Title: Frequently Wrong but Never in Doubt
Summary: Rodney's in Vancouver attending his nephew's birth, when he gets a late-night visitor.
A/N: A happy 600-word porn fic for
Jeannie swore that she'd told Rodney she was pregnant twice. Rodney thought having an alien entity in his brain was a good excuse for forgetting the first time, but he had no idea when the second time was. He'd finally found out from Teyla, when she asked him to send off a package of Torren's hand-me-downs.
"She must have told you," Teyla insisted, looking distraught even though Rodney insisted it was no big deal, people had babies all the time. "You're the baby's aafava. The name-parent." Rodney spread his hands. Teyla frowned and gave Rodney a sharp look. "What John is to Torren — I asked Jeannie and she said she wanted the honour, and she is your sister, so. . . ."
Rodney persuaded Teyla not to hit him, and then had to convince her not to expend her wrath on Jeannie for securing the rights to his name and not telling him. He wrote sixteen drafts of a letter to Jeannie before he achieved one that had just the right amount of abject apology and worry and enthusiasm and brotherly affection. He sent it into the queue for the databurst, took a deep breath, and made himself think about other things.
Jeannie's reply was predictable: annoyance, resignation, and sisterly love commingled with veiled threats. She also sent him his reservation at one of Vancouver's nicer mid-range hotels for a week following her scheduled c-section.
Rodney was owed a ridiculous number of vacation days; Woolsey couldn't really argue against him taking a week or two off. On his day of departure, Rodney was surprised to find Sheppard waiting for him in front of the gate. Sheppard had his hair wet-combed, his uniform neatly pressed, and an uncomfortable stiffness to his stance. He looked bone weary and thinner than he used to be. He'd spent far too much time in the past months confined to the infirmary, in physical therapy, or paying mandatory visits to the latest mental health counsellor the SGC had sent over.
"She have the baby yet?" Sheppard asked, obviously making small talk because he felt awkward, waiting around for the wormhole to engage.
Rodney shifted the strap of his duffel up; it kept sliding off his shoulder. "Another twelve hours," he said. "Give or take. What are you heading back for?"
Sheppard made a face. "Performance evaluations. Budgeting. Some top-secret stuff."
"What good fun," Rodney said, trying to look sympathetic. "Who'd you piss off?"
"Strangely enough, it's all part of my job description. And with the ZPM you found in Janus' lab, reaching out to touch someone in another galaxy has never been easier."
"It's not really a ZPM," Rodney said reflexively. Sheppard cut him off with a sharp swipe of the edge of his hand. "Okay, it's a ZPM lite."
"Half the calories, all the whoosh." The 'gate connected on cue. They both turned to watch in synch, which made Rodney smirk to himself.
"If you can get away," Rodney said quickly, as Sheppard picked up his bag and what looked like a steel laptop case, "you should come up and see Jeannie. Take a few days off. Kaleb's still kind of — " Sheppard stifled a knowing laugh at that; he knew better than anyone why their welcome with Kaleb had worn out — "but Jeannie likes you. And we could. You know. Hang out."
"I'll see how things go," Sheppard said, and walked forward without looking back.
On the other side of the wormhole, Sheppard was swept away in a flurry of salutes and suits. Well, Rodney thought, that was that, and he went to look for the underling who was responsible for his happiness, health, and airport transportation.
Teyla had been deeply suspicious about Jeannie's scheduled caesarean, but Rodney thought there were a lot of advantages. The main one (after, of course, Jeannie not dying in childbirth) was that he got to sit in a coffee shop with Madison eating donuts while all the fuss with body fluids and things took place in the hands of actual childbirth professionals. By the time Kaleb had come down to fetch them and they made their way up to the mother-child room, the baby was washed, dressed, and snug in a blanket and a too-large knitted toque. He had that weird newborn monkey kind of face.
"He looks just like you," Rodney said to Kaleb. "The same. . . nose. And things."
"He has curly hair," Jeannie said, smiling with drug-induced Madonna serenity.
Madison poked at her sibling. When he didn't wake up, she dug one of her books out of Kaleb's backpack and curled up in a chair to read. Jeannie made Kaleb cut up some of the fruit in the enormous fruit basket from the SGC, and they all had a snack. Jaden Rodney Miller joined them for a short round of cuddling, which was fun if you liked that kind of thing, and then pooped loud enough that Madison burst into laughter, spitting banana everywhere. Kaleb's parents breezed in at five and left twenty minutes later, taking Madison with them and hinting strongly in Rodney's direction that Jeannie needed her rest.
"See you tomorrow," Rodney said, and gave Jeannie an awkward half-hug.
His hotel room was huge, with two beds and wide windows that looked out over the river and not the ocean. He had space, and comfort, and solitude for the first time in ages. He wasn't sure he liked it. He got eight hours of sleep, went back to see Jeannie, was blackmailed into taking Madison to the park for the day, and went back to the hotel for a hot bath and another eight hours of sleep. He wondered if he was supposed to spend the week like this. He had the feeling he was supposed to be relaxing, but all the empty time just made him nervous.
The third night, the bedside clock had just flipped over to nine and Rodney was wondering if going to bed early would be a sign of the Apocalypse, when someone rapped at his door.
Only Jeannie's family knew he was here, so he figured Kaleb, he figured some desperate plea for more babysitting of his number-one niece. He figured that he'd want to yell and would have to be polite(ish). He was psyching himself up for that, but knew he'd lose any argument because he was barefoot and wearing a white terrycloth robe. He opened the door and said, "What?" and then gaped because it was Sheppard, standing there.
"Um," Sheppard said, whatever expression he'd had washed away immediately by blankness. "I'm sorry. I'll just — " and he swung his bag vaguely in the direction of the elevators.
"Oh, for — " Rodney grumbled. "Get in here before I flash somebody." He pulled Sheppard in, shut and locked the door behind him, and pointed at the overstuffed yet somehow uncomfortable wing chair by the window. "Go, sit, you couldn't call ahead of time?"
Sheppard went, sat, and looked politely away as Rodney pulled on his discarded boxers. "I talked to Jeannie. My plane was delayed; she said to just come here." Sheppard made another awkward noise. "She said you said we could share the room, and. Um."
"This is the fun you miss out on when you don't have sisters." Rodney opened the refrigerator and pulled out a beer, held it up in question. Sheppard nodded, looking grateful and also exhausted. Rodney popped the cap off the bottle and passed it over along with a cellophane-wrapped water glass. Sheppard put the glass down and took a long pull from the bottle. "She's matchmaking." Sheppard choked, swallowing the wrong way and mopping beer off his face with his sleeve. Rodney went into the bathroom and got a facecloth, which he tossed over. "She keeps thinking that if she throws enough attractive people at me, one of these days. . . ." Rodney shrugged and opened his own beer. "Don't worry about it."
"Sure," Sheppard said. "I know you're not interested."
This time it was Rodney who aspirated beer. Sheppard rolled the towel up and launched it at him. "Interested in what?" Rodney said. Sheppard just shook his head and used one foot to turn the chair so he could look out the window and not at Rodney. "Seriously. What? Who? What? Since when have you been interested?"
Sheppard just twitched slightly in response and stared out the window: whether at the skyline or at Rodney's reflection, Rodney couldn't tell. Rodney had a sudden, nasty flash of memory from when his brain had been going offline. He heard his own voice calling John, and John (John, not Sheppard) stroking his arm to calm him down, holding his hand, pressing down on his shoulder. John, whose presence made the medical procedures and the fear bearable. John who'd refused to say goodbye.
Rodney wondered if he only called Sheppard John when someone was dying, and if so, why.
"You can't just," Rodney said, and then tried to rephrase. "We should — "
Sheppard shook his head, lips thin, and took another long pull from his bottle.
"I was routed here via Dallas," Sheppard said, his voice hoarse and low. "We can maybe — " he flipped a hand between them — "over breakfast — late breakfast — but I've got to find a place to stay. My suitcase," he added, "was in Nashville last I heard."
"You're staying here, of course," Rodney said, jerking his chin up to better stare Sheppard down. "I've got a million new toothbrushes and shampoo samples, and you can sleep in my sweats, they're clean." Sheppard looked dubious. "You can take a hot bath. There are bubbles and jets and things," Rodney enticed, and saw Sheppard's shoulders drop in surrender. "I'll order up food."
Sheppard shook his head. "Bath and bed," he said. He spoke the words like a question, but he stood stiffly, cracking his neck and blindsided by a jaw-stretching yawn that left him looking sheepish.
"Go on then," Rodney said. "Shoo." The moment Sheppard shut himself in the bathroom Rodney got to work straightening the room. He put the clothes in the wardrobe and took his shoes off the television, and swept all the papers and books off the unused bed and piled them haphazard in his suitcase. He sat down at the desk and started de-spamming his e-mail just so that he could be busy when Sheppard emerged. Sheppard looked — endearing was the wrong word — comfortable in Rodney's threadbare Mr Fantastic t-shirt and sagging navy sweatpants.
"Night," Sheppard said, flipping the scratchy polyester comforter down to the foot of the bed and curling up into a ball.
"Sweet dreams," Rodney said, distracted by logging out of all his various levels of security. He played one quick game of FreeCell before turning the computer and the lights off, dropping the bathrobe on the chair, and slipping into bed beside the Sheppard-lump.
"Mnr, nn, fa, hn?" Sheppard mumbled from somewhere under the arm thrown over his face.
Rodney pushed Sheppard to the side a little so he could get both his shoulders down flat (otherwise he cramped something horrible) and then patted him calmingly on the shoulder (something he'd learnt from having babies around). "Not interested, my ass," Rodney said. "Snore and I'll kick you out. I mean it. John." That earned him another indignant bit of incoherence that Rodney ignored. He shut his eyes, took a deep breath, and started the Athosian meditation thing that — despite his scoffing — never failed to defeat insomnia.
Sheppard woke him up at half past two by swearing loudly after walking into the bathroom door in the dark. Rodney put on the night light and made Sheppard show him the damage. He found himself with both hands on Sheppard's face, framing it and carefully skirting the bruise that ran down Sheppard's forehead. Sheppard was squinting in the light and probably still mostly asleep, but when he licked his lips and said, "Rodney?", Rodney just had to lean down and kiss him.
"Please don't fuck with me," Sheppard said, breaking the kiss off earlier than Rodney would have liked and shutting his eyes. Rodney discovered that he'd never thought about Sheppard's eyelashes before, and now he wondered why. He was a little terrified to consider that he could fuck with Sheppard, that maybe he'd been fucking with Sheppard's head all along, misinterpreting interest as competition and blithely accepting the way the borders of their friendship just kept expanding.
"Lie down," Rodney said, pushing at Sheppard's shoulders. "Just — let me take care of you."
Beneath his hands, Sheppard was shaking. Rodney slapped the light off and stretched out so he was covering Sheppard, his knees on either side of Sheppard's legs, his chest flush against Sheppard's, and his face in the perfect position for kissing his way up Sheppard's neck and along his stubble-rough jaw.
He wasn't sure that he didn't have this all wrong until he felt Sheppard's hands on his back, pressing down hard, holding on to Rodney for dear life.
"It's okay," Rodney said. Sheppard turned his head, pressing his cheek to Rodney's. Rodney could feel his breath, warm and shallow with desperation. "What do you want, John?"
"Talk to me." Sheppard ducked his head, giving Rodney a face full of hair. "Anything, what you always say. Tell me about Janus' ZPM."
And here Rodney had been worried Sheppard wanted dirty talk, which he always found kind of embarrassing. Instead. . . . "You have a physics kink?" Rodney asked. "Actually, that explains a lot." Sheppard made an unhappy noise; Rodney stopped mid-tease. "The reason it's not a Zero-Point Module is because — look, do you even know what zero-point energy is?" Sheppard shrugged and slid his hands up to Rodney's shoulders. Rodney huffed. "Well, this seems like a silly time to bring up Hendrik Casimir, but — "
Sheppard seemed to relax after a minute, and he started outlining Rodney in the dark. He ran his hands down Rodney's arms and touched Rodney's face and stroked down Rodney's sides. Rodney didn't mind that he was half-naked — it seemed expedient — but he did think Sheppard was overdressed.
"Look, this is what I mean," he said, sitting back on his heels and tugging up Sheppard's t-shirt. "Take this off." As soon as Sheppard had one arm out Rodney started writing Casimir's equations across Sheppard's ribs, making sure to explain his own refinements and checking that Sheppard wasn't completely ignorant (the discussion of the reduced Planck constant digressed into the Schrodinger equation when Rodney was distracted by the boundary where hairy chest gave way to areolae). As soon as the shirt was gone Rodney ducked down so he could lap at Sheppard's nipples for emphasis as he borrowed Sheppard's navel for a metaphor involving wormholes. The nipples were hard and erect and Rodney took care with them, hoping they weren't painful. Where their groins met there was hardness and erection magnitudes larger happening, and Rodney really hoped that Sheppard had had enough of quantum physics 101 and was ready for the mutual gratification part of the evening. He settled his thumb in Sheppard's navel and slid his hand down under the sweatpants' loose elastic waistband.
He felt and heard Sheppard swallow hard, and Sheppard tensed beneath him. Fight or flight or fuck, Rodney thought, and took the chance, fitting his fingers to one side of Sheppard's dick and his thumb along the other side. Sheppard's dick had a bend to the left that fit neatly in the palm of Rodney's hand, which again — the word endearing really should stop applying itself to Sheppard.
"How are we going to do this?" Rodney asked. "What do you like? What do you need?"
Sheppard seemed to need a moment to think about that, which made Rodney think bad things about Sheppard's sex life until now. He tried to convey sympathy with long, slow strokes of his hand and tried not to jab Sheppard too often with his own impatient dick.
"Lose the boxers," Sheppard said finally, and when they were both naked, "on top, I want you on top again," and suddenly Rodney felt all his observations click together into a solution.
"As you wish," he said, and added a John, which Sheppard responded to by pulling Rodney down over him again. Rodney had to kiss him to keep from saying things that would break the mood, like Do you feel safe? and I've got you and I've saved the universe countless times over, I'm sure I can save you and Interested is the wrong word, it's too small, all the words are too small for what we are. He suspected that his kissing said those things anyway, because even though he was aching with need there was some kind of time dilation effect taking place that let him explain it all as clearly as he could with hands and mouth and tongue.
Sheppard seemed to understand, as much as Sheppard ever did, still waters running deep and all that.
Rodney's dick had settled snugly alongside Sheppard's, and Sheppard shifted now, muttering "Just like — here, no, there" and adjusting and driving Rodney nuts, until he had their cocks perfectly aligned and his hand stretched as far around them as possible. "So good," Sheppard went on, sounding dazed and drunk. He made a first tentative slide up, and Rodney jerked into his grip. Sheppard made a wounded noise; Rodney froze and looked up, trying to make out Sheppard's face. He really, really didn't want to hurt Sheppard, especially not like this, not when they were naked to each other. "So good," Sheppard repeated, and arched up, licking his way into Rodney's mouth. "Maybe I'm dreaming."
Rodney caught Sheppard's tongue between his teeth, sucked it hard, and marvelled at how Sheppard's breath filled him in erratic bursts. "Maybe you're not," Rodney warned, and wrapped his hand around John's. He sped up John's lazy rhythm, because they were going to do this, go all the way.
Sheppard's free hand grabbed at Rodney's ass and pulled him in tight. He made that broken noise again, and Rodney's heart twisted a little because okay, so that was what need sounded like, that was the sound of longing and wanting and strangled hope starting to break free. He had to talk again, had to share all these epiphanies, but the only thing he could say was John, over and over like a benediction.
"Christ, Rodney," Sheppard ground out, his hand flying, stuttering and faltering, his dick spurting warm against their fingers, jerking alongside Rodney's like an invitation, and wouldn't Rodney be a fool not to come when invited so nicely?
It was one of the good orgasms, the kind that hit like a warm tropical wave and swept through Rodney with a brilliant, clinging lassitude and a perfect sense that all was right with the world. He caught a few breaths and marshalled his body enough to slide off Sheppard. He found some article of clothing tangled in the bedclothes and mopped them both up. Sheppard didn't even stir, which made Rodney feel ridiculously accomplished. Sheppard was loose and relaxed in sleep. I did that, Rodney thought. He settled in, with one hand on Sheppard's thigh, and closed his eyes, not really expecting to go back to sleep.
He was surprised to open his eyes and find sunlight already seeping through the curtains. He looked at the clock: it was already seven. Rodney was surprised Sheppard wasn't already up: in Atlantis Sheppard would already have run 5k, done six impossible things, and eaten the breakfast of champions by this time. Sheppard had rolled over and was sleeping on his stomach, his head on one arm, the other arm twisted under him in a way that was probably uncomfortable. Sleep took ten years of worry off his face, Rodney decided. The bruise on Sheppard's forehead looked nasty. Rodney just knew Jeannie would blame him for it, somehow.
He touched Sheppard, carefully, mapping the planes and the lines of his face, running his thumbs over Sheppard's eyelids. He let one hand wander to Sheppard's neck and the faint, white scars there, and Sheppard jerked awake in an instant, rolling back and staring at Rodney for a moment as if he didn't know who he was.
"What," Rodney said, and Sheppard gave him a wide, dopey grin before leaning in to kiss Rodney good morning. "Aren't you just perky," Rodney added, afterwards, poking Sheppard where he was perkiest. Sheppard raised an eyebrow, looking more wary than lecherous. Someday soon, when Sheppard was a bit better balanced, Rodney planned on letting him know that he'd be expected to hold his own. Goodness only knew Rodney was terrible at relationship stuff. He'd only gotten this far with Sheppard because until last night he hadn't even known they had anything.
"Rodney," Sheppard said, "you have no idea how much I — " and he broke off, bowing his head to nuzzle under Rodney's chin like a chastised cat. Rodney stroked his bare shoulders and thought about all the good ways that sentence might end. Sheppard nudged him back onto the mattress and slipped down, as if whatever he wanted to say was best expressed through fellatio. Rodney didn't know how to deconstruct that faulty reasoning without losing the heat of Sheppard's mouth. Sheppard was criminally good at giving head. Rodney pushed himself up on his elbows to watch Sheppard lave his cock, licking broad stripes up and then tracing patterns or perhaps equations down the length with the sharp tip of his tongue. Sheppard ran a series of light wet kisses back to the top and then swallowed Rodney down again, his eyes flicking up to catch Rodney's gaze.
And wham, Rodney was there, gesticulating as best he could to let Sheppard know that he was going to come, right now, immediately. Sheppard's eyes flashed like he was laughing, and Sheppard hollowed his cheeks. Rodney shouted, slapping the mattress with both hands to keep from jamming his dick down Sheppard's throat, and Sheppard swallowed, again and again, drinking everything down and then pulling off with what looked like great satisfaction.
"I'm going for a run," Sheppard said. He looked scruffily blissed out, loose and happy, and Rodney hadn't even noticed him coming. "I'll pick up coffee."
Rodney waved a hand, which was about all he was up to. "Have fun with your afterglow. You know how I like mine, right?"
Sheppard grinned, rolling out of bed and sorting through the muddle of clothes until he came up with his underwear and Rodney's sweatpants (fairly grungy). "Considering the health and sanity of everyone on Atlantis depends on keeping you happily caffeinated. . . "
Rodney pointed at him. "And run by a drugstore while you're out and get — stuff. No latex," he added. "I might be allergic."
Sheppard pulled on one of Rodney's shirts at random (the I see dumb people one) and gave Rodney a brilliant smile. "Tell room service you need new sheets," he said, and bent down to give Rodney a dirty, wet kiss. "Be right back."
Rodney lay there, not thinking too hard about the way he was ridiculously, effervescently happy, until he realised that he'd be happier with a hot shower. He called Jeannie on his way to the bathroom to let her know he was taking a day off.
Later, she'd swear up and down that she'd told him John had called. Rodney never had the heart to call her on being a liar.