Five Kisses - posted March 3, 2006
Word Count: ~ 2570
Summary: Celebration - Silence - Argument -
Ritual - Knowing
written for pearl_o's
Five Kisses meme.
~ celebration ~
day the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy is revoked, Elizabeth asks John
and Rodney to stand with her in a show of leadership solidarity when
she makes the announcement. The entire population of Atlantis crowds
into the gate-room, scientists and soldiers lounging on steps and
against pillars. There’s an air of anticipation.
The three of
them stand on the balcony John once threw Rodney off, and sometimes
it’s hard to remember when they were that naïve. Rodney’s standing
beside him, thrumming with the same kind of nervous energy he had then,
and John’s grateful not everything’s changed.
for attention over the communication system, and with the usual loud
shushing and shuffling of feet, the room quiets down. She reads the
words of the U.S. Commander-in-Chief from a simple but brief statement.
From below, amidst a thundering of whoops and applause, someone shouts,
“So what does that mean?”
Sheppard starts to glance over
at Elizabeth—the actual implications of the ruling are still being
worked out—but Rodney looms large in front of him, smile curving his
mouth wide and dangerous. John only has a moment to realize what’s
happening before Rodney’s large hand is cupping the back of his neck
and he’s being kissed, thoroughly and expertly, Rodney’s lips
shattering his protests and pushing him open until all John can feel is
warmth and wet, and oh God, somehow he’d known it would be like
hands find Rodney’s face, palms sliding against stubble, and John has
to admit he likes the feel, likes the rough rub of Rodney’s face. John
pulls him in until they’re sharing much more than breath, and he
marvels at the mouth kissing him with fierce resolve. Wide and
challenging, and Rodney kisses like he talks—fast and confident with a
tremor of fear underneath it all. Then there’s a tongue sliding against
his, and John moans and sucks, pleased to hear the minute catch in
Rodney’s breathing, although it’s almost lost under the whistles and
cat calls, the stomping of marine boots. John starts to step back,
flustered and flushed, and Rodney lets him go, still smiling, but it’s
more than a tease and much more than making a point, and John wonders
how he couldn’t have known this about Rodney. Himself.
“That’s what it means!” Rodney shouts down to the crowd. “Any
Yes, actually, John thinks as he catches Rodney’s eyes. I’ve
got a few.
~ silence ~
all wrong. Rodney’s mouth, silent and cold, crooked lips not moving at
all, and John thinks this isn’t the way it’s supposed to be. Rodney’s
lips are pale blue and ice-cold, and John tries to remember ABC.
Airway. Breathing. Circulation.
He slips his fingers into
Rodney’s mouth, checks for objects obstructing the airway, and he wants
Rodney’s lips to suck his finger lewdly, flirt with him with those huge
blue eyes. Something. Anything. But Rodney’s tongue lolls in his mouth,
heavy and wet, and John tilts Rodney’s neck, presses his lips apart,
and takes a breath. Long, steady pull to fill his own lungs, a tight
clamp on Rodney’s mouth, and he concentrates on filling Rodney with
warm, moist air. Checks for a pulse. Does it again.
This isn’t how it’s supposed to be.
~ argument ~
clear to everyone except McKay that the cute librarian girl at the
monastery has a serious crush. John isn’t sure whether to be stunned or
“What should I do?” Rodney asks when it’s finally pointed out.
don’t know what to do?” It’s said before John can stop himself, and
Rodney’s snappish “of course I know what to do—eventually” is endearing
in an odd way. John wonders when he started liking the fact that
Rodney’s a little bit oblivious about things. It lets John get away
with a casual kind of flirting that doesn’t have to mean anything at
When John finds his way to the small monastic room set aside for him,
exactly did you mean by that?” he asks without preamble. John closes
the door and moves towards the bed as if this isn’t anything
extraordinary. In a way, it isn’t. He unclips his holster, lays out his
gun, and sits down to untie his boots.
“By what?” he asks as if McKay’s crossed arms and tense shoulders don’t
tell him everything he needs to know.
I know I’m not exactly a people person, but I’m not completely
clueless. I’ve had experience. Lots of experience,” Rodney says
pointedly, and John just smiles, pulling his t-shirt over his head and
tossing it on the narrow-backed chair in the corner. He knows his
silence will infuriate Rodney quicker than anything he could say.
“Major! You implied that—in front of the team—you made it sound like I
don’t know what I’m doing.”
the candlelight of the room, there are fine shadows on Rodney’s face,
and John can almost see a younger version of McKay, never as confident
as he pretends, and John’s suddenly sorry he started this. He never
wanted to hurt him, to bring up broken hearts and failed relationships.
The awkward steps of love. John knows enough about it to know it’s not
fair to judge and it’s not nice to laugh. He’s never been unkind to
Rodney before, and he doesn’t want to start now. Not like this.
sorry,” John says simply, standing to meet Rodney’s glare, and he
expects Rodney to lift his chin, stare at him for a moment with an
appraising glance, and leave.
He doesn’t expect Rodney to grab
his shoulders and shove him against the door, mouth landing on John’s
so hard he thinks his lips might bruise. There isn’t time to think
because Rodney’s lips are determined to win this argument, and John’s
still reeling when he feels the first push of a tongue into his mouth,
and he pushes back with his own. McKay’s breath stutters, but John
feels teeth on his lips, and hands on his chest, and Rodney’s got a
fist wrapped tight around his dog tags so that John can feel every tiny
silver ball on the chain pressing into the flesh on his neck. He grabs
Rodney’s waistband and pulls him closer, slips his mouth sideways until
he tastes the skin of Rodney’s neck, and he sucks until he’s certain
there’ll be bruises there tomorrow. Rodney gasps something that can
only be “John” and it’s the first time Rodney’s called him
that—ever—and suddenly he doesn’t want to fight. Not like this.
lets his hands soften on McKay’s biceps, closes his eyes, and leans his
head back against the door. He licks his lips, surprised there isn’t
blood, and when Rodney kisses him again, still hard and unrelenting, he
lets Rodney lick the secret corners of his mouth. He doesn’t protest,
doesn’t resist, and even McKay has a hard time arguing without an
opponent, so it’s only a moment before Rodney’s lips slow their
assault, tongue sliding against John’s lips with a soothing wetness.
Rodney presses his face against John’s cheek and breathes while John
rubs slow circles on his back.
“I’m sorry,” Rodney murmurs, and
John just nods. He doesn’t know what Rodney’s apologizing for, and it
doesn’t really matter. John understands exactly how he feels.
didn’t want you to think—” Rodney stammers awkwardly. “I’m not
completely hopeless.” His voice fades to a whisper at the end.
“I know,” John says, and holds him a little tighter.
~ ritual ~
nods towards the priests watching from the altar. The knife is still
poised above Teyla’s heart. Ronon’s not moving, body sprawled across
the stone steps, a thin trickle of blood at his temple.
on our planet get into serious trouble for the kind of thing you’re
asking us to do,” Rodney says weakly, but he’s staring at the knife and
Teyla’s left breast bared beneath it, and John knows that neither of
them wants to be the cause of a mark against perfection.
ritual must be performed or blood must be shed,” the priest says, the
knife hovering over Teyla’s skin. They can see her breath pushing the
“There’s no door number three, Rodney,” John
whispers, licking his lips and watching Rodney’s eyes. He nods and
doesn’t move away when John reaches out to cup hands against his cheeks
and draw him closer. The first brush of lips is tentative, awkward, and
John’s aware his palms are sweaty and his black t-shirt’s clinging to
his skin. He can smell the sweat and fear rising off McKay, and it’s
comforting in a strange way.
John’s never kissed a man before,
never wanted to, and isn’t sure he wants to now. But it’s Rodney and
even if this isn’t what either of them expected, it could be worse.
Rodney’s lips tremble as John kisses him again, and he knows Rodney’s
frightened when he kisses back a little hard, a lot desperately.
Suddenly John’s got a tongue in his mouth and hands wrapped in his
shirt, and there’s a shiver racing up his spine that he isn’t sure what
“Rodney,” John murmurs, and it isn’t anything like
soothing, and Rodney just takes it as encouragement and shoves his
hands inside John’s shirt. It feels better than it should considering
they’re on a strange planet being forced to do this, and somehow John
can’t bring himself to be angry or even a little sorry. He’s glad that
it’s Rodney. It feels right that it’s him.
John kisses Rodney
without reservation, and isn’t even a little surprised when Rodney
whispers, “I’ll make it good” against his skin. John closes his eyes
and lets himself go.
Rodney’s as good as his word.
~ knowing ~
Oddly enough, it isn’t the first kiss Rodney remembers, or even the
second. It’s the third.
first was a complete surprise, Rodney finally having figured out how to
recharge a portion of the waning ZPM, and Sheppard had been in the lab
when the process actually worked. He’d been ecstatic enough after
thirty-six hours of no sleep not to notice Sheppard’s proud grin until
he was being grabbed and kissed into stunned speechlessness. Sheppard
beamed at him, “You really are a genius, McKay!”, and that had
been the end of it. Rodney chalked it up to the adrenaline rush of
second time, he’d thought Sheppard was more likely to hit him. The
Colonel glowered at him all the way to the infirmary where Carson set
Rodney’s arm and gave him the drugs that made his brain turn to
inarticulate mush. “You could’ve gotten yourself killed,” Sheppard
grouched, although Rodney thought he looked kind of like a pissed-off
angel with a soft hazy glow around him, and he sounded more worried
than angry to Rodney’s morphine-happy brain. Rodney felt a little drunk
and he might’ve smiled stupidly at Sheppard then because he saw
something in the man’s face change, soften, and a calloused hand
stroked Rodney’s cheek.
“Stop trying to save the day, Rodney,”
Sheppard murmured, and kissed him solidly on the mouth. It made Rodney
feel anchored, as if he’d latched onto the tail of a kite, the string
of a balloon trying to carry him away. He was only vaguely aware of
Sheppard untangling Rodney’s hands from his shirt—gently—and touching
his hair before he left. Rodney sometimes wondered if it was simply a
product of too much morphine, but that didn’t explain Sheppard.
Adrenaline, Rodney thought, and left it alone.
The third time,
Rodney found himself at one end of Sheppard’s couch where they’d been
talking about schedules and what interesting items had come in on the
last Daedalus run, when Rodney realized Sheppard had stopped
talking and was looking at him with the kind of careful intensity he
usually reserved for combat situations.
“What?” Rodney asked,
his voice more sharp than he’d intended. Sheppard leaned towards him,
eyes open, no question what he was about to do, and Rodney had every
opportunity to turn away, pretend this wasn’t happening. He closed his
eyes and waited.
Fingers stroked down his cheek, and Rodney
leaned into the touch, for once in his life letting someone else lead.
John’s fingertips were smooth, a little bit dry, and Rodney shivered
when John finally cupped his face in his palms and drew him forward.
first brush of John’s lips was against his cheek, a chaste press high
against the bone, and Rodney barely had time to register the shift
before there was another light kiss against his chin. The other cheek.
Forehead. Eyelids. Nose.
“What are you doing?” he said slowly, not wanting it to sound like “no.”
“I’m kissing you.”
It was a legitimate question, and Rodney was honestly curious. There
was no way on Earth—or Atlantis—he could chalk this up to adrenaline.
like you.” Rodney could hear the smirk in John’s voice, and his lips
continued to skip across Rodney’s face leaving fluttering kisses in
their wake. It was … nice.
“Oh,” Rodney said, and it seemed to be enough.
it came, the kiss wasn’t fast or hard or anything Rodney had come to
expect from kisses. It was comfortable—like a favourite t-shirt,
softened with age and wear, and Rodney let out the breath he’d been
holding, and smiled against John’s mouth as he kissed him back, lazy
and slow, like they’d done this a thousand times. He realized, with no
real surprise, that he knew John’s mouth, the weight of his hand. He
knew his scent—dark and familiar, like smoking guns and camouflage,
metal and sweat—and he’d known it for a very long time. The shape of
John’s ribs under his hands wasn’t new—he’d checked for injuries,
applied field dressings, tried to stop John’s insides from spilling
out. Rodney knew every scar on his body, the patterns of dark hair
whirling across tanned skin like small galaxies. He knew John’s
blood-type, the name of his first dog, the real reason he hated
tapioca. Rodney figured he was probably the only one that knew why John
never sent messages home. Knew and understood.
It didn’t take
any effort at all to lean back into his corner of the couch, pulling
John with him. Their mouths parted for only a moment, and then went
right back to kissing, lips and tongues knowing exactly where to go,
how to speak each other’s language. Rodney sighed and wrapped his arms
around John, whose body was a perfect fit, and decided this was what it
meant to be known. Rodney had never realized how exciting being
comfortable with someone could be.
“In case you didn’t realize it, I like you too,” Rodney said finally,
lips pleasantly tired.
I figured,” John said sarcastically, and let out something suspiciously
close to a giggle when Rodney poked him in the ribs. John rolled off
and stretched, and Rodney straightened his clothes and headed for the
“Come on, flyboy. They’re serving tapioca tonight.”
didn’t even have to look back to know John was making a face. Half a
second later, he fell into step beside Rodney and they made their way
to the mess in comfortable, companionable silence.
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