There are many things Rodney's pretty sure he never signed on for when he signed up for Atlantis. A race of life-sucking space vampires trying to kill them was one. Producing miracles every fifteen minutes--well, he's become accustomed to that over a lifetime of being the smartest man in the room. HIs previous miracles generally didn't include saving the lives of every member on his expedition, granted, but it's still an extrapolation from existing facts. Still, he doesn't think he'd anticipated being the one to save the city and the mission every time someone looked around.

But he is, and he does, and if no one knows how terrified he gets--not that he gets terrified, although occasionally a state of panic is called for, but Rodney's proud of his general ability to keep a calm head under most circumstances, including imminent death. Perhaps sometimes a hint of worry or panic shows through, but no one really knows what it's like to have all that pressure, to be the one everyone turns to.

Except one, and that's the thing Rodney's sure he never signed on for. Of all the things he thought he'd find in Atlantis, all the things he hoped to learn...John Sheppard is not one of them. Of course he knew he'd be interacting with Sheppard, given their respective positions in the hierarchy of the Atlantis mission (after Col. Sumner--well, anyway), but that was on a professional level.

Only in the fight for survival and the need to just hang on and get through it, one crisis at a time, one day at a time, to sound like some twelve-step program, professional and personal blurred and Rodney found himself being pushed up against the bulkhead of Jumper One and being kissed so soundly it took him a full fifteen seconds to remember how to breathe.

Then he launched himself at Sheppard and kissed him back just as soundly.

Personal and professional and everything in between, and they go from bickering in the field to arguing over the conference table to saying nothing at all in John's quarters, only groans and gasps and sighs, words incoherent with lust and passion, bodies moving together in a rhythm older than Atlantis. Rodney's surprised by how he's gotten used to it, to the unspoken cues they give each other and the way they just know what the other wants, whether it's going to be long and slow or fast and hard, whether it's going to be John on his knees or--more frequently--Rodney on his stomach.

Because that's the thing. Rodney's hopeless with women, with personal relationships. He knows this. And he doesn't have that much experience with men, but he's fairly certain it's not all that different. And for all his vaunted intelligence, Rodney has no idea what's really going on with him and John.

He keeps meaning to say something to John when they're alone, to bring up the fact that this is quite simply impossible. This is never going to last, never going to work, and it's obvious that they should just disentangle themselves while they still can.

But he can't. When he's with John, when it's just them and John's trying not to laugh at whatever tangent Rodney's gone off on this time--not that Rodney goes off on tangents, but occasionally his mind does wander down paths others can't follow, which is not to imply that John's stupid. Far from it; the man could have gotten into Mensa had he wanted to, and why he didn't--regardless of all that. When it's just them, when they don't have to worry (for the moment) about something crashing down on their heads, things are...different.

It's a difference Rodney has no idea what to do with. He has no idea how to analyze and react to what's going on with him and John, and more and more he finds himself just...saying nothing. Doing nothing. He finds himself going to sleep with John's arm draped over his stomach, waking up next to John's stubble. He lets John spread him open and take him, slide into his body slow and sure, and that's something he's never let anyone do before. He hasn't told John that, but he wonders if John knows anyway. Then he wonders if it matters.

Does it matter how intelligent he is when one kiss from John can reduce him to little more than moans and sighs? Does it matter that this is a terrible idea when he sees John's face as he comes, full of wonder and need and a hint of surprise, as if this makes no sense to him either but he isn't going to give up on it? What does it mean that they can compartmentalize so easily and yet not at all, that they can be completely professional (aside from the usual bickering, of course) in the field and in the city and yet one look will make John smile and Rodney stammer?

Rodney never signed on for any of this. But there's no going back.

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