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Amnesty week Prompt #11 Limn

Title: Lipstick
Author: scarlettandblue
Prompt #11: Limn
Pairing: John and Rodney
Rating: Adult
Summary: It's just an excuse for some smut, really.
Bjork wrote: Since we broke up I’m using lipstick again.

Disclaimer: These characters and the whole Stargate Atlantis business does not belong to me, if it did I would have taken much better care of them. But it doesn’t so don’t sue me please because I have nothing.

Spoilers: In another Universe I already wrote a story where John and Rodney get together and then split up. This totally comes after that!!!

John had always insisted they kept what they were doing on the down low. And anyway it wasn’t like an actual relationship or anything. It was what it was, two guys who were fed up with their own right hand for company.

It never crossed his mind that Rodney wasn’t on the same page. Until they were having the fight, and then it crossed his mind that he was breaking up with Rodney or maybe Rodney was breaking up with him.

For two weeks John was pretty sure he had his uber-cool-laid-back aura in place. There was nothing going on, he hadn’t just been dumped by anyone, and anyway it didn’t count because no one had even been aware that he and McKay had ever had anything going on.

Predictably Teyla was the one to shatter that illusion.

“I had a conversation today with Dr McKay that troubled me greatly, John.”


John struggled up from the floor where Teyla had put him after an especially vicious crack with her Bantos Rod across his knee.

“I had thought better of you than this.”

And before he knew it John was on his ass again. Maybe he had an idea of what he’d done wrong but it wasn’t something he was going to admit to out loud so he replied, “Wasn’t me, Teyla. No matter what McKay said.”

Teyla braced her foot and pulled him up, a little more roughly than usual. John wiped his hand on his track pants once the feeling had come back. Now his shoulder felt like it had been wrenched from its socket, he was sweating and his knee really ached where Teyla had cracked him earlier.

She came at him again before he was ready, that was the only logical explanation for a third smack down in as many minutes. John just lay there, because honestly, he didn‘t know at that point if he even could get up. Plus he figured Teyla wouldn’t beat on him any more while he was down on the floor, she probably had some kind of rule about that. At least he hoped she had, because his head was spinning and he could feel swelling along his cheekbone and one of his teeth might actually be a little lose.

“Are you hurt, John?”
Teyla sounded disinterested in his reply so he kept his eyes shut and just lay there quietly thinking ouch!

After a few moments something cool and soft was pressed to his cheek and John groaned pathetically. Teyla helped him up and walked with him to the Infirmary.

John wouldn’t have bothered but Teyla insisted and he wasn’t going to tell her no. He’d had about as much punishment as he could take in a day, and he thought if she hit him again he might actually cry.

It was surprisingly quiet when John limped in. Quiet enough that he could hear McKay and Keller hissing at each other behind the curtains that were pulled around the furthest bed in the ward.

“You keep it!”

“I don’t want it anymore, Jennifer. It‘s never been used.”

“But you asked me to get it, and I remember how much you liked it when we...”

“Yes, well, think how spectacularly that worked out in the end. Just keep it.”

“It’s not really my shade, Rodney.”

“Sell it then. It’s one of those things that is hard to come by out here. Or swap it for one you like better.”

“What happened?”

“It’s none of your business.”

“Hey, you involved me buster, when you asked me to get this for you, Remember?“
But then she continued in a softer voice, “Rodney, I know things between us didn’t work out but we’re still friends aren’t we? And I think you‘re sad or something, and you‘re not paying attention to things you should be. Maybe talking about it with someone would help.”

“I made a stupid assumption, that‘s all. I thought we were…You know it doesn’t really matter what I thought, he thought different and… I … I was wrong and that’s that. Talking about it won‘t change anything.”

“ Just hold still a second…”

“Oh, oh, don’t….. That hurts!”

John was striding across the Infirmary even though his knee felt like a grapefruit filled with Jell-O, and his shoulder was throbbing with a dull ache as if someone had tried to wrench it off. He pulled the curtains open. Jennifer and Rodney looked up like startled rabbits.

“Sheppard?” Rodney sounded hesitant.

“I am treating a patient!” Keller sounded like she was preparing to tear his other arm out of its socket and beat him with it.

But John didn’t back down. He looked at Rodney’s hand, Jennifer was stitching a jagged cut on his palm. Then he noticed the innocuous black cylinder that lay on the bed between them. He remembered the argument that had started when Rodney had given it to him. The argument that led to Rodney dumping his ass so spectacularly. What he hadn’t realised is that McKay must have picked it up from where ever it had landed when John had thrown it at him, before he walked out of John’s room.

Before he had time to change his mind John snatched it up and shoved it in his pocket, it was his after all, Rodney had given it to him. Then he turned and floundered his way back through the curtains and limped out of The Infirmary.

Two hours later he was lying on his bed when the door chimed. He stumbled over and pressed the lock release. He was surprised to find Jennifer there. She had a medical back-pack slung over a shoulder, and she smiled at him. It was only a little bit forced, and she said, “I hadn’t realised you were injured, until Teyla mentioned it at dinner.”

John shrugged. He’d iced his knee, and now it was wrapped up tight in an Ace Bandage. He didn’t figure there was much more even a doctor could do, so he said, “No worries Doc, I’m fine.”

But she was peering at him with that cute annoying little frown of hers, and she shook her head and said, “I’ll be the judge of that Colonel Sheppard.” Then she pushed past him into his private quarters.

John couldn’t remember the last time he felt so uncomfortable.

There was just something about Keller that rubbed him up the wrong way. Well it wasn’t so much something in that nebulous, kind of, not totally sure, maybe there’s just this one little thing I don’t like about you, way. It was more a full-on blunt force trauma to the psyche I hate you, you evil Rodney’s-ex-girlfriend bitch! thing.

But he supposed now that he was also Rodney’s ex-sex-bitch-thing too he ought to make an effort to be friendlier.

Keller had dropped her back-pack and unzipped it and now she was waiting by his bed with an expectant look on her face, so John hobbled over and sat down. She tilted his head up and back and her fingers were gentle but firm as they pressed against the swelling on his face. She ducked down and when she stood up she had something cool to wipe away the scab that had started to form where the skin had broken high on his cheek bone. She murmured “I need to get the swelling down other-wise this will scar.”

John wanted to say it didn’t matter to him if it scarred, but suddenly her blue eyes were looking sharply into his and she said, “I realise you might not care whether you end up scarred, but there are other people, people who matter to me, who definitely do care.”

John’s eyes widened, and then he winced because his cheek was beginning to throb where she had debrided the cut and was now pressing down with something cold and hard to try and reduce the swelling.

Eventually she was satisfied and used steri-strips to close the cut neatly. Then she said, “Take your shirt off, let me look at your shoulder.”

John found that it was really painful trying to lift his arm up enough to get his T-Shirt off, and she had to help him. She even made sure not to pull it over his head too quickly, but John could tell by the way she twitched it away that she had wanted to.

John could see the mottled bruising on his shoulder. He was a little surprised that Teyla had inflicted quite that much damage, but then again he’d recently been on the receiving end of several punishing bouts with Ronon. So maybe his shoulder had already been a little the worse for wear. Jennifer pulled another package out of her med kit and broke the seal on an ice pack before pressing it right were the dull angry bite of pain was worst.

“No lifting and no sparing until I’m satisfied with the way this bruise is healing.”

John opened his mouth to object but she pressed down at that moment and all he could manage was a soft gasp.

“Now if you lay back I’ll swing you legs up and I can have a look at that knee.”

John really wanted to say no. Up until she had got her hands on him his knee had been the most painful injury. But now his cheek was throbbing enough to make his eye water, and there was a heavy, bone-deep ache in his shoulder and he honestly thought if she made his knee hurt worse than it did right now he really would cry for real this time. But Keller didn’t even notice his reluctance and he was propped up against his pillows and she lifted his legs onto the bed in a move that was clearly very practiced. And before he could day stop! she had unbuttoned and unzipped his pants and was tugging them off him.

Now normally John was game when it came to people getting his pants off. And if he had ever thought about being in a situation where a pretty blonde doctor wanted to take his pants off for fun, he imagined he‘d enjoy it. But the ruthless way Keller stripped him, cool and efficient and clinical was even less enjoyable than the thorough beating Teyla had administered that got him in this position to begin with.

John wondered if this was what had broken Keller and Rodney up. Because she was a lovely looking woman, and totally McKay’s type. But it couldn’t be much fun in the bedroom if your girlfriend stripped you like a road-side paramedic checking for wounds.

John was dragged from his inappropriate speculation when she poked his knee and he thought he might be sick. But she only muttered something under her breath as she sprayed something all over it then re-wrapped his knee even tighter than he had managed to do, but amazingly it actually felt easier.

Keller snapped off her latex gloves and delved into her kit again to bring out a strip of capsules. “These are strong, so I am only giving you ten of them. You have to take them with food.”

She dropped the capsules on his bedside table and accidentally knocked something over. She grabbed it before it could drop to the floor and stared down at it for a long moment.

Jennifer sighed and John tensed. He knew there was going to be some kind of talk about feelings. He wanted to avoid that at all costs, but she sort of had him cornered and he couldn’t just get up and walk out of his own room, well hobble out of his own room, because that would be even more ridiculous. Plus she’d already taken his pants off so he would look pretty stupid hobbling along the corridor in just his boxers.

“I promised myself I wouldn’t do this.” she said.

John gave her what he had heard nurses refer to as The puppy eyes and said, “Sounds like a promise you should keep, Doc.”

But Keller wasn‘t even looking at him she was staring down at the thing in her hands, and she didn’t look up even when she started to speak.

“You know from the first time I met him, I knew he was in love with someone else, and that was fine because I wasn‘t in love with him either, so we both knew where we stood.”

John lay there wondering what she expected him to say .

She looked across at him, then shook her head. She put the tube back on his night stand then she stood up and headed for John’s kitchen alcove. She checked in his tiny fridge and grabbed the can of ginger ale that he had been saving for a special occasion. Then she opened his single cupboard and poked through the stuff he had stashed there and grabbed a couple of packages. She cracked the ring-pull on the ginger ale and handed him a package of peanut butter crackers and said, “Eat these, you need something in your stomach.”

John ate the crackers, they were pretty good. Then she handed him two of the capsules with the opened can of ginger ale.

John swallowed the pills gratefully and he continued to sip the soda. Ginger ale was his favourite and it had a unique taste, there was noting remotely like it in the Pegasus Galaxy.

“Did you have any idea he was in love with you?”

Jennifer’s question caught him off guard and he answered without thinking, “No, I never see it coming.”

“And once you realise you run a mile?” She didn’t sound angry. She didn’t even sound that surprised.

It made John feel like he had done something wrong, and he honestly didn’t think he had. Or at least he hadn’t thought so until now. And maybe he needed to think about this stuff some more, maybe he even needed to speak to Rodney about it. But he sure a hell wasn’t going to talk about it with Rodney‘s ex-girlfriend.

Keller didn’t seem to be getting the message because she continued,
“There is one thing you should ask yourself, Colonel Sheppard. If you don’t have feelings for him. If there wasn’t something real going on between you, why did you dislike me so much the moment I started dating Rodney?”

She dropped the packet of Munchies that she’d taken out of his cupboard onto the bed beside him, then grabbed her bag and left

John stared at the chocolate sweets for a few minutes. He was pretty sure he had fucked things up royally. It was typical of McKay he supposed, not be anything like he’d expected. And those sweets were a prime example.

He remembered a day, before they’d even hooked up that first time. He‘d been hanging out in McKay’s lab because it was far more interesting than his own dank-smelling and depressing little office.

There had been one of those intense disagreements going on between McKay and the rest of his staff over the implications of some experiment and the theory and calculations that had followed from it. There were sarcastic comments and snide remarks and hissed asides. An inordinate number of drawers were slammed and sharpies of various colours were thrown down accompanied by heavy sighs or vicious snorts. As far as John was concerned it was pure entertainment.

But then they started trying to draw him in to the argument, with comments like “I’m sure even Sheppard’s dinky little Air Force Colonel’s brain can see you are so very very wrong!” from McKay, and “Colonel Sheppard would have to be idiot not to see your theory is flawed.” from Zelenka, and “Colonel Sheppard must see both of you are mistaken.” very surprisingly from Miko Kusanagi, who usually kept her trap shut during these kind of arguments.

Everyone in the lab had gone completely silent after Miko had spoken, and then several glares were turned towards Sheppard as if he was somehow to blame. John noticed Miko beginning to blush and blink her eyes rapidly behind her huge glasses, mortified at having spoken up like that, and he couldn’t let that happen.

He stood up, ready to point out where the math was wrong when McKay said, “Well done Miss Kusanagi, the errors you spotted would have blown up half the city. Zelenka, pay Miko your forfeit. If I‘m not mistaken you still have a bar of Toblerone you were saving.”

Zelenka had headed glumly to his desk, muttering something in Czech that John was pretty sure was anatomically impossible for McKay to do even if the goat was co-operative.

John still headed to the first board, covered in McKay’s surprisingly neat writing, he tapped his finger on a particular set of numbers and said, “You inverted the co-efficient here, wouldn’t that reverse the effects of gravity?”

Everyone in the Lab froze, again, like they were expecting an explosion. But Rodney smiled, like John was his pet monkey and he had just made him dance. He replied, “Yes, and when Dr Ryan gets back from his mission with SGA 3 I will certainly be pointing out the dangers of forwarding your work without checking the calculations first. I merely transcribed the data he submitted to me. I wanted to see if anyone would question it because I had put it up on the board.”

And then John got it, because it was one of the hardest lessons they had learned out here. That nothing should be taken for granted. That not even McKay was infallible. But he still found himself pouting a little. After all Miko got a bar of Toblerone for spotting there was something wrong with the conclusion. So it didn’t seem fair for him to get nothing when he had correctly identified the actual mistake.

His thoughts were interrupted by McKay saying, “And I suppose you think you deserve this, too.”

McKay was holding out a pack of Munchies.

John remembered that McKay had been moaning at the last Movie night that he only had four two finger Kit-kats, a double decker and a pack of Munchies left until The Deadalus arrived the following week. Mckay had his chocolate ration shipped directly to Cheyenne Mountain from the UK, it was probably some weird Canadian thing, and he regularly had chocolate bars John had never even heard of.

So John took the sweets with a little smirk, because seriously? Munchies? He knew they were a favourite of McKay’s and while he would sometimes give Chuck one or two out of a packet, as some kind of gesture of Canadian solidarity, he had never shared them with John. Although that might have been because John usually made fun of Rodney’s specially imported chocolate when ever he got the chance.

There had been strange look in McKay’s eyes when he had handed over the sweets. John found out later, once they hooked up, that it was an odd mixture of lust, because according to McKay John showing off his Math it was really hot, and something else. Of course the something else was love but John hadn’t figured that out until now.

Over the time they were together Rodney had given John a lot of little gifts. Like the sweets he knew John liked best, and a totally awesome Suduko generator for his laptop that McKay had programmed himself. Or he’d figure out how to make stuff work better. Like when he reprogrammed John’s shower and turned it into some kind of spa with massage water jets and steam and a hot air drier that left you smelling like clove and sandalwood.

Or he’d save weird little pieces of Ancient Tech that had been tested and found completely useless from a scientific or weapons view point, but which he knew John would think were totally cool. He’d polish them up, because Ancient Tech was always pretty, then he hand them to John with this odd mixed up look, because apparently it was also hot when John showed off his Ancient gene.

And now John lay there staring at the chocolates and he realised he had misunderstood what Rodney had been doing. It never occurred to him that there had been any meaning beyond the obvious. Beyond the excuse that it gave them.

John could go over to Rodney’s quarters to look at the latest weird Ancient thingy, or Rodney could hang out in John’s quarters and play computer games or upgrade his laptop. And if they happened to give each other a little stress relief, it would just be something you did for a buddy when he was hard up. And most important of all, no one would know.

At the time John might have even thought that Rodney gave him things to keep him sweet. Because it had been obvious that Rodney liked what John did for him, and perhaps he thought he needed to give John something extra to keep him coming back. And that was probably closer to the truth than he had realised, and didn’t that make John feel even more like a heel.

Because all that time Rodney had been in love. And all that time when they were together, he’d known that John wasn’t. So maybe when John thought about it now, that odd, unquantifiable look that McKay sometimes had when they were together, maybe it wasn’t love, maybe it had been sadness. Because while Rodney had an incredibly high opinion of his brain, he had a terribly low opinion of the rest of himself.

John found his eyes had grown heavy, the painkillers had finally kicked in. That was probably why he was thinking about stuff he normally didn’t like to think about.

John hated feelings. He couldn’t talk about them, he didn’t like to even think about them. And he usually tried not to act on them, because when he did, one way or another it fucked everything up spectacularly. Hell he had left the decision to go to Atlantis to the toss of a coin, because the feeling of having to be part of that mission had been so strong it had almost scared him away.

And of all the feelings John tried to hide from, to not talk or think about, or to try not to act on, Love was the worst of all.

Sure sometimes it was unavoidable, like with flying, he loved flying. As a boy the idea of it had captured his imagination. From the first moment he understood what flying actually was, he had never wanted to do anything else. So John figured he had found the one true love of his life, the art of flying, and that was as much as anyone deserved. And he had the feeling that if he lived to fly then flying would probably also kill him in the end, and he would be fine with that arrangement.

There had been occasions when he knew almost perfect happiness piloting an incredible piece of flying technology. And there had been times when he had felt like death because his flying ability had failed him.

Times when he hadn’t got a squad evac’d quickly enough. Or when he hadn’t flown well enough to avoid being shot down. Times when he’d pushed himself as far or as hard as he could and it still wasn’t enough.

But flight was John’s mistress and she had owned his heart first. So he would never give her up, but sometimes he couldn’t stop himself wondering if there was more. And as he fell asleep he had one a moment of incredible clarity when he realised that being with Rodney had been like flying, only better.

By the time he woke the next day, that clarity had faded and his usual wary mistrust of his own emotions was firmly back in place, so John decided to leave it to fate. He wouldn’t go out of his way to see Rodney, but if he did happen to see him then he would try and talk to him. Try to see if they could work things out. Of course it was a pretty of cowardly plan and deep down he knew it. Because since their argument Rodney had gone out of his way to avoid John.

Nearly a fortnight passed. John’s knee was better, the bruising on his shoulder had faded to a pale yellow, and the cut on his cheek was just a fading pink line. He still hadn’t bumped into Rodney outside of work, and he figured he had given fate enough of a chance and he was off the hook.

Keller was smooth and professional and ever so slightly icy as she examined him and passed him fit for active duty, but John pretended not to notice. He thought he was home free as he made his way to the monthly senior management planning meeting.

Woolsey called the meeting to order and explained that McKay was running late and would join them as soon as he could. John tried very hard not to spend the entire first part of the meeting wondering why McKay was late.

It was almost a relief when the door burst open and Rodney came in, grumbling about something and hurrying to his place next to Woolsey.
His arms were full of the usual data pads and laptops. What wasn’t so usual was how he was dressed.

They broke the meeting for ten minutes while McKay set up a laptop, and everyone else got coffee or tea and whatever pastry the mess had sent along. And it was an impossible habit for John to break, he found himself getting a mug of coffee with extra creamer and a mug of black coffee then balancing a pastry wrapped in a napkin on top of each mug and heading over to Rodney.

McKay looked up and his eyes widened as he realised that John had fetched him coffee and a Custard and kind-of-plum Danish. John was about to return to his seat when he realised Teyla had taken it. Everyone else was headed back to their seats to resume the meeting, and that left John no choice but to sit down in Teyla’s former seat, next to Rodney.

John had been distracted during the first half of the meeting because McKay wasn’t there, but it was nothing compared to how distracting sitting right next to him was. John honestly had no idea what anyone talked about, he probably even contributed but really he barely even remembered a word of what he said either.

The first thing that was distracting was McKay wasn’t dressed in his usual Science team uniform. He was wearing dark blue jeans and a mauvey-grey t-shirt. And John couldn’t figure out why, because they looked like date clothes to him, Not first date perhaps but it was smarter than Rodney’s usual off duty selection of baggy cargo pants and t-shirts with stretched or frayed necks.

But McKay looked a little rougher than John figured he would if he had been headed on a date. He had stubble and his hair was kind of messy, and his eyes had looked a little puffy, a little dark like they got when he was really tired.

Then again John was close enough he could smell that Rodney had definitely worn some after-shave, and he always wore aftershave when he was on a date. John tried really hard not to keep sniffing, because that had been the first thing he had loved about being with Rodney, the way he always smelled so good. Maybe it was because his skin was always a little hotter than anyone else’s. Rodney had told him one time that his natural temperature ran one degree higher than the average.

But even when he was red in the face and sweating and they were running for their lives, or he was in the gym lifting weights or sparing with Teyla, Rodney still seemed to smell good.

Maybe John was just more aware of it because he was self-conscious. He was so hairy that he had to be really careful to shower quickly after any kind of work out to stop his sweat smell hanging around. When he had been married, Nancy had always been complaining about his funky sweat. Rodney definitely did not have a funky sweat, and as far as John was concerned when he added aftershave to the mix Rodney smelled like the best sex ever.

The meeting finally ended, and John hoped someone had made some notes that he could look at later, in case he had accidentally volunteered to do something. He followed McKay out of the room and down towards the transporter. Rodney didn’t say anything and he seemed like he was keeping his head down and concentrating on getting away in the hopes John would get the message and leave him alone.

They both entered the transporter, the door had shut, neither of them made any move to set a destination and finally Rodney looked up at John and said, “Are you doing this on purpose?“

John smirked, he couldn’t help himself sometimes, and replied , “No.”

But Rodney’s eyes seemed to grow darker, and John’s smirk faded as Rodney continued, “You’re making this very hard for me, John. Can’t you just let it go? I’ve learned my lesson and I won’t bother you again. I’m sorry if it makes things difficult for you. But I’ve kept my distance, as much as possible given the circumstances. I don‘t know what else you think you want from me, because I’m not leaving. I won’t resign from Atlantis, you don’t have the right to ask me to do that.”

John hadn’t believed he could feel even worse about himself than he had the night he’d realised how badly he’d misjudged things between them. But listening to Rodney apologise for something that was John’s fault, twisted the knife in his gut just that little bit deeper.

And yet John was so bad at saying what he felt. Even now, faced with the evidence of his truly spectacular fuck up. with Rodney thinking John wanted him gone from Atlantis, while John was actually trying to find a way to admit to himself and to Rodney that he might actually be in love with him. Even then his words failed him.

He knew that he wanted a relationship with Rodney, a real one. That he had already been in a relationship with Rodney all this time, but he had deluded himself into thinking it was just his usual fuck-buddy type of hook up, because he was afraid of what he was feeling. That he was the worst person to ever be in a relationship with. That he knew he was the one who screwed it up, and that he knew he didn’t deserve a second chance but he desperately wanted Rodney to give him one anyway.

What came out of his mouth was, “Were you late for the meeting because you’d been on a date?”

And the stricken look in Rodney’s eyes morphed into a hard and slightly disgusted glare, and he snapped, “And how would that be in any way your business?”

“Because you are on my team and you were late, and that meeting could have been mission vital.” John cringed as his mouth seemed to work independent of the rest of him.

Rodney’s eyes blazed and he ground out, “That was a standard monthly admin meeting! The most mission vital issue on the agenda was if we are going to combine the Athosian Winter Fire celebrations with Thanksgiving or with Diwali this year. And me being on your team does not give you the right to reprimand me for being late!”

“Well a team leader is responsible for the actions of everyone on their team, you’re on my team, and hey in case you haven’t noticed I’m the team leader so guess what? You sodo have to tell me!”

Rodney looked like he might explode. His cheeks were pink, his eyes were fired up and glinting with an angry intensity, his hands were fisted at his side. He took a breath.

John took a breath. He didn’t know what was going to happen. His heart rate increased and he felt like he had the one time he‘d flown an F-117. Excited. Horrified. Hoping he was about to soar but aware that he might just crash and burn instead.

Rodney stepped closer he was looking into John’s eyes and there was still anger there but there was something else now, something hard and greedy and knowing and a little fond too. He took one more step and he was as close to John as he could be without actually touching him.

Rodney seemed to be waiting. John didn’t know what for and it made him shiver. He swallowed down the feeling that was a little like fear, his throat was dry, his lips were dry too, he licked them.

Rodney’s eyes blazed heat as they followed the motion of John’s tongue over his bottom lip. He grabbed John’s arms. Grasping his biceps hard and pulled John against him roughly and covered John’s mouth with his own hot greedy lips.

No one had ever kissed John like this. Rodney sucked on his lips hungrily. The heated breath, the way he was biting and sucking as he ate his way into John’s mouth, opening him up and driving inside with his tongue, was overpowering.

John could feel the hot hard press of Rodney’s body against his own. He could feel the way his cock had instantly hardened where it pressed against Rodney’s thigh. It made him want things he never even knew he wanted. It made him want McKay, want Rodney to make him want more, to make him take whatever Rodney wanted him to take. It was the exact opposite of how he had always allowed himself to be with Rodney, before.

It was dangerous and it was bound to be messy and it was not a place that John had ever imagined he’d reach, but he let himself relax. He felt the moment when his body gave in, when his lips opened just a little more, when the breath sighed out of his mouth and he allowed himself to press into the heat of Rodney’s body.

John suddenly felt the wall of the transporter against his back, he felt week kneed and wondered for a second if his legs were going to hold him. McKay had shoved him away with enough force to be startling, but not enough to actually hurt. John stared at him, still feeling the heat of McKay’s mouth on his, even though the man was now standing as far away from him as two people in small cupboard sized transporter could stand.

John wanted that heat back. He wanted that feeling back. He wanted it in the worst way and for once he didn’t allow his own fear to overwhelm him and cut him off from what the thing he really wanted.

Rodney pressed a hand against John’s chest, holding him back, like he could tell what John had been about to do. Rodney had a kind of ragged look about him and his voice was a little rough when he said, “I don’t think I can do this thing again.”

John pushed hard against the hand that was holding him back, but McKay was surprisingly strong when he wanted to be. So John was pinned against the wall and unless he wanted to make a real fight of it that‘s were he‘d be staying. He wanted to show Rodney that they wouldn’t be doing the same thing again. He needed to show him that he understood now, that they’d do it right this time. That he’d do it right this time. That he’d do anything to have another chance.

But McKay wasn’t willing to let him near to show what he was feeling , so John had to fall back on unreliable words.
“I won’t…. You don’t… I…. Just let me… please?”

Rodney stared at him, his blue eyes were sharp and sad at once, and maybe there was a tiny hint of compassion in them too, for how bad John truly was at this. McKay sounded a little more in control when he said. “It was the rules changing. Those stupid, fucking, outdated rules.”

And now John was completely lost because he hadn’t realised McKay even knew about the rules. About how John kept himself from going overboard and fucking up by following the rules. Never stay the night. Never give more than the other person. Never talk about it. Never ever admit to liking any of it. Never get caught. And if anyone ever does find out lay it off on one of those we-escaped-death-and-it’s-so-fucking-great-to-be-alive boners and anyway the other guy was the one on his knees.

Rodney was staring at him, and John figured he had to say something so he replied. “Maybe.”

Rodney was still staring at him so John tried to give him something more, so he’d understand that John knew he’d screwed up and he was going to try and not do that again. “I won’t follow them any more, Rodney. But that probably means I’ll screw things up even worse.”

Rodney’s face fell at that so John hurried on, “Not that there could be a worse screw up than this.”

John waved his hand between them, making the international hand signal for something so completely screwed up it doesn’t even have a shape anymore.
This sucks. And I want it like before. Only better.”

Rodney still didn’t seem to be convinced judging by his slightly perplexed expression but he deserved the truth and John needed to give it to him. “I’ll prove it to you, if you‘ll let me. Just you and me and no rules.”

But then a thought struck him and he added, “Unless you have some rules and I’d understand if you did because I get that I fucked this up and…”

“No, John.” Rodney finally took pity on him. He pressed his hand harder into John’s chest, the heat of his palm and his fingers seemed so intense through the thin cotton of his t-shirt and John could feel heat rising in his cheeks and he wanted to get away because Rodney had said no. Rodney was telling him that there was no way back and John didn’t know what he was gong to do about that, except that he needed to get away. But he couldn’t because McKay had him pinned there.

McKay was saying something else and John figured he owed him enough to listen.

“I don’t have any rules. And now your precious Air Force doesn’t have any rules, and that was the point. At least I thought that was the point. I was hoping that you would want to be in an actual relationship with me. Now that you can without the treat of a dishonourable discharge or worse hanging over you. And I obviously miscalculated, because it was the farthest thing from you mind, apparently.”

And yeah, that was not what John had been expecting, then or now. And he had to ask, “So?”

Rodney was looking at John with all that intense, bare longing that had so terrified him weeks earlier, because John had known he was already far too close to Rodney. Far too close to that heat, and that wild feeling in the pit of his stomach that was every bit as exciting as taking off for a mission, and every bit as dangerous. So he’d picked a stupid fight.

“You see,” At least Rodney was still talking. “I tried to make it easy for you. I had already noticed your spectacular failure at expressing any actual emotion. The way you flinch from even the simplest expression of feelings. So I thought I’d give you a way to show me, seeing as you would never be able to tell me. So I asked you for something. It wasn’t something new. And it’s something I know you enjoy. But it’s always been on your terms. So I asked you to do it a little differently. And you’re a smart man, you had to know it was something I had thought about. Had pictured you doing. That it was something you’d ask a lover to do, not something you’d reveal to some casual fuck-buddy.”

“I know I fucked up, Rodney.” John felt like he might never be able to stop saying that. And that part of him that always shied away from getting in too deep because it always ended badly, it always ended up hurting. And part of him had always believed nothing was worth this kind of pain. But the last time he’d listened to that inner voice he’d run away from Rodney, and John was beginning to realise just how much more that hurt.

So he ignored the voice in his head and he continued. “I know I’m no good at this.” John’s voice wavered but he gritted it out, “I know I suck at relationships. You should ask my ex-wife. But the thing is…”

And now he’d derailed himself because what could he say? He felt his face heat up again, cheeks blushing because whatever he said was going to sound pretty desperate. But then he was desperate. And maybe McKay deserved to hear that. Because the argument had been ugly.

Everyone always says that John is a laid back kind of guy. But he knew when he wanted to, when he was feeling cornered, needing to escape, he could be mean, kind of spiteful even if that was the way to get out of something. He’s said some things that, with hindsight, were unbelievably cruel. At the time he’d just been lashing out. Using the times they’d spent together and the things they’d done was just the quickest way to create the angry responses from McKay that had let John turn the argument into a fight that eventually had McKay storming out. Which had been exactly what John must have thought he wanted.

McKay wasn’t an asshole though, not the way John could be, and he took pity on John again, asking softly, “What do you want to do, John?”

And there it was. All John had to do was be honest. All he had to do was say what he wanted.

It was probably the hardest thing he’d ever done. Harder than when he’d asked Nancy to marry him. Harder than when he’d asked for the divorce. Harder even than when he’d told his father why he wanted the divorce and his father had punched him and told him he never wanted to lay eyes on John again.

“I’ll do anything. I can’t take back what I said, but I’ll do what you want. Anything you want. Whatever it takes to prove that I’m sorry. To prove that I want this. What ever it takes until you forgive me.”

“I’m not trying to punish you, John. Oh my God you’re so Catholic. This isn’t a penance. I’m not asking you to atone. I just want to know what you want from me. Are you just trying to get back in my bed? Or is it something else?”

And John wanted to snap back at McKay for that Catholic jibe, but then again maybe that is what he’d been saying. John did tend to want to take his licks, to feel the sting, and know that he’d paid the required price so he could move on. But Rodney didn’t see the world that way at all.

For all the reputation he had for being a difficult prima-donna with a massive ego, Rodney was fairly easy to get along with. You just had to be completely, brutally honest, never play mind games with him because he simply didn’t get them, and of course you had to agree that he was the smartest man in two galaxies.

So John tried again, “I want you back, I want our friendship back the way it was.”

Rodney thought about this, John could almost feel the weight of his mind focussed on what John had said. Then he asked, “And the rest?”

John swallowed because he couldn’t tell a thing from the quiet way Rodney had asked that question. He had no idea what McKay wanted at all, so he figured he’d have to just say what he wanted and hope for the best. “I’ve never met anyone who gets me like you do, Rodney. I’d do just about anything if I thought you’d forgive me and give me another chance. But if you can‘t, I‘ll work on being a better friend and I won‘t bother you for anything more.”

There was another long pause, then finally Rodney said, “I have a couple of interesting Ancient artefacts that I don’t think you’ve seen. Do you want to come by my quarters, I took them home because they were cluttering up space in the lab. Stop by at about eight, if you like.“

John let out the breath he hadn’t realised he’d been holding. It was their old code for setting up a date. He found himself relaxing even as it made him a little sad to think what he had put Rodney through before. He moved closer to Rodney. This time McKay didn’t hold him back so John pressed against him and kissed him. It was gentle and soft, nothing like their earlier kiss.

He said, “You don’t need an excuse to see me, Rodney. Not any more. Just come to my room at eight. I’ll be waiting for you.“

John reached past McKay and hit his destination on the city map. As the doors began to open he kissed McKay’s again, just a brief flicker of touch and then he was walking out of the open door, past the Woolsey and the two marines who had been waiting for the transporter, feeling like he didn‘t have a care in the world.


When Rodney arrived, he was a couple of minutes late because there had been an emergency. Well not what he’d call an emergency, but David Parrish considered a few wilted plants an emergency, and McKay had been the only one no half way through a delicate experiment at that exact moment and he’d ended up having to fix all of the environmental controls in that particular greenhouse. Not that he really minded because it was always useful when the city’s chief producer of medical grade marijuana owed him a favour.

But he’d had to rush through his shower and find something reasonable to wear, not forgetting a splash of the aftershave John had always seemed to like. And it had ended up making him a little late. But suddenly he was there, outside John’s door, and he realised this was the very first time that John had ever invited him over like this. It made him feel nervous.

But then he remembered the earlier moment, when John had kissed him even though the transporter doors were opening and people, no not people, Marines for God’s sake, and their boss, Woolsey were standing there and probably saw what John had done.

So there he was, at John’s door, and it was officially a date. As he reached out to press the panel to let John know he was there the door slid open. Rodney expected to see John standing at the threshold, having opened the door for him, but he wasn’t. He could something slow and soft playing probably from John’s laptop. The lights were dim as he stepped through the door. It shut behind him with a whisper.

It was like Rodney had imagined it, oh so many times.

He didn’t know how John had know it was exactly this that he had fantasized about.

The edges of the room were in darkness, but the light by the bed seemed to glow with more warmly, flickering almost as if it were candle light.

The subtle light and shade highlighted the shape of John’s body. His arms, the beautiful curve of his biceps, the way his wrists appeared almost fragile without the usual wristband and watch that made them seem sturdier. The hair on his chest arrowing down his belly and into the thatch of pubic hair, contrasted with the beautiful golden gleam of John‘s tanned fingers and the dark plum of his cock head as he slowly stroked it.

John’s dark spiky hair contrasted with light playing across his sharp cheekbones, and the smudge of his eyelashes.

His head was thrown back, his mouth was open and his lips were perfect.

Rodney knew he should say something. That he needed to be the responsible one here, because clearly John had no sense of self preservation at all. And they were in danger of moving too fast. But he couldn’t. Not when John was doing this. Was showing him this. Not when John had somehow known just how much Rodney had always wanted exactly this.

Rodney tore at his belt buckle and snapped open the buttons on his fly as he headed towards the bed. He threw off his t-shirt because he wanted John’s hands on his skin. And then he was right there. He pushed his jeans down around the tops of his thighs. He grabbed John’s head, held it at just the right angle. And he pushed in between those beautiful pink lips.

John opened his mouth and took him in with a sound that was hungry and desperate and maybe a little grateful. The sound pooled lust deep in Rodney’s belly and made him want more. Want everything. Made him want to take everything and then still have more.

He pushed in deep then pulled back quickly, then pushed in harder. And again, pulled back then pushed harder still. Finally deep enough that John’s lips were pressed against his body, and Rodney could feel John swallowing against the head of his cock.

And that was it.

He held it there for a moment and just ground his body against John’s mouth. Then when he pulled back it was perfect.

The pink lipstick was already smeared around the edge of John’ mouth. It was the most wanton, debauched thing Rodney had ever seen. Rodney pushed back in, hard. He could feel the kiss of John‘s lips at the base of his cock. He imagined he could feel the slightly greasy imprint of the lipstick kiss he left behind again and again.

John was completely abandoned to this, to giving Rodney what he wanted.

His eyes were closed. His hands holding on to Rodney, pulling him closer, holding on like there was nothing more important in the world than this moment. His mouth was stretched and his throat was probably a little bruised. It was messy and he had to gasp in air when Rodney pulled out before he shoved his cock back in hard. And Rodney was close, so close he shuddered at the edge of his orgasm.

Then John seemed to relax his throat a little more. He pulled Rodney hard against his mouth and made a sound that vibrated from the tip of Rodney’s cock to the root. And when he realised that he had just heard the sound John always made when he came, just chocked off and quieter because Rodney’s cock was lodged deep in his throat, that was enough to tip Rodney over into his own delicious freefall.

Rodney came back to himself as he slowly pulled out of John’s mouth. He watched John carefully. His face was red and it looked like tears had squeezed out of the corner of his tightly shut eyes, so there had probably been a few moments when John had fought against not being able to breath as he had pulled Rodney in deeper.

John swallowed carefully so his throat was probably tender as well, but when he opened his eyes and saw he was being watched he made a sound that Rodney couldn’t have described but he recognised that it was possessive and satisfied and also, strangely, a little unsure.

Rodney watched as John licked his lips. All at once he understood that John wasn’t sure of himself at all. Which was strange because John had always been the one in charge, when they’d been together in the past. John had always known what he wanted and Rodney had been happy to let him have it.

In retrospect Rodney had probably been grateful to have John any way he could. And he had let John take the lead because he recognised that was the way to keep him coming back. At least until he felt a little more confident in what John wanted.

Rodney always knew everything about everything, except people. Well other people. He knew pretty much all there was to know about himself, he almost never hid anything, he was practically an open book. But other people hugged their pages tight. Other people hid their secrets and their motives and the things they really wanted, while they pretended to want something else. Rodney had to approach other people like he would an experiment. He had to test his theories again and again before he could begin to rely on the outcome. Before he could begin to rely on them.

And that method had failed him spectacularly the last few times time Rodney had tried it. With Katie, then with Jennifer and finally with Sheppard.

But Rodney was also a genius, and every now and then a genius could make a leap from the know to the unknown.

All these things flashed through his mind in those few seconds as he carefully watched John. And it was clear things could go two ways.

Rodney could let John hang there. He could let the silence stretch out. He could let what he was startled to realise was real insecurity, make John curl in on himself. He could let John believe this was all just some kind of petty revenge.

It would be cruel to do that, but Rodney had long ago recognised that he could be cruel sometimes. He could be cruel because occasionally, in that moment, revenge was so sweet it was hard to resist. Even if the aftermath of it curdled into something bitter and acid inside him.

But now he knew something startling and new. Rodney didn’t have it in him to be cruel to John.

Even if sometimes John acted like a dick and probably needed someone to remind him what it felt like to be on the receiving end, that person wasn’t ever going to be Rodney.

Rodney leaned forward and rubbed his thumb across John’s lips. He wasn’t especially tender he just wiped away most of the lipstick and maybe there was a little come at the corner of his mouth that John hadn’t swallowed. Then Rodney sucked the pad of his thumb and scraped off the waxy film of lipstick with this teeth.

Then Rodney leaned forward a little more until his lips met John’s, outlining them with his tongue before he pressed kisses that were soft and sweet because he knew John’s lips were tender. Lips moving softly as he whispered, “John, that was perfect. Thank you.“

The End



( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 5th, 2012 07:22 pm (UTC)
Wonderful story :)
Feb. 5th, 2012 07:26 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much, I'm really glad you liked it
Feb. 5th, 2012 09:41 pm (UTC)
I enjoyed this. It was good to see Teyla kick John's ass for being a dick. I really liked the part in the elevator when John finally groks how badly he's hurt Rodney and how things go wrong and suddenly they're arguing and FINALLY he's apologizing and EEE! Kiss in front of Marines when the doors open, yay!

Loved the ending - especially Rodney's realization that he could destroy John's soul. He could, and he even has that tendril of desire for revenge, but he loves John and doesn't want to him.

Also - dude. Srsly hot. Nice.
Feb. 5th, 2012 10:15 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much
You are very kind to leave such a lovley comment.

I too love the idea that Rodney can pause for a moment and consider what he could do, that he knows he's capable of that kind of cruelty, but then to comes to understand that actually he isn't capable of it where John is concerned because he loves him. It was a rather delicious moment to write.

And I'm pretty damned relieved to hear that the hot part worked too.
Feb. 5th, 2012 09:41 pm (UTC)
Not done reading, but I just have to say that this KILLED ME.

...he had left the decision to go to Atlantis to the toss of a coin, because the feeling of having to be part of that mission had been so strong it had almost scared him away.
Feb. 5th, 2012 10:19 pm (UTC)
Oh yes
that part actually surprised me when I dug this story out, 3/4s finished and read it thru it again prior to getting down to finishing it. Sometimes this stuff just seems to come thru me, and after when it's been written for a while and I go back and read it again it's like, did I write that?

I'm very flattered you liked it tho
Feb. 6th, 2012 01:46 am (UTC)
sga_newsletter: Feb 05, 2012
User dossier referenced to your post from sga_newsletter: Feb 05, 2012 saying: [...] : Lipstick [...]
Feb. 6th, 2012 02:53 pm (UTC)
*fans self*

*swoons anyway*

I love Rodney's confidence in this, and John's tender vulnerability. And YAY to the very happy ending!
Feb. 6th, 2012 07:25 pm (UTC)
Scoops you up and sets you on your fainting couch with a nice cool glass of ice water

I think you may be my first ever swoon!!!

thank you for this lovely comment

I love confident Rodney, and I have just always assumed that John hides everything, especailly his tender heart.
Feb. 7th, 2012 02:56 am (UTC)
*sips water, feels loved*

I'm so very proud to be your first swoon, my dear!! :-D I failed to mention that I love that bjork quote so sssoooo much. I honestly think a fic could be made out of every one of her lyrics.

I have just always assumed that John hides everything, especailly his tender heart.

Doesn't he just? Oh, John. Good thing he has Rodney to bring him out of his shell(s)!
Feb. 7th, 2012 09:36 am (UTC)
Yes Bjork is utterly fabulous, I often wish I was her. I think she must live a crazy fantastic life.
And yes this was just such a perfect quote.

Even with the wonderful prompts we get here, I still often struggle to come up with an idea for a story, or I have an idea, like here, the moment I saw the prompt I knew it was about John with the lipstick,and it might have just stayed that, the my rather amateurish attempt at an icon. But finding that quote made it the story of them being broken up and what John did after that.

And don't even get me started on oh John I could sit here all day! And as it is I have to be at work in an hour!!!

Feb. 6th, 2012 04:07 pm (UTC)
Loved this... can you tell me the name of the fic that precedes this please?
Feb. 6th, 2012 07:28 pm (UTC)
Alas my dear I am very sorry to say there is no fic that precedes this one :-(
I was a lazy writer and just plonked you all down in the middle of the action, so to speak.

but who knows one day
maybe I'll write that part
Feb. 7th, 2012 03:03 am (UTC)
That was lovely.
Feb. 7th, 2012 09:37 am (UTC)
Thank you so much, you are very kind and I am very happy you liked it.
Feb. 7th, 2012 04:43 am (UTC)
So many insights! Enjoyed it!
Feb. 7th, 2012 09:39 am (UTC)
Thank you for your lovely comment, I'm happy to hear the way I interpreted them here worked for you, and that you liked the story.
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )

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