, and John began thrusting harder, because Rodney beneath him, on him and in him drove him out of his mind.

He sucked on Rodney's tongue and Rodney whimpered and his hips jerked irregularly and then he moaned into John's mouth and John could feel him coming between them.

He kept pushing against Rodney and when he felt Rodney move the hand on his ass around and between them towards John's dick, John intercepted it and clasped their fingers together. He wanted this to last. He wanted this to never end.

Rodney squeezed John's fingers and held him and didn't stop kissing him and John was so grateful that he would have fallen in love with Rodney if it wasn't far too late for that.

He took his time, never allowing himself enough friction to push him over the edge, until it simply happened, and orgasm washed over him in a soft wave, shuddering through his whole body.

Afterwards John simply turned them around and kept kissing Rodney. Because he could.

Eventually their lips were swollen and they were exhausted. They let go and plopped down lying half on their backs, half on their sides, squeezed together on the narrow bed.

"Oh God," Rodney said.

John just kept panting.

"Why didn't you do this before?" Rodney asked.

"Why me? You could have done it," John pointed out, rather not thinking about the lost time.

"I wasn't sure it would be okay. It could have been an 'I don't kiss on the mouth' thing!"

John turned to lie sideways so that he could look at Rodney. "That's whores and I'm not pretty woman." But he smiled as he said it.

Rodney turned sideways, too, so that they lay opposite each other. He just looked at John for a moment. "I'm glad you asked."

"So am I," John said, putting a hand on Rodney's hip and stroking it gently.

"I never quite know where to put my head when we do it like that. It's much more convenient now."

John laughed. Leave it Rodney to find the practical application in kissing.

"And I can do this now," Rodney said with a wide smile.

John prepared himself for more kissing, but then Rodney jumped out of bed and started putting on his clothes.

John could come up with absolutely nothing that would require Rodney to get out of bed in order to kiss him again.

When Rodney was done, he turned to John and said, "Thank you," as always. Then he leaned forward and kissed John. "See? Feels much more natural than just getting up and leaving like..."

"A whore?" John said with a grin. He couldn't help teasing Rodney. He was too happy not to.

"Would you stop using that word? 'Like it means nothing' I was going to say," Rodney said with a huff.

John's smile softened. It meant everything.

"I mean, I know this is not a real... well, relationship, which is good, because it's what we both want, but in a way it is, because we have a relationship. As colleagues. And friends. Friends with benefits. Great benefits. So it's nice to... not just leave after enjoying said benefits."

John stared at Rodney. He could kiss him for this. Then he realized that he could kiss him and pulled him down by the front of his shirt.

By the time he let him go, Rodney was dizzy and John felt rightfully smug about it.

John watched him go.

He settled into his pillow replaying everything in his head. From the moment that Rodney had finally called him by his first name to the stumbling declaration of... something. Not love. Maybe not even more than what they had always been from the moment they started this. But it still meant something to John.

It meant that they both had some feelings invested into what they did. Even if Rodney's weren't love.

John wasn't afraid to call it that anymore. He'd been in love with Rodney for a while now, possibly since before the accident on P3X-937. And it felt good to admit it, even if only to himself. Maybe he could stop fighting himself so hard now. Because really, it was okay to be in love.

It was more than okay. It was wonderful. And what made it even more wonderful was that suddenly the things that had seemed impossible before simply happened. Rodney called him John. Rodney kissed him. Rodney called what they had a relationship. It was hard not to believe that maybe even his other fantasies could come true, too.

Rodney plopped down on his bed and just lay there, grinning madly.

He had no idea what had made John ask to kiss him, but it had been great. It had been more than great. No, great wasn't even close to what it was.

His fears about kissing John had been ungrounded. He had felt something. The kiss was right up there with the best kisses he could remember. April Bingham, Vera Featherstone, Katja Sidorov. And now John Sheppard. The first guy in that list.

Yes, Rodney was willing to admit that he wasn't straight. Actually he was quite happy to admit it. He'd always thought that being bisexual would be a great thing, because... more opportunities for sex! Sex with guys. Fucking John.

God, he'd really love to fuck John. He'd have to work himself up to reciprocating on that, but he thought eventually he would give it a try. He trusted John.

And in the mean time there was more kissing to look forward to. Maybe next time they'd move on from mouths to nipples. John had touched his in passing, but Rodney had longed to feel his mouth on them.

Today had been the ticket to a better sex life in the future and he couldn't wait for the next time.

Rodney was greeted with a kiss as soon as the door to John's room closed the next evening.

He wrapped his arms around John and melted into the kiss. John pushed him back into the wall and kissed his way down Rodney's neck. Yes. This had been what he had been looking forward to.

John's hands snuck under Rodney's shirt touching his skin as if he was mapping it. His mouth worked its way back to Rodney's and he pushed his tongue inside. Rodney pushed back. God, they really should have done this much sooner.

John kissed down the other side of his neck and Rodney's nipples hardened in anticipation.

When John reached them under his shirt, Rodney moved him away just long enough to pull the shirt over his head. John's mouth was back on his neck in an instant and when it started moving Rodney sighed.

John kissed down his neck towards his waiting nipple. No, not further down. Sideways along his shoulder.

John apparently wanted to be thorough. Rodney really wanted his mouth further down his body. He knew that pushing him down would be very impolite, so he waited. And waited.

John's mouth moved along his shoulder inch by inch, with open-mouthed kisses, while his hands were wandering up and down his back. It was really nice. At the rate it was going it hardly counted as foreplay though. And when Rodney had thought about what a great addition to his sex life this would be he had meant addition not replacement.

"Is there going to be sex at any point in the near future?" he asked, not able to hold back his impatience any longer.

John froze, lips somewhere in the middle of Rodney's shoulder. Then he dropped to his knees and quickly opened Rodney's fly.

Rodney wanted to take back his words, but he didn't really know what to say. He was bad at this sort of thing. This wasn't what he had wanted. Well, it was, but not like this.

John opened up his mouth and swallowed almost all of Rodney's dick down.

Rodney couldn't help the groan. It was great. John blowing him was always great, even if it was like this, when he didn't even have his hands on Rodney.

This was sex, but everything about it felt off. It felt like the very beginning when they had started this half a year ago. When Rodney had never touched a man like this and John had been careful.

This wasn't them anymore. They hadn't been this since long before the kiss. And if kissing led to misunderstandings that led to this, it just wasn't worth it.

God, why had he opened his damn mouth. Although it wasn't his fault. He shouldn't have to watch his mouth. He never had to with John. This was the difference between their arrangement and every damn relationship that Rodney had ever had.

This was simple and easy and never supposed to get complicated.

John sucked him vigorously now.

"John," Rodney said half desperation, half passion.

John didn't slow down. He knew all of Rodney's weak spots and he hit them all, making Rodney come with a moan.

John swallowed it all, as he always had.

When he let Rodney slip from his mouth, Rodney dropped down to his knees and kissed John. John kissed him back, tentatively. Rodney could taste himself in John's mouth for the first time, but more important than that new sensation was for John to understand.

Rodney kept kissing him and pushed his hands below John's shirt, running them up and down his sides and his back. That was the sex that they had.

He pulled away and pushed off John's shirt, kissing his neck, then down his chest to one nipple. He laved it with his tongue and a small moan escaped John's lips.

Rodney was so happy that he looked up and kissed him again. John's look was still far too blank, as if he was closing himself off from this, from Rodney.

Rodney pushed John back until he lay on the floor and then opened his pants and pushed them down with his boxers. He took John's half-hard dick into his mouth and began sucking him.

He started carefully stroking John's balls with one hand while the other looked for John's hand. When he'd found it, he clasped them together.

Rodney knew John by now, too and had him hard in no time.

He wanted to hear John, wanted to make him groan in pleasure, but John kept it inside, only allowing his arousal to show in his harsh breathing and the way his hips lifted up, when he thrust into Rodney's mouth.

He was quiet even when he came.

Rodney swallowed and licked him clean, then kissed the head of John's dick, then his stomach, chest and eventually his mouth.

John kissed him back, but when Rodney looked at him, John's eyes were still devoid of any emotion.

"Thank you," Rodney said, trying to put as much emotion into it as he could and somehow willing the words to convey 'I'm sorry' and 'Please be okay again' and 'I don't want to lose this'.

John would call himself an idiot, but the word wasn't strong enough. He didn't think there was a word strong enough to describe what he was.

He wasn't sure what he had been thinking. That they'd suddenly start having lazy evenings in bed, make-out sessions on their day off, dinners and whatever else it was that people did who had sex, but weren't just fuck buddies?

Of course this was still about sex! It had been the whole point of their agreement. And the fact that Rodney might actually enjoy kissing him, which John was still pretty sure he did, didn't change that. Nothing had changed at all.

They'd simply opened up their sex portfolio a bit.

That and John was in love with Rodney. But even that wasn't new. And in the end it didn't matter one bit what he felt. It wasn't as if he was going to face Rodney and dramatically declare his love and that he wanted all or nothing.

They had sex. It was what they both wanted. And if John wanted more, that was his problem and not Rodney's. John knew that Rodney felt bad about saying anything. And John had no right to make him feel that way, not when Rodney had just pointed out what had been the basis of their relationship from the very beginning.

He wouldn't give Rodney reason to feel bad again. Rodney wanted sex. John wanted that, too. So he'd give Rodney sex. Rodney might not want more from this relationship, but John figured he wouldn't mind more sex.

John longed to feel Rodney inside of him. So he'd let Rodney fuck him.

Because when it came down to it, getting what you wanted was simply taking what you could get.

Rodney was frantic.

A day ago life had looked wonderful. He was a bisexual genius looking forward to experience his newfound sexuality with the hottest guy on Atlantis.

Now he'd possibly managed to fuck everything up. Sheppard hadn't actually treated him any differently, but then again, he'd been able to hide it after the accident and when they started this whole thing. Rodney just had to admit that he couldn't read Sheppard at all, when he didn't want to be read.

Rodney hoped that it would be okay. But the problem was, he still didn't know what exactly he had done wrong. He hadn't meant to complain about Sheppard kissing him. He liked it. He wanted more of it. He had looked forward to a lot of kissing with him. He simply hadn't wanted just kissing and that wasn't a crime, was it?

It didn't mean that he wanted to go back to the more impersonal, technical encounters they'd had in the beginning. And it sure as hell didn't mean he wanted them to stop. This was what Rodney was really afraid of.

He knew it so well from his past relationships, that point when he'd said or done something that had upset his girlfriend and that he simply couldn't fix because he didn't get it. He had so hoped to avoid this with Sheppard in the first place, but now that it had happened he simply hoped they could get past it.

It would be so unfair if it stopped now that Rodney had admitted to himself that he was into guys as well as women. Of course he'd still have that realization and he supposed he could start dating men, but the truth was he didn't really think that would work a whole lot better than dating women and somehow it didn't feel right.

It should be John. He had made Rodney see that he could enjoy a hairy, muscled chest as much as nice breasts. It was his cock that Rodney had learned to enjoy in his hand, in his mouth, hardening and pulsing. And it should be John, who took him the rest of the way on his journey.

He wanted it to be John.

God, he didn't want to lose John.

After two days of trying to come up with ways to apologize, Rodney decided he'd simply have to face John and try his best to make him not want to stop this.

When John opened the door, Rodney pulled him into a kiss even before the door closed. It was the only thing he could think of to stop John from saying it was over.

But then John put his arms around him and returned the kiss and Rodney sighed in relief and because kissing John was still great.

After a short while John pushed Rodney's shirt up and over his head. Then he pulled him into another kiss, while his hand opened his fly and slid into Rodney's boxers.

John's head drifted down Rodney's body, peppering his neck and chest with kisses, and then Rodney finally had John's mouth on his nipple.

Rodney sighed happily. He'd almost given up hope that he could have this, ready to accept anything from John, even if they'd go back to hand and blow jobs. Anything would have been better than giving John up, but this wasn't just anything. This was amazing.

John pulled away and stepped backwards towards the bed, pulling Rodney with him by the hem of his boxers. Rodney tripped forward since his pants were already around his ankles. Once at the bed he stepped out of them.

John pushed Rodney's boxers down as well, and undid Rodney's shoes. Once Rodney was naked, John kissed him again.

Then he pulled back and grinned, got out of his shirt and turned around before pushing down his own pants and boxers. He stood so close to Rodney that Rodney's quickly hardening dick slid between John's legs and he'd just have to align himself and push and... Rodney shuddered in pleasure.

John pushed back a bit and shot a lascivious look over his shoulder before moving away from Rodney's dick to slip off his shoes. He lay down on the bed, propped up on one elbow. Then he let his legs fall apart and made a come-hither motion with his hand.

Rodney blinked twice. He'd fantasized about something like this, except that his fantasies had nothing on the reality of John Sheppard lying wanton in his bed apparently only waiting for Rodney. Rodney shut his mouth, which had fallen open at some point and scrambled up to the bed, in between John's legs.

John put a hand behind his neck and pulled Rodney close. Rodney opened his mouth for another kiss, but John stopped his mouth an inch from Rodney's.

"Fuck me," he whispered.

Rodney could feel the heat of the words and John's breath and it went straight through his body to his dick. He couldn't help the involuntary bucking of his hips against nothing.

Then John pulled him fully down on him and kissed him again.

Rodney opened his mouth and his hips began thrusting against John as if he were inside of him already. He couldn't believe it. He didn't just get to keep doing what he'd done with John, he could actually fuck him.

John put one hand on Rodney's ass, pressing firmly, and Rodney stopped thrusting.

"Should I prepare myself the first time?" John asked casually and God, if he continued like this, it would be over before they'd really started.

Rodney pulled away, letting John get a tube of lube out of his drawer. Then he watched as John squirted it on his hand. John put the tube away and rubbed three fingers in the lube, before reaching down.

Rodney stared transfixed as John lifted his legs and spread them a bit more, then held cock and balls in one hand so that Rodney could see how he inserted one finger into his ass.

Rodney's hand went to his own cock, pressing firmly to keep himself from coming. This was the hottest thing he'd ever seen in his life.

John moved his finger around, then out before going back in with two. He started moving his hips around his fingers and moaned.

"Can I?" Rodney asked, because he wanted to touch John badly.

"Sure," John said, smiling at Rodney, then turning to get the lube.

Rodney took it from him, squirted it on his hand and rubbed his fingers in it like John had. Then John pulled out his fingers and took Rodney's hand in his, clasping their fingers together except two.

John was tight and hot and amazing and Rodney couldn't imagine what it would feel like to have his dick inside of him. John guided their fingers deeper and the angle was really awkward to him, so Rodney tried to push on his own and John moved his hips up and towards Rodney until Rodney felt a little nub and John groaned loudly.

"Want you inside," he panted and Rodney nodded, because yes, he wanted that, too.

John pulled out his own finger and said, "Three fingers please," moving his hips against Rodney's finger.

Rodney complied, pulling out and carefully pushing back in with three fingers. God, John was tight. He had no idea how he was going to fit in there.

"Stretch me," John ground out, which Rodney was trying, scissoring his fingers inside John's tight ass.

"That's enough," John said eventually.

Rodney wasn't so sure about that. John was still very tight, but he trusted John knew what he was doing, even if Rodney didn't. He pulled out his fingers.

John moved to turn around, but Rodney put a hand on his hips.

John looked at him questioningly.

"I want to see you," Rodney said, feeling stupid, but he couldn't help himself. He was nervous enough as it was. He really needed to see John's face for reassurance.

John looked at him, his features softening into a gentle smile, then he pulled him down into a kiss again and Rodney tried not to think about where the wet fingers against his neck had been.

When they moved apart, John took the pillow and positioned it under his ass.

Rodney moved between his legs. They were spread in invitation for Rodney. His cock was more than ready to accept. Then he remembered the lube and squirted some more on his hand to slick up his dick generously.

He looked down at John, who looked up at him, anticipation in his eyes. Rodney took a second to appreciate this moment. It was the first time he was fucking a man. It was the first time he was fucking this amazing man.

He aligned his cock with John's hole and John pulled back his legs, so that Rodney only had to push.

There were no words for what he felt when he sank into John, although sinking wasn't quite appropriate. John was so incredibly tight Rodney really had to push. But then he was inside and going deeper and deeper into the tight heat until he couldn't go any deeper.

Fuck, he was inside John. He looked up at John's face and what he saw looked almost like gratitude.

John moved his legs around Rodney and lifted his upper body. Rodney met him halfway in a kiss. It was a short sweet kiss. This position had to be hell on John's back. He lay back down and Rodney started to thrust into him.

"You're so tight," he said.

"It's been a while," John answered.

He'd done this before. Of course he had. But Rodney didn't want to think about John with other men. He only wanted to enjoy this moment. He continued pushing into the tight heat, trying to keep up a steady rhythm, even though it brought him closer to completion much faster than he wanted it to. John started moving beneath him and used his legs and hands to adjust Rodney, encouraging him. Rodney tried different angles and then John froze and groaned and Rodney knew this was the right one.

He kept fucking him like this, reveling in the noises John made, moans of pleasure, whimpers and "Yes," and "Oh God" and "Rodney", louder and louder.

Doing this to John, making him feel this way was almost as good as what he felt himself. John's legs were enveloping him, his arms kept stroking Rodney in irregular patterns. John was everywhere and he was inside John, so deep, as if he could be a part of him. And God, he wanted that, wanted to lose himself in John.

Rodney tried to hold on, tried not to come before John, even though the tightness and John's noises drove him crazy. He fucked harder and faster and eventually, getting an idea, reached out and gripped John's cock, jacking up and down a couple of times until he came.

It was a shock to feel John come around his cock and Rodney stuttered and yelped and came, shooting deep inside John until he was utterly spent.

He slid out and dropped down on John's chest. John somehow extracted the pillow from beneath him and put it beneath his head. Then he slipped his arms around Rodney and kissed his forehead.

Rodney put his arms around John, hugging him tightly.

"Thank you," he said.

"Thank you," John answered.

Rodney turned his face up to him and their gaze locked and they both moved into a kiss.

Life was good. Rodney couldn't remember when he'd last felt so at peace with the situation in his life.

It wasn't perfect. He was still in a galaxy where life-sucking space vamps, specifically cultured monsters and intelligent micro robots were trying to kill them.

But for now they were safe. And he still had John and John had forgiven him and things weren't weird and he'd for once gotten over that moment in a relationship and it had been as easy as everything with John was.

And now he got to fuck him, too.

Rodney didn't think it would be reasonable to expect life to be more perfect. And he was a reasonable and perfectly content bisexual man.

It had been good to be fucked again. And it had been good to be fucked by Rodney.

They were two different things, but he got them both and would continue to get them. That and maybe more.

Rodney kissed after sex and John had held him for a long while, loving the feel of Rodney on top of him after he'd had him inside of him. In that moment he could pretend that what they did was more than it really was. But he wouldn't complain. He'd play his part in this game and if he cheated himself, that was his business alone.

When Ronon brought the orange juice to their table the morning after the Daedalus had restocked them, John decided not to drink any. He wasn't sure if it would really be as deadly as Rodney claimed, but he wasn't taking any chances now that there was actually a possibility that Rodney would come into contact with it when they kissed.

Besides, the best part about orange juice had been the mixture of fear and anger in Rodney's look and that it never failed to illicit his glare.

It was the same today, when he joined them and growled something about citrus death. He sat as far away as possible from the offending liquid.

"The Daedalus has managed to bring another handful of so-called scientists," Rodney began to no one in particular.

Ronon poured himself some more orange juice, lifting the decanter more than was strictly necessary. Rodney spared him a glare before continuing.

"It's as if they've never seen an Ancient lab before, which, okay, they haven't." Ronon offered to pour some for John but he declined with a wave of his hand, listening to Rodney droning on. "But Elizabeth made me write over 20 pages of introductory text, which was apparently an exercise in pointlessness. I really don't see why Radek cannot-"

He stopped mid-sentence, staring at John. Then he looked at the juice and back at John at something like awe appeared on his face.

John squirmed uncomfortably in his seat. He was just being practical.

When Rodney started looking like he would get up and kiss John right there in the mess, John got up, took his yogurt and fled.

He sat down in his office and stared out of the window.

It wasn't as if he was trying to be romantic or anything. Hell, he'd tried that or something like it and look how that had turned out. There was no reason for Rodney to make such a big deal out of this.

But apparently Rodney thought differently about that, because when John heard a noise and turned towards the door, Rodney entered and closed it behind him. Then he stalked towards John in a few quick strides, said "Thank you" and kissed him wetly on the mouth.

John was still contemplating what to say to that, when Rodney asked if he was still eating that, pointing at the yogurt, and then took it and left before waiting for an answer.

Maybe it wasn't a big deal, but he'd done it for Rodney and if Rodney appreciated it that wasn't so bad.

Suddenly John realized that it was the first time Rodney had kissed him when they were not having sex.

Rodney principally put any mission that didn't end with him nearly dying from killing or boredom in the good column.

Enterak had some interesting technology, good food, friendly natives.

It also had a chieftain who had a son, who looked like sunshine and sex and vanilla ice cream. His hair was blond, his eyes blue, his smile wide, but not insincere and he wore an outfit that exposed a generous amount of his tanned skin. Rodney wanted to lick him all over.

And wasn't that a nice revelation. Ertan was the kind of guy that he would have noticed even before he realized that he was bisexual. But now he could qualify it correctly as attraction. Not that it was very hard to qualify it as that.

Rodney challenged anyone who was remotely interested in guys not to be attracted by him. Teyla had an appreciative smile on her lips and even Ronon looked impressed. And Sheppard... was watching Rodney.

Rodney flushed a bit, but then realized that John's look was more amused than mocking. He actually looked understanding as if he knew exactly what went through Rodney's head. And maybe he did.

Rodney smiled at John, just wanting to express his gratitude for enriching his life in the way he had.

It was something that he'd never forget, no matter what would happen with them in the future.

John sighed. So now Rodney wasn't just drooling about women, but about other guys, too.

Not that he couldn't understand it. If he wasn't so hopelessly in love with Rodney, he wouldn't mind spending a night or two with Ertan. And Rodney hadn't actually made a move on him, either. He was probably just admiring the view from afar.

That was something that John could easily accept. So he took it in stride and went to stand close behind Rodney as they watched Teyla discuss negotiating procedures with Ertan and his father.

"Enjoying the view?" he asked teasingly into Rodney's ear.

"Tell me you don't," Rodney answered, head turning around to John, eyebrows raised in challenge.

"I'm gonna ride you tonight," John whispered and Rodney spluttered and turned fully around to face John and John was willing to bet he had forgotten that Ertan existed for the moment.


John made good on his promise that night, moving up and down on Rodney's cock, hands and eyes locked with Rodney's.

Rodney was squirming beneath him, hips shifting up, and murmuring John's name and "You're so fucking hot".

For a while John allowed himself to feel as if Rodney belonged to him. He imagined that Rodney only pushed like he did now into John. That Rodney pulled him down into a kiss, because John was the only one for him. That when he said, "Yes," he meant 'Always' and when he whispered John's name he meant 'Forever'. Of course he knew it wasn't true and that when he left he couldn't even expect Rodney not to think about Ertan or anyone else.

But John also knew that Rodney was only thinking about John right now and that had to be enough.

Rodney almost wished they'd sent a different team to Talum this time.

While he caught up with the natives' progress on the purifying machines, he couldn't help thinking about later when the team traditionally went to the get-your-one-night-stand-here bar.

The last time he'd had sex here had felt strangely unnecessary. Now, he was pretty sure that he didn't actually want to have sex with anyone else.

For Rodney the great thing about sex on Planet Sex had simply been that he could have sex. It wasn't the adventure of going on the prowl or going especially wild, because he didn't know the person. Which meant that now that he actually had amazing sex pretty much whenever he wanted, the idea of looking around for a decent fuck had simply no appeal.

On the other hand it would be incredibly awkward to let the team go alone. Hell, he didn't want Sheppard to think that he somehow did this for him and expected him to stay away, too. Rodney had to admit that he wasn't exactly looking forward to watching John leave with one of the pretty women who attached themselves to him as soon as he entered.

But if he was honest, he'd never liked to see that, even long before they started having sex. The thought of Chaya could still make his blood boil.

However that didn't mean that he expected Sheppard not to have sex when he had the opportunity and wanted it. And there was no reason why he wouldn't want it.

It was no strings attached sex with a woman and even though Rodney himself didn't see the specific appeal, when he was having regular sex with John, Sheppard might. After all he had always enjoyed attracting the fairer sex, plus he didn't get to fuck Rodney. Rodney couldn't help a pang of jealousy. He had begun to think about being fucked by John, but he hadn't quite worked himself up to suggesting they try. Now he had an extra incentive: If John fucked Rodney, he wouldn't have to have sex with someone else on Planet Sex.

Of course it still wouldn't be the same as sex with a woman, Rodney had to admit, so it might not actually change a thing. And either way, Rodney knew that the women John fucked on Planet Sex didn't mean anything to him. In true Kirk manner they were gone and forgotten by the time the intrepid heroes left to go home. Together.


They split up immediately after they entered the bar as they usually did.

Rodney saw how John politely turned down his first admirers before he sat down at the bar next to a pretty brunette.

Rodney looked away. He didn't need to seem them leave together. He supposed he could simply stay here and have a few drinks before going to bed alone.

He moved away from the main room to a smaller room in the back. He'd never been there before, because he'd always gotten lucky pretty fast. It was more quiet here and darker. There was another bar and Rodney was about to sit down, when a corner of the room caught his eye.

There were only men talking over there.

Arousal shot through him, gone as quickly as it had come. He could pick up a guy.

An image of being pressed up against a wall by some stranger came to his mind. It was hot, but Rodney knew himself well enough to dismiss that as a fantasy. If he really did this he needed to be in control.

Part of him wanted to do it. He was bisexual, but he'd only had sex with one guy so far, not counting that long ago threesome. And he'd started having sex with Sheppard before his realization, when he was still straight. Since then he'd felt attracted to other guys, like Ertan, but attraction and sex were two different things.

Being attracted to guys meant he was bisexual theoretically. Actually having sex with guys would prove that theory. Maybe it would turn out that he was straight after all. Well, straight and really into sex with his male best friend. But his feelings for John had always been outside of Rodney's experience level. They could simply be a fluke.


His name was Toma. Rodney told him three times that he wouldn't bottom before they left. Then he fucked him from behind.

It was nice. Toma was pretty hot.

When he came, Rodney thought about John.

John saw him leave with a guy. Tall, handsome, well-built. He left shortly afterwards, alone.


The next time when he met up with Rodney, before they joined Teyla and Ronon for breakfast, John was determined not to let anything show.

Rodney was free to do what he wanted. And if it was a native Adonis, so be it.

He knocked on Rodney's door. It opened and Rodney quickly checked his room for anything he might have forgotten, before coming out. When he faced John, he flushed.

So this was awkward.

"She was very pretty," Rodney said in what was probably the worst attempt at casual John had ever heard.


"Your... the woman at the bar." Was it John or did he actually sound jealous?

"We just talked," John said truthfully.

"Oh, so someone else. Not the blonde with the..." Rodney gestured down his legs. John looked puzzled. "From last time," Rodney clarified.

"Rodney, there was no one last time or this time," John said, trying to keep the exasperation from his voice.

Rodney stared at him. "Why not?"

And wasn't it like Rodney not to be able to imagine turning down sex. John shrugged. "It's just sex."


John couldn't help himself. He laughed.

"No, seriously. The other teams would kill to get these missions. It's like going to a brothel without having to pay."

"And I appreciate the opportunity, but at the moment I don't really need that kind of... entertainment."

"Oh," Rodney said, just looking at John.

"Yep," John said, looking down the floor, where they were headed.

"You could be with a woman here," Rodney said, making it sound like a suggestion.

John looked at Rodney for a moment. He wasn't sure how he was going to say what he had to say. "I don't actually miss anything."

Rodney seemed to contemplate this.

"So, I saw you heading off with a pretty hot guy," John asked, hoping his attempt at casual was far better than Rodney's.

"Yes," Rodney said and it seemed to John that he was slightly embarrassed. "I thought, now that it seems I'm not actually straight, I'd test that theory on a second subject. So to speak."

John didn't quite know what to say. There had been Rodney's obvious appreciation of Ertan, but calling himself not straight was new. Well, it was in theory.

"How did the experiment go?" he asked, because that was really the question wasn't it?

There was a part of him that wanted Rodney to say that it hadn't been good, that he only wanted to do this with John. The idea that he'd enjoyed sex with another guy was possibly even worse than Rodney with other women. But another part thought that if Rodney really was ready to call himself not straight, there was a chance that what they were doing would eventually be more than just sex.

"I would say the hypothesis is confirmed," Rodney said with a small close-lipped smile. "Although..." he began.

"Although?" John tried very much not to sound hopeful.

"Although I think I also don't really miss anything."

John nodded and looked away, screwing up his face, in order to banish the wide smile that threatened to take over his face.

Rodney officially considered himself open to relationships with people of either gender, which included John. And he didn't really want anyone other than John.

It was gratifying to John to know that the Adonis hadn't been better than John. Although it couldn't have been bad either, or otherwise Rodney wouldn't have considered it a confirmation of his bisexuality. John wondered what they had done. Frottage? Blow jobs? Fucking? He was certain that Rodney hadn't let the guy fuck him. But even the other things were something that John rather not imagined.

He wasn't quite sure if he should consider this mission a success. He figured there wouldn't be any one-night-stands when they visited Planet Sex the next time. But on the other hand he'd never again be able to tell himself that he was the only guy Rodney had ever been with.

Rodney couldn't believe that John not only hadn't slept with anyone this time, but also last time and apparently didn't want to in the future. As long as he had sex with Rodney.

Or actually he could believe it, which made him feel even more awkward about the sex he had been having.

He still felt a bit bad about the whole thing, when they went to Rodney's room after the checkup in the infirmary.

"It wasn't that great," he blurted out once they were inside, because he wanted John to know that he really preferred what they were doing together to any one-night-stands. "I mean I fucked him from behind. It wasn't... intimate."

He cringed at his own words. God, he wished Sheppard would smile or give him some sign that he understood what Rodney was trying to say. But John just watched him.

Then he took a step towards Rodney. "It can be intimate from behind," he said softly. "Do you want me to show you?"

Rodney nodded, because when John's voice became that low, Rodney would agree to almost anything.


When he settled behind a naked John, ready to sink into him, Rodney realized that he was about to fuck a guy for the second time in 24 hours. It was a bit frightening and very cool. He grinned.

Then John turned his head and Rodney pushed forward and the grin melted from his face as he opened his lips in a moan.

Of course it was better with John. He hadn't expected anything less.

He started thrusting forward, looking for the right angle, when John's hand moved around onto Rodney's ass, holding him still.

Rodney waited until he felt John move backwards, onto Rodney's cock, until he was fully impaled, but kept pushing. When he pushed at Rodney's hip with his hand, too, Rodney understood and moved backwards until he sat on his heels and John was in his lap.

He widened his legs and John leaned back against Rodney's chest and started moving up and down Rodney's dick.

Okay, yes, he could see what John meant about intimacy.

He moved his hands onto John's thighs, where John took them in his. He pulled one up to his face and kissed it before placing it on his chest over a nipple. The other he guided to his cock.

Rodney was really holding John now, surrounding him while being inside of him. And John held him, too. He moved one hand into Rodney's hair and the other on his hip. Rodney was in awe of his flexibility. He started rubbing John's nipple and held his hand so that each up and down of John on Rodney's cock was pushing John's cock into his hand.

John moved on him, hot and sensual, pace dictated by his need to get towards Rodney, stretching either into his hands or onto his cock. Back and forth, up and down, and Rodney tightened around him trying to allow them to get even closer. He kissed John's neck, because it was there, so invitingly in front of him, and because there simply shouldn't be a part of their bodies that wasn't touching.

John moaned and began to move faster.

Rodney really started stroking him now, in counterpoint to his thrusts. He tightly held John's chest and then thrust up into John on his downstroke.

"Oh God, yes," John groaned.

The grip on Rodney's neck tightened and John fucked himself on Rodney's cock in hard deep thrusts. Rodney couldn't help his own moans. "Yes. John. You're..." He didn't continue, because he didn't have the words, so he just tried to keep up with John's fucking.

John turned his head aside so that he could look at Rodney. There was something in John's eyes that Rodney had never seen there before, at least not during sex. It reminded him of the times natives threatened Rodney. "Did you think of me while you fucked him?" John ground out between pants.

Rodney froze. He hadn't expected that question. He stared at John, who after a moment turned his head away.

"Yes," Rodney whispered harshly into John's ear and began to fuck up into him again. Not just because he thought John wanted to hear that and because it was the truth. He wanted to tell John.

He moved the hand on John's chest up to cup his face and turn it towards Rodney again. "Yes," he repeated heatedly and took John's mouth in a sloppy kiss.

Like the rhythm of their thrusts it sped up until it was fast and wet and passionate and Rodney didn't know where John ended and he began.

He jerked John off with tight strokes until John threw back his head onto Rodney's shoulder and came with Rodney's name on his lips.

Rodney thrust a few more times, until he came too, holding onto John, face turned into his neck, kissing almost delicately.

John stroked his hair, gentle now, letting Rodney come down.

Eventually he let Rodney slide out of him and turned around to face him.

"Thank you," Rodney said, because like every other time between them it was an experience he was grateful for.

John cupped Rodney's face with both his hands and drew him into a slow kiss. Their lips met in soft caresses and they settled down on the bed together, holding and kissing each other for a while longer.

When Rodney got back to his room afterwards, he dropped down on his bed, instead of going into the shower. He wanted to hold onto the sweat and smell for a moment and the feeling of being so close to someone, of being so wanted.

John had been right. Sex from behind could be very intimate, although Rodney couldn't imagine doing it like that with a stranger. But he didn't have to.

Next time he could choose not to join them at the bar and not feel awkward about it, because John would know. Maybe John wouldn't go either or they could just have a drink together. Or sex.

He knew that he'd enjoy any sex with John more than what he could get from anyone at that bar. And he felt that he could make it good for John, too. He'd said he didn't miss anything. Well, they'd covered almost all of the basics. Almost.

Rodney thought he was ready for more. The night with Toma had confirmed that he was bisexual. Sex with John had confirmed that John wanted him and that he wanted John, both of which wasn't new. But it had also shown Rodney that he wanted John to know how much he wanted him.

Rodney trusted John to make him feel wonderful no matter what they did. Even if it was something that he was a bit afraid of.

Rodney had experimented with himself a bit, but it had been strange and awkward and pretty much a complete failure each time. And the one time when his ex-girlfriend had fucked him with a small dildo had been more humiliating than arousing.

But he trusted John. And some part of him wanted to know what it was like to feel John inside of him.

Something was wrong. Rodney had been almost shy when he'd come to John's room today.

He'd started undressing and pointed John towards the bed, and now John was lying on his bed while Rodney blew him almost absent-absentmindedly.

John had thought they'd handled the awkwardness after Planet Sex. It had been great to be surrounded by Rodney like that and he was pretty sure that Rodney had liked it as well. Even his fit of jealousy had ended well. He still wasn't sure how it had happened, except that he had needed to hear that Rodney wanted him, that he was something to Rodney that no random Adonis could ever be.

Of course asking what he had was the worst possible way for that, in retrospect, because Rodney could have preferred John to any one-night-stand and still not think about him during sex with said one-night-stand. But he had. He actually had and that knowledge eased John's mind about the whole thing considerably.

However now John felt very uneasy. Rodney had come here for sex, but with his mind miles away. Maybe he'd somehow misjudged things and his encounter with another man or possibly John's jealousy had made him realize... well, John wasn't sure what. But he was alarmed enough that he was hardly hard.

"Rodney?" he asked carefully.

Rodney stopped sucking and turned his eyes up to John and then, as if realizing what he was doing, started to move faster, with more purpose.

He was still uncharacteristically quiet, but at least now John was distracted enough to ignore it, until he came in Rodney's mouth.

The uneasiness came back full force though, when Rodney pulled away and didn't even look at John.

Something was up.

"Rodney?" John asked, trying not to sound panicked.

When Rodney did look at him, John's heart dropped. Rodney's face was an open book at times. It wasn't just something. It was something that Rodney was hesitating about, but still felt he had to tell John.

"I want..." Rodney began.

He wanted what? Someone else? More than John could give him? Less than John was giving him? Out of their agreement?

Rodney lay down on the bed and John made space for him, watching with trepidation.

Rodney closed his eyes and took a deep breath and John tried to brace himself.

"I want you inside me." John released the breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding. It wasn't anything bad. Then his brain caught up with what Rodney had said. Rodney quickly continued, "At least I'd like to try. But as you know I have no experience, I mean I've fingered myself, but it just didn't really work out that well. And there was that one time with my ex-girlfriend which I'd rather not think about because... well, because I really don't like to think about it. But I want to try it with you. Just... maybe only a finger? To test the waters?"

And he looked at John both hopeful and afraid and John nodded as if on autopilot. Rodney wanted John to finger him. No, this was 'testing the waters' for... Rodney was going to let John fuck him. Well, maybe he would be, but he was open to the idea and... John simply had no words.

Beside him Rodney turned and got the lube out of the drawer.

John took it and watched Rodney for a moment. He lay stiff as a board next to John, eyes resolutely on the ceiling.

"Rodney," John said calmly, putting a hand on Rodney's thigh.

Rodney jumped at the touch and John could see that this would take some work. But he was more than willing to work for it.

"Shh, relax," John whispered, just stroking up and down Rodney's thigh until not every muscle in his body seemed to be on full strain.

He leaned forward and grasped Rodney's dick before taking it in his mouth.

"What?" Rodney began, but then stopped.

John sucked him for a couple of minutes, getting Rodney hard. He gently stroked his thighs all the time, getting between them. Then he pushed them apart a bit.

Rodney tensed again for a second, then relaxed and spread his legs. John let go of his dick and moved between Rodney's legs, at the same time maneuvering him so that he lay in the middle of the bed.

He took the lube again and generously applied it to his right index finger.

Rodney watched him with a mixture of fear and hope and affection that made John lean forward to quickly kiss him, before he put his left hand on Rodney's stomach and his right close towards Rodney's entrance.

"Okay?" he asked.

Rodney seemed to think about it and looked as if he wanted to say 'No', but then nodded.

John pushed. Rodney tensed up. There was no way he was going to fit even his small finger in there, let alone ever his dick, if Rodney stayed like this.

John leaned forward and took Rodney's half-hard dick in his hand and then sucked on it again, while his other hand just rubbed over and around Rodney's hole, then up over his perineum to his balls and back down again.

John kept at it, sucking Rodney in turns slowly and fast, hard and soft, while his finger moved towards Rodney's hole testing his tenseness before moving away again.

It took several tries for Rodney not to tense up when John pushed a bit inside of him, and John couldn't help wondering what the hell that girlfriend of his had done to him, that made Rodney not want to think about it and caused such a tension now. He tried to push the anger away, because this was about Rodney and doing something for him.

Eventually John had slipped into him three times without Rodney tensing up. The third time he stayed, letting Rodney get used to the tip of his finger in his hole, before he pushed a bit deeper.

Rodney gasped and tensed, but relaxed almost immediately.

John sucked him harder and at the same time pushed his finger further in. Rodney squirmed a bit, but ended up with his legs spread further. John didn't stop and licked and sucked Rodney's head, while his finger pushed inside.

Once he was fully inside he started moving around. He had Rodney accepting the intrusion, which was the first step. Now he wanted him to love it.

He knew he'd found the spot when Rodney tensed then moaned.

John smiled. Then he pushed his finger over the same spot again and again.

"Oh God," Rodney moaned above him.

He started pushing down onto John's finger and John knew that this 'test drive' had been successful. John tried not to think about the implication. There was no way he could get it up again so soon. But Rodney deserved his orgasm.

He took Rodney's cock deep into his mouth, rubbing his prostate until Rodney tensed, and then shuddered his orgasm with a, "Fuck, yes!"

He swallowed Rodney's come and carefully removed his finger, his mind flashing to his dick in there.

Then he pushed at Rodney enough so that he could settle onto his side next to him and watched him catch his breath.

After a while Rodney opened his eyes and, finding John next to him, put his hand on John's hip.

"Next time I want you to fuck me," he said with feeling.

John's dick twitched in a valiant but futile effort. He wasn't twenty any more. But next time he'd certainly do his best to fulfill Rodney's wish. And his own. He grinned. "If you insist."

"I do," Rodney answered and pulled John on top of him, kissing him wetly.

So that was what he'd read about.

Rodney's own experimentation had been awkward and unsuccessful. Maybe he simply hadn't really known what to look for. Thank God he had John.

Rodney didn't know how long John had taken to get him to the point, but Rodney knew that he had to have been very patient and he was grateful for that.

And he was really looking forward to having John's dick inside of him.


John's finger felt as good inside of him as the first time. And this time it was much easier to relax, knowing what to expect and that John would take as much time as Rodney needed.

When John entered a second finger, Rodney felt incredibly full and wondered with a brief flash of panic how they'd ever get John's dick inside of him. But logically it had to be possible. John's dick was nice and thick when hard, but not extremely so. He and Rodney were about the same size and fucking John was no problem.

When John entered a third finger, Rodney began to squirm away.

"Hey," John said, putting his hand on Rodney's stomach and looking at him.

Rodney relaxed instantly. It was strange how John could do that with such a simple gesture and a look. It was a matter of trust. Rodney trusted John instinctively. And in situations like these he felt himself comply automatically with John's every silent wish.

Rodney tried not to tense up, which wasn't easy with three fingers shoved up his ass. John leaned forward and kissed his dick before licking up and down the underside. As distraction tactics went it wasn't a bad one. Actually finding Rodney's prostate again was an even better one.

Damn, he wanted to feel John's cock and not just his fingers.

"I'm ready," Rodney panted.

John looked at him as if he had doubts. But then he nodded and slowly pulled out his fingers.

Rodney moved up to blow John into hardness, but it wasn't necessary. John's cock stood out proud and ready. The thought turned Rodney on even more.

He settled back down and pulled up his legs towards him, presenting himself to John, but John patted his ass and said, "Turn around."

"I want to see you," Rodney said surprised. The sex after Planet Sex had been great and intimate, but he didn't think he was up to these kind of acrobatics and he needed to feel close to John, preferably to be able to look at him.

But John wasn't budging. "And I appreciate it, but this is your first time, so we'll do it my way. Trust me?"

Of course he did. Rodney turned around until he was on all fours. The times he'd fucked John like this had been incredibly raw fucks, mostly when one or both of them were especially stressed. The idea of John pounding into him like that was hot, but also very intimidating.

But then John gently slid his hand over Rodney's back and kissed it and Rodney felt reassured. He looked back over his shoulder as John aligned himself and then he felt the head of John's hard cock at his entrance.

When John started to push in, Rodney thought that there was no way in hell it was ever going to fit in. He was stretched and stretched and damn, it burned. Then the head was inside and John stopped, breathing heavily himself now.

He soothingly stroked Rodney's back and his hips.

"Everything all right?" he asked and Rodney nodded, even though if he really thought about it he wasn't sure.

But he didn't have much time to think, because John started moving again, pressing in steadily.

It felt incredibly tight. It wasn't bad. But it wasn't all that great either. Of course John hadn't found that spot yet that had made Rodney come so hard the last time. God, he couldn't imagine what it would feel like if John fucked him right there. And he couldn't wait.

Rodney pushed back against John and John put his hands on Rodney's hips, slowing him down and controlling the speed with which Rodney was impaled. But he had gotten the message apparently, because he pushed into Rodney quicker now until he was fully inside.

Wow. He had a guy's cock up his ass. It was strange and amazing and wonderful.

"Rodney," John said, putting his hand gently on Rodney's back.

Rodney suddenly realized that it was John inside of him. He turned his head back for a second just to see it with his own eyes. John was smiling, but Rodney could see the strain in his neck. He was holding back. Rodney wanted to tell him, he didn't have to, even if he knew he should be grateful that John was so considerate. But he wanted to feel John even more than he already did.

"Yes," Rodney said, not sure what exactly he meant. Then he added, "Please."

And John started moving.

Rodney bit his lip as John started to fuck him. He adjusted his hips a bit and Rodney did the same, lowering his body a bit and then suddenly John had found it. "God!"

John stopped, but before Rodney could plead with him to hit it again, John's hips started moving just as Rodney wanted again and again and again.

He was vaguely aware of John's hands on his back, his side and his thighs, but all the pleasure concentrated in that spot deep inside of him that John thrust into. Rodney felt as if John was breaking some part of him open, making the feeling spill over and wash in waves through Rodney's whole body.

He didn't realize that he'd started moaning John's name until he heard John's answering "Rodney".

Rodney pushed back now every time John pushed forward. He could feel John's hands on his hips, strong like his thrusts and Rodney thought he might come just from this.

John fucked him higher and higher until he didn't think he could take it anymore. He had to come.

"John, please."

John reached around and jerked Rodney's cock three times and Rodney convulsed and came with a long groan. John kept up his rhythm thrusting in a couple more times until he too shuddered and Rodney could feel him coming inside of him.

John slipped out of him and Rodney let himself drop down on the bed, exhausted. He felt John's hand stroking his back, then a kiss on his shoulder.

Rodney turned around and pulled John into a deep kiss.

It had been fantastic. It had been everything he'd hoped for.

"Thank you," Rodney said, when they stopped.

"You're very welcome," John said with a smile. He settled his head on Rodney's shoulder and put his arm over Rodney's upper body.

Rodney absently began to stroke the arm. He felt incredibly calm and at peace. Like he'd finally found a missing part of himself.

He thought about his ex-girlfriend. She'd taunted him, saying that maybe he was only afraid that he'd like it. Which of course had been something that Rodney couldn't let pass and was probably the only reason he'd agreed to let her fuck him with the dildo in the first place. She'd been right in a strange way. But mostly she'd had no idea.

"Ha," he said out loud. "Take that Jennifer Parker."

John lifted his head, brow furrowed in confusion. "What has Marty McFly's girlfriend ever done to you?"

"What?" Rodney asked.

"Jennifer Parker?"

"My ex, who..." he gestured vaguely with the hand that wasn't still on John's arm.

John's expression darkened and Rodney was surprised for a second, then realized that John was angry at her. Which was incredibly endearing. He quickly kissed John.

"I agreed to let her do it," he said, stroking John's arm again. John settled his head back down on Rodney's chest. "She thought she was so great in bed. Which admittedly she was, but this... she couldn't do this. Certainly not like you. I almost wish I could tell her that she was right. I like it. I just didn't like it with her."

He thought about the other times with her and of John and found that they didn't compare in many more ways than the one. Which was astounding, because he considered her his most successful, or was it least unsuccessful, relationship. Then again what he had with John didn't fit into any category anyway.

Rodney loved everything they did.

John had fucked him face to face after that first time and he'd loved it. Feeling John above and inside him like that made him feel close to John in a way he couldn't describe. It had simply been wonderful to be so completely surrounded by John, inside and out, even though it was hell on the back if he actually wanted to kiss John. It made him appreciate John's flexibility even more.

Along with John's imagination, tenderness and passion. It was the best sex he'd ever had. Hell, it was the best relationship he ever had, even if it wasn't one. Maybe because it wasn't one.

What they had was so simple and easy and fun and just good. And it felt real enough for Rodney to be as content as he could remember ever being.

When they visited Talum the next time, Rodney didn't even think about it when he told the others to go and have fun. He went to the local museum. One of the scientists had offered to show him their collection of old texts on Ancient machinery, but he'd never found the time.

He got engrossed in the scriptures, which were more entertaining than of any scientific value. John found him an hour after he'd arrived.

When Rodney looked up, he smiled. He hadn't really thought about what John was going to do, somehow knowing it wouldn't be anything Rodney wouldn't like.

"Watcha got?" John asked, sitting down next to him.

"Some very... uhm, interesting theories on how Ancient tech works."

"Nothing useful, I take it?"

"Oh, I wouldn't say that. Some of this could be useful for our library of fiction. I'm thinking the humor section," Rodney said with a grin.

"So I guess you want to stay," John said good-naturedly.

Rodney looked at him. He only wanted to go with John and the strength with which he felt it was a bit surprising. He shook his head.

John raised one eyebrow. "What did you have in mind?"

Rodney waggled his eyebrows. Then he looked around for other people and said quietly, "This is Planet Sex after all."

John laughed.

It was the best sex Rodney had ever had on Planet Sex.

Time went by so fast that Rodney only realized two weeks after the fact that they'd been doing this for over a year.

In a way it seemed much longer. To Rodney it sometimes felt as if there'd only been a brief period of meeting and becoming friends before they'd settled into this... thing. It was hard for him to imagine that it could be over some day, so he didn't try.

Instead he thought about how far they'd come, how far he had come, from the guy who had been nervous about getting a hand job, to someone who enjoyed even rougher treatment, when John just shoved him onto the bed and began fucking him after only the barest preparation. Rodney shuddered in pleasure thinking of the aftermath of that mission.

But it was all part of his sex life now and they still managed to do new things. They'd had sex in the shower for the first time only recently, after a mission that consisted mainly of not drowning in mud. Who would have thought getting clean could be so dirty?

Yes, he could only congratulate himself on the great idea he'd had in proposing this to John. He really was a genius.

Sometimes it was easy for John to imagine they were a real couple. When Rodney remained in his bed, in his arms even after he'd caught his breath. When he whispered things like, "You're so amazing" and "I want you now".

It was as if it meant something. And John knew it did. He knew that Rodney cared about him, that despite their agreement the sex that they had wasn't like the sex Rodney had had with those strangers on Planet Sex.

They knew each other and they knew each other's bodies. Intimately.

But at the same time it wasn't a relationship. Rodney never stayed after sex to spend the night or just some time with John. Rodney never kissed him or caressed him, when they weren't having sex. They were either friends and colleagues or having sex at any given moment, but never all at once, never something that would encompass all of what they did and were.

And perhaps this was the only way it could be. What they did worked because it didn't involve any expectations. There could be days when he didn't see Rodney at all and when they met again for a meeting or at lunch, John wondered if Rodney had even noticed his absence. It happened less and less he had to admit, but it still happened.

More than that of course there was the fact that it could be over at any moment. John was pretty sure that Rodney wasn't seeing anyone else, but often he felt that was just because John was so conveniently at hand that Rodney didn't see the need to go out and date. If the right woman came along, he'd thank John for what they'd had and there would be no doubt about his sincerity, but it would be over and he'd move on just the same.

So John tried not to get too complacent, tried to keep this feeling of belonging from settling in his heart, tried to always be prepared for the end, even as he hoped it would go on forever.

It all happened so fast. One minute he was glaring at John for suggesting they should walk instead of taking the jumper more often. Then they were was an explosion and they were rushing John back to the gate and the infirmary.

As he sat outside the infirmary waiting with Teyla and Ronon, Rodney could only remember John's screams and the blood, far too much blood, that seemed to have covered his whole body.

He couldn't think about the how and the why and what ifs. He simply waited for Jennifer to come out and tell them that John was going to be all right. Because he had to be.

When the door opened, Rodney ran towards her, vaguely aware of Teyla and Ronon joining him.

"I managed to stop the bleeding. He's stable for now, but... I did all that I can. We can only wait now."

Rodney looked away. This was neither a reprieve nor a death knell. This was just more uncertainty and he didn't know if he could take it much longer.

"Can we see him?" Teyla asked.

"No, I'm sorry. I wish I could let you all in, but in his condition I won't risk it."

"What about one of us."

Keller looked at all of them, battered and anxious. "Okay, one."

Teyla smiled and nodded. Then she turned to him. "Rodney?"

It took a moment for Rodney to realize that she meant for him to go. When he did, he said, "Yes," and looked at Jennifer, who turned to go back inside. Rodney started to follow then looked back to tell Teyla, "Thank you."

Her answering smile was full of encouragement and worry.


John lay still on the bed, most of his upper body bandaged as well as his left leg. His face had only gotten a few scrapes, but he still looked incredibly fragile in Rodney's eyes.

Rodney sat down next to the bed thinking, 'You have to be okay,' over and over as if he could wish it to be the case.

He wished he could really do something to help, other than hoping he'd be okay, but there was nothing at all.

As he sat and watched John breathing almost imperceptibly, but at least on his own, it became hard not to think about the fact that this could be the end. But it couldn't be. It just couldn't. Atlantis wouldn't be the same without John Sheppard.

Rodney wouldn't be the same without him. John was his best friend. Maybe not in the conventional sense, the way he always imagined best friends would be like, but he was. He was the most important person in Rodney's life and Rodney couldn't actually remember ever thinking this about anyone in his life.

He leaned forward, watching John more closely.

The lines in his face, the lips that he'd kissed, the nose that tickled when it was in his neck, the bit of gray in his temples, that disappeared from time to time, but that Rodney would never call him on.

He couldn't imagine never seeing those eyes look at him again.

Rodney wanted to reach out, wanted to kiss John or at least reassure himself that he was still alive, still warm.

He looked up and saw Jennifer watching him. "Can I touch him?"

She nodded and Rodney reached out and gently ran his fingers over John's unbandaged right hand. It was cold, but not deadly so, it was John's normal lack of temperature and Rodney smiled remembering how he had called John cold-blooded once, when John had joined him in bed and started touching him with his ice cold hands. John had pointed out that Rodney still found him hot, which Rodney couldn't deny.

"If you had told me, I'd have let you stay."

Rodney looked up, still too caught up in memories to process her words.

"We try to make exceptions for partners, if we can."

Rodney knew that he should protest and pull his hand away and tell her it wasn't what she thought, he was just worried about a teammate. But somehow he couldn't give up touching John and find enough energy to lie to her.

She didn't seem to expect him to say anything and simply smiled understandingly and left him alone with John.


Rodney wasn't sure how much time had passed, when she came back.

She checked on John then sat down on the other side of his bed.

"You could have told me," she said, her tone friendly. "I mean I understand why you didn't, but I assure you I'll treat it confidentially."

Rodney didn't know what to say. He trusted Jennifer not to tell anyone. And it would be nice not having to watch himself every second when they were in the infirmary. Rodney was always tense when John was hurt, but having to watch himself in addition to worrying about John made it worse.

But he didn't know what John would say. Well, it was too late for denial now.

"You aren't the only ones," Jennifer continued. "Relationships can be difficult, especially when you cannot be open about them. You know you can talk to me, if you want to. Or to Kate."

Rodney appreciated what she was trying to do. But he only needed John to be okay again. Jennifer sounded suspiciously like she was talking about couples counseling and the idea of him and John talking to Kate seemed laughable. Especially since what they had worked perfectly for them. In fact he'd gone to Kate less often over the last year.

"We're fine," he simply said. "We will be fine," he added stroking John's hand.

The first thing John noticed when he woke up, was that he wasn't on P7X-885 anymore.

Then he remembered the explosion. He immediately scanned his surroundings. He was in the infirmary. Rodney was at his side, sleeping in a chair. John sighed in relief, but then he saw that none of the other beds were occupied. Which meant that Teyla and Ronon were either okay, or...

He moved his hand that was underneath Rodney's. Rodney murmured, then jerked awake.

"John!" he said, beaming and squeezing John's hand painfully.

John heard footstep and moved his fingers in Rodney's hand, trying to signal him to let go. Keller could be here at any moment.

"Rodney," he quickly said.

But Rodney didn't stop. In fact, when Keller was at John's bedside, Rodney turned his blinding smile towards her and moved his other hand up John's arm.

Keller didn't seem to notice. She started checking his vitals, while Rodney kept stroking his arm and hand. John must have been really hurt for him to be so careless. And in a way John found it endearing, but they just couldn't afford to be so reckless.

He tried to pull his hand away again and said, "Rodney," with a warning undertone.

"Oh, hush, she knows," Rodney said, petting his hand.

John was dumbfounded. Rodney couldn't possibly mean what John feared he meant.

Jennifer smiled. "I think you'll make a full recovery. I'm sure the others would like to know." She looked at Rodney, then back to John. "I'll give you a minute before I call the others," she said with amusement.

And then Rodney kissed him, before she was even gone.

He was going to protest, but his mouth thought otherwise and kissed Rodney back, but when Rodney pulled back, John couldn't let it go any longer.


Rodney looked away, then back, raising his chin in determination. "I didn't tell her. She guessed it. And I was too... okay, I didn't deny it, but she promised not to tell anyone and it will make things easier the next time one of us is hurt."

John tried to take this in. Rodney wasn't wrong. It would be more convenient and they could trust Keller. But John still felt uneasy about it. He had no idea what exactly Keller had guessed. But he had a feeling it wasn't the jumbled mess of emotions that John felt about it, nor the probably very simple "friends with benefits" that it was for Rodney.

He remembered Keller's look at him when Rodney was injured the last times. It had been understanding to a degree that had made John uncomfortable. He only hoped Rodney was right and this would make things better and not worse.

There were some footsteps and Rodney pulled back and put his hand next to John's instead of on top of it.

Ronon, Teyla and Elizabeth arrived, smiling brightly. John smiled back.

Recovery was a bitch.

Rodney was hovering, which John wouldn't have minded, if that would have included something along the line of sexual favors, but Rodney was scared to hurt him.

"It's too risky. You could have died and I really prefer you alive. For a very long time to come. You should consider dying of old age."

John was touched by that, however he would have been even more touched by Rodney actually putting his hands on John. Unfortunately whining wasn't helping.

Finally when Keller pronounced him fit for light duty he convinced Rodney that if he could do paperwork, a blow job wouldn't hurt him.

More than that it was a great distraction from going through mission reports. He should consider inviting Rodney over when he was doing paperwork more often.

Rodney left half-hard, declining John's offer to give him at least a hand job with his good hand.

John wondered what he did to relieve himself. Maybe he could get Rodney to do it in front of him.

The next day when Rodney jerked off in a chair next to John's bed, John practically started salivating at the sight of Rodney's hard cock. He missed touching it, feeling it inside of him.

"Rodney." It came out strangled.

"Yeah?" Rodney said not slowing down his movements up and down his dick.

"I want..." John swallowed. "Fuck my mouth."

At that Rodney did stop.

"I'll just lie here and let you do all the work," John continued, sensing that Rodney was considering it. "Please," he added, not above pouting.

He could see the moment Rodney broke down and bit down a triumphant grin.

Rodney got up and onto the bed, kneeling across his chest, careful not to put any pressure on John.

John opened up his mouth.

"God," Rodney said and pushed his cock in, slowly and not too deep.

It was good to feel Rodney inside of him again. He couldn't really move his head, but he sucked on Rodney's dick as well as he could, which wasn't too bad, if Rodney's moaning was any indication.

"So hot," Rodney murmured. "Oh, yes, so good to be inside of you. Please, oh God. I was so afraid... Oh yes. John."

And then he came and John swallowed.


Teyla and Ronon came by later. Ronon teased about when they could start running again and Rodney looked horrified.

"Let him get fine before you try to break him again," he grumbled and sat down on the bed protectively. Or possibly possessively.

Ronon wasn't impressed. Teyla looked amused and gave John a look.

Even though he had never discussed his relationship with Rodney openly with them, he was sure that Teyla knew and suspected that Ronon had an idea, too. However he still felt it was important to keep up appearances, even in front of them.

John looked back at Teyla, giving her a short smile. Then he looked at Rodney who was watching him.

"I wish you had a bigger bed," Rodney said wistfully.

John's eyes widened. So much for that. He was half in the mood to have a discussion with Rodney about it, but Teyla smirked and Rodney looked totally oblivious to what he'd done, so John decided that it wasn't worth it.

John was still not fit for missions when one of the scientists, Dr. Verdag, died off-world.

That night Rodney came to him and just lay down half on top of John and kissed him. They'd begun to have sex again after his injuries had healed sufficiently and Rodney couldn't resist John's persistent attempts to seduce him any longer, so it wasn't too surprising, when Rodney started pushing up John's shirt and unbuttoning his pants.

He stroked John's dick and John pulled Rodney on top of him. When he opened Rodney's pants, he realized that Rodney was completely soft. Rodney stopped kissing him.

He looked at John then down at his soft dick and the corners of his mouth turned downward in dismay. He tucked his dick back in his pants and started to roll of the bed, when John caught him by the arm.

"I just wanted..." But he didn't finish.

"Hey," John said and pulled him in his arms. He managed to stuff his own dick back into his pants, without letting go of Rodney.

Rodney kissed him desperately and John tightened his grip on him.

Eventually Rodney pulled away and lay his head on John's shoulder. John kissed the top of his head and stroked his back soothingly.

They stayed like that for a long time until Rodney whispered, "Thank you," and got up and left.


The next day Rodney came by John's office. He still looked quite miserable.

"Hey," John said, getting up, ready to give Rodney a hug or anything else he might need.

"I wanted to apologize about yesterday," Rodney said avoiding his eyes.

"There's nothing to apologize for," John said with conviction.

"I should have known that I wasn't up to..." Rodney gestured with his hand.

"It doesn't matter."

Rodney looked at him then turned around, but John went up to him and put a hand on his arm to turn him around. It really didn't matter. It was okay, if Rodney came for him for comfort. And he wanted him to know that.

Rodney looked at John's hand on his arm. John removed it.

"I'm there for you. We're friends, right?"

"Yes," Rodney said, but John could feel the unsaid but.

John wished there was a simple way to tell Rodney that he'd be anything for Rodney. Without actually saying it.

"It doesn't have to be either or, Rodney."

Rodney frowned.

"Sex or friendship," John clarified.

Then he took Rodney's hand, just to illustrate his point and stroked it with his thumb.

He let go of Rodney's hand, hoping that Rodney understood what he was trying to say.

Looking at Rodney he wasn't sure. Rodney looked like he was deep in thought. He still did when he nodded and left John.

Rodney wasn't quite sure what to think about their conversation after Verdag's death.

They were friends. And they occasionally had sex. Okay, they often had sex. As part of an agreement that was meant to be uncomplicated and not to interfere with their friendship and working relationship.

And Rodney didn't know what John had opened their agreement to.

He had to admit he'd needed John's comfort that night. And he also had to admit that he never would have gone there as a friend. There were things that talking couldn't fix. And he had gone to Kate after the accident. He had hoped sex would relax him, but in the end just lying in John's arms had not just been enough, it had been right.

Rodney wasn't sure how he felt about that.

He liked the simplicity of what they had. He liked to know if he was with John as a friend or if he was with John to have sex. Because being with him as a friend would mean banter and teasing, geeking out or glaring. Being with John to have sex could mean those things, too, but they also meant touching and kissing and naked skin and sucking and fucking.

When the distinction was gone, how was he to know when it was okay to touch John? Or when it was okay not to touch him. Should he kiss John good-bye every time then as he did now after they had sex? Those seemed like trivial questions, but they made everything complicated and Rodney hated that because most of his relationships had failed because he could never quite work out what was expected from him or if he did, he didn't want to meet those expectations.

So for the moment, he acted as if they'd never had that talk.

"Let's play chess this afternoon," John had said over lunch, giving him that certain look.

So when Rodney found him in the mess with a chess board, he was a bit surprised.

"Here you are," he said, not hiding his exasperation. He'd waited for half an hour in his room.

"I said, 'let's play chess'."

"Yeah, but you looked..." he turned around to check if there was anyone within hearing distance and continued more quietly, "... as if you meant 'playing chess'."

John's mouth curved up in a smile.

"We could go to your room," he suggested. "Quite frankly I think we've proven to Elizabeth that we're not playing any dangerous games in our free time."

Rodney gave him a look, because clearly that was a matter of interpretation. John rolled his eyes.

He picked up the chess board and together they went to Rodney's room.

Once inside Rodney realized that he still had no idea if John wanted to play chess or to 'play chess'.

When John placed the board on the bed, he sighed.

"So no sex?" he asked just a bit disappointed.

"We could do both," John answered. "And we don't have to decide right this minute, do we?"

Rodney supposed they didn't. He joined John on the bed, sitting down on the other side of the board.

They started playing and Rodney tried to concentrate because even though he'd never admit it, John was good. Unpredictable, but not randomly so. At least not considering his success rate.

John made another one of those moves that Rodney hadn't anticipated and grinned, far too pleased with himself.

"You're not getting to me," Rodney said, concentrating on the board.

"That's what my father used to say. And he wasn't right either."

Rodney quickly looked up to John. He'd never heard him talk about his father. "You drove your father up the wall by winning at chess against him? Not that you're winning against me. Or getting to me."

John grinned. "Oh, I am getting to you, McKay," he said and looked at Rodney for a moment in a way that sent shivers down Rodney's spine. But then he shrugged. "And no, chess wasn't one of the things I did to rile him up." He looked away and Rodney considered letting it go, but this glimpse into John's past was too fascinating to pass up.

"So what? You got piercings and a goth look?"

John laughed. "Not exactly. There might have been mascara. Once. But no." He hesitated for a moment then continued. "I joined the drama club, didn't get a haircut as often as he wanted me to, made friends with people that he didn't want me to. I made out with a guy on the living room couch just to piss him off."

"Were you even interested in him? I mean the couch guy?" Because the idea of young John only being with someone to rebel against his father somehow saddened Rodney.

"Well, a bit," John hedged.

"Meaning not really," Rodney guessed although he chose not to phrase it as a question.

"He didn't complain," John defended himself.

"Of course he didn't!" Rodney had to say. "Who would complain if you offered to kiss them?"

John gave him a look.

"I thought I was straight, all right?" Rodney said defensively.

"And strangely you still thought it when you suggested having sex with me."

"Are you saying I shouldn't have? A bit hypocritical coming from the man who made out with guys to piss off his father."

"It might have been how I started, but I figured out that I liked it pretty soon."

Rodney wondered what it would have been like for him, if he'd realized he was bisexual 20 years ago. "Did you have many boyfriends when you were young?"

John snorted. "No boyfriends. I still thought I was straight back then. Even got married."

"What?" Rodney asked, gaping. This was the first time he'd ever heard about that.

"I was married for a short while."


"When I was 23."

"What happened?"

"It just..." John shook his head. "I thought I loved her. She was... perfect."

"Too perfect?" Rodney guessed.

"No, it wasn't that. I..." John took a deep breath then looked Rodney straight in the eye. "I think I might not actually be into women in that way."

Rodney's jaw fell. "But Chaya!" came out of his mouth, before he could stop himself.

But John only laughed. "I can't believe you're still hung up on that. We never even had real sex and you were throwing jealous hissy fits for weeks."

"I was not jealous!" Rodney was outraged.

John gave him a look.

"I wasn't! I was..." Rightfully concerned? Instinctively suspicious? Hating her on sight? "Oh God," Rodney said, "I was jealous." Some stupid part of him had known for years that he was bisexual and hadn't informed him.

John reached over and patted him on the arm. "Welcome to the world of sexual revelation."

Rodney wasn't quite sure what to make of this realization. Then he remembered what had started this part of their conversation. "So you consider yourself gay?"

John did something that was a mix between a nod and shrug.

"Since when?" Rodney asked because it suddenly seemed important.

John looked a bit uncomfortable. "My relationships with women never worked out."

"Neither did mine. That doesn't mean women don't do it for me anymore."

"I don't think it will ever work out with a woman," John said, looking at Rodney then down at the board.

Rodney's stomach did a little flip flop at that. There was a retroactive sense of superiority over any woman that John had flirted with to what Rodney now recognized as his own dismay. And it also somehow meant that what they were doing was... special for John.

Rodney didn't know how many relationships John had had with men. But part of him liked to imagine that it had been Rodney that had made John realize that he wanted to be with a man and not a woman. It would be fitting since Rodney had realized he wanted to be with a man or a woman because of John.

Rodney leaned over the board and kissed John. John looked a bit surprised but kissed back.

When he pulled back, Rodney licked his lips. Maybe there was something to be said for being more flexible in their arrangement. "Since I'm winning anyway, how about we just skip this part and go straight to the sex."

John grinned and leaned forward to kiss Rodney dirtily, pushing his tongue into Rodney's mouth. Then suddenly he was gone and saying, "I would love to get to the sex, but not if you insist you're winning."

Rodney's debate with himself was pre-empted when John stroked his own crotch.

Afterwards as he lay sticky and sated beneath John, he couldn't help saying, "You do realize I only said you'd won because I wanted sex, so it doesn't count."

John nipped at his jaw. "How is that not a win for me?"

As usual it had all gone to hell very fast.

They hadn't even reached the village, when the shooting started. John had split them up to run for cover.

Teyla and Rodney were taken.

He spent three hours organizing backup, getting the intel they needed and planning how best to attack. He tried not to think about the fact that they might not be alive anymore, that Rodney might be gone, that it all would be too late. Panic didn't help anyone.

But still in the moments where they waited, his mind inevitably turned to Rodney. He was worried about Teyla, too, of course. But he trusted her not to do anything stupid and to be able to defend herself if it was possible.

Rodney on the other hand, though experienced after years on missions, could still be... Rodney. And John wouldn't want it any other way. He couldn't imagine Rodney being polite and a killing machine. Although at this moment he would be happy about anything that would mean Rodney was safe.

John felt a hand on his shoulder. He turned to find Ronon looking at him.

"They'll be fine," Ronon said and if half sounded like an order.

John wished he was right.

When they finally confirmed Rodney and Teyla's location, John ordered the attack to free them.

"Ronon," he said, knowing that he could trust him to do anything in his power to save them, but still having to say something.

Ronon nodded. "I'll bring him back to you."

And in that moment John only felt gratitude and trust.

When Ronon came back he had Rodney with him, safe and sound. Only Rodney.

Rodney stormed into Elizabeth's office, not caring about the looks in the control room. He couldn't believe it.

"You're not actually having doubts, are you, Elizabeth?"

"Rodney..." she said placatingly.

"He saved Teyla's life. Not to mention that of a dozen innocent people."

"And he also risked it going against my direct order."

"It needed to be done and you know it."

"If it needed to be done I would have ordered it!" she shouted. Composing herself, she added, "This wasn't an easy decision for me, but I made it."

"And he did what he thought was right. This is what he does. And this is what he should do. It's why you fought to keep him here, when they wanted to replace him."

"Now you're turning my own words against me?"

"Against you? Do you want him to go?" Rodney couldn't believe he had to have this conversation.

"No, of course not. I know that he did what he felt was right. I respect that. But my own feelings on the matter and convincing the IOA are two different things."

"I'm sure you can argue your case."

"I don't have a case!" she said letting her frustration show. "I told him to stand down and he didn't. As his superior I can see nothing to excuse his blatant disregard of my orders. That nobody was hurt was blind luck. Even you have to admit that."

"He is the best man for the job. That's an objective assessment."

Elizabeth laughed. "And of course you're talking on a purely professional level," she said with a smile.

Rodney paled, his eyes widening. Then he stood rigidly, chin lifting. "I don't know what you're talking about."

She frowned, still smiling. "I'm talking about your friendship." He deflated in visible relief. "What did you think..." Her frown and smile dissolved into surprise. "Oh."

"What? No! Of course! Our friendship. Would be why I'm not seeing this objectively, which by the way is not true. Colonel Sheppard has led us through numerous risky situations and near catastrophes, managing to save us against horrendous odds. I have statistics, if you need them..." He trailed off, noticing how Elizabeth didn't seem to listen, re-thinking what she just learned. He couldn't quite believe that he'd done it again.

Eventually she looked up at him. "I had no idea."

"It's not... it's just... You can't tell anyone!" he eventually begged, knowing it was too late for denial.

"Rodney." She waited until he took a deep breath, signaling his willingness to listen. "I thank you for your input. It's been noted. I do not intend to let them take Colonel Sheppard without a fight."

She nodded her dismissal and Rodney hesitated then nodded back at her and left to find John.

John was going through old mission reports, trying to find precedence cases for his decision to go in and rescue Teyla in that situation, when Rodney entered his office looking terrible.

John's first thought was that somehow the IOA or the SGC had changed their mind and instead of being willing to hear his case decided to fire him immediately.

But looking closer he realized that this wasn't Rodney's general 'Something bad has happened' face. It was his more specific 'Something bad has happened and it might have been my fault' face.


"I just talked to Elizabeth." Rodney lifted his hand pre-empting John's protest. "I know you said I didn't have to."

John's exact words had been 'You're not going to make it better' but he was willing to let it slide.

"But I thought I'd back you up and support Elizabeth in her support of you," Rodney continued.

"Okay," John said slowly, looking at Rodney who wouldn't face him.

"I might have outed us," Rodney then said quickly. "I mean she misunderstood, or I misunderstood. In any case it was a misunderstanding and then it wasn't and then she said she had no idea and... oh fuck, I'm sorry. I really didn't do it on purpose."

He looked so miserable that John didn't have it in him to be mad. "Again," he still said.

Rodney looked up, glaring and pouting at the same time.

John walked over to him and kissed him. "I know you didn't do it on purpose," he said.

"I don't think she'll tell anyone," Rodney said.

"It's okay."

"No, it's not! If they find out about this they might take it as an excuse to take you away."

"Maybe we won't have to worry about that soon," John said self-deprecatingly.

"Don't say that!" Rodney said emphatically. "Elizabeth will fight for you. All of us support you and you will stay." He looked at John, his jaw clenched, then he pulled John's face forward into a kiss.

John kissed back, reveling in this display of passion for him that had nothing to do with sex for once.

They broke apart and Rodney leaned his forehead against John's. "I'm sorry," he whispered.

And John believed him. He wasn't happy about what had happened, but he knew it hadn't been Rodney's intention to out them and he wanted to make him feel better.

"It's okay," John said. "I'm almost certain Teyla knows, too."

Rodney drew back and looked at him surprised.

"She said something, a long time ago actually, and the way she looks... And I think Ronon might know, too."

"That's... wow," Rodney said.

John's comm came to life in his ear.

"John, could you join me in my office for a moment?"

'Elizabeth,' John mouthed to Rodney, whose face fell.

"I'm on my way," he answered into the comm and then switched it off.

"It'll be okay," he said to Rodney, then kissed him once more and left to face Elizabeth.

"Please take a seat," Elizabeth said after he'd arrived in her office.

He did, deciding that insisting to stand wasn't going to make this easier.

Elizabeth stood and walked around the desk, before sitting down on it in front of John, folding her hands together.

"You're really not making things easy for me this week, John," she said with a smile.

John smiled back in acknowledgment and maybe even in apology. Getting Elizabeth into trouble had never been his intention. But she knew that.

"I've always been willing to defend you. And I won't stop now."

John briefly nodded. He knew that wasn't the end of it.

"You know that certain parts of the SGC and the IOA have had and continue to have reservations about you as leading military officer. You are constantly under watch, John. And maybe this means that you don't just have to be as good as others would be, but better. It's not fair, but we all know that life seldom is."

John had an idea where she was going and sat still, bracing himself for what she was going to say.

"This... your relationship with Rodney could be a reason for them to remove you from your office."

"Only if they find out," he said evenly.

Her eyes widened a bit. She straightened herself. "They won't from me, but that doesn't mean they won't at all. What happened today could happen again."

John briefly looked down, which was a mistake with someone like Elizabeth.

"It has happened again? Who else knows?"

He debated with himself. He didn't have to tell her anything. He had never wanted anyone else to know. But he had done enough in the last days to make life difficult for Elizabeth. He could give her that much.

"Dr. Keller."

"Just her?"

"Teyla and possibly Ronon. We have never really discussed it, but I think they know."

"But I take it you didn't voluntarily come out to them either?"

He shook his head.

"Then it could happen again," she pointed out.

John couldn't really deny it. But he also couldn't just let the statement stand.

"You didn't find out until now."

"What...? How long has this been going on?"

"Over a year," he said and if he sounded a bit proud he couldn't help it.

He could see her thinking this over, probably going over events in her head, moments that she should have noticed.

Eventually she looked back at him. "I won't be able to help you if they find out," she said kindly.

For a second anger rose in him, about the unfairness of the situation that might necessitate someone fighting for him, simply because he loved another man. But he swallowed it down, because this wasn't something that Elizabeth was responsible for.

He nodded.

Elizabeth relaxed. "So you and Rodney," she said much more lightly.

John allowed the smile on his face and let it widen, when she shook her head, grinning.


They didn't take him away.

Rodney took the day off for John's 42nd birthday.

He hadn't planned any specific surprises, but if John wanted a repeat performance of last year, Rodney wouldn't be adverse. He probably wouldn't be adverse to any wishes John had for his birthday. Also, it occurred to Rodney how strange it was to think in terms of last year.

When he arrived at John's room, he could hear laughter and chatter. Frowning he stepped inside.

Teyla and Ronon were there. But what was drawing Rodney's attention was the bed. The honest to God human sized bed for two grown-ups. And John lay on top of it.

When he saw Rodney he sat up and his eyes flickered nervously over to Teyla and Ronon and he flushed.

"We'll go for breakfast now," Teyla said quickly. "Rodney."

Rodney completely ignored both her and Ronon. His mind was filled with the kind of sex they could have now that they could actually move a few inches without danger of falling out. Rolling around. Lying next to each on their backs.

He only noticed that Ronon and Teyla were gone, when John got up and kissed him.

"Do you like what they got me?" he said teasingly.

Rodney's answer was to pull John's shirt out of his pants and over his head and push him onto the bed.

They were both naked in no time and Rodney had begun to blow John, when John pushed him away gently and rolled Rodney onto his back. And God, it didn't involve any dragging of limbs and precarious balancing acts.

John was on top of him and kissing down his chest. Slowly.

Rodney put a hand in his hair and stroked it. Then he spread his legs and began pushing against John.

"Impatient, huh?" John asked, looking up, but playing with Rodney's nipples. "I thought you took the day off."

"I did. But I haven't had breakfast yet, plus we have this great new bed, which by the way I'll have to ask Teyla and Ronon to get me one, too, so it's almost like a sign to have as much sex as humanly possible, don't you think?"

He was still thrusting up against John's abdomen.

"So we'll go for quantity over quality here?" John asked.

"It doesn't have to be either or," Rodney pointed out. John nodded and put one hand around Rodney's cock. Rodney groaned. "See, I'm sure we can get high quality results in - God, yes - several instances."

John moved down and took Rodney's cock in his mouth.

"Very high quality results." His hips thrust upward into John's welcoming mouth. "And after breakfast and the second round, you can go slow. It'll take some time to get it up again then anyway."

John lifted his head. "How very generous of you."

"It's your birthday," Rodney said graciously, lifting his hip towards John's face.

"Thank you for noticing," John said, ready to go back to sucking Rodney's dick. Rodney stopped him by cupping his face. He really hadn't congratulated him, yet.

He pulled John's face towards his. "Happy birthday," he said, stroking away some wild hair that had fallen into John's face. John opened his mouth and Rodney leaned forward and kissed him.

He moved the hand on John's face back into his hair and the other down to stroke his back.

"Would you really prefer to torture me all day?" Rodney asked when they came up for air. He was willing to do it for John, but what he really wanted was to come inside John as soon as possible. And then do it again. And again.

John looked at him then leaned forward to kiss Rodney's neck. He nibbled his ear and whispered, "I'm sure we can find a suitable compromise."

Rodney loved how this birthday turned out to be full of gifts for both of them.

Rodney got his bed.

If Rodney hadn't used it as another opportunity to 'test drive', John would have pouted, because he felt just a bit short-changed for his birthday, if Rodney had a nice big bed, too, now, although his birthday was months away. That and that he hadn't really gotten to explore Rodney the way he wanted to. For hours without coming, just touching, feeling, kissing.

All in all though, he didn't complain, because the beds were a godsend. He hadn't really realized just how restricting the old Atlantean beds were until he'd experienced lying next to each other with a chess board between them that could easily be pushed away, when they wanted to play a different kind of game.

And he still got to have acrobatic sex every now and then.


"Hey, you're working late," John said one evening entering the lab.

Rodney looked around. "Everyone else gone, so yes, I'd say so. Thanks for pointing it out to me."

"Just wanted to let you know that the meeting tomorrow will begin an hour later."


John could see that Rodney was busy, so he probably didn't want to sneak out for a quick blow job.

"Watcha working on," John still said, because he didn't want to leave Rodney yet.

"You don't want to know."

"Probably not." John stood there torn between wanting to stay with Rodney and having really no excuse but his pathetic need for it. "So good-night."

"Hey, Colonel."

John turned back.

"How would you feel about... now," Rodney said with a speculative look.


"There's nobody around and we can lock the door." Rodney began to grin in a way that went straight to John's groin.

John hastened to lock the door, then went up to Rodney, dropped down on his knees and started unbuttoning his fly.

"So tell me Rodney, were you just bored or have you fantasized about this?" John asked playfully.


John got out Rodney's dick and started licking, before taking him in. Rodney sighed. John had sucked him to full hardness, when Rodney pulled John's face away from his cock and guided him to stand up. "I shouldn't be the only one who has fun."

"I was having fun."

"You're a slut, Colonel. Now come here." Rodney pulled John between his spread legs and opened his pants until they dropped. Then he took John's stirring cock into his mouth and began sucking him. It didn't take long until John was hard, too. Just when it got really great Rodney pulled away. "So what will be the best way to do this? I wonder if there's any way I wouldn't have to move from this chair."

"You're so lazy."

"It was a long day."

Rodney did look tired. John petted him on the head. "Let me try something."

He stepped out of his pants, underwear and rest of clothing until he was naked. He tried not to think about the fact that this was Rodney's lab and that he was not nearly as uncomfortable about that as he should be. Then he somehow managed to navigate himself on Rodney's lap with his legs on the armrests.

Rodney's eyes glazed over as he watched John. "Okay. One of the perks to have a soldier as your boyf- fuck buddy."

Rodney only called John his fuck buddy when he was teasing him, these days. But John was going to forgive him, because... boyfriend? Even if it was only boyf- and Rodney had corrected himself, it was more acknowledgment of an actual relationship than John had ever gotten from him. He wasn't going to mention it though.

"I really have to hang on to the back, here, so just go ahead..." he said instead, gripping the back of the chair.

Rodney started stroking John's dick. And his own. He moved up a bit to get closer, but this almost sent John sprawling.

"Okay," Rodney said and moved his hands to John's ass to pull him closer. "That's better."

Their dicks were aligned now, but Rodney kept his hands on John's ass and started fondling him there. John moved a bit up to give him more space. He wished he could feel Rodney inside of him, even if just a finger.

"I don't have any lube with me," he said.

"So you're thinking what I'm thinking. I have some hand lotion in my jacket. Can you hold on, while I get it?"

John balanced himself on the armrests, fingers on the back to let Rodney search for the lotion. He was careful trying not to dislodge John in the process and finally got it. John moaned, when Rodney started preparing him.

He rode Rodney's fingers a bit until Rodney pulled them out and drew John closer. John moved up until he was above Rodney's hard cock and then slowly sank down on him. They both groaned.

"Fuck. We should go fast," John said, because he really didn't think he could hold onto the chair for very long with Rodney deep inside him.

"I don't think that'll be a problem," Rodney said, his voice strained.

He started thrusting as well as he could and moved one hand to John's dick. Then he began stroking him, while the other hand moved around to hold John. John still had both hands behind Rodney's head on the chair and started riding Rodney.

The squeaking of the chair was drowned out by their moans as they fucked more and more frantically until they both came almost at the same time.

John moved up and let Rodney slip out and then they somehow managed to get down and sprawl on the floor without breaking anything. Rodney absent-absentmindedly stroked John's side, lying half on top of him.

John enjoyed the moment even as every bone in his body informed him that he'd regret this in the morning. "I need to work on my flexibility."

Rodney looked at his face then. "What have I done to deserve you?"

John couldn't read if he meant that in a good way or a bad way.

"Hey. You proposed our 'arrangement'," he settled on saying.

"And I'm glad I did. You're one of the best things that ever happened to me."

Good then. John stared at him.

"Probably the best of the living and breathing kind," Rodney added.

John remained quiet for a moment longer then said half-humorously, "So I rank just below ZPMs and your diplomas."

"Actually above some of my diplomas I'd say," he said, smiling fondly at John.

Then he moved forward and kissed John and John kissed back and put his arms around Rodney.

"Hi Rodney."

Rodney turned around in the line to find Katie Brown smiling at him.

A week before they'd taken her on one of their missions, because the natives had a problem with an out of control weed.

It had been incredibly awkward at first. Rodney had managed to avoid Katie for the last one and a half years. But when she'd been her usual friendly self and obviously didn't have any resentments towards Rodney they had relaxed and it had gone well.

"Hi," he said, smiling back.

"Can I join you for lunch?"

Rodney's instinct was to say no. He was glad that he didn't feel bad around her anymore. He didn't want to risk that. But then he realized that he had missed talking to her. He nodded.

They sat down and started eating in silence.

"We really appreciate the budget for the new lab," Katie said eventually.

"Oh, well, yes."

"I know there's never enough to go around and I know how you feel about biology," she said, a slightly teasing note in her voice.

"As sciences go... as you said, you know how I feel about it. However I have to admit your solution to the problem on P3X-779 was quite... elegant."

She raised her eyebrows.

"Sheppard was about to suggest C4," he explained, rolling his eyes.

She laughed. "Well, I think that would have solved the problem, too."

He smiled back.

They talked a bit about his missions and he was surprised to see that she knew about details he'd almost forgotten. Especially when he'd been hurt.

"I can't believe you remember that."

She blushed a bit, then shrugged. "You know how all the scientists throw a party, when you're out of commission."

He glared at her, but then broke out in a grin. "So what have you been doing lately? Are you still working on a cure for cancer?"

"Yes, but not as much as before. So far nothing was the breakthrough that I'd hoped for. But I did find a rather nice smelling, non-irritating, sun-blocking substance. I thought of you, but..."

Yes, they hadn't been talking. "I'd love to try it."

"I'll bring some over to your lab."

"Thank you."

"I've been going through the Ancient database on plants with Simon, Dr. Hardwick. It's something we've been working on for a while."

"Hardwick, Hardwick, he's..."

"A linguist. He went on a mission with you last year. Something about stone temples."

"Oh yes, I remember. He actually wasn't useless," Rodney said, then realized how he sounded.

But Katie only laughed and Rodney smiled in relief. That was, what he had liked about being with Katie. She didn't hold his lack of social skills against him and was actually amused. He was really glad that he had allowed her to join him for lunch.

"Colonel," she said, looking up.

"Dr. Brown," he heard John say and it sounded very formal in his ears, but Katie didn't seem to think anything of it and John walked on to join Zelenka on a table a bit further away.

Rodney looked back to Katie.

"So have you found anything interesting in the database?" he asked.

"Well, it's a very detailed account on the plant life as it was on Atlantis 10,000 years ago..."

"But with not much application now," he finished for her.

"No," she said.

"Sorry that you wasted your time."

"Oh, I wouldn't say that," she said, blushing, and suddenly Rodney remembered the Simon thing.

"So you and Dr. Hardwick?" He was surprised at how unaffected he could sound. Because he really didn't care other than that it pleased him that she had found someone who hopefully treated her better than he could.

She nodded.

"I'm happy for you," he said with a smile.

She looked at him. "Have you found the woman to marry yet?"

His eyes widened and then he remembered their conversation so long ago on that fateful day. How he had admitted that he'd like to have someone in his life like his sister had. Something permanent. It seemed like a very long time ago that he'd last thought about finding a future wife.

"No, I haven't."

"Oh." She seemed almost surprised.

Rodney raised his eyebrows.

"I thought, maybe... you look good," she said, quickly amending, "Happy."

Rodney didn't know what to say to that. People usually only told him he looked like he needed to relax or sleep or stop panicking already, but not that he looked happy. He thought about it for a moment, about his current life.

His gaze moved over to where John was looking skeptically at Radek who used his hands to illustrate whatever he was trying to explain to John.

Rodney wasn't the kind of person who sat down and thought about his life at length. Mainly because there was no point in bemoaning things he couldn't have. But he had to admit that currently, there wouldn't be much that he would regret.

Sure, he still didn't quite get the recognition he deserved and all their lives were under more or less constant threat. But he was content. He was at peace with himself and comfortable with what he had with John. It was almost surprising to realize that, yes, he was happy.

He looked back at her. "I am."

She smiled brightly, obviously glad, and for a second he regretted that he couldn't tell her about John. He was always more relaxed around John in the presence of people who knew, like when they were alone with Keller in the infirmary or on missions. And Katie still cared about him and there simply weren't a lot of people that Rodney could feel so comfortable with. He would have liked to give her something in return, but he couldn't. It wasn't just the regs. He simply didn't think he'd have the words to explain what he and John had.

"I am," he said again.

"How was your date?" John asked that evening, when Rodney dropped by.

He wasn't sure how successful he was at hiding his jealousy, but Rodney either didn't notice or didn't comment on it.

"It wasn't a date. We just had lunch. You know that Katie is seeing a linguist now?"

He didn't. But he didn't say anything, concentrating instead on not visibly exhaling in relief.

"She asked if I found a woman to marry yet. Of course I couldn't tell her just how far off she was."

"Rodney, I'm hurt," John said dramatically, hoping that it really sounded as if it was just a joke.

Not that he'd ever expected Rodney would entertain the faintest thought of marrying John. John hadn't either. Mostly. Actually John was a bit surprised that Rodney might have entertained the thought of marrying anyone. He said as much to him.

"Why not? A stable relationship, someone to come home to, why wouldn't I want that?"

Yes, why wouldn't he? John thought about seeing him and Katie at lunch, smiling at each other, like a perfect couple. That was what Rodney really wanted. What he'd stopped persuing for the moment, because he didn't think he could have it. And the very reason why John kept reminding himself that what they did wasn't permanent.

"I just can't really picture you with a wife and kids," John said, swallowing down any thoughts about Rodney coming home to him.

"Who said anything about kids?" Rodney said horrified. "Although the world would benefit if I didn't let my genes go to waste."

"That's so romantic."

"Oh, please, as if you wanted kids."

"I always thought I'd have some."

"You're gay."

"The jury's still out on that one. Maybe I just haven't met the right woman yet." John felt he deserved to cling to that bit of denial, at least in Rodney's presence.

"And how on earth did you plan to do that? I mean from what I've seen your longest relationship lasted less than 6 months and that only because you were stuck in a time dilation field and the moment you could go, you ran."

John opened his mouth to say, 'I've been with you for over a year,' but then thought better of it.

"I wasn't actively looking," he said instead. "Plus I didn't say that I absolutely have to have kids."

"I know you don't, because I've seen that in both women and men and it doesn't look like that," Rodney said gesturing at John.

"But I'd have liked it, if it would have happened," John said honestly.

"Seriously?" Rodney said, sounding incredibly doubtful and suddenly John wanted him to understand.

"Just imagine... showing them the wonders of the universe. Teaching them right from wrong. Imagine how we'd take her out in the puddlejumper for the first time."

"I'm appalled," Rodney said with a grimace.

John didn't hide the hurt look on his face. He should be used to Rodney by now, but sometimes he still got under John's skin with such things.

Rodney quickly added, "At myself. Because I actually find the idea cute."

John grinned. And Rodney could still pleasantly surprise him too.

"Our babies will be smart and beautiful," John deadpanned.

Rodney's look turned into one of abject horror.

John laughed.

"This would be slightly more convincing if you hadn't been on your knees for me last night."

John stopped mid-stride and turned around, an incredulous look on his face.

Rodney stopped as well. He was just kidding. It was what they did. Although maybe that shouldn't include anything that questioned Sheppard's manliness, especially when they were on a mission and not alone.

"All right. I get on my knees for you, too," he said half to John, half to Ronon, but John wasn't happy. In fact he was livid.

"Will you shut up!"

Rodney took a step back from the sheer force of the words. "I just..." He trailed off, not really sure why John was suddenly so angry.

John turned around and stalked off in a rush.

Rodney ran after him. "You know I wasn't trying to imply that you're... unmanly. I mean I was, but I don't mean it. I just want-"

"Stop," John said sharply, not slowing down.

"But," Rodney began, but John interrupted him.

"You can't tell me this was an accident, too."

Rodney had to think for a moment to understand, what John was talking about. But then he did. He was talking about outing them.

"But they know," he said.

"I said, I think Ronon suspects. And even if he did know, what we do is not... for public consumption," he spat out the last words and by now Rodney was desperate to make it okay again.

"I just said-"

"I don't..." John stopped, his jaw clenched and his eyes were fixed on the ground. "When this is over, I don't wan-"

"Sheppard!" Ronon came up behind them. He'd stayed behind with Teyla during their... discussion, but now he was nodding left of the direction they were headed.

Rodney didn't even look though. He just stood there, hearing the phrase 'When this is over' in his head again and again.

"When this is over," he eventually said quietly.

John turned to him and after a stern "Not now" was off in the direction Ronon had pointed, giving them orders as he went.

Rodney obeyed on instinct.

But for the rest of the mission he couldn't help thinking that this couldn't be the end. They threw insults at each other on a daily basis and John had been understanding with Jennifer and Elizabeth. He didn't understand what was different now. He just hoped he could fix it, because the alternative was unthinkable.

John was still angry when they safely made their way back to the gate.

Rodney should know better, shouldn't he? Jennifer and Elizabeth had been an accident. And Rodney had looked miserable enough after Elizabeth had found out. John didn't know when it had become okay to talk about their sex life in public.

Then he remembered.

The little ways in which they'd relaxed on missions. How Rodney had relaxed. And how John hadn't called him on it. Rodney wasn't overtly touchy, but he'd begun to say things like "Be careful" or put his hand on John's back or shoulder, when he wouldn't have before.

John hadn't minded. Ronon and Teyla had never commented on it and John thought maybe they hadn't even noticed. And if they did he wasn't afraid they'd tell anyone.

He still wasn't afraid they'd tell anyone. This wasn't about that.

It was about making this something that he couldn't control. Not that he actually felt like he was in control, but when this was between him and Rodney alone, he only had to deal with Rodney. He knew what this was to Rodney. It wasn't exactly what John wanted, but he was willing to take it, because it was as much as he could get.

But just because he was willing to do it didn't mean it was easy. Sometimes Rodney was so emotional and intense when they had sex that it was hard for John not to see this as a relationship. And not just during sex; it was sometimes the little things that Rodney had begun doing over time, like brushing John's foot under the conference table during a briefing and just smiling at him. John had to fight not to let his love for Rodney show, to not let slip what he really wanted and to keep seeing this as the arrangement that it ultimately still was.

Rodney's reconciliation with Katie had reminded him of that, of what Rodney really wanted and what he'd never have with John.

All of this meant one thing. John had to be prepared for the end. And that included keeping others from knowing or at least from believing it was something they could talk about. Because it wasn't that he was worried about any one of them saying anything. He trusted Teyla, Ronon, Elizabeth and Jennifer with their secret. The problem wasn't what they knew. It was what they didn't know. They didn't know that this was just an arrangement.

And John's biggest nightmare was being in a situation where people came to him and told him they were sorry and all he could do was say, "We were just fucking", not because it was true for him, but out of fear that it was what Rodney would tell them.


Rodney accompanied him into his room after Keller had checked them over in the infirmary.

He looked tense and miserable and John was torn between thinking that he deserved it and wanting to hug him.

"I'm sorry," Rodney said. "I didn't think you'd mind. They didn't seem surprised, so I think they knew before that," Rodney tried to defend himself.

It just made clear to John that he had no idea why John was angry in the first place.

"It's not that they know."

"Then what?"

"You... told them."

"But they already knew," Rodney said, clearly not understanding.

John sighed in frustration. "But it's not the same. They've suspected and neither of us has denied it, but it wasn't something we ever talked about. And now it is. But it shouldn't be. This is between us. It's not that I don't trust Ronon and Teyla to keep this a secret. It's simply none of their business. Shit, Rodney, they just don't get it and how could they?"

Rodney looked at him, the corners of his mouth still turned downward.

"They do not know that we have this arrangement and I don't want them to misunderstand what is going on between us." It hurt John to say that, to call it that out loud, but it had to be done, because it was the truth.

"Would it be a misunderstanding?" Rodney asked quietly.

John didn't know what to say. Was Rodney suggestion that this wasn't just an arrangement any longer, that they were a couple? He couldn't believe that, so he pressed on. "They think we are in a relationship."

"There is more than one way to define a relationship," Rodney said.

It wasn't that he didn't want Rodney to see it as that, to see them as that. He wanted it more than maybe anything in the world, but he still didn't believe that that was what Rodney was really thinking.

"There is, but are you suggesting that we have a relationship?" He didn't really want to say it, but he felt he had to not just for Rodney, but mostly for himself. "What would you do if Col. Carter came to Atlantis today and told you she'd finally realized that you are all she ever wanted in a man."

Rodney rolled his eyes. "Oh please, like that's going to happen."

"Okay, what if we meet the perfect woman on some planet. Smart, short blonde hair and for some reason falling in love with you."

"It hasn't happened so far and I think it's doubtful it will any time soon."

"But not impossible. And then it will be the end of this arrangement and things will be like before. We are doing this, because it's convenient and we enjoy it. But it's not a relationship. And that is why I don't want anyone to know about us. Because if you talk about it, they might think they can talk about it, too and there are just some questions I don't ever want to answer." He couldn't tell Rodney that he'd simply not be able to bear it if Teyla or Ronon or, God, Elizabeth tried to comfort him, when Rodney left.

Rodney nodded. "Okay."

John just stood there. They usually had sex after missions, unless Rodney had found something exciting that he wanted to take to the lab immediately or one of them was hurt or they were really dead tired. But today...

Rodney eventually stepped forward and kissed him. After a moment John kissed back and let Rodney lead him to bed.

He should be glad.

All through the mission he'd been afraid that John would break up with him. Or not break up, but end it. Breaking up was for people who were in a relationship and they weren't.

He wasn't sure why this felt so... wrong. He wasn't even sure why he'd started arguing with John, when he knew full well that what they had was an arrangement.

It was the perfect arrangement. No pressure, no nagging, no responsibility, no guilt. And he even had his freedom, as John had pointed out.

Still it felt wrong to call it an arrangement, because it simply meant more than that. It was convenient, easy and maybe even temporary. And they did have the freedom to date someone else. But the fact was, Rodney hadn't slept with anyone else since that guy on Planet Sex almost a year ago. And John hadn't slept with anyone else for even longer.

On evenings when he wasn't so tired that he just wanted to fall into bed and sleep he'd go to John to spend time with him. It wasn't even always sex. They played chess or watched a movie or just talked sometimes.

In a way John was the person he was coming home to.

Even if it wasn't their home and they never spent the night together. Even if they didn't make plans beyond tomorrow and in rare cases a day off in a week or two. Rodney was the first to admit it wasn't what he had imagined when he had thought about the perfect future. It wasn't marrying. But in truth he'd given up on marriage and perfection. And this second best was more than he'd ever hoped to get.

If he had to settle, then he'd gladly settle on what he had with John. Spending the rest of his life like this wasn't the worst way to spend it and he realized he could imagine being with John for the rest of his life. Actually it was surprisingly easy to see them old and arguing over what to watch on TV and who'd get to lie back and who'd have to top and do all the hard work.

Maybe John was right and it wasn't a relationship. But then relationships had simply never worked for Rodney. And what he had with John did work.

In his relationships there always came a point where it had been his partner against his work. Sure, anyone who'd lasted more than a week or two had learned to accept it, but they'd always seen it as a sacrifice or at least a compromise. As if they were doing Rodney a favor in allowing him to do his job. John wasn't like that. When Rodney had to work for a week straight, John brought him food, snuck in late at night to give him blow jobs and otherwise left him in peace.

And he never had to be afraid that John would be reproachful because Rodney worked so hard. He'd be happy to have Rodney back and that made Rodney want to finish sooner to be with him again.

John made everything easy.

Rodney didn't have to ask what he'd done at work, didn't have to comment when he got new clothes, didn't have to comfort him when he was sulking. And the thing was, Rodney still caught himself doing many of those things. He did comment when John got new clothes, because he always noticed John's body and usually took the chance to get him out of them. And when John was down after Teyla or Ronon had wiped the floor with him, he found himself encouraging John with things like "You're so hot" or "I want you so much" or praising the many qualities of John's cock and what it did to Rodney, all beyond what was strictly necessary.

He did those things, not because he felt he had to or should, but simply because he wanted to do them for John. Out of friendship. Out of affection. And it might be strange, but in a way it felt like that: Out of love.

"Maybe we could talk about it over dinner?" Elizabeth asked.

"That's a good idea, but not today. I'm meeting Rodney," John answered.

"Oh yes, I've seen him earlier all dressed up. Have a nice evening then," she said with a slightly suggestive smile.

John thanked her and left, frowning a bit. Rodney never dressed up for him. In fact John had been half-surprised when Rodney had dropped by his office earlier that day to ask if they'd have dinner together. Usually they ate together, when John came by the lab and Rodney could tear himself away.

The only thing that Rodney planned was sex. So John was pretty sure that was on the menu, too, tonight, probably the main course.

But when he entered Rodney's room, there was a nice little dinner table set up and Rodney did indeed look very, very nice.

He was wearing one of the blue shirts that highlighted his eyes and he had showered and shaved.

John was both pleasantly surprised and slightly suspicious.

"It's not my birthday," John commented.

"No, it isn't. And it isn't mine either. It's nothing really."

"It doesn't look like nothing," John said, his gaze wandering over the various plates and bowls, all still covered. There was even a bottle of wine.

"All right, it's just... today this relationship is officially the longest that I ever had," he said, looking at John. Then he dropped his gaze and quickly added, "Even though it isn't really one."

They hadn't discussed it again after John had set the record straight. John didn't feel they had to. He'd made his point clear and in the end Rodney had agreed. Sex had been a bit tense that day, but afterwards, to John's surprise, it actually seemed more loving to him and not less.

He didn't know why Rodney was gentler with him, but John had noticed an increase in touches while they had sex and in general. John for his part felt more okay about expressing his feelings for Rodney, now that they'd set the boundaries clearly once more. If he held Rodney a little more tightly and kissed him a little longer, it was all just part of their agreement.

Even if Rodney called it a relationship again now. John didn't correct him. The truth was he didn't know much about Rodney's relationships, had only witnessed one. Maybe he'd never gotten to the point where he felt he had something that would last, that he wanted to last. Maybe that was the reason why what he had with John felt like a relationship to him.

It saddened him a bit that Rodney's history might be as bad as his own in that respect.

"And actually it could have been months ago," Rodney continued, "but I chose not to count the time that wasn't on purpose and I did count the time Jennifer and I had sex after breaking up for reasons that I frankly don't remember. So... are you hungry?"

He looked slightly nervous, as if he was afraid that he'd overstepped his boundaries and John might take issue again. But John didn't. They were in this together, whatever it was.

He stepped closer and nodded, then pulled Rodney into a deep kiss.

What did it matter that Rodney wanted to call it a relationship? Their tongues pushed against each other and Rodney's hands slipped beneath John's shirt. What was important was that John remembered what they were. Rodney's fingertips ran up his sides towards his back. And really, the world wouldn't end if John allowed himself to just take everything that Rodney was willing to give to him and not think about what it meant for once.

He grabbed Rodney by his very nice shirt and pushed him down onto the bed.

By the time they ate, it was cold, but neither of them complained.

They'd made another breakthrough in their ZPM research. John had blown Rodney twice in the lab in the last few days and had seen little else of him.

Which was why he was surprised when Rodney dragged himself through the door that afternoon and plopped down face first on the bed next to John.


"Don't tell them where I am."

John smiled and ruffled Rodney's wild hair affectionately. Rodney made a pleased noise. John leaned over to kiss his cheek.

"Go ahead," Rodney mumbled into the pillow.


Rodney lifted his head long enough to say, "Fuck me."

He looked pretty out of it, but John wasn't going to pass up the opportunity. Rodney was not the type to offer himself selflessly. At least not in such things.

John managed to undress Rodney, not a small feat, since Rodney barely moved, and then got out of his own clothes.

By the time he started kissing down Rodney's back, John wasn't sure if he was even still awake. He smiled. It was the chance to finally go slow on Rodney, without him interrupting and complaining.

He kissed over the whole expanse of Rodney's broad back with an excursion to his shoulders and interspersed with flicks of his tongue on Rodney's pale skin.

Eventually he got to Rodney's ass. John just stroked it for a bit, then kissed his way down his crack. He pulled the cheeks apart and ran his tongue over Rodney's entrance. Rodney spread his legs a bit wider, but otherwise didn't react. John pushed the tip of his tongue inside Rodney, then pulled out again and kissed one cheek and fondled Rodney's balls, before going back to continue rimming him.

When he thought he didn't have any feeling left in his tongue he pulled away. Then he carefully rolled Rodney over and immediately sucked his half-hard cock into his mouth.

Rodney sighed and moved one hand into John's hair.

John sucked him to full hardness and then moved away.

Rodney only made a little sound of protest. John got the lube out of the drawer and prepared himself. He knew that Rodney was going to complain that he didn't get to see it, but John could offer to do it again. He wanted to ride Rodney long and hard.

He put the lube on the night stand and straddled Rodney, positioning his hard cock below John's hole. He moved forward to kiss Rodney. His face was turned slightly to the side and John kissed him on the cheek, but then Rodney turned his face to kiss John on the mouth.

John sank down on Rodney's cock until Rodney was fully embedded inside of him. Rodney opened his eyes.

"I thought you were going to fuck me," he said, still sounding tired.

"I am," John said and began to move up and down Rodney's cock.

Rodney seemed to become more awake at that. He put his hands on John's thighs and began thrusting a little in counterpoint to John's thrusts.

John kept up the leisurely rhythm and was still moving slowly when his comm stirred to life.

He really hoped it wasn't an emergency. He picked up the comm and stopped with Rodney deep inside of him.

"Sheppard," he said, trying not to think about the fact that he was impaled on Rodney's cock.

"Ah, Colonel. Would you tell Rodney that simulations are done?"

"Can it wait?" John asked.

Rodney mouthed 'Can what wait?', but John ignored him.

"Yes," Zelenka answered. "I know he wanted to rest. I told him to."

Rodney frowned and began to thrust up into John. "I'll tell him later," John said and ended the conversation.

"Tell me what later?" Rodney said, while John put down the comm.

"Who said it was about you?" John said.

"Who else would it be about?"

"Didn't you want to sleep?"

Rodney looked as if he had to consider it, then closed his eyes and patted John's hip. "Come on, cowboy."

John snorted and began riding him again.

Rodney was sleepy enough to let John continue for quite a long while. John enjoyed it, slowly working himself on Rodney's cock and bringing himself higher and higher until he couldn't wait any longer and his thrusts became more urgent. He started jerking his hard cock even as he fucked himself on Rodney's erection.

Rodney began thrusting back again and the hands on John's hips tightened, until he came. John kept riding him through it and with a few quick jerks of his cock he came, too, spurting on Rodney's chest.

He moved off of Rodney and they curled together so that John was spooned behind him.

They lay like that for a while until their breaths had evened out. Then John kissed the back of Rodney's neck.

"Zelenka says the simulations are done," he whispered into Rodney's ear.

Rodney's head lifted, knocking John's head back none too gently.

"That little Czech weasel," he cursed, jumping out of the bed. He looked around for a second then used the bed sheet to wipe himself clean.

Within a minute he was dressed and out of the door and John lay back and sighed when Rodney came back, kissed him, said "Thank you" and ran away again.

Eventually they finished their theoretical analysis on ZPM research and were ready for the next phase of practical experiments. Unfortunately the next phase required a ZPM. Elizabeth was not willing to give Rodney permission to use theirs. Rodney hadn't fought it too hard, because he knew they needed it. He was a bit more pissed off that the SGC wouldn't part with one of theirs, but there wasn't much he could do, so he'd asked Elizabeth if they could concentrate on finding one in their missions. She had given her approval.

Ankerrl didn't have a ZPM, but Rodney made a discovery of a different kind.

John could cook.

It was strange really, he'd known John for 5 years now, but he didn't know that he could cook, much less that he actually seemed to like it. And all it took was a planet that offered condos with a nicely furnished kitchen and a well-filled icebox.

Usually their missions were either short enough that they didn't need anything beyond a power bar and for longer ones they had MREs. And when they met natives they were often invited to meals. On Ankerrl however they were shown to a nice little house where they could refresh and eat, before starting negotiations.

"Who's cooking?" Rodney asked once they were left alone.

"Not Teyla," Ronon said, which earned him an elbow in the ribs, when Teyla removed her P90.

"Oh, I'm sorry," she said, sounding almost genuine.

"I'll cook," John said and they all turned and looked after him, when he went into the kitchen.

"Better than Teyla," Ronon said with a shrug, taking a step away from her.

She raised an eyebrow at him, but said, "We should prepare the table, then."

They found plates and cutlery in the cupboard next to the dining table and Rodney left them and followed John into the kitchen.

He was ready to make a snide remark about John making a good housewife, when he saw the smile playing on John's face as he gathered the ingredients. He looked really happy and seemed to be enjoying himself. When Rodney saw him sort out the fruits from a little basket and take the lemons to the far end of the kitchen placing them in the very corner, Rodney's smile widened in affection.

When John turned around he noticed Rodney.

"So, do you want to help or are you just avoiding setting up the table?"

"The second one," Rodney admitted. But John didn't seem to mind.

He started preparing the ingredients and setting up pots. Rodney couldn't help thinking that the only thing missing was an apron. As far as Rodney could see the meal wasn't fancy, but still it was strange to watch John prepare a meal in such a normal environment. It was amazing that after all this time there were still sides of John that he didn't know. It excited Rodney. He added it to his ever-growing pile of memories: John happily puttering around in the kitchen. Rodney was weirdly touched by the sheer... domesticity of it. He imagined coming home to this picture after a hard work day. Then he couldn't help himself. He walked closer to John and, after checking that Teyla and Ronon were still busy in the other room, leaned over John's shoulder, kissed him on the cheek and asked, "Honey, when's dinner ready?"

"When the table is set," John said without a beat.


Later that week Rodney brought John a little kitchen unit for his room. They'd found them years ago, but never used them because who voluntarily cooked when there was a mess?

John apparently did. When Rodney presented it to him, John stared at it for so long, that Rodney wondered if John's behavior on Ankerrl had been an aberration and cooking on Atlantis was the furthest thing from his mind.

When John did speak it was a deadpan, "If you're asking me to wash your underwear I'm getting a divorce."

Rodney smiled and John went to prepare them a dinner.

They did it from time to time after that, sometimes inviting others, but mostly just the two of them. Rodney liked to watch John cook and was always intent on getting a taste of either the meal or the cook, although they hardly ever ended up having sex, because John said if he took the time to cook, Rodney could try to keep his hands to himself long enough to enjoy the meal warm.

And Rodney did enjoy it. It was surprisingly good, although Rodney didn't know why he was still surprised. Everything John did for him was good.

When Rodney brought a set of clothes with him one day, John said, "I wasn't joking about the divorce."

Rodney glared at him. "It's more efficient if I shower and dress here before the next briefing."

John looked at him doubtfully. Sure, it might be more efficient, but Rodney hadn't complained for the last one and a half years of having sex in John's room and then showering in his own, or showering with John, but changing clothes in his own room, and this just seemed like another thing that might not be a good idea.

But then Rodney distracted him with a blow job. He was still feeling the afterglow, when Rodney showered so he just decided to forget about it.

A week later John found a set of Rodney's clothes in his cupboard.

In a moment of panic he checked the bathroom to see if Rodney hadn't secretly moved in. Because if he had they'd really have to talk about this relationship thing again, but there was nothing of him there. John wasn't quite sure if he was relieved or disappointed.

John didn't mention it and simply tried to keep an eye on things and later that week Rodney showered after sex and changed into the set of clothes he'd left with John. Neither of them said anything about it and the next day another set was there in its place. John felt that he should probably speak to Rodney about it, but Rodney would just point out that it was practical and John would have to agree and it really wasn't a problem, was it?

So John ignored it and tried not to read anything into it.

He'd never admit it, but Rodney liked weddings.

There was good food, gossip, people looking their best or failing at it in entertaining ways. And then there was the exchange of vows, which somehow managed to get past his more cynical views on romance and made him feel happy that two people could still find love in this day and age, no matter how messed up the world around them was.

Their names were Edres and Rahle. Rodney had to admit it didn't mean anything to him, when they invited the whole team to their wedding. They had rescued Rahle from slavery on one of their missions and she had ended up with the Athosians, where she had met Edres.

The ceremony was surprisingly similar to an Earth wedding.

The couple pronounced their love for each other and someone else pronounced them... something which Rodney was sure meant husband and wife.

Everyone clapped and quite a few tears were shed. Not his own. Well, maybe his eyes got a bit misty, but that was probably the smoke from the fire that was burning in honor of the ceremony.

John looked over to him with one raised eyebrow and Rodney looked back and simply smiled.

The food was really very good and Teyla had made sure that they had put everything with citrus in a special corner so that Rodney could eat safely. John still volunteered to try everything for him.

They really ended up eating from each other's plates and sometimes hands, which nobody paid attention to. Athosian weddings were less formal than the few that he had attended on Earth.

It felt good to see people celebrating like this for once. Ronon and Teyla were relaxed, too, laughing and even dancing.

They had agreed to spend the night there, because the celebration traditionally went on through the night.

Most people had already gone to bed, but a few were still gathered around the fire, some sleeping, the others quietly enjoying the mild night.

John had drunk something. Okay, John had drunk quite a bit. He wasn't exactly intoxicated, but he seemed very relaxed. Rodney had watched him with a little girl, who'd shyly asked him for a dance. Now she was carried to bed, already half asleep in her mother's arms and John came back and joined Rodney in the grass.

Rodney was sitting with his back leaned against a large lying tree trunk. John sat down next to him and leaned his back half against the tree, half against Rodney's chest. Rodney hesitated for a moment, then put his arm around John.

It was dark. Most people were in bed and those that weren't, didn't pay any attention to them. John had never said anything to him again about being discreet, but then Rodney had really tried to watch himself after his blurting in front of Ronon and Teyla. He didn't want to risk either another involuntary outing or John getting upset again. But right now John didn't make any sign of disapproval.

In fact he turned his face and curled himself into Rodney's chest, which tightened at the sight. He stroked John's hair. It felt good to see him so at ease outside. He leaned forward and kissed him lightly on the head.

John looked up. He looked like he was half asleep already and Rodney smiled and tousled his hair. John moved his head away trying to escape and then leaned forward and kissed Rodney.

Rodney's heart skipped a beat. They'd never kissed in public, where anyone could see them. But this moment in the warm dark night, where the fire only seemed to reach them and nothing else, it seemed natural to do this.

He opened up his mouth and let John's tongue slip into his mouth.

John's arms slid around him and he was suddenly more awake now.

"I want you inside me," John whispered into Rodney's ear, taking the lobe into his mouth and Rodney shuddered and nodded and John led him into their hut.

It was slow and gentle and Rodney hung onto every whispered word and every movement of the tip of John's fingers on his skin.

John had mixed feelings when they finally found a ZPM. It meant that they could run the tests they'd been waiting to perform ever since their last theoretical research had reached a point where they were ready for some practical experimentation.

That in turn meant that he wouldn't see much if anything of Rodney for however long it would take for them to be successful or give up for now.

But still he couldn't help smiling when they presented the ZPM to Elizabeth and Zelenka, who was grinning like a loon. John expected him and Rodney to spontaneously start dancing any moment.

For now though, Rodney beamed at Elizabeth and told her that this meant they could finally start the last phase of their experiments before they went on to actually build their own ZPM.

Elizabeth nodded. "I understand Rodney. Take all the resources you need and keep me posted."

And there it was. Rodney's permission to disappear into the labs for an indefinite amount of time.

John sighed inwardly and allowed himself to stand closer to Rodney and actually put an arm around his waist. With the news of the ZPM he doubted that anyone would notice and everyone in the room either definitely knew about them or probably did.

Rodney turned to him and smiled his widest happiest smile, the one that could probably light a solar system on its own. Then he kissed John and rushed off with Zelenka and the ZPM.

John didn't even mind the kiss. Rodney had made a visible effort to keep their relationship private. And a ZPM in hand was a condition not unlike drugs for Rodney, so he was willing to let it slide. Plus in the five months since they'd discussed it John thought less and less about the necessity of hiding their relationship even from those who knew.

He looked at the others. Elizabeth, Teyla and even Ronon shared amused smiles.

John sighed, not bothering to keep it inside this time and went to his room, alone.


The next evening John lay in his bed and read War and Peace, which he hadn't done in about forever. He had to go back and reread things all the time and he would have started the whole thing again if he didn't have the hope that Rodney wouldn't be gone long enough for him to actually finish the book.

John had visited Rodney in the lab the previous evening, where he'd shouted a whole lot at Zelenka and anyone who came close, so he'd just stayed away and watched him from afar, which was probably the only way he'd get to see him at all for the time being.

Today he'd only brought him some lunch, which Rodney had gratefully taken, talking about things that mostly went straight over John's head, but still he'd enjoyed the ten minutes it had lasted before Rodney was off again, with just a small brush of his hand against John's arm.

John planned to bring Rodney lunch again the next day and didn't expect to see him before then.

But just as he was skipping to an earlier part again, his door chimed.

He put down the book and got up, hoping it wasn't an accident with the ZPM or an attack.

It was Rodney.

John was stunned to say the least and let Rodney in.

He seemed a bit nervous. "I... I'm sorry about the kiss. After the mission I mean, in front of the others."

John stared at him. He couldn't believe that Rodney was remembering it, let alone getting away from his experiments to apologize for it.

"It's no problem. You were excited. And they all knew."

"Still, you made your position on it clear and I didn-"

"It's no problem," John said again, because it really wasn't. He wasn't sure why, but at some point he had simply accepted that Elizabeth, Teyla, Ronon and Jennifer thought they were in love. Maybe because it wasn't so far off from the truth. And he really didn't want Rodney to beat himself up about it. "I didn't think I'd see you again so soon. Are the experi-"

"Yes, good. And I have to get back. I just... I missed you and thought..."

John stepped closer and Rodney pulled his face into a deep kiss, pushing John back until they both landed on the bed.

"I don't have much time," Rodney said between kisses.

He pushed John's shirt up and opened up his pants and John did the same to him until Rodney lay on top of him, their dicks aligned and thrusting against each other.

"Missed this," Rodney said between pants. They kissed and stroked each other urgently. Then Rodney mumbled John's name and moaned and said, "Damn, the only time I'd have time for you is when I sleep. It's too bad we don't sleep together." He groaned and came and called out John's name before moving down the bed to take John's dick in his mouth and suck until John shot down his throat.

"Thank you so much," he said and kissed John, before rushing off again.

John was still coming down when his mind rewound and remembered what Rodney had said about the only time they'd have time for each other at the moment.

His common sense told him that he probably shouldn't start with it. But all other senses seemed to say that Rodney was right and it would be just for now and it wouldn't mean anything and it would hurt no one. Rodney would agree that it was the practical thing to do, so what was the point in not doing something that they both wanted?

Rodney stumbled into his bed that night for his five hours of sleep, yelping when he found something that hadn't been there when he'd left that morning. Something living and breathing and mumbling sleepily "'odney?"


The answer was a yawn.

"Why are you-" he began, but then he vaguely remembered what he'd said during sex. "Oh, okay, go back to sleep."

He settled into bed next to John, praising their bigger beds. John put an arm around him and was out like a light again.

Rodney listened to his breathing and just watched him for a moment in the pale moonlight. It felt so right to lie next to John like this. And all it had taken was a word and John had made it happen. Rodney never would have asked for it, but he'd still gotten his wish. He smiled and wondered if he'd only had to ask and John would make their own ZPM become a reality.

He fell asleep imagining just that.


When Rodney woke up the next day, John had Rodney's dick in his mouth. When John saw that Rodney was awake, he lifted his head, hand stroking Rodney in the absence of a mouth.

"I thought you wouldn't want to waste any time," John said and went back to sucking him.

Rodney said, "Uhuh. Good plan," and then, "Oh God, yes. Fuck, John."

He came, John swallowed and then they showered together and Rodney asked John to fuck him in the shower, while he was washing, because that would be efficient and it was just plain good to feel John inside of him.

They slept together occasionally from then on, spending the nights together, while Rodney worked all day. The days when Rodney woke up and the first thing he saw was John's tousled hair or his sleepy face were always the better days.

John was up quite early most days, so hiding it wasn't a problem. He'd come into Rodney's room at night and leave for his morning run from there. Nobody was the wiser and as an extra precaution they used a life signs detector before he left the room and John kept a spare set of clothes there.

Rodney also began a list of more or less plausible excuses for John to be in his room at night. Luckily they never needed it.

When they finally managed to build their own ZPM, at least a small prototype, a huge party was thrown.

Rodney loved all the well-deserved adoration he got, but more than that he loved the private celebration with John all night and the next day long. Elizabeth gave them both the day off and they had sex and kissed all day long, making up for the time when they could only steal a few moments together. It was almost like physical relief to Rodney to be with John again. To be able to just lie together in bed and look at each other for a long moment. He lifted his hand to trace a finger over John's cheekbone, along his jaw, over his lips.

John stayed with him that second night. Rodney hoped it wouldn't be the last.

John wasn't sure if they'd continue to sleep together every now and then. They had had sex twice in the afternoon since their success with the ZPM, but tonight he'd picked up Rodney from his lab quite late and now they lay together sated and tired.

Rodney had an arm thrown over him and his head on John's shoulder, breathing heavily onto John's chest. Once their breaths had returned to normalcy Rodney started stroking John's chest hair, then kissed his neck and got up. He brought John a wet cloth and then gave him a look before going to the bathroom to get ready for bed.

John could leave. He knew that Rodney wouldn't mention it, but John wanted to stay.

He enjoyed spending the night with Rodney. Waking up that first morning, seeing Rodney drool on himself a bit, his hair standing up in all directions, had been one of those moments where he was very aware of his love for Rodney. Because only love could make him fill with affection at that sight.

There was no reason not to continue this. He knew that Rodney wanted it, too. He guessed the only reason that it wasn't an accomplished fact was that Rodney couldn't reason that it was practical. He smiled. The smile softened as he reflected that it wasn't practical at all. It was risky, if anything, but if they were the kind of people who couldn't take a risk they would never have started this, or come to Atlantis for that matter. They took as many precautions as possible and in the end the question was if it was a risk worth taking.

Rodney came out of the bathroom and watched him. John settled ostentatiously into the pillow. Rodney's face lit up in a wide smile.

It was definitely worth taking.

Her name was Celia Aisley. Her hair was short and light brown. She was an electrical engineer working for Radek and she asked Rodney out about a month after she'd arrived on the Daedalus.

It was a simple, "Would you like to have lunch with me tomorrow?", but threw Rodney.

Not because someone would ask him out. Contrary to popular belief it did actually happen once in a while, but for a long time now he hadn't bothered because they'd all had obvious shortcomings and now that he had John there was no reason for him to date someone simply for the hope to get laid.

The problem was that Celia had no shortcomings that he could see. And when he realized that the automatic, "I'm sorry, I don't have time," died on his lips.

He must have looked strange because Celia asked if everything was okay and he nodded and just said, "Can I get back to you on that?" before beating a hasty retreat.

He wanted to decline a date with her. It felt wrong somehow to agree to a date, when he'd woken up in John's arms after an evening of fucking him from behind until they'd both been groaning so loudly that Rodney was glad about the soundproofing abilities of the Ancients.

What he had with John was more than enough. He didn't want anything else from life.

And that was the problem. Or something to consider for a moment at least.

Here he was faced with a woman, who could be everything that he'd ever wanted, who could be the woman he wanted to marry, and he was going to turn her down before he even had a chance to get to know her.

If he did that now, it would be like giving up.

And being willing to spend the rest of his life in a relationship with John and not even trying to get it all were two different things. It still was an arrangement. It didn't feel like that most of the time to Rodney and they had never mentioned it again after their fight about that mission, but they had also never talked about it not being an arrangement any longer. There still were things that they didn't do. Rodney never left after sex without thanking John. John didn't spend two nights in a row with him. He slept at least five nights a week in his own quarters and at least four of those alone. It wasn't a big deal, but it wasn't anything that Rodney would accept without discussion if this wasn't an arrangement.

Somewhere in his mind the idea of a perfect relationship kept floating. Katie still teased him about it at lunch every now and then and each time he told her that he was happy as things were. And he was. But it was only almost perfect. Now Rodney did have the chance to meet that perfect person.

Not that he really believed she would be that. Sure, she didn't have anything obviously annoying, but that didn't necessarily mean anything as his last date so long ago with Barbara, the woman with the scary laugh, had shown. Chances were that Celia would be boring or weird or too inquisitive or not interested in what he found interesting or any of the million things that had eventually broken his relationships so far.

And he was in an arrangement that a long time ago had been established as including the freedom to meet others.

So he could go and have lunch with her and then he'd be able to tell himself that he wasn't giving up yet on what he always wanted in life and spend that same evening with John having a laugh about the whole thing. And in the microscopically small chance that she'd actually turn out to be the one, well, he'd get what he always wanted. He had nothing to lose.


He was nervous later, when he and John watched a movie together.

He knew that John wouldn't like this, no matter what he'd said about this being an arrangement. But he still felt he needed to tell him.

"I'm having lunch with Dr. Aisley tomorrow," Rodney said, just wanting to get it over with.

"Aisley?" John asked, turning to him.

"She's one of Radek's new engineers. She asked me out on a... date."

He looked at John, whose expression was entirely blank.

John turned back to the screen. "Okay," he said and that was the end of that.

The date was okay.

Actually it was surprisingly good, considering that Rodney hadn't even tried to make it good. He'd shown up late, complained about work, but she'd listened patiently, but not without adding a few thoughts of her own, some of which made Rodney think and start talking about other more interesting things.

The time went by very fast and before Rodney realized it, he'd spent a pleasant hour with her and she left, telling him that she had a great time and would love to do that again.

Rodney wouldn't mind it. No, scratch that, Rodney really wanted to have lunch with her again.

And he was strangely disappointed about that. He found himself wishing the date had gone bad, because then at least it would all be over and he wouldn't have to even think about it anymore. It would have been much simpler if he could have just dismissed her.

That had been the plan. Go on this date, see it fail, spend the evening with John. He was still going to spend the evening with John of course. He was looking forward to it as always. The date, even though it had gone well, didn't change that at all. In fact he found it hard to believe that he'd ever not want to be with John.

Which made it even more confusing in Rodney's mind that he'd enjoyed his date. Because logically he wouldn't be able to have it all in that one perfect person, and John, too.

When Rodney came that evening John tried not to sound bitter or jealous. He had no right to feel betrayed by Rodney. John had always been the one to insist that this was an agreement. So now he couldn't very well object to Rodney treating it as such.

But he still had to ask, "How did your date go?" At least it sounded almost sort of neutral.

"Uhm... okay," Rodney said just as neutrally and it was a kick in the gut for John.

He knew what this meant. He knew what anything other than Rodney coming in and complaining about how horrible the world was would mean. It had been good. Dr. Aisley wasn't one of the many things Rodney took offense in and she hadn't taken offense in Rodney either. It was a miracle, but it had happened, as some part of John had always feared it would eventually.

This was the end. Or at least it could be.

He tried not to let his emotions show. He tried not to feel anything for a moment. It really wouldn't do for him to have a break down simply because Rodney had had lunch with someone else and hadn't run screaming at the first opportunity.

Rodney came closer and leaned forward and John met him halfway in a kiss.

God, he might never have this again.

He knew that he shouldn't think like that. If Rodney was still willing to come here and have sex with him, it couldn't be serious with Aisley. He clung to that thought, because he didn't know what he could do if it became serious. For so long he'd tried to prepare for it, to be ready for the end if it came. But it had all been useless, because right now he felt only helpless.

They moved slowly to the bed and undressed each other. Rodney was gentle. John took his time.

He kissed down Rodney's neck, then up again, because he'd forgotten a spot. He kissed along his shoulders first one, then the other, not caring about how Rodney pushed up into him impatiently.

"If you need some pointers on where my dick is, I could help you out there," Rodney said eventually, but it was without bite.

John put a hand around Rodney's dick and slowly started stroking him, but otherwise refused to let Rodney push him into giving up even a second of his exploration.

He'd never allowed himself to go as slowly as he really wanted to, to worship Rodney's body the way he longed to. But he wasn't going to deny himself today.

And Rodney didn't complain again, at least not in words.

He pushed into John's hand and put a hand in John's hair, encouraging him to move south, but not actually putting any force in it.

Eventually he stopped even that and just held John and let him kiss and lick down Rodney's body at will.

It felt almost like hours that he spent mapping every inch of skin on Rodney's body, memorizing it all for a time when he couldn't touch it any longer. It would be overly dramatic to call Rodney the love of his life, especially considering where they were now, but the fact was that John had never loved anyone as much as he loved Rodney.

And today he wasn't afraid to show that.

When he'd kissed and nibbled, touched and tasted Rodney's chest, arms and legs he finally took Rodney's dick into his mouth. It immediately twitched in approval, filling up now that it finally got the attention it had been hoping for.

He almost expected Rodney to say something, but Rodney just sighed his approval. He ran his hand through John's hair, lightly stroking him.

When he had Rodney fully hard, John moved to get the lube out of the nightstand drawer.

He lay down next to Rodney and handed him the tube.

Rodney took it wordlessly and prepared John.

John had expected him to go fast, now that it was his turn and he could control the pace, but somehow Rodney must have understood what this meant to John.

Or maybe he thought of it as their last time, too.

John chased that thought away and concentrated on Rodney.

He was carefully preparing him, looking at John and John had to reach up and cup his face and then pull him down into a quick kiss.

When Rodney was done he coated up his own cock and aligned it with John's entrance. Then he pushed in and John closed his eyes for a moment, memorizing nothing but the feeling of Rodney breaching him.

He opened his eyes again to find Rodney leaning forward. He moved his legs around Rodney and pulled his upper body close for another kiss.

Rodney fucked him slowly, almost patiently, as if they had all the time in the world.

John let his hands wander over Rodney's body, feeling the play of his muscles as he thrust into John again and again in that familiar rhythm. They'd done it a hundred times before and Rodney knew every spot inside of John, when to drive in, when to roll his hips and how to touch John inside to drive him insane.

Eventually even John couldn't wait any longer. He pressed his heels into Rodney's ass and Rodney began to push deeper into John.

Their rhythm sped up and their breathing became harsher as they approached climax.

John tried to take in everything. The feel of Rodney inside of him, above him, of Rodney's skin against John, beneath his fingertips, Rodney's eyes locked with his.

"John," he said, between pants.

"Yes," John answered. "Rodney."

And then they both bent until they could kiss, opening up their mouths, joining there, too, moving against and into each other as far as was possible. They held onto each other, tightly, desperately, driving each other higher and higher with every thrust of their bodies. John didn't want it to ever end, but Rodney filled him perfectly until John could feel nothing but pleasure and love and he came, Rodney joining him.

John felt Rodney coming deep inside of him even as he spurted between them and it felt as if they were suspended in space and time their lips moving apart enough to gasp the other's name.

Then they fell, still pulsing their release, and two words escaped John's lips.

"Love you."

John fell back, tightly holding on to Rodney who was still inside of him, his head on John's chest.

It took John a few breaths to realize what he had said.

There was an instinctual moment of panic after such a long time of trying hard to keep it inside. Now he had said it.

And John didn't regret it.

He didn't want to hold back any longer. He'd done that for almost two years, longer if you counted the time before P3X-937, when he'd forced himself to ignore the feelings he had had for Rodney even then. And it had still brought him to this day, when he didn't know what would happen, when two years of something that he still couldn't put a name on would maybe end. Or maybe not.

John had never told Rodney he loved him, because he didn't want to put Rodney in the awkward position of having to acknowledge John's feelings when he didn't return them.

Now John wanted a reaction. Any reaction.

But so far there was none. Rodney's face was turned away from John and he was still breathing heavily.

As the seconds ticked by, John began to wonder if maybe he hadn't heard. Or John hadn't actually said it out loud.

Of course maybe it was better this way. In fact maybe Rodney had heard, but was giving him an out by pretending he hadn't.

John's speculation came to an end, when Rodney turned his head on John's chest.

"Say that again."

John could have done so many things, but he didn't even hesitate. He looked Rodney straight in the eye.

"I love you."

Rodney just watched him, giving no sign of what he thought about it. At least none that John could understand.

But John still felt relief. He had finally been allowed to say the words, to admit it out loud not just to himself, but to Rodney and it felt good, even if the knowledge that this could be the end of their relationship as it had developed lay heavily on him.

Rodney leaned forward and kissed him, then pulled out of him and got up.

John watched as he dressed, came close again to kiss John and then left.

He was still staring at the door, when he realized, much later, that it was the first time that Rodney hadn't thanked him.

John had no idea if that was a good sign or a bad.

When Rodney entered his room he sat down on the bed and waited. For something, some physical manifestation of the monumental thing that had just happened, like thunder and a bolt of lightening or a pillar of light surrounding him while a choir of angels sang.

But outwardly there wasn't anything out of the ordinary. He was sitting on his bed and it could have been two days ago or last week or last month or last year. It was like it had always been.

Except that everything was different now.

Then again maybe it wasn't, not really. He waited not just for a sign, but also for the moment when everything fell into place in his head, when a long sought after equation finally was completed.

But now that he sat on his bed, remembering John's words, John's admission, he realized that what he felt wasn't anything sudden and new. When John had said, "I love you," Rodney had wanted to answer, "I know."

Because he had known. Not consciously, but looking back he could see that some part of him must have known this.

All this time when they kept pretending that it was an arrangement that could be broken when either of them met someone else, he'd never been worried about John. He'd never feared that John would one day tell him that he'd met someone that he really wanted to be with.

What he hadn't known was that he felt the same. 'Love' and 'forever' and 'the best I ever had' had been going through his head at one point or another, but it never had combined itself to the full picture, which was simple enough now that he thought about it.

John was what he had always wanted in life.

Celia could be perfect in any way imaginable, could be fun to be around and someone he wanted to see again, but he still wouldn't want to date her, because she wasn't John and he didn't want anyone but John. He wanted to go to bed with him at night and wake up next to him in the morning. And he wanted to do that for the rest of their lives.

And not only did he want to do it, he actually thought they had a chance. This relationship, and wasn't it good to finally call it that without reservation, was the longest he'd ever had. But it wasn't just the longest, it was also the best. They'd had to work their way through a few rough spots, but they had managed.

And now that he thought about it, he realized that maybe those could have been avoided if they'd admitted that they weren't just having an arrangement a long time ago. And even if not, for the first time in his life Rodney was certain that a relationship he was in was going to work, simply because it had already worked, for almost two years. It wasn't that he expected them to never disagree again, but maybe now they could actually say what was on their mind instead of hiding behind what they thought was expected of them.

He'd be damned if he ever spent a night without John again when it could be avoided. And he figured John might have a thing or two that he never asked for.

The thought didn't even scare him. Because he knew that John was the first person that didn't expect anything from Rodney that he wasn't more than willing to give.

John didn't even pretend to read.

He'd changed everything. Rodney was the one who'd gone on a date, but John had had the chance to ignore it and wait to see the outcome. Instead he'd chosen to lay all his cards on the table.

He still didn't regret it. Rodney hadn't really reacted yet. He hadn't told John that it was over. And John didn't think he would.

Rodney loved him.

He might not be aware of it and he might not feel ready for it, but thinking about how their relationship had developed, John came to the conclusion that he couldn't call what Rodney felt for him anything but love.

Two days ago he might not have dared to act on that realization, but today he had every intention of doing everything in his power to make Rodney see the truth.

All this time he'd held back out of fear that he wanted more than Rodney. But he'd never dared to try and find out what exactly it was that Rodney wanted, because he hadn't been able to imagine that they both wanted the same. He wasn't going to hold back any longer. Rodney had wanted everything that John had given him so far. And John was sure that he wanted what John wanted now, too. John would only have to stop hiding what he wanted and show Rodney.

If Rodney thought he might prefer some electrical engineer who'd been on Atlantis for less than two months, then John had to disabuse him of the notion. If Rodney thought he'd be able to resist John Sheppard, then he was in for a fight.

And John wouldn't fight fair. He knew all of Rodney's weak spots. There wasn't a place on his body that John hadn't mapped with his fingertips or tongue. He was the only one who had fucked Rodney and come inside of him and he intended to keep it that way. Dr. Aisley had two years of experience to catch up with, not that John was planning to let it get so far that she could try.

Rodney was his. It had taken John long a long time, but now he was ready to admit it to himself and to Rodney.

He knew what he wanted and he was going to get it.

John didn't know what Rodney felt at this very moment. But he felt confident that Rodney could return his feelings. Maybe Rodney even realized it already.

And if he didn't... Part of John was simply tired of fighting, even if it wasn't himself any longer. But he was willing to fight to win Rodney.

When Rodney came to John's door, he checked to see if it was locked and, finding it wasn't, entered.

John was lying on the bed, ready to sleep it seemed.

"Rodney?" he said, moving up a bit and leaning on one elbow. His hair was tousled and he looked at Rodney with enough hope to make Rodney smile.

Rodney stepped forward, but stopped in front of the bed.

John looked up at him, clearly waiting for Rodney to tell him why he came.

Rodney simply watched John. Watched him and allowed his love for him to fill him for the first time.

'To love and to cherish, till death do us part,' ran through his head. It made him smile again.

When he'd first told Katie that after seeing his sister he wanted a family, wanted to marry maybe, he had no idea that he'd found that person already. If someone would have suggested it was John he would have questioned their sanity in impolite ways.

But here he was and he had to admit the idea of him and John in tuxedos making their vows didn't seem impossible.

Of course he couldn't marry John. They couldn't even be open about their relationship. He wouldn't be able to simply tell Katie the wonderful news the next time they had lunch. Everyone they told would be a risk. But what they wouldn't have was insignificant compared to what they would have. And there was hope that one day they'd be allowed not to hide their relationship.

But none of that mattered at the moment, because right now he was standing in front of John, who'd made it all possible by saying the words they'd avoided for so long. And Rodney wanted to return the favor.

He felt inexplicably tongue-tied though, because somehow a simple, "I love you," didn't seem to be enough. Of course he loved John. As blind as he'd been, even he had realized that some time ago. What he wanted to say was much more than, "I love you," though. He didn't think he had the words to express what he felt.

So he decided to show John.

"May I?" he asked, pointing at the bed next to John.

John frowned for a moment, then said, "Of course," pulling the cover aside.

Rodney got out of his shoes, socks and pants, then pulled his shirt over his head and joined John in bed.

John watched him, still looking slightly confused.

Rodney leaned forward and kissed him.

For a moment John didn't react, but then he kissed back eagerly. His arms went around Rodney, pulling him closer. Rodney rolled over and on top of John, opening up his mouth to deepen the kiss.

Kissing John was never not good, but this time it was even better than usual.

The tip of John's tongue brushed against his and it sent a shudder of pleasure through Rodney's whole body. He moaned and pulled his mouth away to catch a breath, but leaned forward so that his forehead touched John's.

"Rodney," John whispered and his fingers trailed Rodney's face in irregular patterns as if they couldn't decide where to touch.

Rodney kissed him again, because he couldn't not.

He felt so overwhelmed with love for a moment that it tightened his throat. But John opened it up again with a whimper and a flick of his tongue.

Rodney pressed his tongue against John's for a moment, a hint of the intimacy to come, before pulling back completely. He was straddling John at his hips and could feel his stirring dick through their boxers.

He took hold of the hem of John's shirt and resolutely pushed it up John's body. John lifted up, so that Rodney got his shirt off in one swift movement.

Rodney looked down at John, spread out beneath him, looking up at Rodney with anticipation, joy and love and Rodney couldn't believe how lucky he was to have this man.

"Beautiful," he whispered before leaning forward and kissing John on the mouth once more. John kissed back, lifting his upper body towards Rodney's. Rodney moved to one ear and down his neck.

"You're so amazing," he whispered into John's clavicle before moving further and grazing one nipple with first his lips, then the tip of his tongue.

John moved his head sideways and took a deep breath.

"Never wanted anyone the way I want you," Rodney said, licking John's other nipple, before sucking on it.

John lifted his upper body in reaction, taking another deep, shaky breath, while his hands fisted the sheets beneath him.

"So fucking hot," Rodney went on, nibbling his way down John's hairy chest.

John put a hand in Rodney's hair and Rodney looked up and at John and what he saw in John's eyes, the sheer amazement and happiness, made it difficult to hold his gaze, so he quickly ducked his head and pulled John's boxers away enough to lick along John's dick.

John's hips lifted as much as they could, constricted as they were by Rodney sitting on his legs. "Rodney," he gasped.

Rodney used the opportunity to remove John's boxers and then his own. Then he took John's dick in his hand and stroked a few times before taking it in his mouth.

The familiarity of it was wonderful. The feeling that he knew every ridge, every spot, and that there were still endless combinations to explore, endless ways to make John go crazy, was exhilarating.

John started squirming beneath him and Rodney put a hand on his hip to still him and John did, reacting immediately to the soft touch.

Rodney pulled away for a second. Wasn't it amazing how he could do that with just the tips of his fingers? He moved his hand up and down a bit, stroking John's hip, and John moved along with it, following it.

Rodney leaned forward and kissed John's skin next to his hand.

"Rodney." And now there might have been a hint of impatience in there.

Rodney couldn't help himself. He straightened and said, "John."

"Please," John said and the naked need in his eyes prevented Rodney from asking, 'Please what?'

Instead he began stroking John's cock again.

When John smiled and sighed, pleased, Rodney switched hands to get the lube. He took John's dick in his mouth again, sucking and licking, and at the same time applied some lube to his fingers and began stretching himself.

John was distracted enough that when Rodney pulled away, he made noises of complaint for a second until he realized that Rodney was positioning himself above John's cock.

John's eyes widened and his mouth opened when Rodney moved downwards and took all of John inside of him in one steady movement.

Rodney bit his lip, groaning at the feeling of being filled by John.


"So good," Rodney said and then he began to move.

John's hands went to Rodney's thighs, then his arms, to grasp his hands. Rodney clasped them together.

"You feel so good inside of me," he said and John pushed up and into him, making both of them moan.

"John," Rodney said speeding up his movement up and down John's cock. "I've never... nobody's ever made me feel the way you do."

John's hips moved to counter each and every thrust now.

"You drive me crazy. You're so annoying. But sometimes when I'm in the lab I think of you and just have to smile."

"Rodney, I..."

Rodney began riding him hard now, pushing John deep inside of him on every downward thrust.

"You, I only want you and nobody else."

John pulled him down and into his arms then, moving his upper body so that he could kiss Rodney, open-mouthed, desperate. They kept thrusting and kissing, until John slid a hand between their bodies and around Rodney's cock and jerked a few times. Rodney came, calling out John's name and feeling John coming inside of him as well.

They collapsed on the bed and Rodney kept kissing John, because he'd never get enough of him. Ever.

His soft dick slipped out of Rodney eventually, but they kept kissing and cuddling.

John had never been this happy in his life. When Rodney pulled away John smiled.

Rodney traced John's lips with his fingers. Then he kissed him quickly and went back to watching John.

"I take it, you're not going to see Dr. Aisley again?" John asked because he felt it best to get that out of the way.

"No," Rodney said, snorting. "Or actually yes, because she's really nice and smart and surprisingly tolerant, but not as in dating. I already happen to be in a relationship."

"Oh, really?" John said, feigning surprise.

"Uhum," Rodney said and began to run his hand through John's chest hair.

"How is that working out for you?"

"Not bad. We have an anniversary coming up next week."

"That sounds great. How long have you been together?"

"Two years," Rodney said, nodding to himself. Then he frowned. "Or maybe a week. I'm not quite sure."

"How come?"

"Well, we'd known each other for a while, when one day, he molested me while w-"

"Molested you?" John exclaimed, pushing up onto his elbows.

Rodney grinned. "You asked if I was okay afterwards."

"And you said you were. Actually I think I remember that you thought I was crazy for asking."

"You made me come," Rodney said, waving his hand wildly. "Into the hand of a guy for the first time in my life, but still, orgasm!"

John shifted so that he lay sideways, facing Rodney, and ran his hand along Rodney's side. "I'm glad I made you come that day," he said with a smile.

"So am I," Rodney said softly. "I sent the people on P3X-937 a thank you note with instructions on how to improve the efficiency of their water wheel."

"You did not," John said. Rodney had to be joking. John had never heard of this before.

"I did, too," Rodney said. "And that was even before I realized that I... how I feel about you."

John watched Rodney for a moment. It was okay, if he still couldn't say it. He'd said enough earlier and done enough to show without a doubt that he loved John. John was willing to wait for a little while longer. "When did you? Realize it that is."

"When you insisted we had an arrangement."

John looked away for a moment. He didn't like to remember that discussion and now Rodney told him that he'd actually fallen in love with John then. He didn't want to think about how much pain he could have saved both of them. "I'm sorry."

"No, it's... I didn't really put it all together back then. It just didn't feel right to call it an agreement."

John leaned forward and kissed Rodney.

When they pulled away, Rodney asked, "When did you realize it?"

"Hard to say."

"How so?" Rodney asked, genuinely curious.

"When you tell yourself 'It's nothing' long enough you start believing it. But I remember when I really admitted it to myself."


"When you first called me John."

Rodney frowned. "That's right. I remember thinking one day that I couldn't actually remember when I started."

"A few seconds before I asked you if I could kiss you."

Rodney's eyes turned to the ceiling trying to remember. Then he looked at John again. "Really?"

"I'll never forget it."

"And that's why you asked?"

"No, that just popped out."

"What about today, when you said...?"

"Yes, not exactly planned either."

"I'm sensing a pattern here."

"Oh yeah? Well, dating the wonderful Dr. Aisley wasn't such great planning either," John said, letting a bit of his dismay over that show.

"Oh my God, you're jealous." Rodney seemed to be delighted about it.

"Yes, I am," John said, annoyed.

"You're admitting it," Rodney said, surprise in his voice.

"I've been in love with you for years and you've worn me down to a point where I'm willing to call it a relationship and we're one step away from living with each other and then you go and get yourself a date. Yes, I was jealous."

"You know that you don't have any reason to be," Rodney said seriously.

"I do now."

"Good," he said, nodding. Then he continued more lightly, "Also, about that living with each other thing. I'm going to have to insist that we sleep together every night."

"What, I'm not even asked?"


"What if we're on missions?"

"Exceptions can be made, but as a general rule, we'll spend the night together."

"Anything else I should know? Like are we moving in together? Getting married?"

"Not until we can find a way to hide it from your military." There was a trace of bitterness in Rodney's voice that made it clear he wasn't joking.

"Really?" John couldn't help asking.

"Yes. They might be willing to turn a blind eye to our 'close friendship', which I'm not entirely sure they would, if the wrong people found out, but ignoring our marriage would be a tough sell."

"I meant, you'd really want to marry me," John clarified.

Rodney gave him a look. "Of course," he said as if John was being dumb. "What else was this about?" he asked, gesturing between them. "I mean we don't have to get married. Obviously we can't at the moment. But the general idea is that this is forever, right? Just the two of us, till death do us part."

John couldn't believe how casually he could say that. As if they'd been together for years. Oh, right. But still, that particular part of their relationship was new. New, but very welcome.

"Yes. That's definitely the plan," he said decisively.

"Good. Wouldn't want any misunderstandings. Even if we wouldn't be here without one."

John thought about that. It was hard to imagine that they would have lived alongside each other as nothing more than friends and colleagues, but there was no reason to suggest otherwise.

Rodney yawned and fluffed up the pillow, switched off the lamp on the nightstand and settled down, pushing John onto his back before laying his arm over him.

"Hey Rodney, how about we go to bed now?" John deadpanned.

"Shhh, sleeping."

"Good-night, Rodney."

"I'm trying to sleep here."

John was tempted to continue this for a while, but he was tired, too. It had been a long day. And even longer two years.

He cuddled into Rodney, who pulled him closer and kissed his temple.

John closed his eyes, tired, happy and completely at peace with himself and the world for once.

Rodney stirred next to him. "Wait."

"I'm trying to sleep here," John mimicked.

"I didn't say it, did I?"

"What?" John asked, but his heart was beginning to beat faster.

Rodney moved around and switched on the light. Then he looked at John.

"I love you."

And, yes. That was... John's heart was doing strange things in his chest.

Rodney watched him, his face turning slightly concerned. "You did know that?"

John nodded automatically. "Yes, of course."

Rodney shook his head, switched the light off again and settled back down, pulling John close.

"I don't know why this relationship works," he mumbled.

John let his heart rate return to something approaching normal before answering, "A lot of sex?"

"I don't think it's just that," Rodney said. After a while he added, "But just to make sure, we should keep up with that."

John smiled. "Okay."



And every day, it's changed since then
In every way, I changed since then
            Stars ~ The First Five Times

The End
I want to express my sincere gratitude for everyone who supported me during the writing process. In particular I'm indebted to Oriolegirl for betaing this on such short notice up to the last minute and Sonadorita, Berlinghoff79, Smuffster, my mother and especially Lavvyan for their invaluable input. I also want to thank everyone for their encouragement and anticipation. I hope you enjoyed the result.