Title: Breathe
Author: rebecca
Pairing: Sheppard/McKay
Rating: NC-17
Summary: I thought I at least rated higher than an 'unconscious reflex'.
Notes: I swore for months I wasn't getting into SGA. And now here I am, with a shiny new PWP and a whole lot of trepidation. I hope you enjoy.

"If you're coming to apologize, Major, there's really no need. We've all been under a fair amount of stress lately, what with the problems with the generators, and the potential hurricane that might be coming soon, and oh yes, the race of space vampires that want to kill us all, and it's not uncommon for people to engage in what would otherwise be completely uncharacteristic behavior, so really, we'll just--"

John holds up a hand. "Do you ever breathe? I'm not here to apologize, Rodney."

"You're...not." Rodney's beginning to wonder whether he's spending too much time in his lab. Perhaps prolonged exposure to Ancient artifacts can affect one's hearing. He's never come across it before, but that certainly doesn't mean it's not possible. All things are possible, but that means that John not apologizing is possible and that's just too ridiculous to be believed.

"Nope." There's that smile again, the self-assured cocky grin that makes Rodney want to...well, he's not a violent man, or he's never particularly considered himself to be a violent man, although there have been extenuating circumstances. But that's beside the point.

Although what the point is, Rodney's not sure. He takes a deep breath. "If you're not here to apologize, Major, would you mind explaining exactly why you're in my quarters at eleven o'clock at night?" There. That's good. Calm, composed, relaxed--he can do this. Simple conversation and then John will leave and he'll be able to go back to...to whatever it was he was doing before John showed up. What that was, he can't remember now, and he thinks that should bother him more than it currently is.

John shrugs. He's looking around, and for some reason that makes Rodney touchy. Well, no, it's not that surprising. Atlantis, for all its size and complexity, is still lacking in some things, such as privacy. And yes, Rodney was used to Antarctica, but that still doesn't mean he likes having people in his personal space, looking at the minimal personal items he brought with him, and--"You've been avoiding me," John says cheerfully. "I thought I'd see why."

"I--" Rodney stops, tries counting to ten, then the Fibonacci sequence, then--"I have not been avoiding you, Major. In case you haven't noticed, there are many, many projects going on which need my attention."

"You've been avoiding me," John repeats, as if Rodney has said nothing. "Why? Is it because I kissed you?"

And there it is, out in the open, and Rodney, for all his admittedly impressive intelligence, has no response. He swallows, gathers what composure he has left, and opens his mouth to say something--but John grins and takes one step forward and kisses him.

Rodney knows he should push John away, move elsewhere, someplace John isn't. Only his body does not seem to want to obey his mind and John's mouth feels, well, good on his. Warm and dry lips and now John's hands are on his face, and Rodney closes his eyes and tries to figure out exactly what's going on here, and if there's any chance he's fallen into another fractured reality.

"I'm not going to apologize," John murmurs, his hands still on Rodney's face, not holding him but Rodney can't move away to save his life. "And I'm not going to let you hide from me, either."

"Major. Perhaps you should talk to Dr. Beckett. You're clearly displaying symptoms of irrational behav--" Rodney shuts up when John kisses him again. It's slow and gentle and John's tongue is silky against his lips, flicking inside his mouth. And perhaps it's just because he hasn't had sex in--okay, he's not going to calculate because that's too depressing even for him, but this is...no. This isn't something that should be happening, no matter how much some very, very small and insignificant part of him might want it.

"I'd say I'm being perfectly rational," John says lightly. His thumbs smooth over Rodney's cheekbones. "I want this, you want this. What's so irrational about that?"

"I don't--" Rodney stops, takes a deep breath. "Major. While I could go on for several long minutes explaining the sheer irrationality and idiocy of this idea, I'll keep it simple. I. Don't. Want. This. You've kissed me three times so far, and at no point have I ever given you an indication that I wanted it, let alone anything else."

John smiles again. "Okay," he says reasonably. "That's fair."

Rodney's not sure why that makes him nervous. After all, John has now let him go and has stepped back, thumbs hooked in the pockets of his pants. No contact, John's not saying anything, and yet Rodney can't shake the feeling of waiting for the other shoe to drop.

"Right. Well then." Rodney steps back. "I'm sure we've got a long day tomorrow, so--"

"Oh, you wanted me to leave?" John grins innocently.

"No, Major, I wanted you to stay and fuck my brains out. Yes, I want you to leave!" Even as the words leave his mouth, Rodney can't believe he's saying them.

John laughs and steps forward. "Pick one, Rodney," he says easily, that damnable grin on his face. "Either I fuck your brains out or I leave."

"I think I've made that abundantly clear," Rodney says, as cold and clipped as he can manage. "I want you to leave."

"You sure about that?" John's teasing him, now, and Rodney grits his teeth to keep from saying something else he'll regret.

"Yes, I'm sure," he manages through a clenched jaw.

"See, here's the thing I don't get." John rocks back on his heels a little. "If you were to kiss someone, and they were to, oh, I don't know, get hard from that kiss--you'd consider it empirical evidence that they were interested, wouldn't you?"

"On a purely physical level, I'd consider that a reasonable response to pleasurable external stimuli," Rodney says carefully. "However, that doesn't take into account--"

"Hear me out." John grins and shoves his hands in his pockets. "And if you kissed someone again, and they got hard again--"

"It's an unconscious reflex!" Rodney snaps. "It doesn't mean anything!"

"It doesn't? I'm wounded, Rodney. I thought I at least rated higher than an 'unconscious reflex'." John gives him a little-boy pout that makes Rodney want to--well, it doesn't matter what Rodney wants to do.

"I don't have time for this," Rodney says impatiently. "Would you just leave already so I can get back to--to--" He gestures, not entirely certain what he'd be getting back to, but at this point he doesn't care. He just wants John to leave.


"It's eleven o'clock at night," John says casually. "If you're getting back to anything, I'd hope it would be sleep."

"Just go!" Rodney explodes. "Leave me alone!"

"Hey, hey, take it easy," John says, holding up his hands. "Relax, okay? Just take a breath. That's it. Just breathe, okay?"

Rodney takes a deep breath, lets it out slowly. He rubs his forehead; he wouldn't be surprised if he was getting a headache. Tension, most likely.

Sex is a great tension reliever, his brain reminds him, and he irritably tells his brain to stuff it.

"Breathe," John says again, taking a step closer. "Breathe for me, Rodney."

Somehow Rodney finds himself breathing slowly and evenly, tension beginning to flow out of him. He doesn't think about why he's doing this, and he doesn't think about John standing right in front of him, so close Rodney can see his T-shirt move as he breathes, eerily in synch with Rodney.

"That's it," John murmurs. "Just breathe for me."

And there's something in his voice and something in his eyes and Rodney can't manage to say a word. Thoughts are running away from him, slipping away like water through his fingers, and no matter how hard he tries he can't get them back. Admittedly, he's not trying very hard, but that's beside the point.

He has no idea what the point is.

"Breathe for me," John says again, softly, and Rodney thinks that if he could do anything other than stand here like a moron he'd snap at John for the unnecessary repetition, but somehow he can't get the words together in his head. He stands there, looking at John, unable to tear his eyes away, unable to speak or move.

John raises a hand, slowly, so slowly Rodney could move out of the way if he wanted, but Rodney can't seem to make his muscles work. John cups Rodney's cheek in his hand, and his fingers feel abnormally warm. "I want to kiss you," John says quietly.

Rodney can't look away and he can't say no. He manages a nod--why he's nodding, he doesn't know, but he can't do anything else.

John kisses him, slowly, and he closes his eyes and leans into it. "Be honest with me," John says, pulling away just a little. "Do you want me to leave?"

There are a million reasons he should say yes. He can't think of any. "No," Rodney whispers.

John smiles and kisses him again. His tongue flicks into Rodney's mouth and somehow Rodney's hands are on John's shoulders now, and John is still kissing him and Rodney breaks away, gasping for breath.

"Shh," John breathes, one hand on the back of Rodney's neck and the other spread out against his back. "Don't think, Rodney. Okay? Can you do that for me?"

Rodney wonders exactly when he stopped being able to speak in coherent, articulate sentences, or when he decided that saying yes was a good idea. He's entirely certain that it isn't, and he's positive this is going to end badly, and--

"Don't think," John repeats. "Just...trust me, Rodney. Okay?"

Trust is an interesting concept, and Rodney isn't entirely certain how it's possible to trust someone so completely in the field and be--well, he's not afraid, per se, but this is an entirely different scenario, with different variables, and--

"Trust me," John says again.

Rodney manages to nod. He can't gather his thoughts--he's not even sure he has any, right now--and all he's got is this, here and now, John in front of him and the distinct feeling that he's in over his head and unable to do a thing about it.

"Close your eyes."

He does. But without his sight, his whole body tenses, his other senses trying to compensate, and when John touches his face Rodney jumps. "Shh," John whispers. "Relax."

John's fingers are light against his skin, his fingertips warm where they rest on Rodney's face. "I want to see you," John says, his fingers running through Rodney's hair. "Will you let me?"

Rodney opens his eyes, looking at John in the soft lighting of his quarters. "Why?" he manages. A simple question; a child's question, and the only one he can ask.

"Because," John says with a smile, "if I'm going to take you to bed, I'd rather not do it with both of us fully clothed." John tilts his head to the side, as if considering something, then steps back. Rodney shivers, even though he knows John's body heat--or lack thereof--isn't enough to affect the ambient temperature around him. "Relax, Rodney," John says lightly. "I'm not about to run out the door."

Instead, John shrugs off his jacket, setting it aside, peeling his T-shirt off over his head and tossing it after the jacket. "Your turn," he says, as if there's nothing uncommon about him standing in Rodney's quarters half-naked.

But Rodney can't make his hands work. He swallows and looks down at the faded blue T-shirt he's wearing. Take it off, his brain tells him. He asked you to. Rodney's not entirely sure when his brain defected to John's side. He doesn't know if there are sides in this, or if it's all one big...something he can't find the vocabulary for at the moment. And John's just standing there watching him, patiently, waiting.

When he finally manages to yank his T-shirt off, his hands feel clumsy. He tosses it on top of his footlocker, looking at the contrast between the dinged metal and the worn cotton.

"That's good," John says, and there's a tone in his voice Rodney hasn't heard before. Something husky, something...Rodney looks at him, and he doesn't have to be a genius (although he is) to see the desire in John's face.

John crosses to him and kisses him again, his hands on Rodney's shoulders, hot and gripping tight and his mouth hard against Rodney's, his tongue insistent as it slips into Rodney's mouth. "Trust me," John whispers, "and I'll give you everything you want. Everything, Rodney. But you have to trust me."

There are, of course, many things Rodney wants that John will never be able to give him--an unlimited supply of coffee, for one; subordinates who aren't idiots, for another--but Rodney knows that's not what John means. And Rodney's beginning to believe that John can, in fact, make good on his promise.

He wonders when that thought stopped having the power to frighten him.

Rodney closes his eyes. "What do you want?" he asks, swallowing hard.

Gentle fingers trace the line of his face, brow to cheek to jaw and down his throat. John's lips brush over Rodney's carotid artery and Rodney shivers. "I thought that would be obvious for someone of your intellect," John says, teasing and somehow affectionate all at once. "I want you."

"Don't--" Rodney stops, takes a breath. "Don't play games with me, John."

"No games, Rodney." John's hands are on his face again. "Look at me."

A little unwillingly, he does. But all he sees in John's face is want and something Rodney thinks might be caring and other things he can't define, but mockery isn't among them.

"I'm not playing games, Rodney. I want you." John meets his eyes squarely. "Trust me," he says softly.

And slowly, Rodney manages a nod. How and when he went from wanting Major Sheppard out of his quarters to wanting John in his bed, he's completely unaware, but facts are facts and the truth of the matter is that he wants this. It's still a terrible idea, of course, but right now that just...doesn't seem to matter.

John grins a little and kisses him, a quick press of his lips against Rodney's. His hands slide down Rodney's arms, fingers tracing over the backs of his hands, and then John's hands are unfastening Rodney's pants and Rodney looks down, something inside him twisting at the sight of John's hands on his zipper. John's knuckles brush over his erection as he slides the zipper down and Rodney stifles a gasp, his eyes half-closing of their own accord.

"Don't," John says. "I want to hear you. Everything you've got, Rodney. I want it all." He cups Rodney's dick in his hand, squeezing gently; Rodney gasps and pushes into John's touch. Even through the fabric of his briefs, that feels--well, amazing. John smiles and kisses Rodney's jaw, tongue tracing a line up, lips brushing over that spot right behind his ear that makes Rodney shudder. "God, you're responsive," John murmurs, nipping Rodney's earlobe. He's pushing Rodney's pants down, easing the briefs off, and Rodney does the only thing he can. He steps out of his clothes, pulling off his socks, leaving him naked and hard in front of John.

He looks down, at the floor by John's feet, at anything other than John. But John tips his chin up and leans in for a kiss and Rodney closes his eyes, the feel of John's hands on his shoulders and John's mouth making him dizzy.

"Lie down," John says softly. He steps back and nods at the bed.

Right. Bed. Yes. Rodney manages--barely--not to trip over his own feet as he steps back, turning to lie down on his stomach on the neatly made bed, resting his forehead on his crossed arms. He hears the sound of fabric rustling, the thumps of John's boots as they hit the floor, and then the bed dips and John's hands run up his legs, pushing them apart, and John is kneeling between his thighs.

"Why don't you want me to see you?" John asks, his hands sliding up Rodney's back, heavy enough to make him groan a little with pleasure, John's thumbs digging in on either side of his spine. John drags his hands back down, squeezing Rodney's ass and making Rodney arch back into it.

Rodney licks his lips, trying to find words. "I'm right here," he says, his voice hoarse. "I don't know what you mean."

John laughs a little and kisses the nape of Rodney's neck. "Yeah, you do, genius." The fondness in his voice makes Rodney blink. "Turn over."

Rodney feels the mattress shift as John gets off the bed. He doesn't want to turn over; he doesn't want to have to look up at John and see that naked desire. It makes his stomach twist, it makes him feel something he doesn't want to examine too closely.

And yet he turns over, lying on his back, looking up at the ceiling, until John's kneeling over him and his hands are on Rodney's shoulders. "Look at me," John says, and Rodney manages to meet John's eyes, his stomach clenching at what he sees and what he can't understand.

John kisses him, slowly, deeply, and as he does his hands slide down Rodney's arms, holding his wrists loosely. "Will you do something for me?" John asks quietly.

An exercise in trust. Rodney can do this. He nods, swallowing to get enough spit in his mouth to talk. "Yes," he whispers.

The smile on John's face makes Rodney shiver. It's predatory and pleased and affectionate all at once. "Thank you," John says. He lifts Rodney's wrists to his lips, pressing a kiss against the inside of each, before pressing them into the pillow above Rodney's head. "Stay like that," John tells him, trailing a finger down the underside of Rodneys arm, forearm to elbow to shoulder and down his chest, brushing gently over one nipple. "Just stay like that. You can close your eyes, if you want--just don't move."

Rodney nods again. He doesn't know if he likes the idea of lying still with John kneeling over him like this, but he said he would and so he will.

That doesn't, however, stop him from closing his eyes.

John kisses his collarbone, his throat, his tongue teasing over Rodney's skin. He bites gently over Rodney's pulse, teeth scraping a path up to Rodney's jaw, sucking Rodney's earlobe into his mouth and nipping it sharply. Rodney gasps, head turning to the side instinctively, offering John more.

He hears John murmur something and has no idea what, but John is touching him now, hands sliding over his arms and down his chest. John's thumbs flick over his nipples, calluses rubbing against sensitive skin, and Rodney arches into it, breath coming fast in his throat. John does it again and Rodney shudders, and when John takes one nipple in his mouth, teeth and tongue and lips playing, Rodney twists under him, a sound painfully close to a whimper escaping him.

As if that's some kind of signal, John lingers there, teasing Rodney's nipple until Rodney's breathless and squirming, desperate to reach for John and push him away/pull him closer, only he said he wouldn't move and so his hands clench in the sheet instead, the fabric bunching under his fingers. Rodney's on the verge of crying out, begging, anything, by the time John raises his head. "Breathe," John whispers, and Rodney would snap at him if he could speak, but all he seems able to do is follow John's lead.

He breathes, slowly, letting his body calm a bit. John strokes his hair back, kissing Rodney's temple. "Have you let a man fuck you before?" he asks, as calm and even as if he's asking whether Rodney wants sugar in his coffee.

Rodney's mind flashes back to Mark, to fumbling fingers and awkward laughs and blond hair in the sunlight. He swallows, nods. "Not--recently," he says carefully.

John smiles and kisses him gently. "I won't hurt you," he promises. "Do you have--"

Rodney bites his lip and turns his face into his arm, nodding. "Footlocker," he mumbles. "Top drawer, right side."

"Hey," John says gently. "Relax, Rodney. It isn't like the rest of us don't have anything."

He supposes that's true, although it's not like he's ever thought about whether anyone else on Atlantis has sexual lubricant among their personal belongings. Some things he just doesn't want to know.

He hears John get off the bed, the sounds of his footlocker opening, then John's weight depressing the mattress again. "Hey," John says again. "Look at me, Rodney."

John catches Rodney's chin in his hand and turns his face back until Rodney's looking up at him. "I told you," John says softly, evenly. "I'll give you everything you want. No shame, Rodney. No fear. Just trust me."

Rodney would like to argue that he's not afraid and he's not embarrassed but he just nods, not trusting either his voice or his ability to convince either of them that he's telling the truth. He closes his eyes when John kisses him again and when John's mouth moves down to his throat, licking and nipping, he shivers.

John's hands are on him, stroking, caressing; Rodney wants, badly, to reach for him and feel John's skin under his fingers, feel John lean into his touch. He almost does, but when he raises one hand, John pushes it back against the bed, his grip on Rodney's wrist just shy of painfully tight. "Don't move," John whispers. "For me, Rodney. Don't move."

The combination of John's hand on his wrist and the low steel in his voice is enough to make Rodney shudder all over, instinctively flexing his hand against John's hold. John notices, of course, and his other hand closes over Rodney's free wrist, capturing it in a grasp Rodney can't break. "You like this?" John asks, grinding down against Rodney's body, his hands and his pelvis *right* where Rodney wants them, and all Rodney can do is gasp. "You like being held down, Rodney?"

He can't find the words and he doesn't know what to say. He can't even nod; all he can do is arch up under John, pulling at John's grip on him, his cock rubbing against John's. Every time he twists his hands, not-really-trying to break free, John tightens his hold and Rodney feels himself spiraling into freefall, his entire being focused on John and what John's doing to him.

"Answer me," John says, almost growls. "Tell me, Rodney. Is this what you like? What you need?" He's rubbing against Rodney, his cock sliding against Rodney's, his body pressing Rodney's down into the mattress.

Whatever noise he makes would embarrass him if he could think clearly, but he can't think at all. "John," he manages, breathless. "I--John--"

"What do you need?" John purrs.

Rodney shakes his head blindly. He doesn't know--he can't think-- "Please," he gets out. "John, please--"

"Tell me," John demands. "Tell me what you want, Rodney."

"I--" Rodney shudders and twists up under John, desperate for more. "Fuck me," he gasps, seizing on the words like a life raft.

John kisses him, hard enough to bruise, deep enough to steal what little breath Rodney has left. "Move your hands," John says in a low voice, "and I'll leave you just like this. Understand?"

Rodney whimpers and manages a nod.

The pressure on his wrists vanishes and Rodney opens his eyes to see John kneel up, taking the tube and opening it. John squeezes some of the gel onto his fingers, slicking them generously, before settling between Rodney's legs. Without being prompted, Rodney spreads his legs a little wider, bending his knees so his feet are flat on the bed. "Good," John murmurs, and Rodney feels a little ripple of pleasure run through him.

John is careful, but it's been literally years since Rodney's done anything like this and it takes a while for him to relax around one finger, let alone two. His hands clench in the sheets and he fights to breathe, his body taut as it struggles to remember how to do this.

"Relax," John tells him, his free hand on Rodney's stomach, warm and solid and something Rodney can focus on, something other than John's fingers inside him. "That's it. Just relax for me, Rodney. You can do that, right? Just relax for me."

He closes his eyes and breathes and tells himself to relax, and slowly he manages it, and John has three fingers in him now and it doesn't really hurt and then John's fingers twist and hit his prostate and he gasps, arching up. "You ready?" John asks, kissing Rodney's knee. "You ready for me, Rodney?"

Rodney nods wordlessly; thankfully, John doesn't ask him to speak.

He shivers at the empty, stretched feeling when John's fingers pull out of him, and then John shifts to kneel between his legs and John's hands push his thighs up and back and then John is pressing into him and Rodney gasps and bites his lip and fights to breathe.

"Easy," John whispers, his voice ragged, the low control overlaid with husky need. "Easy, Rodney. You can take this. I know you can. For me."

The only answer he can give is a low moan, dragged out of him by John's cock, by John's breath, hot against his throat, John's body over his own. John is fully inside him, John's head buried in his neck, and as John begins to move Rodney whines, a sound full of pleasure and need and desperation. "Please," he breathes, moving with John as best he can, his head turned to the side, eyes squeezed shut. "John, please--"

John nips his throat. "Not yet," he says. "Not yet."

Rodney whimpers, biting his lip to keep from begging. He's falling apart, parts of him shattering, splintering; John's the only thing he can hold on to and the reason he's coming to pieces and Rodney can't do anything but breathe and try to survive.

"Look at me," John says roughly. "Rodney, look at me."

He can't not obey; he looks up into John's face, seeing the dark eyes, so focused and intent; the color on his cheekbones; the hunger and control that make him shudder.

"Do you trust me?" John asks as he moves, strong even thrusts that have Rodney gasping for air. "Do you trust me, Rodney?"

There's only one answer he can give. Only one he has. "Yes," Rodney whispers.

John smiles, and the look on his face makes Rodney whimper. John kisses him, biting his lip; Rodney moans and arches under him. "Then come for me," John says against Rodney's mouth.

The world goes white in a fractured rainbow and the only thing he hears is the blood rushing in his ears as his body goes taut. He's still shaking with aftershocks when John groans and comes inside him, and when John eases out of him and lowers his legs to the bed Rodney stil can't move.

There's a box of tissues on the footlocker; John grabs it and cleans them off haphazardly before lying down and pulling Rodney against him. Rodney buries his head in John's shoulder, trembling. suddenly afraid now that it's all over. "Shh," John murmurs, holding him close. "Relax, Rodney. I'm not going anywhere."

He's not sure whether that makes him feel better or not, but John's stroking his hair and his back and his body is warm and solid and slowly Rodney relaxes against him. "That's it," John says, kissing his forehead, his temple. "Just relax."

Somehow they get under the covers. Rodney's a little surprised when John makes no motion to leave, but he's not going to question it. Not now, not when his brain isn't back to full speed and his body feels like overcooked spaghetti. Maybe later.

"This wasn't a one-time thing," John says quietly. "You know that, right?"

"It wasn't?" Rodney's voice is raspy; he swallows, trying to get moisture into his mouth.

"No." John holds him close. "It wasn't. Get some sleep, Rodney. We'll talk about this in the morning."

Rodney doesn't know if John's matter-of-fact comments make him feel better or worse. He doesn't know what this means, what's going to happen. He doesn't know anything, it seems, and that's never a situation he likes to be in.

"Hey," John says, interrupting the cycle of thoughts running through Rodney's head. "Don't do that. We'll talk it over in the morning, okay?" John kisses him lightly. "Just relax, Rodney. Just breathe." John strokes gentle fingers through Rodney's hair. "Just breathe for me."

And Rodney does the only thing he can.
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