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Title: Better Than Dreaming
Author: Archet
Prompt: For sga_saturday’s Week #22 prompt: Shake
Characters/Pairing: John/Rodney
Words: 2914
Categories: Established Relationship
Rating: R
Warnings: sap
Summary: Rodney drew in a breath and paid special attention, because this is what John did, shared bits of his soul in the most unassuming way, in the most unassuming of moments.
Disclaimer: I did not create these characters, but I adore them anyway.
A/N: copious thanks to seleneheart for beta. My first (completed) McShep.

The puddle jumper gave such a hard shake that Rodney had to brace himself against his seat to keep from being tossed out. John didn’t seem particularly concerned, though, which was damned odd, but instead he just smiled, a slow gradual curving of his mouth that had Rodney staring. John’s strong capable fingers worked at the buckle of his belt and his eyes held Rodney’s gaze, dark and glittering, dangerous in the reflected light from a nameless gas giant planet, hanging seemingly motionless outside the jumper’s front view port.

“Rodney,” John drawled, smile firmly fixed.

Rodney leaned forward, drawn by that smile, intent upon that smile and he was ready to agree to do whatever John wanted. A dozen promises lay balanced on his tongue, ready for launch. Hell, he was prepared to do most anything that would sustain that sharp knowing smile on John’s handsome face, that would make that it glitter solely for Rodney.

“Get over here,” John ordered with a tilt of his head as he slowly slid the belt free from the loops on his black cargo pants. He let the belt drop to the jumper’s floor at his feet and started in on the pants’ button-fly. Biting back on a moan, Rodney rose from his seat, mesmerized by John’s expression, the warm intent apparent in his hazel eyes.

The jumper gave another hard shake without warning, and Rodney flopped to the floor gracelessly.

“Oh, what now? What,” he spat, because here he was about to indulge in hot, dirty jumper-sex with John and now, of all possible times in all possible time-lines, the universe just had to fuck with him, yet again.


Looking up, Rodney noticed, with acute annoyance, that John had buttoned his pants back up and was settling back into the pilot’s seat. He looked pointedly at Rodney, still sprawled on the floor, and that devastating sex-magic smile had vanished.

“Wake up.”

“Say again?” Rodney snapped, and climbed to his feet. The jumper shuddered again, harder than before, and Rodney whined as realization dawned. “Oh, come on. This is so not fair.”

Rodney,” John repeated, this time with a hint of command. “Open your eyes.”

“Yes, yes, fine,” he gave up with a sigh.

Rodney was shaken awake still clinging to his annoyance. It was dark outside the windows to his quarters, not even a hint of moonlight silvering the city. A wavering luminance brightened the room marginally, emanated from the laptop Rodney had left open on the desk. The screensaver was up, mint-green words bouncing endlessly around a blue screen: McKay’s--KEEPOUT--this means YOU--McKay’s--KEEPOUT--this means YOU.

“Hey, buddy,” John whispered. His breath fanned warmly over Rodney’s lips, he was hovering so close, and it took a few hard blinks before Rodney could get his eyes to focus on him properly.

“Mmm. What’ca doin’,” Rodney mumbled back, voice sleep-rough, brain still partially holding one foot in his dreaming, while the rest of him slowly settled in the waking world-though the whole waking thing was seriously overrated because what the hell time was it, anyway?

“You with me, McKay?” John asked, louder this time as Rodney’s eyes had already started to drift closed.

“Hmmm, yes? Possibly?” Sleepy blue eyes opened once more and Rodney reached out automatically, hand bumping along John’s arm, quested up until he had it cupped over the point of John’s shoulder. John’s t-shirt was soft and warm beneath his palm and for a long moment he considered what this meant-that John was dressed now, where previously he so had not been. Rodney decided this was a troubling, and unfortunate, development.

A few more blinks and John’s face swam into focus, still hovering just above Rodney’s, dark hair melting almost seamlessly into the darkness of the room.

“Hey, blue eyes.” Gentle fingers coasted along Rodney’s jaw, curled under his chin and tilted his face up. The kiss was warm, sweet, really, more a tender press of lips and breath than anything.

When John drew back he was smiling, a soft curl of his mouth and a thoughtful look in his eyes that caused Rodney’s heart rate to skip a little, because John’s smiles just usually had that effect on him and he should be used to that by now, but he wasn’t.

Rodney groped with his other hand until both of them rested on John’s shoulders. “Hey.”

“I’ve gotta go terrorize the new kids,” John supplied, drawing back but only so far as to better look into Rodney’s eyes.

“What? This early?” It was too cruel to imagine.

“That’s kinda what makes it suck so much, which is kinda the point, you know,” John explained patiently, voice pitched low again as if afraid of waking someone, though the only other someone around was Rodney, lying naked, half under John, wrapped snug and warm under the covers.

“Mmm. Don’t you have a minion-um, a subordinate available to do that?”

John arched an eyebrow. “Sure, but I make such a good impression. And I kind of like it,” he admitted.

Rodney huffed shortly with laughter. “And that says so much about you, you realize.”

John grinned full on and Rodney endured a spat of minor heart palpitations. “It’s important they know who’s top dog around here,” John said.

Rodney rolled his eyes, drew his hands down to curl around John’s biceps. He liked John’s biceps. He liked John’s biceps a lot.

“Well, I think they can figure that out for themselves, unless they’re complete idiots-and actually, contrary to what you may have heard, it’s rare to find a complete idiot, let alone an entire squad.”

John shook with silent laughter. “Is that a fact? Still, I should get going.” But instead of going, he pressed another lingering kiss to the corner of Rodney’s mouth, hummed a little when Rodney ran fingers through his hair. It was a good ten-count before he finally eased away.

It was too soon for Rodney. “Well, fine, be that way,” Rodney grumbled, but the quirk of his mouth robbed the words of any serious disapproval.

John scooted back, smoothed the blanket that lay folded midway over Rodney’s bare chest. “They need to know who’s giving the orders,” he said, head tilted as he regarded Rodney steadily. “They need to know who’s sending them out there.”

Rodney drew in a sharp breath, gave himself a mental shake and paid special attention, because this was what John did, shared bits of his soul in the most unassuming way, in the most unassuming of moments. Rodney was guilty of under appreciating, in the past, a few of those moments, but he was getting better. He was getting better at this; he wanted to become a fucking genius at this, like he was with most everything else.

“Yeah,” Rodney said slowly. “I know,” and he smiled slightly at the touch of John’s fingers where they drifted down over his arm, across his wrist, stopped to stroke the palm of his left hand in the darkness. And this was John, too, who loved sometimes just to touch without asking for anything more. Rodney had swiftly discovered in himself a startling need to hold onto these moments for as long as possible when they presented themselves.

There was another stroke, a squeeze to his hand, and then John retreated, momentarily lost in the darkness as he stood, moved around the end of the bed.

“Go back to sleep. I’ll probably be back before you even roll out.”

Rodney turned over, propped up on one elbow and peered into the night, because this, this was new. Usually when John left to start his day, even if it was the ass crack of dawn, he didn’t return until the evening, and even then it was often John that had to drag Rodney off to bed, out of the labs.

“Be looking forward to it,” Rodney said honestly, wishing he could get a good look at John’s face, but turning on the lights now might break this quiet, early morning spell John had, whether consciously or unconsciously, woven with care.

There’s a heavy reluctance, though, to let John go just then, so Rodney added, “You won’t do permanent damage, right, because the paperwork would just be ridiculous. I mean, you’re not going to have them running to Woolsey in tears and sucking their thumbs?”

“Nah,” John assured. “That’s what we have you and Ronon for.” The desk chair scraped briefly against the floor, creaked, and Rodney watched by the glow of the laptop as John, boot propped on the seat of the chair, reached down and started loosening bootlaces. Christ, it was a wonder the man wasn’t falling on his face half the time.

“One day,” Rodney warned, breath catching when John looked up, eyes glinting in the slight light.

“I’m a professional soldier, Rodney, I think I know what I’m doing here,” and then that smile reappeared.

Rodney snorted and flopped back on the bed, covered the fact that he had to shift a bit as his half-hard cock flared to full mast by fussing with the blanket for a second. God. He had it so exceptionally bad.

“Oh yes, right, forgot about that.” He waved vaguely toward the door. “Go, terrorize, torture and traumatize and don’t come back until it’s a relatively sane time of day, maybe when it’s actually, I don’t know, day?”

Shifting again Rodney shoved one hand behind his head under the pillow, the other under the covers, palm flat against the mattress. He imagined he could felt the ambient heat from John’s body where he’d lain all night, or, half the night, anyway, since it technically was still pitch black out. His cock was hard but it was bearable, the kind of discomfort that felt vaguely delicious because he knew he would soon tend to it. He wondered absently if he’d be able to get back to the puddle-jumper-dirty-sex-magic dream; he figured the chances were better than average.

“Hey.” John’s voice pulled Rodney from hazy, heated musing.

The mattress dipped slightly as John sat on the edge of the bed and looked for a moment before planting one hand next to Rodney’s hip, the other cupping Rodney’s jaw. Leaning down he pressed his lips to Rodney’s forehead, just above his right eyebrow. It lasted only for a second or two, but it was long enough for Rodney to think, wow, okay, to go still and breathe and wonder if he’d ever been touched quite like this-with this kind of...of...and his brain roamed, searching for a word that fit.

Adoration. Fuck. And just as he grasped the word John ducked his head and fastened his mouth over Rodney’s and the word skidded away because John’s tongue was stroking in, lapping at him and John was reinventing the French kiss, right there, and who cared if neither of them was French.

Rodney lifted his chin, his face into the kiss, followed John’s lead because, God, John could kiss, John could really lead, and it didn’t even matter that Rodney already knew all this, because it was so much fun to figure it out all over again. Too soon John pulled back, leaving Rodney’s mouth all tingly, wet and warm, and it only seemed fair that John was breathing as hard as Rodney was.

“I really should-“ John broke off, voice rough.

Rodney took a steadying breath, blew it out, and wow, yeah. “You should, like, right now, before,” he twirled his hand in the scant space between them.

John nodded. “Yeah,” and he moved away slowly, hands trailing over Rodney as he withdrew and it struck Rodney suddenly, what John was doing. John was lingering this morning.


Rodney barely had time to assimilate this before John pushed off the bed with an ease that he seemed to do most everything, and Rodney tracked his progress through the shadowed room more by the sound of his movements rather than actually being able to see him. The chair scraped again as it was returned to its proper place, fitted neatly under the desk.

“Be back soon,” John promised, and for a fleeting moment Rodney caught a glimpse of his face in profile, outlined by the blue-greenish light cast off from the laptop screen. “You’ll wait?”

Please. What a question. “Of course I’ll wait,” Rodney gusted, because honestly, did John expect that he had any conceivable urge to get up before he was actually due anywhere? “Well, there’ll probably be more sleeping than waiting, technically speaking.”

“Right, like that’s a surprise,” John said in that Sheppardly, flippant manner, just this side of annoying.

“I’m a high-strung and brilliant individual-I’m full of surprises,” Rodney tossed back, blinking hard as the door to his quarters slid open with a slight hiss and allowed a wealth of light from the corridor to spill inside. It seemed vastly bright compared to the darkness inside the room, and John made a lean silhouette in the doorway. Rodney drank in the sight of him, the sharp line of his body clad in black BDU’s topped by a spiky shock of improbable hair, and ending in the perpetually untidy half-laced boots.

“No argument here,” John admitted, and Rodney smiled, a little satisfied, because, yeah, he was right a good portion of the time but it still felt good to have it acknowledged.

“So," and John had one hand against the doorframe, leaned a little, kept the panel from closing and the cant of his hips, the tilt of his head regained Rodney’s complete attention.

“You’re going to wait, for me."

Rodney’s brow furrowed because that didn’t seem like a question, and if it was, hadn’t he already answered it? He sat up slightly; pointedly aware of his still very lively cock as he shifted to get comfortable and puzzle out just what John was on about. "Yeah," he said slowly, eyes narrowed, and then, oh. Oh. Oh, fuck.

“Oh," he blurted in sudden understanding, and it was not remotely possible John could even make out the blush rising over Rodney’s face from where he stood in the lighted doorway, but John was ginning like mad, all the same.

“Oh," Rodney repeated lamely, swallowed hard before adding, "I can do that. I-sure, I mean, pretty sure, anyway." In fact, Rodney wasn’t sure at all, but was suddenly resolved to try, very, very hard.

“But you better not take all fucking morning, I’m not a miracle worker," and that rushed out, pushy and brisk.

“Since when?" John asked in mock disbelief, and taking a step back flashed Rodney another toothy grin as the doors snapped shut, neatly snuffing out the swath of light coming from the corridor.

Once again Rodney found himself blinking in the darkness. He tucked both hands under his head, under the pillow, and spent a long session of deep breathing. He summoned thoughts of snarly Wraith Queens, of snarly Wraith Todd and creepy painted clowns, but it was still several minutes before his rampant hard-on subsided enough that he trusted himself to un-tuck his hands and turn onto his side to get more comfortable and not rub himself off on the mattress.

Settled, Rodney still had the afterimage of John framed in the bright doorway branded across his vision. It led to all kinds of tempting, dangerous thoughts. His eyes slid shut at the memory of John’s touch, earlier, of John waking him, of John’s voice saying-wait-wait-wait a minute-what? His eyes flew open, and he sat up.

“Blue eyes?"

Oh, God, and just when had they entered into the nicknames in bed territory? Once Rodney’d had a guy who’d liked to call him ‘tiger’ in bed, but that had felt vastly different from this. But was it a nick-and here he flatly refused to think ‘pet’-name? Did one-time usage constitute a nickname? What if it John didn’t use it again? What if he did? What if John used it in public for chirstssakes, but Rodney firmly pushed that notion away, because really, that was ridiculous.

Should Rodney now think up with something? He thought furiously for a second but came up with nothing, except maybe, ‘Colonel’, but that was kind of obvious. Babe? Unimaginative. John-boy? Please, that would likely get him kicked out of bed.

He was so screwed.

Holy crap, but John had thrown a lot at him this morning, what with the kissing and the touching and the lingering, the wanting him to wait, and now the nicknaming. A little shaken, Rodney laid back, draped one arm across his eyes and replayed the morning so far, analyzed segment by segment.

Rodney was still analyzing two hours later when John returned smelling of sweat and gun oil, pulled off his boots, stripped off his uniform and slipped into bed. John’s fingers were eager with intent against his skin and John’s voice flowed warm into the shell of his ear.

“You waited," John rasped and sounded hungry and pleased and maybe a little bit surprised.

Rodney just nodded, not minding the surprise because, frankly, he was surprised too. He tugged John close and focused on welcoming John back, on the shape of John’s smile and the rough pitch of his voice as he breathed hot words against Rodney’s skin. Rodney shivered, and in the darkness it was just them, moving together, becoming whatever it was that they were becoming, and Rodney absolutely knew the way he absolutely knew primes and pi, this was a helluva lot better than dreaming.


( 40 comments — Leave a comment )
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Oct. 29th, 2011 06:32 am (UTC)
oh, this was lovely, just awesome. I <3 so much the lingering! so subtly, wonderfully a;lskdf;slkfj!! ♥

John had thrown a lot at him this morning, what with the kissing and the touching and the lingering poor put-upon Rodney! at least it gave him a lot to think about while waiting. :D
Oct. 30th, 2011 04:20 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm kinda in love with lingering!John, and who could blame him for wanting to linger? Rodney's had a lot to process, but I'm sure John can help with that. *g* So glad you enjoyed this!
Oct. 29th, 2011 07:57 am (UTC)
Mm, this has a sort of languid and dreamy pace to it, which is nice - like Rodney isn't at full speed for a change. Really just so sweet and subtle. Very *oh John*!
Oct. 30th, 2011 04:32 am (UTC)
I'm glad you enjoyed this, I liked the idea of Rodney taking a bit to get up to speed, and then finally catching on to the importance of these little moments John was giving him. Thanks for reading!
Oct. 29th, 2011 09:01 am (UTC)
Really lovely!
Oct. 30th, 2011 04:33 am (UTC)
Thank you!
Oct. 29th, 2011 09:06 am (UTC)
So much lovely, toasty, snugged-up-in-bed kissing! I liked the pre-dawn haziness of this, with promises of later things, and that John lingered.
Oct. 30th, 2011 04:38 am (UTC)
I've a weakness for a sleepy, muzzy McKay. *g* I'm glad that you enjoyed this moment with him, and a lingering John (who I also have a weakness for). Thanks for letting me know you enjoyed!
Oct. 29th, 2011 10:41 am (UTC)
Wonderful! :-D
Oct. 30th, 2011 04:38 am (UTC)
Oh, thank you! ;)
Oct. 29th, 2011 10:55 am (UTC)

Very cool! You did a lovely job of getting their voice--I could "hear" them!
I liked how John woke Rodney up on purpose to get him worked up, and how Rodney was determined to pay attention and get a PhD in "Sheppard".

Oct. 30th, 2011 04:42 am (UTC)
Thanks so much! It means a lot that you felt the voices rang true. John thrives on getting Rodney worked up *g*, and I think they both are finally coming to realize the depth of their connection. Glad you liked!
Oct. 29th, 2011 12:30 pm (UTC)

Wow. This story is amazing. I love the way you write Rodney's view of John, and the early morning darkness with John's silhouette in the doorframe. The whole scene is just so tangile and I love that. And how Rodney realizes that John adores him--I MELTED.

First completed McShep? It was totally worth the wait, and keep writing! :-D

Thank you for this!
Oct. 30th, 2011 04:48 am (UTC)
Thank you, so very much. I really love this image of them, just on that cusp of realizing all that they mean to one another, it totally makes me happy that you found this so tangible.

This is my first official completed McShep, I'm definitely lookingto add more! ;)
Oct. 29th, 2011 03:28 pm (UTC)
Lovely and languid. Loved the lingering! *g*
Oct. 30th, 2011 04:50 am (UTC)
Thanks so much! A lingering!John is a lovely John. *g*
Oct. 29th, 2011 04:16 pm (UTC)
I had just woken up when I read this, and yeah. Totally related to rodney's sleepy thought process. Lingering. Yes. John Sheppared lingering is new and unusual and absolutely wonderful.

Terrific story for a rainy saturday morning.
Oct. 30th, 2011 04:53 am (UTC)
I'm really pleased you liked this take on these two, especially John, because I adore the idea of him lingering, lovingly, over his genius. Thanks for your comments, and for reading. Am glad this helped pass a rainy Saturday! ;)
Oct. 29th, 2011 04:52 pm (UTC)
This is wonderful, warm and sweet and a bit dream-like. Awww <3
Oct. 30th, 2011 04:58 am (UTC)
Thank you! It's great to hear that the warmth and dreaminess I'd hope to convey seemed to come across clearly. ;)
Oct. 29th, 2011 05:19 pm (UTC)
Oh my goodness, this is lovely, with the lingering and John coming back to bed and...

"John grinned full on and Rodney endured a spat of minor heart palpitations."

So so lovely!!
Oct. 30th, 2011 05:00 am (UTC)
Many thanks! This whole thing was pretty much built around John's lingering, glad you enjoyed this, ;)
Oct. 29th, 2011 05:31 pm (UTC)
Just so lovely and romantic!
Oct. 30th, 2011 04:58 am (UTC)
Hey, thanks! Am glad you enjoyed this, ;)
Oct. 29th, 2011 07:22 pm (UTC)
Rodney is brilliant and would learn John!speak eventually...

Oct. 30th, 2011 05:03 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm sure Rodney will learn John!speak without too much trouble, *g*
Oct. 29th, 2011 08:02 pm (UTC)

I've read this three times already. I just love the feel of it. It's all sleepy warm dark mornings and love.....

Oct. 30th, 2011 05:04 am (UTC)
I'm tickled you enjoyed this. Sleepy, warm McShep is a very good thing, yeah? *g*
Oct. 30th, 2011 01:01 am (UTC)
I could feel the lingering and waiting along with Rodney--such evocative details. And the insights Rodney is accumulating into John, himself, and their relationship are caressingly nurtured along here, too.
Oct. 30th, 2011 05:07 am (UTC)
I'm so pleased this felt very immediate, and that there's a very real sense of the deepening of their relationship. Thank so much for letting me know you enjoyed this! ;)
(no subject) - fanficfan123 - Nov. 1st, 2011 10:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
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