|Sex In Wartime Is Sweeter Than Peace (It's The One Sweet Thing About War)
It goes like this: first, you almost die. Then you have sex with your American military Don't Ask Don't Tell boyfriend in embarrassingly public places and get caught by your boss, who turns out to be more embarrassed about the whole thing than you are. Then you get a two-week vacation on a planet that used to be home.
Rodney, and John and Elizabeth and everyone else who got to go home on the Daedalus after the Wraith, had been back on Earth for almost five days, and except for the fact that Rodney hadn't realize he'd missed greasy Chinese takeout so desperately, it didn't feel like a vacation at all.
He hadn't seen John in two days; not that he and John had an agreement about commitment or anything, but sometimes the tension just got to be too much and it worked out well, the two of them. Nobody expecting anything from the frantic fucking in deserted hallways or blowjobs underneath the desks in the deserted-at-four-AM-Atlantis-time 'gate room.
Rodney wasn't even fooling himself: in the two weeks before the Wraith siege, he genuinely hadn't thought about sex with Major John Sheppard except in the exact moment that he was having it. Rodney'd had big projects derailed before, just because he kept thinking with his dick (about Amy Morrison's freckled breasts, about Jamie Connor's flat stomach, about the curve of stubble along Chris Peterson's jaw line), and those weren't even (mostly) life or death.
When it was just Rodney's brain and Sheppard's stupid brave machismo between them and vicious alien life-sucking catfish, even his dick knew to sit down and shut up when it wasn't immediately being sucked into Sheppard's hot, wet mouth.
But back on Earth, the only crisis pending was reminding the rest of the scientific community that he was not dead, thank you very much, and even if Rodney couldn't tell them why his theories were right (still classified, still not publishing), he at least had to beat it into them that he was right, and they should sit down and shut up when he deigned to remind them of these facts.
He had a lot of time on his hands for thinking about sex with John Sheppard, who had disappeared into some military-related no-scientists-allowed zone to talk about, God, Rodney didn't know what - John's promotion (Rodney sank down on his knees in the squishy carpet of John's hotel room and blew him when John came back with the new rank on his uniform, sheepish and proud all at once), maybe, or how best to minimize accidental Pegasus Galaxy-related deaths, or new techniques for sitting around and scratching your balls and grunting like monkeys that had been developed since John left.
Rodney, on the other hand, ran out of morons to berate on the fifth day back on Earth - of two whole weeks when Radek might blow up the solar system without Rodney around to watch him - and the stimulants wore off sometime around hour 6 of the first briefing, and now Rodney was bored.
John showed up on the seventh day, fingers already undoing the buttons at the collar of his uniform jacket when he let himself into Rodney's apartment - "You kept your apartment?" John had said incredulously, and Rodney had snapped, "Where else was I supposed to keep all my books, Major?", but despite his amused disbelief, John had taken the key that Rodney had pressed into his palm - where Rodney was lying on the couch with his shirt off, his hand down his pants, and Star Trek on the television.
"Where the fuck - " Rodney started to say, with the rest of that sentence being "have you been, you asshole?" John got his jacket open and off and had Rodney pinned to the couch, John's hands tight against his hips, before Rodney could finish the question, though, because John was kissing him frantically, teeth and tongue and utter desperation.
John pulled back and stripped his t-shirt off with one hand, his other hand sliding against the button on Rodney's jeans (already undone) and the zipper (most of the way down). John's palm was heavy and warm against Rodney's dick, and he sprawled between Rodney's legs, licking against the pulse point below Rodney's jaw and tugging Rodney's pants and boxers down at the same time. John pushed Rodney's leg off the couch; Rodney planted his foot on the floor and tried to open his mouth to say something to John, but John had rearranged his limbs into some contortionist position and wrapped his mouth around Rodney's cock, and Rodney's brain shut off, because clearly this was not another life or death situation where it would have been needed.
John gave blowjobs with the same single-minded concentration that he gave to flying - Rodney guessed that it was sort of the same; crash a plane and you die, fuck up a blowjob and you get a load of come in the eye - and the one he was giving then, on Rodney's couch with Picard mumbling away in the background on tv, was no exception. Hot wet mouth, clever hands all over Rodney's thighs and balls and stomach, and John moaning like he was a damn porn star.
(Rodney had once given about three minutes of thought as to who taught John that little trick, because it got Rodney hotter than just about anything else, John making these needy little noises when he was sucking Rodney's brain out through his dick, but he decided he didn't want to know. He still didn't want to know, he just wanted to appreciate it.)
Except that John's hands were frantic this time, stroking up Rodney's sides like he was looking for something to hold on to and couldn't find anything. Not that Rodney has seen John in a whole lot of situations that John couldn't handle (that John didn't think he couldn't handle), but if John didn't have his eyes closed just then, Rodney was pretty sure that he would be wearing the same expression that he wore for half a second in the chair room, right before John shuttered his whole face closed and went off to die heroically with a nuke in the back of his puddle jumper.
The we're-all-going-to-die expression.
Rodney was fairly certain no one has ever died from blow-jobs or suffering through five days of unendurably meetings, but he wasn't positive about the latter. Maybe this was John's way of saying goodbye, sorry, he'd finally been killed by a rogue military briefing.
Rodney tried not to over-think during sex, but he couldn't let this go - unfortunately, just before he reached down to grab John's head and ask what the hell was going on, John slurped noisily around Rodney's dick and wrapped his hand around the base, and Rodney lost all higher brain function for a couple of minutes while he came.
When his brain came back online, John had stripped out of his uniform pants and tossed them over the back of an armchair; he was draped across Rodney on the sofa, his chin propped on a fist propped on Rodney's chest. He was starting up at Rodney like the answer to the universe was written on Rodney's face.
"What was that about?" Rodney said.
John shrugged, his eyes still shuttered. Rodney dug his fingernails into John's shoulder and shook him, just a little. "Not that I'm a big girl or anything, Major - "
"Colonel," John said.
"Colonel," Rodney agreed. "Not that I'm all for talking about my feelings or your feelings or anybody's feelings, Colonel, but if you don't tell me what the hell that was all about, I won't let you fuck me later."
John rolled over, wedging himself between Rodney and the back of the couch, and pressed his mouth against Rodney's neck and talked. About the fatalism of the military on Earth regarding the fight with the Wraith; about the fact that they were leaving John in command of the military in Atlantis. Unspoken in between John's sentences were the fears that the Air Force would still yank him back to Earth faster than you could say "Atlantis" if he fucked up, the fears that John couldn't keep his people safe in the Pegasus Galaxy.
It was pretty much the most words John Sheppard had ever said to him, all at once, in the 10 months that Rodney had known him, and when John was finished talking, Rodney said, "Oh, is that all?"
John bit his shoulder, and then he laughed, a little shakily, and Rodney pulled at John's arm until John rolled back on top of him. John took it a step further and rolled them off the couch, and Rodney said, "See, sex under the fear of impending death, best kind of sex. Adrenaline."
He would have said more, but John was sliding a hand across Rodney's ass and Rodney was a little distracted; John said, "I'd rather fuck when I know I'm going to stay alive."
"Shut up, Major, I'm formulating a theory," Rodney choked out, and John huffed out a laugh against his neck and pushed a slick finger into Rodney's ass.
"Colonel," John said. "Get it right, McKay, or no sex for you."
When John was finished fucking him, they fell asleep on Rodney's living room floor and when they woke up, the sun had set and Rodney had a crick in his neck and a cramp in his back. John ordered a pizza. They sat on the couch in their boxers and ate the entire extra-large Pizza Hut supreme pizza and watched The Godfather Part 2 on HBO. It was exceedingly normal; they didn't talk about the Wraith, or John's new 2IC, or the way Elizabeth had blushed when she'd caught them in the corridor outside the saline vats after the bluff with the shield had worked.
When they stepped on to the Daedalus ten days later, John was every inch a military commander, standing next to Rodney on the bridge, talking war plans with Caldwell. John's shoulder bumped against Rodney's, and Rodney brushed the back of his hand against John's.
John turned his head and looked over at Rodney and grinned, open and fierce, and Rodney thought, That's what I'm fighting for.
All hell broke loose later on, and Rodney sat in the back of an F-302 with John doing his best to kill them both. When Rodney pressed John up against the door of their quarters afterwards and counted John's ribs with his fingers first and his mouth later, John let him.
It goes like this: first, everyone around you behaves like utter morons, except that you didn't exactly realize the whole plan was moronic when you were roped into participating. (Actually, it seemed like a pretty good idea at the time, plus your boyfriend agreed with you and everything.) Then you get kidnapped by the vicious alien life-sucking catfish (which is when you realize the plan was completely, totally the stupidest thing ever), and you didn't know it at the time, but your death-wish-having, universe-saving boyfriend disappears from everyone's radar about the same time you're being shoved into a slimy space vampire holding cell and threatened with the annihilation of your entire race.
Then your boyfriend saves you, your hulking alien bodyguard, and the entire galaxy, with a series of unlikely heroics that should end up with both of you (and your hulking alien bodyguard and the rest of the galaxy) eaten by life-sucking catfish, except that you have exceptionally good luck and it doesn't. Commanding officers are debriefed, the galaxy you used to live in is warned of the potential still-not-neutralized-but-at-least-held-off-for-the-time-being threat, and you end up bent over a lab desk, while everyone else is sleeping for three straight days, getting fucked by your boyfriend pretty much solely in celebration of the fact that once again, no one was dead.
Well, neither you or your boyfriend were dead, and since you are the only ones invited to the sweaty, dirty, fucking-on-Kavanagh's-workspace party, that's what mattered.
At the moment.
Afterwards, Rodney stumbled back to John's quarters with him, mostly because Rodney couldn't actually remember where his own room was at the moment, and they collapsed into the bed together, stripping off only the necessary weapons and outerwear and not even bothering with the blankets or the sheets. When it wasn't a matter of the universe trying to kill them, Rodney never let John spend the night - John never tried, either. Atlantis might be in another galaxy, but the military was still the military and John was still part of it, and it might take 18 days to get him back to Earth for the court martial, but even so.
Rodney would flout regs, as John said, at every turn if it meant he got one more blowjob from John's incredibly talented mouth, but he wasn't stupid.
Post-near-death-experiences, though, and John sleeping in his quarters could be passed off as a matter of the nearest place to crash; Rodney wasn't stupid, but Caldwell played it well ("He knows," John said, and didn't elaborate. "He just doesn't care.") and the lies were easier than facing up to what the truth could get them.
"Got to be more careful," he mumbled against the back of John's neck before he passed out, the last of the adrenaline and terror leaving his body. John was sturdy and warm and pressed close against Rodney's chest, and Rodney almost heard him say something before sleep won out over listening to John mumble at him.
Rodney woke up with more room in the bed than when he fell asleep - and okay, he could have hallucinated the fact that John was there when Rodney inelegantly passed out fourteen hours earlier, but he was pretty sure he hadn't - and, of course, no note from John. Not that Rodney was a big girl or anything (he had to tell himself that every time he wanted to scream and run on an alien planet, or whenever he thought mushy thoughts about John: I am not a big soft girl, I will not do this) but it would have been nice to have written proof that the last 24 hours weren't a figment of his imagination. Written proof, say, that his boyfriend-who-he-didn't-call-a-boyfriend-and-that-was-okay was actually still alive and not a dried up husk somewhere on a Wraith hive ship.
This desire did not make Rodney a big soft girl. It simply meant that he cared about his teammates and his CO.
John was in the gate room, looking at the long-range sensors with Elizabeth, Caldwell and the engineer who'd taken over Peter's job, when Rodney and Zelenka answered Elizabeth's summons three hours later. John might have been there all along, but after Rodney's shower and before his first cup of coffee, he'd taken a detour to his lab (because that's where the coffee was) and found Radek, hair sticking out in fourteen different directions, staring morosely at the screen of his laptop.
He had been looking at the long-range sensors, too, and the cluster of hive ships that had just dropped out of hyperspace three weeks from Atlantis. "Never ends," Radek muttered sadly when Rodney stumbled toward the coffee pot.
"It's war," Rodney said snippily. "It has to end sometime."
"With annihilation of the human race, maybe," Radek said. "I was hoping for at least six weeks before utter disaster again."
"I thought I was the pessimist around here," Rodney had said as Radek slid his stool sideways and made room for Rodney at the laptop.
"You have gun," Radek said. "I do not. My turn for pessimism now." Not the answer Rodney was looking for, but a reasonable assertion all the same, and they had been sitting together in front of Radek's laptop, two hours later, still watching the same blinking inevitable dots when Elizabeth's voice came over Rodney's radio.
Elizabeth said, "Rodney, Dr. Zelenka, four hive ships just dropped out of hyperspace about three weeks from here."
"Yes, yes, we know," Rodney said, shoving the gate room tech out of his way and sitting down at the console. "What do you think we've been doing all morning, sitting around figuring out how to make beer from our available resources?"
Someone behind Rodney made a choked off noise that could have been laughter and could have been lustful, and when Rodney turned to glare at the perpetrator, John just pulled a face at him - and then frowned, very seriously, and jerked his head the tiniest bit toward Caldwell, who actually was frowning.
Rodney glared at John, who rolled one shoulder in that lazy what-do-I-know-I'm-just-a-dumb-pilot shrug that was so much bullshit Rodney couldn't even begin to fathom it, and swung his chair around to look at Elizabeth and Caldwell. "We've got three weeks and two warships and my brain and a hell of a lot of intel about the Wraith," Rodney said. "First person to so much as think 'Oh God Oh God we're all going to die' gets fed to the hive queen." Radek cleared his thought noisily. "Oh, fine, all right, and Radek's brain, too. We're going to be fine."
Twelve hours, four senior staff meetings, one strategy session and two disappointingly coffee free meals in the mess later, Rodney was sitting underneath his desk with two laptops and three Power Bars. Radek had stuck his head down twenty minutes ago, and Rodney had planted a hand on his face and shoved him back out; not to be rude, but after 38 years of no one but Rodney believing Rodney's press, suddenly 314 people in another galaxy all thought he could save their lives and he needed total silence to figure out exactly how to do that.
After the door to the lab slid shut behind Radek - "Get some sleep, Rodney, you are not graduate student anymore" - Rodney thought the lights off, because the darker the lab, the less likely someone was going to barge in looking for him.
There were a handful of people who could find him, if they wanted to, but the only one who would come looking for him was ... John. John, who Rodney (and 60-some Genii) already knew could move like a cat - not quite as quietly as Ronon, but almost - and so when Rodney's laptop was shoved up into his face by John attempting to rearrange his limbs (and Rodney's) so they would both fit underneath the desk, Rodney was annoyed but not surprised.
"So," John said, after elbows had come perilously close to eye sockets and knees to sensitive portions of anatomy and after Rodney had been forced to close the top of his laptop so it wouldn't smash shut on his chin. "Why are we sitting underneath Zelenka's desk?"
"I was trying to think of a plan," Rodney said. He was trying for outrage (at being disturbed) and fell somewhere short, closer to exhaustion and utter terror (at the high probability of ending up dead, again).
"Napoleon had a plan," John said.
"Napoleon?" Rodney said. "Napoleon who ruined his own military career invading Russia and at the Battle of Waterloo?"
"His plan was pretty good," John said. "First we show up. Then we see what happens."
"No wonder he lost."
"Hey, he was considered a military genius for a whole lot of years," John insisted. "He just made some mistakes, is all."
John's face was shadowed, even though it was only two feet from Rodney's. Rodney couldn't read his expression; not that he was 100% successful in reading John's expression even when he was well lit and looking straight at Rodney. In the dark lab, John turned away from Rodney even as his knees bumped up against Rodney's, Rodney couldn't tell what he was thinking - though if he was thinking about enacting Napoleon's battle plan, Rodney didn't want to know.
Before Rodney could find a witty comeback for that - something other than "Okay, maybe you are as dumb as you look" - John leaned forward into Rodney's personal space, crushing the laptop even further against Rodney's chest. The security lights, the ones that never went out if John Sheppard was in the room, even if you desperately wanted them to, caught along the edge of John's jaw, his cheekbone, throwing the planes and angles of his face (the face that Rodney knew better than his own, by now) into sharp relief and his eyes into deeper shadow.
"Hey," John said. He wrapped his fingers around Rodney's wrist and tugged, twisting them together even more and bringing Rodney's face close to his. "Adrenaline, right?"
He kissed Rodney, sharp cold edges of the laptop biting into Rodney's chest at odds to John's warm fingers on his wrist and John's warm mouth pressed against his.
There weren't many moments when Rodney stopped what he was doing to think, Wow, I'm in another galaxy, because his mind was more occupied with Running for my life, here and They're shooting at us again, for Christ's sake, why and How can we get more power out of the ZPMs without sacrificing security - important things, not-ending-up-dead things. Tangled against John, kissing an Air Force Colonel underneath a desk in an deserted lab, Rodney actually thought about it.
He thought, I'm in another galaxy, there's a race of aliens who want to suck my life out and destroy the human race. He thought, Not that I'm complaining, but this isn't how I expected my life to turn out. He thought, I wouldn't change this for anything else.
He thought too much, apparently, because John flexed his fingers against the inside of Rodney's wrist and said, lips still pressed against Rodney's, "Adrenaline, Rodney."
Rodney gave up thinking; tomorrow, there would be plenty of time for thinking too much and saving everyone's lives again. Everyone in Atlantis was sleeping - not soundly, but mostly without dreams - and the city hummed beneath them like a napping animal.
'Tonight we fuck, for tomorrow we die," John said. "Someone famous said that."
"Eat, drink and be merry," Rodney said. "For tomorrow we die. Morbid, Colonel, but essentially correct - if a little more obscene than the Bible ever made it."
"Hey," John said. "I've read the Bible, there's all kinds of dirty stuff in there."
"Shut up," Rodney told him. "Don't you have better things to do?"
And John, it turned out, did.
author's notes: excessive fourteen word title from rhett miller, "my valentine". ez wrangled my commas and my misplaced verb tenses on beta duty. john stole napoleon's battle plan from sports night.