Spoilers: Vague ones through The Defiant One.

Notes: Set mid-season 1.

New Beginnings

Angyl and Orithain

November 2005

Disclaimers: If they belonged to us, we’d be watching them do this sort of thing all the time instead of just writing about it.

"Looks like we arrived in time for a party, sir." Ford watched the inhabitants of the village below gathering around a massive bonfire that warmed the wintry air of the planet they’d gated to.

"Looks like you may be right." John Sheppard looked intrigued by the possibility of joining in the celebration, but he glanced at Teyla for information before making a move.

"I do not know, Major Sheppard," the Athosian woman said apologetically. "My people normally did not deal directly with the inhabitants of this world, instead trading with intermediaries. I cannot say whether they will regard our arrival with favor or not."

"Then the only way to find out is to go say hello." Sheppard resettled his weapon and started down the hill, his expression tightening almost imperceptibly when someone in the village spotted them and everyone turned to watch the team’s approach.

"Are you sure that’s wise? I mean the Genii were ‘simple people’, and they kicked our collective asses," Rodney said nervously.

"In case you haven’t noticed, McKay, we still have Atlantis, and they have squat. Where I’m from, that means we kicked their asses." Though not without cost, John admitted to himself, his eyes drawn unerringly to the arm Kolya had injured when forcing information out of McKay. "But we’ll be cautious." Followed by the rest of his team, the major strode toward the village, a friendly smile on his face though his eyes remained wary.

"Cautious," Rodney snorted to himself. "To you cautious is taking on a Wraith by yourself instead of waiting for back-up," he muttered under his breath, eyes darkening as he remembered just how close he’d... they’d come to losing Sheppard after already losing Gaul and Abrams to that damned life-sucking creature.

"Hey, the Major knows what he’s doing, Dr. McKay. Relax and enjoy the party. I’m sure we’ll be just fine."

"And so speaks red shirt number one," Rodney snarked, but he felt the tension ease just a bit. Ford, for all his puppy-dog-cum-hero-worship tendencies, usually had a good nose for danger, and they weren’t that far from the stargate.

"Yeah, lighten up, McKay," Sheppard said over his shoulder, half his attention on the villagers observing their descent. "It’s a party." He saw two people separate themselves from the group and move forward to meet the Atlantis team, and he veered slightly so he was heading for them.

John automatically cataloged the appearance of the strangers—village leaders?--as he drew nearer. Both men, early middle age, fit, clothes seemingly handmade but well made for all that.

"Greetings, travelers," the slightly taller of the two said when the four strangers reached them. "I am Matthis, and this is Seldin, headmen of our village. You are welcome indeed on this day of the solstice." He bowed his head slightly in greeting, and the major copied the motion.

"We thank you for your kind words," John said, proving that he had been listening to Elizabeth and Teyla’s attempts to teach him diplomacy. After introducing his team, he continued, "We don’t want to intrude on your celebration. We weren’t aware that this was a holiday."

"No, no, strangers are always welcome, and even more so today," exclaimed Seldin. Like Matthis, and everyone else around them, the shorter of the two headman had dark hair and blue-green eyes, which were now fixed pleadingly on the visitors. "You must stay and share the feast with us."

Rodney sighed inwardly, already knowing that Sheppard would say yes. The major would make nice to all the important people and then do something Sheppard-like, and they’d be running for the stargate with a village full of angry men hot on their tails. As if on cue two young women approached, giggling and making cow eyes towards their fearless leader. Yup, the headmen’s daughters coming to offer themselves to Captain Kirk. Just for once Rodney would like to see the strapping son throw himself at Sheppard, just to see his reaction.

Mentally girding himself for a night away from the comforts of Atlantis, Rodney plastered on what passed as his ‘let’s make friends’ face and hoped like hell the kiddies were all tucked into bed. He had never been able to figure it out, but it didn’t matter where he went; rugrats seemed to gravitate towards him. Perhaps it was like the phenomenon where dogs and cats automatically headed toward those people who didn’t like them. "Please tell me this isn’t a festival worshipping all things citrus," McKay finally muttered to Teyla.

"I do not know, never having met these people before," Teyla repeated, "but I do not consider it likely.

Overhearing them, Sheppard disentangled himself from the girls and turned to face Matthis and Seldin again. "Please forgive any offence, but some of us have unfortunate reactions to some foods. We will have to be cautious at first until we are certain that your foods are safe."

Confused but agreeable, Matthis nodded. "As you say, Major John Sheppard."

"See, Rodney, perfectly safe," John said in an aside.

"Unh hunh," Rodney murmured in reply. "I’m still letting you taste all my food for me. And I have an epipen in my left upper pocket of my flack jacket. Just in case." John rolled his eyes.

"So, out of curiosity, what are you celebrating?" Rodney asked the nearest headman... Saladin or something like that. "You mentioned solstice?" Falling into step with the leader, Rodney began probing for as much information as he could, finding out if there was anything Ancient that he could play with while here.

"We celebrate the turning of the seasons on the shortest day of the year, celebrating the renewal that will begin with the next sunrise," Matthis replied, not at all averse to explaining their customs while Seldin made the others welcome. "It is a celebration of life."

"Hrmm, similar to Yule on Earth. That’s the planet we come from. A colleague of mine speculated that all religions on Earth were as a result of the influence of the Go’uld, but you celebrate these things here as well. Maybe religion was a concept put forth by the Ancients along with the idea of deity in order to help explain their advancement in comparison with the next evolution of the life form..." Rodney replied, becoming thoroughly engrossed in his thoughts until he happened to glance up and see Matthis’ eyes glazing over.

Deciding to take a page from the Sheppard book of meet and greet, he suppressed the urge to sigh and merely continued with, "Uh, I mean that sounds really cool. What sort of things do you do for this festival? Party games, parlor tricks, eating too much and drinking the really good stuff?"

Ford shook his head and under cover of Matthis’ description of the feast and dancing, which none of the Atlantis team were paying much attention to, pointed out, "Solstice rites aren’t religious, Dr. McKay, except in the very broadest sense. They celebrate the cycle of life and death, not a deity."

Seeing Rodney gear up to quash Ford, John interceded. "He’s right, and you know it. Not to mention that we haven’t seen any indications of religious beliefs among the cultures we’ve met here. So just enjoy the party. I intend to."

Matthis hadn’t noticed their lack of attention as Teyla had moved between them and kept his attention on her. Finishing up with his description, he smiled at them all and, as they crossed into the village itself, said, "Be welcome."

"Thanks." John nodded with a friendly smile, but his eyes were scanning their surroundings for any threat.

Rodney fought to hold in the snarl that threatened to emerge when that puppy with dreams of being Major Sheppard when he grew up dared to correct him. And then to have Sheppard chime in? "I’m going to look around. Try not to get engaged to any of the headmen’s daughters, Sheppard. Dr. Weir might not appreciate it," Rodney huffed as he set down his pack, grabbed his hand device and headed off on his own before anyone could say anything.

John hastily excused himself from the group and chased after McKay, cursing under his breath. "McKay!" he barked, startling the other man into stopping. "You do not take off on your own in an unknown situation. Dr. Weir would appreciate your death or kidnapping even less than whatever weirdness you imagine I’m involved in."

Rodney’s eyes narrowed. It was bad enough that Ford had contradicted him—Sheppard he could take because the man was actually intelligent—but to have to stay and watch while women threw themselves at the major? Rodney heaved an internal sigh. It must be another one of those ‘let’s torture Rodney’ missions. "Well then, perhaps you could arrange for someone to watch my back so I can get some work done? And not Ford."

"Uh hello?" John waved a hand in the air, noticing but ignoring the odd looks he got from nearby villagers. "Do you see me right here?"

"I thought you’d be schmoozing with the local elders for possible trade agreements," Rodney sighed. Great, now he was going to be stuck with Captain Kirk and his harem of alien women; could this day get any more disastrous? Although if it was just Sheppard, chances were Rodney would be tempted to bask in the attention.

"It’s bad manners to try to conduct business at a party," John replied blandly. "Besides, Teyla’s better at that sort of thing anyhow. And keeping you out of trouble’s a fulltime occupation." John adjusted his P90 to a more comfortable position and settled easily into a modified parade rest that he could maintain for hours if need be.

"Hey, you get into just as much trouble, if not more than I do," Rodney protested, but inside he was quite pleased at having the major’s undivided attention. "Besides, I don’t actively look for trouble whereas you charge in with guns blazing and a rebel yell. I avoid it at all costs."

One dark eyebrow rose expressively. "Of course you do, Rodney. That’s why I check myself for gray hairs after each mission."

"If we ever find a ZPM and get back to Earth, I promise to buy you a box of Rogaine to help with the problem," Rodney replied, rolling his eyes. "And pay for you to have your hair styled by a real barber and not some myopic person using a hedge clipper."

"What do you have against my hair? There’s nothing wrong with it, aside from you being obsessed with it!"

Rodney restrained his grin forcibly. It was so damned easy to get Sheppard going. All you had to do was go after the hair. "Oh, I don’t know, the fact that it looks like you used a weed whacker to style it might be the reason I keep looking at it in horror," he replied with a blithe wave of his hand, as if dismissing the subject as unimportant and beneath him. Sometimes it was too easy.

Sheppard eyed him, annoyance clear in the hazel eyes. "Hair envy will get you nowhere." He smirked at Rodney’s own fine hair.

"Damn good thing that it’s not an issue then. Getting nowhere with you sounds just fine to me," Rodney replied, his tone a little bit more biting as Sheppard hit a little too close to home with his comeback. "I’ll leave the getting places with you to alien priestesses and headmen’s daughters; they seem to have better luck. Now can we get on with this? Some of us are here to work."

"Rodney, it’s a party. To which we’ve been invited as honored guests. We need to go to it, and afterward I’m sure we can look around to your heart’s content. But offending our hosts is not the way to accomplish that." John knew Rodney’s social skills left a lot to be desired, but the promise of food normally drew him.

"Food would be good," Rodney admitted grudgingly. He knew it was being dangled in front of him like a carrot on a stick, but he really was hypoglycemic, damn it. "Just so long as you taste everything first. Nothing citrus, citrus means I go into anaphylactic shock and you have to give me an epipen and haul me back to Atlantis before my throat closes up completely and I suffocate and die."

"Yes, Rodney," John sighed. It wasn’t as if he hadn’t heard all of that before, but Rodney apparently felt the need to keep repeating it on every mission. "No citrus, got it." He began steering the scientist back toward the others, noting that they were waiting for them. Fortunately it hadn’t taken him long to convince Rodney to rejoin the group.

"Good, just so we’re clear," Rodney muttered, grimacing as he realized he would be forced to be nice for an extended period of time. No insulting the intelligence of a less advanced culture, no inserting foot in mouth by making an accurate but far too blunt observation. "Great. I’m not going to be able to talk to anyone, am I?"

John laughed. "Sure you will. Just sit beside me and feel free to snipe away to your heart’s content."

Rodney gave Sheppard a look that was part disbelief, part suspicion. The major was being far too nice. "What’s the catch? Are you going to make me do it in Russian or French or something?"

"Nope, just make sure you can take what you dish out. And be nice to our hosts." John smiled at the villagers as they reached them.

"All the time or just when they’re listening?" Rodney asked. "Because their idea of personal hygiene is seriously concerning. I just hope they wash their hands before they made all the food, or we’ll be suffering from ptomaine."

"Yes, Rodney. We’ll have Carson pump your stomach when we get back to Atlantis."

"Ha. And ha again. You are so very funny, Major; I’m busting a gut here," Rodney replied dryly. "At this rate Carson and his stomach pump might be better company."

"I’m hurt. And here I’m going to act as your food taster even."

Overhearing, Ford shook his head, deciding he didn’t want to know.

"I know you’re only doing it because Elizabeth warned you before we left that you’d better not come back with me injured this time or you’ll be without my brilliance for the next mission," Rodney replied smugly. He was valuable, and he knew it!

"Rodney, have you ever known me to do something just because someone told me to?" John’s expression told what he thought of that.

"So you want me to get injured?" Rodney asked, quirking a single brow. "Maybe I should go sit beside Teyla; at least she isn’t actively trying to get me injured."

John sighed. "Are you going to keep intentionally misunderstanding me all night? If so, I hope they have some kind of alcohol!"

"So not only do I give you grey hairs, but I also drive you to drink," Rodney mused. "Hey, does that mean the next time we run into the Wraith, you’re gonna offer yourself up to them on a platter just to get away from me?"

John’s smile dropped away as he instantly flashed back on Col. Sumner’s face as the Wraith caretaker drained him. "No," he said shortly before turning a charming smile on Matthis and asking him a question about the festival.

"Hey, what did I...?" Rodney sighed. Open mouth and insert foot. This was exactly why he hated events like this; he always managed to fuck it up. One of the locals seemed to take pity on him and handed him a glass of the local brew. Sniffing it carefully in order to try and detect any hint of citrus, Rodney took a tentative sip, and then a larger one and then finally downed the glass. Damn, that was good. And potent. The helpful local smiled and handed him another.

Watching out the corner of his eye, John turned back to Rodney as he started on the second glass. "Better watch it, McKay, we don’t know how potent that stuff is, and you haven’t eaten for a while." Well aware by now that Rodney’s hypoglycemia was quite real, John kept careful track on missions of when Rodney ate.

"Pish," Rodney replied with a dismissive wave of his hand. "I’m quite capable of determining my level of sobriety. Besides, I’m making nice with the natives. And why should you have all the fun with the local hotties? He’s kinda cute, don’t you think?"

"Okay. Time to go sit down and enjoy the festivities, McKay." John caught his arm in an unbreakable grip and led Rodney toward the seat Matthis had indicated to him shortly before.

"Hey, what about my drink? Major? Major! Awwh, you’re acting like... Elizabeth! That woman seriously needs to get laid. Really."

John arched an eyebrow at him as he sat down next to McKay, making sure he stayed put before handing back his drink, which he’d carried over. "Are you telling me I act like I need to get laid?"

On the other side of the table, seated between Teyla and Seldin, Ford snickered when he heard that.

Rodney leaned forward and shot an evil glare at Ford. "Hey, GI Junior, you’re in no position to snigger. Turkey sandwiches on the puddle jumper? I watch you, and I have visions of the major going to Weir and saying, ‘Awh, can I keep him? I’ll make sure he’s paper trained.’"

"McKay!" John drew his attention with the sharp exclamation. "Let’s not give our hosts a poor impression of us," he advised through a clenched-jaw smile.

Rodney stuck his tongue out at John and then smiled at Seldin and Matthis, who were sitting across from each other... and the cute native who’d seated himself beside Seldin. "I’m sorry if I gave you a bad impression. If there’s anything I can do to make it up to you. Anything," Rodney practically purred, "I’ll be happy to try."

"Father..."

"Codan, these are our honored guests; perhaps you can help your sisters with the feast?"

Rodney sighed, looking slightly put out. "Damn. He really was a chieftain’s son. If he’d been blond and looked like Carter, it would have been true love."

"Eat your roast whatever this is, Rodney," John sighed, pushing a plate toward him.

"Yes, Mother, and if I clear my plate, will I get dessert?" Rodney quipped but nonetheless did as Sheppard ordered him. He always did what Sheppard ordered. In his own sweet time and with a healthy dose of griping but he’d never once disobeyed the man. He wondered if John had yet realized that small fact.

"As long as it’s not lemon tarts, sure." John watched until he was sure that Rodney was eating before beginning his own meal, not noticing Teyla and Ford’s shared smile.

Fighting the overwhelming urge to blow a raspberry in Sheppard’s general direction, Rodney turned his attention to Matthis on his other side, hoping for at least a modicum of intelligent conversation. Squishy sciences sucked so bad, but he could at least make an effort because the squishy science people reported to him and would want observations about this feast. Damn it all.

John grinned into his fruit juice as he discreetly observed Rodney’s attempts to be sociable. The scientist could actually be fairly charming in his own unique way when he cared to exert himself, and apparently he was going to behave himself tonight.

Conversation ebbed and flowed naturally in the high-ceilinged great room, the warmth of the fires and the crowd keeping them all comfortable as dinner went on. Some time later the last course had been served, and Matthis and Seldin rose to their feet. They began a circuit around the hall, filling each person’s second, unused cup from large pitchers, only returning to their places when everyone had been served.

Taking their own cups in their hands, the headmen raised them and said in unison, "We celebrate the continuation of life, now and forever." Then they drained their cups in long swallows as everyone around them did the same.

Doing the sniff test again, Rodney shrugged his shoulders and knocked back the ‘loving cup’ he’d been given. Instant heat rushed through him. Damn, that thing had more of a kick than Athosian moonshine. "Wow!" he breathed, actually expecting flames to start shooting out of his mouth.

John’s eyes widened slightly as he drank down his portion, and he exhaled slowly. "Yeah, that’s... potent." He turned to McKay to say something and lost his train of thought, distracted by the big blue eyes that were staring owlishly back at him.

"What? Do I have something stuck between my teeth?" Rodney asked, somewhat confused by Sheppard’s rather intense stare. "You, of course, look seriously hot, as usual. I really shouldn’t be surprised."

"I look... Okay, right. Oh, what the fuck." John leaned over and kissed Rodney, nibbling on his lower lip until he opened to John, letting his tongue sweep in to taste Rodney.

"Shepp..." was all Rodney got out before John delved in and claimed his mouth. Wow again. The major could kiss. Okay, that would explain a lot. Damn, the man tasted good! Wrapping his arms around Sheppard’s neck, Rodney pulled his team leader closer, wanting to taste more.

Around them everyone was pairing off or falling into larger groups as the ceremonial beverage lowered their inhibitions in the celebration of renewed life.

John pulled Rodney closer, groaning harshly as he felt the man’s erection against his own. His hands curved over the rounded ass, cupping it and holding Rodney in his lap as he kissed him with a desperate hunger.

Rodney’s cock was firmly trapped against John’s thigh, hard and aching, and it caused him to whimper deep within John’s mouth. Too many clothes, not enough movement, and God, he just wanted to crawl inside the man he’d been lusting after ever since that damned control chair incident in the Antarctic and lose himself completely.

Without realizing it, he began to hunch his hips forward and back, shifting and changing positions just enough that he was now riding John’s thigh. The friction relieved some of the ache but increased the burn. But it burned so good. Hands used to doing delicate, almost impossible, tasks became clumsy and uncoordinated as Rodney’s breathing hitched, and he ground himself harder and faster against the major.

"Fuck yeah," John rasped, his hands on Rodney’s ass helping move him. The look on Rodney’s face was almost enough to make him come, but John had other plans for that.

Keeping a firm grasp on Rodney, John managed to get up from his seat and brought them down to the floor in the wide space around the table that he’d wondered about when he first saw it. Pressing the scientist down, he reached between them, scrabbling at the closures on their uniforms.

"God, yes, naked now," Rodney demanded, his own hands joining in and scrabbling at zippers and catches and fastenings, hoping to get rid of the offending garments.

The analytical part of Rodney’s brain that never shut off was screaming at him, demanding to know just what he was doing and reminding him that he didn’t even do public displays of affection, let alone get naked and fuck in front of a roomful of other people. Fortunately, or unfortunately, that part of his brain was definitely not in control, and while the voice was annoyingly like Rodney on a whine (no wonder people thought he was irritating!), the rest of him could quite easily ignore it.

The sound of fabric tearing brought him back to himself, but before he could react, he felt his chest come into contact with Sheppard’s. Holy fucking hell, John was slightly on the hirsute side as well, and fuck, but didn’t the other man’s chest hair feel incredible on his nipples! A whimper clawed its way from Rodney’s throat, and he had to fight the urge to come on the spot.

John tore at their clothing, desperate to get them both naked. He’d been aware of his attraction to the often annoying scientist for some time, but suddenly he couldn’t keep his hands off Rodney. He had to have him now. A tiny, rational part of him reminded him that he had to be careful, and he sat up to grab a small cup of oil from the table. He’d noticed them at every place and had wondered at their use, but now all he cared about was that it would let him get inside Rodney.

"Fuck, fuck, fuck," Rodney was chanting without being aware of it. He was hornier than he could ever remember being. Hell, not even his wet dreams of Sheppard were this arousing.

He was ready to demand that the major just get on with it and fuck him when something horrific happened. Sheppard moved! He almost howled in frustration at the loss of the other man’s body on top of his.

"Just where the hell do you think you’re... oh. Good, good, need that, gimme!" he demanded, reaching out for the oil and dipping his fingers into it. Rodney quickly wrapped his now greased hand firmly around John’s cock and began to stroke. Oh yeah, this was just perfect!

John shuddered at the touch, his hips thrusting forward strongly, and he fumbled for the oil, nearly spilling it in his haste to get some on the fingers that he pushed into Rodney, first one, then quickly followed by a second. He knew he should do more, give Rodney more time, but his urgency wouldn’t let him slow down any more than the squirming, swearing, whimpering scientist would.

Abandoning any attempts at self-control and completely indifferent to the orgy going on around them, John pressed forward, his hard cock slipping into Rodney after only the slightest resistance.

For all his vocalization up to this point, Rodney fell completely silent as John slid into him, his face contorting with combined pleasure and pain. His back arched off the floor, and his breathing became shallow and labored. It wasn’t until John had bottomed out inside of him that Rodney finally let out a tiny gasp of pleasure, his eyes rolling back in his head. "Ohhhhhh," he moaned in quiet satisfaction. "Definitely better than fantasy Sheppard!"

"Fantasy?" John actually paused to stare down at Rodney is surprise, a grin curving his lips. "We’ll discuss that later." He slowly drew back only to thrust forward again, driving in and out of Rodney’s body with long, hard strokes.

Rodney chose to ignore Sheppard’s threat about ‘later’ in favor of what was happening here and now. All around him he could hear the sounds of flesh slapping accompanied by moans, sighs, whimpers and screams of pleasure. The symphony of lust only served to heighten Rodney’s level of desire. His hips canted upwards, and his fingers clamped down harder on John’s forearms, enough to leave finger-shaped bruises later. "Fuck me, fuck me, fuck me," he chanted almost silently as John complied with hard snaps of his hips.

"Fuck yeah," John breathed, biting his lip, then leaning down to bite Rodney’s. "God, you feel so good, even better than I imagined," he rasped.

Rodney’s head jerked up in startlement. "Wha?" he began, but his sentence was cut off by the moan that erupted with the force of a nuclear blast as John’s cock rammed his prostate with enough force to make him see stars. Two more slams to his prostate and it was game over.

With a shuddering wail Rodney’s head shot back, and he was coming hard and fast, squeezing down tightly on Sheppard’s cock as it jack-hammered into him.

"Oh fuck!" John tried to hold on, not wanting this to end when it was probably his only chance to ever enjoy Rodney like this, but the sight and sound and feeling of Rodney coming under and around him was too much. He drove hard and fast into Rodney and stiffened as his orgasm ripped through him, making him bury his face in Rodney’s throat to muffle his scream.

"Not gonna argue," Rodney replied, his hands releasing John’s forearms to wrap loosely around his waist. It felt so nice to have a solid, heavy weight above him, covering him like a favorite blanket. That it was Sheppard lying on him, exhausted and spent from the orgasm he’d just had inside Rodney’s body would fuel his fantasies for decades to come. Hopefully reality wouldn’t come too soon, and when it did, the major would kill him quickly and painlessly. He really wasn’t a big fan of pain.

John collapsed, just retaining the presence of mind to direct himself slightly to the side of Rodney rather than right on top of him, not wanting to squash his scientist. And Rodney was his, something they were both going to have to deal with now that this little celebration had wrenched it into the open. Panting as he tried to catch his breath and still inside Rodney, John peered under the tables. "Do you see Teyla or Ford anywhere?"

"You mean I actually have to look for them? But I might see Ford naked!," Rodney practically whined.

John rolled his eyes. "Never mind," he said a moment later after raising his head to look the other way. "I see them. They’re together, so they’ll watch each other’s backs." He let his head fall back to the floor. "Interesting rituals they have on this planet."

"You think?" Rodney snorted. "Everyone is naked and copulating. So why are we talking? Umm, does this mean you’re going to kill me now?"

"Like I said, interesting." John slipped out of Rodney finally, so he rolled to his back and pulled Rodney against his side. "And no, I’m not going to kill you. Unless you can’t figure out a way for us to continue this back in Atlantis, genius."

Rodney’s eyes widened in stunned disbelief. "Continue? As in do this again? You want to? Really?" he babbled, not quite ready to accept that he had heard exactly what he thought he had.

John smiled wryly. "It’s a bit late to pretend I’m not interested, don’t you think? And we’re damn good together, Rodney, so yeah, I’d like to do it again."

"Okay, why didn’t I see this before? I mean you’re not that subtle when it comes to flirting and alien babes, so why didn’t I see it? Which reminds me, if you’re serious and we’re going to, um, continue, no more flirting with the hot, single ones. Married ones are okay because their husbands will hurt you. Elizabeth and Teyla are acceptable because one would break your balls and the other would break you in half but other than that," Rodney babbled as he tried to process just what the hell had happened and when and why hadn’t he realized it.

Ignoring most of that as standard Rodney-babble, John zeroed in on the first part. "Rodney, we’ve been flirting almost since the first day in Atlantis. I’d bet all my back pay that there’s a betting pool on when we’d do some about it." He hugged Rodney a little closer, amused by the fact that in all his freaking, Rodney hadn’t made a single move to draw away from him.

"If Zelenka wins, I swear I’m going to assign him Kavanagh as a work partner, that little shit. He’s got his fingers in so many pots I shudder to think what they’ve touched."

John snickered. "As long as they’re not touching either of us, don’t worry about it." He sighed and added reluctantly, "We should probably get dressed and off this floor. And see how Ford and Teyla survived."

"How much you wanna bet that Teyla’s the top?" Rodney grinned, his arms tightening reflexively around John, not quite willing to give him up just yet. "But I guess we’d better. And we might want to think about checking in before Elizabeth sends out Bates and a search party to find us."

John laughed, lazily petting Rodney’s back since he showed no signs of moving yet. "So we call home, make nice with the natives, and enjoy the party. This is a lot better than any party I’ve ever been to before, and I really like my party favor."

"Excuse me? I’m not something you can stuff in your pocket and take home and keep," Rodney growled without heat. "Sheesh, next thing you’ll be saying I’m owned or something."

"Naw, not on a first date."

"This was a date? Hey, just how cheap and easy do you think I am?" Rodney sputtered.

John’s glance downward at their naked and come-spattered bodies was eloquent.

"Alien Roofies or Rohypnol doesn’t count," the doctor huffed. "You had help."

"So we’ll do it again back on Atlantis and prove that it’s just as good without the mind-altering drugs."

"At which point I will require wining, dining, chocolate and coffee as offerings of your affections," the scientist grinned.

"That’s doable. Though you realize that aside from a basic meal, it’s going to have to be in private, right? There’s that whole military thing."

Rodney faked a gasp. "Wait a minute, you’re in the military? I didn’t have a single clue. Give me a break, Major," Rodney snorted, "I’ve worked for the US military for nearly as long as you have. I think I’ve clued in to ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’."

"Just checking," John said, sitting up. "I didn’t want you to think I was ashamed of you or anything equally weird. And at least people are already used to us spending time together."

"John, in case you haven’t figured it out, I’m really not a touchy-feely sort of guy. Try holding my hand in the mess hall and I might have to deck you."

"In that case, we should do really well together." John grinned down at him as he got to his feet and stretched, seeing that all but a few of the bodies scattered around the hall were nestled together in post-coital bliss. "C’mon, on your feet, McKay. Time to find out if these people have anything to trade and then get home and try this again."

"Hey, do you think I can get some of this joy juice? I have a few scientists and hard ass military security officers whose water I’d like to spike. Just to see their reaction," Rodney grinned evilly.

John snorted. "We are not having an orgy on Atlantis."

"I’m not talking about the entire base, just isolated people, that’s all. Singles, not couples. It could be amusing to see Kavanaugh humping a table leg or Bates humping a puddle jumper."

"No." Sheppard made a mental note to make sure Rodney didn’t smuggle anything back.

"You’re no fun at all," Rodney pouted but nevertheless got to his feet and started to shrug back into his clothing. Fortunately the jacket covered the torn t-shirt. "At least let me tease Teyla and Ford."

John shrugged. "Feel free. But keep in mind that Teyla could break you in half without raising a sweat."

"Oh. Yeah. Damn. Well, I guess I’ll just have to make due with fucking you blind when we get back to Atlantis," Rodney sighed dejectedly.

"Works for me!" John gave him the wide, happy grin that was reserved for new weapons and Rodney. "So let’s get a move on so you can do that."

"And you call me easy," Rodney laughed, strapping his sidearm on and checking to make sure it was secure. Not that he was expecting to need it. "Admit it, you really are Captain Kirk."

END

  since 02-11-07

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