Genre: McShep, angst, first time
Word Count: 2646
Rating: NC-17 (for language)
Summary: John wasn't dead, but it's still hard.
Disclaimer: I don’t own anything at all, much less anything related to the boys.
Author’s Notes: Sequel to Five Things Rodney Did When John Was (Not, But Everyone Thought He Was) Dead and Five Things John Didn’t Do When He Was (Not Actually) Dead. It's my first time at happy!Sex and at anything resembling h/c. I waffled a lot on how to conclude the sequence, and I hope this works.
Five Scenes From When John Came Back From (Not) Being Dead
“Unscheduled gate activation,” Rodney heard over the radio. He kept an extra radio tuned to the control room frequency now, figuring it was best to be prepared. If someone blew up the gate, or another enemy strike force took over the city, he’d be one of the first to know, no matter where he was. But it also meant that he heard all the chatter when off-world teams checked in and when teams returned from their missions.
“Any IDC?” Weir’s voice answered.
“It’s Ladon’s,” came the surprised reply. Rodney closed his laptop and headed to the nearest transporter. Rarely did a visit from Genii bring good news.
“Lower the shield.”
Rodney got to the gate room just as Ladon was entering. A team of marines had their weapons trained on him, but there was a distinct lack of tension in the air that Rodney noted. Apparently, the Genii leader had become a trusted figure. Rodney was still debating his own feelings about the man. Their last encounter had not instilled him with confidence.
“Keep the shield down, if you would, Dr. Weir,” Ladon said easily as he shook Elizabeth’s hand.
“What for?” Rodney interrupted, earning him a glare from Weir and a respectful glance from Ladon.
“I think we have something of yours. We got some intel from our trading partners and checked it out. After last time, I didn’t want to worry you until we knew more. Sure enough, our sources were right. And I think this is something you’re going to want to let through.” Ladon smiled as he spoke, obviously proud. Maybe he found coffee beans, Rodney thought. Though Pegasus natives didn’t seem to understand the Atlantis expedition’s dependence on the beverage or share in their appreciation of it.
“You’re clear to come through,” Ladon said into a radio, nodding to Weir.
All eyes were focused on the gate. Two more Genii soldiers entered, carrying between them a muddy, unshaven man dressed in a clean Genii uniform. He was limping, with bandages wrapped around his legs and head, and it took Rodney a full minute to even realize what was happening.
Weir’s gasp was the loudest sound in the room, echoing against the high ceiling and wide floors.
“John?” she asked in a hush.
The disheveled head lifted, and through the matted hair and beard, Rodney could just make out the familiar shape of Sheppard’s face. The soft, high cheekbones. The perfect line of his nose. His quirky eyebrows and almost-pointed ears were obscured by the hair, but Rodney knew what they looked like. He’d seen them in his nightmares for the past three and a half months. But this wasn’t a nightmare.
“He’s had a rough time of it,” Ladon commented, as though Sheppard had just mosied back from a brief, ordinary mission. Rodney tried to laugh, but it came out closer to a sob.
The unkept head turned towards him at the sound, and his eyes locked with Sheppard’s. He took several steps forward before he realized it, and stopped only a few feet away. He could see the pain in those eyes, the exhaustion, and the anger.
Sheppard wasn’t dead. He wasn’t dead, and they’d left him there. They didn’t search for him, they didn’t rescue him, they just left him behind to rot in an alien prison cell. Rodney felt his throat tightening up, as if he’d just sucked on a lemon. He tried to reach a hand out, wanting to tell John that they didn’t forget, didn’t just move on, but as he moved he felt himself falling, and his only coherent thought before he blacked out was “I guess I’ll have to give back the poster.” And then it was dark.
“You know, it’s not really fair,” Rodney heard as he slowly tried to claw his way back into consciousness, blinking into the bright light. The words floated around colorfully in his head before settling into comprehension. Someone was above him, a slowly moving blob on his right side. The voice continued.
“You could really give a guy a complex. First I have to save myself, and then I wake up to find that not only are you not hanging over the side of my hospital bed, apparently the idea of me coming back was terrifying enough to cause you to faint.”
“Didn’t save yourself,” Rodney managed to mumble out. He tried to focus on the shape of Sheppard’s face, still swimming against the ceiling. His hair was cut down to only slightly longer than usual, and the beard was gone. Several cuts and bruises remained on his face, though, reminding Rodney of why John even needed to save himself.
“Yeah, I know,” Sheppard answered softly. Rodney shook his head.
“God, I’m sorry,” he blurted out. Now it was Sheppard’s turn to shake his head.
“Elizabeth explained it to me. I know what you thought, and I know why. It was a risk I knew I was taking. I knew it was a possibility.” He shrugged. “I’m back now, thanks to Ladon. I guess he evened out his score with this one.”
Rodney closed his eyes, trying to figure out what to say, if anything. He didn’t want to tell John about the first two months, where he spent almost every night sitting on John’s bed, dry sobbing into his sheets. He didn’t want to talk about the twelfth week, when he finally made a breakthrough with Heightmeyer and admitted that maybe he had loved John Sheppard, and that it was okay to mourn him as a lover, even if it was unrequited. He didn’t want to talk about the night he took down the poster of Johnny Cash and moved it to his room, where it hung on the back of his door. He’d also taken the photo of young John, which was in his bottom desk drawer at the lab, and War and Peace, which he read every night before he went to sleep. He didn’t want John to know how Rodney hadn’t moved on at all, had instead made John so much more a part of his life than ever before. That gathering the leftover pieces of John had been the only way he’d survived. It was too much to put on the poor man’s shoulders. Sheppard had been stuck on an alien planet, left for dead, beaten and interrogated, abandoned by his team. He was the one who had been fighting for survival, not Rodney.
“Yeah, I guess he did,” is all Rodney said. Because it was true.
“Godamnit, McKay!” John yelled as they entered the gateroom. “Somebody get Carson down here!”
Ronon followed after John, lugging Rodney behind him, who was bleeding profusely from his upper thigh. Teyla stood off to the side, an odd smirk belying her traditionally neutral expression.
“What on earth happened out there, John?” Elizabeth was still coming down the stairs as John stormed up them.
“He ran into the line of fire, is what. Idiot!” John was still yelling, though now at no one in particular. Rodney thought it was kind of funny, but he figured it was probably the lack of blood talking. Carson better arrive fast, he thought, or I’ll be passing out in the gateroom again. Second time in a month. Must be a record.
“What for?” Weir asked cautiously.
“Because he’s an idiot, is why,” John had stopped at the top of the stairs. “He apparently forgot that he’s a scientist, not a marine, and therefore has no business placing himself between our attackers and any of the rest of the team, especially his damn team leader!”
Rodney did laugh at that, but it was too soft for anyone but Ronon to hear. Ronon just gave him a look of long-suffering and held a little tighter.
“Sorry,” Rodney whispered, looking up at John. John shook his head angrily and turned away, as Carson entered through the side doors. Rodney slid gratefully onto a gurney and then allowed himself to fall into a deep, hopefully dreamless sleep.
Rodney felt the pressure on his hand before he heard the words. They were so soft, spoken for no one to hear, and he almost thought he was dreaming them. But the touch on his hand was grounding, and he focused on that and on the sound of John’s voice, in the dark of the infirmary.
“God, Rodney, don’t do that to me. You don’t know what it was like, to be there and not know if I’d ever make it back. But even then, the thing I wanted most was you, safe. It’s why I did it, Rodney, it’s why I always do it. It’s my job, but I’d do it anyway. And you’re not allowed to fuck that up. You throw yourself in front of guns like that, you throw away everything I lived for those three fucking months. So just accept that I’m going to go first, no matter what. Cause I could handle that damn cell, but I don’t think I could handle what you did.”
Rodney was pretty sure he wasn’t supposed to hear any of that, so he kept his eyes closed and his breathing even, hoping John wouldn’t know. Because there was nothing either one of them could do about it.
The door swished open in front of Rodney. John was sitting on his bed, propped up against the wall, typing.
“I—“ he began, but forgot what he had planned to say.
“Come on in,” John answered, putting the laptop on the table beside the bed. Rodney blinked, for a moment forgetting that he could actually enter the room. After John’s return, he’d avoided it completely. Too many memories, too much emotion. He’d forgotten that, and regretted it as soon as he entered.
The room smelled the same, like a mix of salt water and John, a scent Rodney hadn’t found anywhere else. He tried to take a deep breath to calm down, but that filled his lungs with John, and suddenly Rodney just wanted to be anywhere else.
“Hey,” John said lightly, leaning forward.
“Uh, I have to go,” Rodney answered. “I—but I, here. I brought back your book. I borrowed it. Sorry.”
He lifted up the hand still clutching War and Peace, and tossed it over onto the bed. John slid forward, stretching out onto his stomach, and picked it up.
“Thanks. I’ve been wondering where it was,” he said, smiling up at Rodney.
“Yeah. I, well. I got it while you were…gone. Sorry, I know you don’t like people in your room, but you were dead, or at least that’s what we thought, which is the only reason I even came in here, because I thought you couldn’t get angry about it anymore, because you couldn’t get angry about anything anymore, and I swear the little rip on the cover was there before I had it, so don’t blame me for it. Not that you were going to.”
“Rodney,” John interrupted, sitting up. Rodney stopped babbling and looked up. John’s forehead was lined with concern and confusion, and then it really hit him.
John was back. He was really back, he was alive and within arm’s reach and Rodney had a second chance to make it all work. And before he could talk himself out of it, he stepped forward, grabbed John’s hand, and pulled him up. They stood, chests almost touching, breath mingling between their faces, for only a fraction of a second before John was leaning in, closing the distance.
John’s lips were hard against his. He could feel the shape of them, follow their lines as they moved over his own, brushing and pressing. A hand gripped his upper arm, burning through his sleeve, and he felt John groan against his mouth. He lifted a hand and stroked John’s waist, moving his fingers beneath the black t-shirt to touch hot skin, and another groan reverberated over his lips. He reached out with his tongue, trying to taste John’s mouth, to categorize with more than just his sense of touch, and a shock wired straight to his groin as he met with John’s tongue. He tightened his hold on John’s waist, and the kiss became a battle of lips and tongues and heat and pressure, each trying to map out the inside of the other’s mouth. Rodney finally capitulated, out of breath and so hard it hurt. He pulled back, pressing his forehead against John’s. He was relieved to hear John’s staggered breathing, and to see the telling bulge in his BDUs.
“God,” John sighed, tilting his head to lick beneath Rodney’s ear. Rodney gasped, hips bucking involuntarily into John, which knocked both men off balance. They fell onto the bed, Rodney landing on top of John, which allowed him to both feel John’s erection pressing hard into his thigh and to grind his own erection down against John.
“Fuck, Rodney,” John moaned. “I was afraid you didn’t, that you hadn’t—“
“Oh, god, John,” Rodney grunted back. “I do, I couldn’t, I can’t—“
And then there were hot hands moving over stomachs and hips, pulling at shirts and unbuttoning pants, and Rodney couldn’t even form complete words anymore, much less sentences. He finally got John’s shirt off, and John had pulled his off, and then they were lying side by side, chests flush against each other. Rodney glided one finger over John’s hips, under his waistband, and into his boxers. He stroked John’s thigh, moving slowly inward until he ran out of maneuverability. John’s own hands had been drawing circles on Rodney’s back, lightly shaking with need. Rodney focused all his concentration on getting John’s pants and boxers off, and then his own, and then, ohh that was much better.
Rodney rolled onto his back, pulling John over on top of him. John reached down and lined them up with each other, precum slicking up both cocks. John began moving, sliding back and forth, rubbing their painfully hard cocks against each other in tingling friction. Rodney reached up and pulled John’s neck down, bringing their lips together for another long, wet kiss. Rodney could feel the build-up in his spine, and he knew he was close.
He grabbed John’s shoulders, pulling them down into full-body contact, and pressed kisses into John’s neck, mumbling “God, John, fuck, fuck,” over and over as his climax washed over him in pounding waves. He felt fingers tighten on his own arms and knew John was coming, too, their semen mixing and coating their stomachs.
Rodney was already limp when he felt John relax into him. He pulled an arm up, looping it around John’s shoulder.
“Stay?” John asked quietly. Rodney was speechless. “I don’t know what you’re thinking, but it’s probably a lot, and I don’t know if this is what you wanted when you came here tonight, but I’ve wanted it since I got back. Hell, since I left.”
There was a long silence as Rodney tried to decide how much he wanted to say. He wasn’t the type to give everything away; he liked to have a couple of cards left in his deck that no one knew about. But John just bared it all, just like that, and Rodney couldn’t blow it off. John started to shift away from him, but Rodney held on tighter.
“I put Johnny Cash on the inside of my door. And I finished War and Peace, but don’t ask me how it ends, because I can’t actually remember how it began.”
Rodney looked over at John, who was smiling. Thank god, Rodney thought. He gets it. But then, it was John. And they were John and Rodney, partners in crime, best friends and worst nightmares. Of course he got it.