Title: Three Minutes til Midnight
Author: rebecca
Rating: R
Summary: John wonders of what Rodney dreams.
Notes: Ficlet-type thing. ~900 words

Three minutes til midnight, and Rodney is sound asleep, one hand tucked under the pillow, the other curled under his chin. The military-issue covers are pulled up to his chest, neat even in sleep. The room is dark, the only light the faint, dim moonlight that sneaks in around the window coverings.

John watches him, watches the slow, steady rise and fall of his chest. He sees Rodney's body, relaxed and loose in sleep as it never is awake. Rodney's face, lax, his lips faintly parted, eyelids fluttering. REM sleep, then, and John wonders of what Rodney dreams, what he sees when sleep wraps around him and takes him away.

Three minutes til midnight, and John knows that if he were to go to the bed, if he were to slide under the covers next to Rodney and pull him close, Rodney would murmur and sigh and snuggle against John, waking up just enough to nuzzle John's collarbone before drifting off again. John knows that if he were to kiss Rodney's soft, sleepy mouth, if he were to run his fingers down Rodney's spine, Rodney would lean into his touch, would come awake slowly. He'd be pliant in John's arms, loose-limbed and languid; he'd let John coax his body open and slide into him and take him slowly, easily, and he'd gasp and sigh and arch and never say a word, even when he came.

John's fingers itch to touch Rodney, to slide through his hair and down over his neck, to feel Rodney's warmth, to skate over his skin. He can feel Rodney under his hands, the soft fabric of his T-shirt, the coarse hair on his legs. He can almost taste Rodney's skin, breathe in his scent.

Two minutes til midnight, and John does not move. He stays where he is, against the wall, arms folded over his bare chest, eyes focused on the sleeping man in the bed. Rodney's chest continues to rise and fall in the same even rhythm; he does not move.

John does not know which one of them he is testing--Rodney, to see if he will wake, or John's self-control. Watching Rodney, looking at him like this, is almost more than John can stand. He wants to touch, to taste, to feel Rodney against him.

But he stays where he is, and he watches, and he notices the little things. The way Rodney's shoulders hunch a little even in sleep, just a little, as if he cannot release all the tension from the day in slumber. John sees the way Rodney's left hand is curled into a fist where it rests under his chin, as if he cannot let go of something. Some idea, some fear; it doesn't matter.

One minute til midnight, and Rodney makes a snuffling sound and slips down deeper under the covers, half-rolling onto his stomach. His right arm stretches over his head, his left tucking tighter against his body. John smiles, knowing Rodney will wake in the morning with creases on his face from the sheets, that he will jump a little, startled, and stare at John accusingly as if John is to blame for the positions in which Rodney sleeps. Then he will roll out of bed and stumble to the shower and wait for John to join him, even though he will say nothing.

John likes the mornings, when he can slip into the small shower cubicle behind Rodney and hold him and kiss his shoulder under the spray. He likes being able to sink to his knees for Rodney, or have Rodney kiss him and jerk him off. He likes feeling Rodney tremble under him as John pushes into him, hearing him groan deep in his throat. It is always a game, in the morning, and John likes the uncertainty of it.

One minute til midnight. The sky is dark, the moons bright against the blackness. Rodney sleeps soundly, unaware of John's presence or at least unbothered by it. He murmurs in his sleep, something that makes sense only in his dreams. And again John wonders what Rodney sees behind his eyelids, whether he dreams of Earth, of the Ancients, or of something completely different altogether.

Does Rodney dream of his cat, of the life he left behind? Of an endless supply of coffee, of the time and resources to study what he wants, without the endless pressures of a city, of a mission that needs him more than any other individual? Or does he dream of random things, images that make no sense except within the context of the dream?

John has never asked.

Midnight, and John steps away from the wall. He crosses to the bed silently, slipping under the covers and finally, finally letting himself touch, breathe, feel Rodney against him. The sheets are warm from Rodney's body and they smell like him and John kisses Rodney's temple, holding him close.

Rodney stretches a little, but he says nothing as he fits himself against John, his body nestling next to John's as though it always has, always will. His head is warm and heavy where it rests on John's shoulder and his arm is a reassuring weight across John's side.

Midnight, and John smiles a little to himself. "Goodnight," he whispers; Rodney does not respond, already asleep.

And John closes his eyes.
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