Rating: PG13 fluff/humour
Disclaimer: Don't own
Word Count: 3000 approx
Author's Note/spoilers: unbeta'd and way too long but I was having fun. Set vaguely after 4x12 Spoils of War.
Summary: John is possibly the only person in two galaxies who doesn't know when he's being seduced.
On P5X-959, John sees the twenty foot, fully concrete half-pipe cylinder that is, for some completely inexplicable reason, the only feature in an otherwise uninspiring landscape and utters a reverent and heartfelt 'Wow.' Rodney, standing beside him, only sighs in disgust (John can easily tell disgust from disinterest by now) and goes back to complaining bitterly about the total and utter lack of any interesting readings on his data tablet.
Later, hours after mission debrief, John lets himself into his room only to discover it's apparently Christmas and he didn't know it, because there's his skateboard leaning up against the end of his bed, and someone has replaced the ratty, peeling griptape, tightened the trucks and even, he discovers, properly lubed the bearings.
At the end of his next down-time day, John gates back to Atlantis flushed, sweaty, scraped, bruised and aching, and he's the happiest nah-it's-nothing- just-a-little-hairline-fracture- I-came-off-my-board-on-this-awesome- kick-flip-aerial-you-should-have-seen-it case the Atlantis infirmary has ever seen. Rodney doesn't speak to him for two days, but it's totally worth it.
On M4S-503, John thinks it's probably safe to smile back at the old Burgomeister's son. He's a nice kid. Reminds him of Ford.
What John doesn't realise at the time of course is that smiling at someone of higher status - although come on, someone with taste in shirts that bad is considered more important than the offworld guests? And yeah, that maybe should have been a clue - is local the equivalent of saying, 'Why yes, please feel free to have your wicked way with me, you and your buddies'.
Which is why, when the doors of the suite he's been given - because apparently it had easy access secret passages he didn't know about - suddenly smashes open, John thinks he's probably never been more glad to see his team in his life, even if they have caught him with his pants down and that is totally not his doing! How was he supposed to know that breaking Buddy's nose was looked on as a type of foreplay? For a second, everyone freezes - John pinned to the bed, the two grunts (one of them bleeding) that have him pinned, and the Burgomeister's not-so-nice kid, who is almost down to his skin - and for some reason, all John can see is not the shock writ across Rodney's features, or even the disgust, but the abject fury.
It all gets a little crazy after that, but it ends in pretty much the standard way, with them making a b-line for the Gate, and John's really not all that sure what's worse: having to keep the busted fly on his BDUs together with one hand while running and shooting, having to tell Ronon four times that yes, in this case the idiom 'saved my bacon' really does describe the situation, or being kind of weirdly reassured by the fact that Rodney lectures him in depth (and with supporting evidence) about what the definition of 'diplomatic relations' does not include until well after dinner.
Friday night comes once every nine days on New Lantea. They’ve had to add another Tuesday (because no one wants two Mondays) and another Thursday (because the SGC wouldn't clear two Fridays and two Wednesdays makes no sense at all), and it helps team rotation to set a No Double Day rule for offworld contact. That being said, it's pretty rare to actually be home on a Friday night. Normally, John's making nice with the natives (but not too nice), or running for his life, or you know, whatever else passes for fun in the Pegasus Galaxy.
With an unplanned evening to himself, he's almost not sure what to do. Figures he'll start with reading on his bed, fall asleep, and that'll be that. That is until Rodney barges into his room without even checking to see if John's in first, dumps a bag of snacks on the foot of his bed, throws himself onto John's couch and flips open his laptop.
"Uh, Rodney? What're you... Movie night's not till tomorrow, you know?"
"No, seriously," Rodney says, not looking at him but focused instead on the computer screen with a little furrow of aggravation forming on his brow. "Do you have any idea how much work I have to get through between now and then? I'm probably not going to be making movie night for - let me see, the next century or two, considering the incompetency I'm surrounded by! I swear to God, John, if I could just send them somewhere suitably vacant, like say P5K-171 - maybe with the exception of Radek and a couple of others - and lock the address off, the way I feel at the moment, I'd be making it happen faster than you could say 'pass the crisps'. ...Well?"
John blinks at Rodney's outstretched hand; his other hand is still typing.
"Well what?" he asks faintly, because for a second there, he'd been under the impression this was his night off.
"Pass the crisps?" Rodney demands.
John blinks, then retrieves the bag and, "Oh hey," he says, holding the chips blindly out because: "Cool. Jolly Ranchers! I love these."
"Is that a fact," Rodney grunts and snatches the chips out of John's hand, opens them up with his teeth and deposits the bag on his lap in front and goes back to typing two-handed. "Well, knock yourself out. Just don't come running to me about the resulting sugar crash, later on."
"Okay, I won't," John tells him, but with three different fruit flavours bursting to life in his mouth, it kind of comes out more like, Ogey, hi whon.
Rodney grunts again, ignoring him, but John takes that to mean he understands him anyway.
They've been on P7L-227 all of four and a half minutes when the resident shaman takes one look at John and decides that there must be A Ceremony, and that as leader, John needs to participate if there's to be any success in trade.
Same old story, John thinks. Just as long as a) there's no repeat of M4S-503 or anything even remotely resembling it, consensual or otherwise and b) his team doesn't laugh. Ever. He's never felt more like a girl in his life and that includes the time when he was five and his cousin Felicity made him wear one of her dresses and did his hair while their parents were busy getting drunk playing croquet on the back lawn.
There's possibly a thousand pairs of eyes on him when he's finally brought out into the main hall. After three hours in the semi-dark of some kind of weird purification room cum walk-in wardrobe, the torches on the walls around the room are practically blinding. He's forced to keep a grip on the shaman's shoulder and gather up the hundred flimsy layers of the floor length manskirt thing they made him wear just so he doesn't trip over the hem and make more of an fool of himself. By the time he's at the central dais, his eyesight's adjusted enough that he can negotiate the stairs and plant himself in the Happy Head Honcho chair without incident, which of course also means he can now see the entire room and every one in it quite clearly. Lucky for him, that's when the chanting starts, and the incense burning, and the shaman doing some funky song and dance in a circle around him until John's getting splashed with water (it'd better be water). And that seems to be the cue for music; loud, raucous, joyful music, and suddenly the floor of the hall around the dais is filled with dancing, laughing natives.
And what does John get to do? Yep, sit on his butt while everyone else is having fun.
Said butt is going numb an hour later when he spots Rodney at the bottom of the dais, and John's not sure but he seems to promising away his first born in order to make it up the stairs to see him.
"Hey," Rodney says, when he finally makes it to the top, and he looks kind of wide eyed and nervous. "Nice ceremony. Well done."
John narrows his eyes, which he knows always makes Rodney fold like a washer woman on laundry day when he's got something to hide. "Thanks," he says shortly. "Now, what's the problem?"
Rodney blinks at him, looking shady. "What? What problem? There's no problem. Things are going, for once, remarkably well."
"Right," John agrees dubiously. "Which is why you look like you think something's about twenty seconds from blowing up."
"I do not," comes the quick denial. "Do I? Really?"
"Yeah, you do" John grunts. He's commando under this damn skirt, and sweating, and it's the definition of discomfort. How do chicks do this anyway? "So spill. Or make whatever joke you're going to make. It just better be good, because I'm about ten seconds away from putting a bullet in my own brain just to relieve the boredom."
"Okay, okay," Rodney placates, drawing carefully closer, his voice dropping in both tone and volume until John feels like he almost has to strain up out of the seat to hear him. "But look, you can't tell anyone about this, alright? The last thing I'd ever want to do is get you into trouble, and I personally don't fancy the idea of being caught at it, so if we can agree to just keep this, you know, secret, between us..."
And that's when John becomes not just vaguely but acutely aware of the fact that he is, for all intents and purposes, naked, covered in nothing but eyeliner and jewellery and an incredibly flimsy manskirt, and that Rodney is pretty much looming over him, quite close, eclipsing the view and obscuring the sight of him from the rest of the room.
"Uh...Rodney... What are you..." John's heart is suddenly thundering and he just can't understand why it isn't drowning out the sound of the drums still going below.
"Here," Rodney hisses. "Here," and waves his hand low in the direction of John's lap. "I stole you something to eat, but if they catch you, we'll probably all be burned at the stake or something so for God's sake, try to not make yourself too obvious."
John looks down, and sure enough, Rodney is waving around a sweet cake of some description.
"Oh," John says faintly after a very long moment, taking the offering. "Uh, thanks."
"And look," Rodney says, a little more relaxed now he's apparently fenced his stolen goods, and leans down to grip John's jaw firmly in one hand. "Geez, how'd you smudge your lipstick already? You're not even doing anything up here." His thumb drags hot and heavy around the bottom corner of John's lip.
John's face heats up like it's going critical mass.
Okay, one, he really doesn't want to be reminded about the lipstick, and two, Christ. Christ.
"Well, you just have to stay here for another hour, or so they tell me," Rodney says blithely, releasing him and absently wiping the lipstick he's smudged away off on his tac vest pocket. "And then we can adios the lovely P7L-227 and leave the actual work to the trade teams. Hmm. I think I'll go have some more of those little not-apple things. See you when you come down."
It takes about five more minutes after he's gone for John to remember to shut his mouth, and ten before he stops feeling the imprint of McKay's fingertips against his skin.
"I really, really, really want to go home."
P5X-920 this time and John wants to go home too.
"Well," he sighs, trying to be at least outwardly philosophical about it. "We've been having a really good run of it lately. Guess we were about due for another capture."
"Is it me?" Rodney moans from his place propped against the bars at John's feet. The natives of P5X-920 might not be all that advanced, but they make pretty sturdy jails. John just wished he knew what they'd been jailed for.
"Yes, it's you, Rodney," he responds dryly. "It's always been you."
"Oh, thanks. Thanks so much. I was kidding. You know, you always know how to make me feel better. It's like this talent you have, where..."
Except John's not listening; he's too busy staring in stupefaction out through the bars at the wall across from their cell because, hey, it's occurring to him that that thing about it being Rodney - about it always having been Rodney - might actually be a lot more accurate than he'd realised, and wow, how about that?
"Okay, so it's not like they're going to put us up against a wall and shoot us or anything, right?" Rodney is saying when John tunes back in again. "That would be summary, without trial. I mean, sure, this place is like John Wayne and Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, but they haven't even asked us any questions yet! So they can't possibly... Can they?"
John turns and lets himself down next to Rodney. The floor is dusty and cool, not cold, and the bars press into his back either side of his spine. They're probably the only people in this cell block, and he has no idea where the jailer is but it's not here. The place is old and rundown, like a ghost town full of dry, angry ghosts, and if it comes to it John thinks he could probably kick out some of the bars in the back window and squeeze through, cut back around the building, find their gear and come in guns blazing. But he's not worried yet. Ronon's still out there somewhere and sure, odds are that the likelihood he went back for reinforcements is not as high as the likelihood he's planning something that involves some really loud noises and lots of running, but it's nowhere near worrying time yet.
"Burt Lancaster," he says.
"What?" Rodney gulps, abruptly silent.
"Gunfight at the O.K Corral. Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Rhonda Flemming. Although I kind of think this has got more of a Sergio Leone, Clint Eastwood, Fistful of Dollars kind of feel, myself."
"....Oh. Oh. Oh, no. Just because it works in the movies doesn't mean it'll work here! You'd seriously better not be getting any bright ideas about making some kind of stupid, insane offer..."
"Well..." John hedges.
"Do you not even know the meaning of the words 'self preservation'?"
"Apparently not," John confesses and leans over. Rodney's mouth is, rather than slack with surprise, still frozen in that tight line of worry, and as first kisses go, it's not exactly an award winner, but John doesn't seem to care anyway. His heart is racing and the impression of Rodney's lips against his leaves a tingling sensation ever after he draws back, runs his tongue across them.
"What..." Rodney blinks, staring at him, and it's hard to tell whether he's stunned, shocked, or suddenly short a few synapses. "Why did you just..."
"You fixed my skateboard," John says simply, smiling.
"Upon which you promptly broke your arm."
"I wasn't on it at the time, technically. You know, if you were trying to woo me, you could have just invited me out to dinner."
"I did," Rodney reminds, clearly exasperate. "I have. We've already had several! I really don't believe..."
John laughs, because actually that's true; or at least he tries to laugh but Rodney's mouth is abruptly back on his and this time it's less a harsh line and more a lush, open carress that John sighs into. Rodney pulls him jerkily closer and his mouth is moving like its still talking, suddenly saying all the things that John hadn't realised he was hearing; for how long now? Maybe forever. It's too much for him to keep up with, but then he likes the bombardment better, is giddy with it, can't stop laughing whenever Rodney stops kissing him long enough to get a breath.
"...you. I really don't," Rodney is still saying between kisses and his hands are strong and sure and John doesn't even care he's somehow got him half on his back already, is pushing him down in all the right ways, because the way Rodney's mouth just assumes feels fantastic. "You have got...to be the slowest...most clueless..."
"Sorry," John tells him, drinking it up, opening up like it's the easiest thing in the world, because actually it is. "Guess I didn't...see it...coming."
He's saved from Rodney's reply to that - no doubt scathing if he could perhaps stop kissing him long enough to make it - by that loud noise John's still been expecting. It seems to coincide with the back wall of the jail blowing up.
When the dust settles, Ronon's standing there in the yard out back of the jail with two saddled horses and a half a dozen sticks of dynamite tucked into his pants and either he hasn't realised why Rodney is hunched protectively over John on the floor, instead of the other way around, or he just doesn't care.
"You know," he grins. "I kinda like this place."
John pushes Rodney off and climbs to his feet and it's about time, because a dusty pseudo-Western county jail is definitely not the place for what he wants Rodney to do to him.
"You would," Rodney gripes, standing and dusting himself down huffily and following John over the rubble of the back wall and out into the daylight. "And this is all well and good, but I can't... I mean I don’t know how to... Nice alien horsey thing..."
John takes up his mount's reins, puts his boot in the stirrup and hauls himself up into the saddle, then leans back down and holds out his hand.
"It's okay, McKay. I'll ride. All you gotta do is hold on."
"That had better be," Rodney grumbles under his breath as he hauls himself akwardly up into the saddle behind John and snakes his arms around his waist; "a really dirty euphemism for what I'm going to let you do when we get back."
"Wow, McKay," John says, but he's grinning as he tugs the horse's head around. "There's no hearts and flowers with you is there; you just go straight for the pay off."
"Only for you, John," Rodney murmurs, his lips to the back of John's neck so briefly John thinks he almost imagined it, except for the arc of electricity that zings down his spine. John grins again, and takes a great deal of pleasure in kicking his heels into the horse's flanks so that the ride lunges away out of the corral, forcing a yelp of alarm out of Rodney and making his arms lock around John's torso like he's never letting go.
Really, it's about time.