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Neighboring Solitudes


Title: Neighboring Solitudes

Author: chelle

Author's email:

Author's URL:

Fandom: Atlantis

Archive: Ask first

Pairing: John/Rodney

Rating: NC17

AN: A "Duet" AU inspired by Miera and Carolyn Claire. The title was stolen shamelessly from Rilke. Thank you to Grrrl for her patience and criticism.

Rodney was abruptly and shockingly awake. He hated this. Waking up was something that should be done slowly, a gradual drifting toward the world of consciousness, but for the two days he'd been trapped in John Sheppard's body, he had woken like this, abruptly and unpleasantly. It was really starting to irritate him. He often had his best ideas when he was half-asleep. How could he be expected to fix this if--

His internal rant was interrupted by a feeling of intense pleasure. John was… He wouldn't, not with Rodney stuck in his head. "What do you think you're doing?"

"Jerking off." Leave it to John Sheppard to say that as casually as he said, "getting a sandwich." Of course, in his mind the two were probably equivalent.

"With me in your head? That's just lovely. This may come as a shock to you, but your masturbatory habits were something I was hoping to never know anything about."

"I thought you were asleep."

More pleasure rising up from John's dick stopped Rodney from answering for a moment. "Will you stop that?" he snapped.

"It's just getting good."

Couldn't the man at least sound embarassed? "You're pouting, aren't you?"

"It's not like you never do it."

"Pout? I absolutely do not--"


There was something in John's tone that gave Rodney pause. "Fine. Just get it over with."

Another wave of pleasure hit him, and Rodney found himself relaxing into it. He hadn't jerked off in days either, and John's dick must be wired better than his because that felt really good.

More pleasure, a kind of open, less distinct pleasure that didn't feel anything like what was coming from John's dick. He tried to focus, to separate out the sensations. It was difficult because the feeling itself was almost overwhelming, stripping away his concentration, making him want to push down…

Push down.

Rodney focused on that urge, tried to untangle where it was coming from. Fullness and pleasure, and, oh God, John had his fingers in his ass. "John, are you?"

"Close? Yeah, can you feel it?"

He could feel it. He could definitely feel it. Tension and pleasure, John was completely caught up in it. It was a little more distant for Rodney but still there. He was going to feel it when John came.

John came, spurting, muscles contracting again and again, a soft groan escaping his lips. Rodney felt it all. Felt the pleasure, felt John's enjoyment of the pleasure. It was strange, and it was going to take Rodney a while to think it through, except he wasn't going to think it through, because he wasn't going to think about John masturbating.

"Rodney?" John asked when his breathing had slowed, his voice oddly subdued.


"You okay?"

"Of course. Why wouldn't I be?"

"You don't sound okay."

"Well I am."

"Okay. I’m sorry if I weirded you out or anything."

Weirded him out. He was living in someone else's body. John's body, and John had just jerked off and played with his own ass while Rodney felt it all. Nothing weird about that. Just a normal day in Atlantis. "It's fine. I'm fine. As you pointed out it's not like I've never done it, and a man has to take care of these things. I'm sure we'll both be more relaxed now."

"If you want to later, you can."

"That's, um, very generous of you."

"We should probably go see Beckett." John rose from the bed, taking Rodney with him.


Their check up with Beckett took too long. He insisted on doing another MRI, even though Rodney told him it wasn't necessary, that he was wasting valuable time they could be spending in the lab figuring this thing out.

Carson was adamant, and John convinced Rodney that going along would take less time and effort than arguing about it.

Tests out of the way, they headed for the lab. Zelenka and the rest of the team were already there. Rodney immediately got to work on the power interface, conscious of John watching in the background.

John rarely said anything when Rodney worked, but Rodney could feel him watching. Later, John would ask questions, listening carefully to Rodney's answers. Rodney wasn't about to admit it, but he liked sharing his work with John, and the rest of the science team seemed to have adapted to seeing him in John's body.

All of which meant that the morning went remarkably smoothly, even if they were only marginally closer to a solution at the end of it.

Rodney let John eat lunch. They were having stew and Rodney preferred to save his eating time for the mashed potatoes and meatloaf being served for dinner. As predicted, John asked questions and Rodney answered them. He didn't mind the looks he received for talking with himself, because, well, it was John they were seeing.

They had agreed to fly Teyla to the mainland after lunch. Rodney had wanted to say no the previous day when she'd asked, but he could almost feel John's longing to be up in a jumper. So he'd said yes when Teyla asked, surprising John but Rodney was smart enough to realize that when living in someone else's body you had to make a few compromises.

Teyla was waiting for them in the jumper bay. Rodney only half noticed as they settled into the jumper and John took off. One of the nice parts of being inside someone else's body was that he could leave the mundane stuff to John and think about other things. At the moment he was thinking about why the interface they'd constructed for powering the dart's systems wasn't working the way the equations said it should.

"Rodney," John said, pulling Rodney from his thoughts.


"You want to fly?"

Rodney took a moment to look out John's eyes. There were clouds everywhere, billowing in odd patterns and formations. "No, I'm fine."

"That's not what I meant."

He felt John grin and then the jumper picked up speed as John brought it up at an angle, slipping around a bit of cloud that had formed a column in the air. He could feel John's exhilaration as he flew the jumper around the clouds, dodging and turning. When two rather flat clouds appeared ahead of them, John put the jumper into a roll as he flew between them for no other reason than that he could.

Rodney watched. He could feel the jumper respond to John, the way thought and instinct blended together, and the pure enjoyment John got from flying. It was playful and yet not at all childlike.

They had trained with Teyla the day before and this was kind of like that. Rodney had never been graceful, had never been able to do the things John did with such ease. He'd always known that no amount of training would ever let him run gracefully, let alone swing sticks in a coordinated manner. He'd never regretted that, not once high school was over anyway, but being in John's body, feeling it move, had been extremely cool. Feeling John stretch and pivot, and the bang of his sticks striking Teyla's, Rodney had almost wished things were different.

It hadn't occurred to him that flying might be similar, might be some combination of the physical and the intellectual that eluded him but came naturally to John.

"What do you think?" John asked, slowing the jumper as the mainland came into view.

"I think that you flew unnecessarily fast," Teyla said, but there wasn't any criticism in it.

"What about you, Rodney?"

"I think I get why you love to fly," Rodney said.

John chuckled. "I thought you might."

That's when Rodney realized that John had wanted to share this with him, had wanted to show him what it felt like to really fly. "Thank you," he said, surprising himself with his own sincerity.

"You're welcome."


Teyla went off to visit the people she needed to visit and John socialized with the Athosians. Rodney was fine with that, because he had things to think about. Namely getting himself out of John's body, not that John's body wasn't nice, but it wasn't his. Besides, John was certain to want some privacy eventually, and Rodney had his own life to lead.

Given the way Halling's niece, Nyellu, was flirting with John that need for privacy might arrive sooner rather than later. She was leaning forward, placing her cleavage in John's line of sight. She was beautiful. John's own body language was casual, and Rodney knew exactly how he looked, smiling that lazy smile, all handsome and cool.

And available.

Which he wasn't because Rodney was in his head, and John wouldn't really be available while Rodney was in his head. Because he wouldn't, not with Rodney watching. He'd jerked off, sure, but sex was something else altogether.

"You won't have sex while I'm in here, will you?"


"What?" Nyellu asked, frowning.

"Nothing," John said, smiling again. "You were telling me about Hruth and his lambs."

She nodded and resumed her story. Rodney had never been a fan of folk tales, and he doubted John was, although the man did like Back to the Future, something which did not speak well of his taste in stories.

Power fluctuations. He needed to think about power fluctuations, and not buxom young women telling folktales.

He wondered what she'd think if she knew John like to have fingers in his ass. John glanced at the table between them and Rodney noted that her hands were tiny. Her fingers were probably too short to be of any use to John anyway. Not like Rodney's hands at all.

Rodney closed his eyes, or tried to, but he couldn't because John was in control. He hadn't just thought about his fingers and John's ass, because he wasn't thinking about John's ass. He was thinking about power fluctuations and how to get back into his own body.

Fortunately, Jinto chose that moment to enter and ask John to come see the waterfall he'd found.

A hike in the heat wasn’t Rodney's idea of a fun way to pass the day, but it was better than staring at Nyellu's breasts through John's eyes. The hike was easier in John's body, and Rodney had to admit that perhaps there was something to this exercise thing after all. Maybe once he was back in his own body he'd try it. Secretly.

Even Rodney had to admit that the waterfall was beautiful, and John seemed to genuinely enjoy it.

When they got back to the village Teyla was ready to leave. Rodney was more than happy to go.

"You want to fly?" John asked as he buckled himself into the pilot's seat.


John let go and Rodney took over. It amazed him, how effortlessly they could switch, but it made him wonder what it would be like if they ever fought for control. It was bound to happen eventually, given that neither of them was exactly retiring in nature.

Rodney took hold of the controls and the jumper began to rise into the air. "Does it always do that?" he asked without thinking.

"Fly?" John answered.

Rodney glared even though John couldn't see him.

"Yes. I touch it and it goes," John said.

Rodney had never touched anything and had it just go. Squelching his envy, he concentrated on flying. He took the jumper up and out of the planet's atmosphere. He loved the way the planet looked from up here, all blue and green. It reminded him of Earth.

"You can take her into the clouds if you want," John said quietly.

The thought of flying the jumper the way John had, of making it twist and turn, was immensely appealing.

"I'll be right here," John added.

Rodney put the jumper into a dive, taking her back into the atmosphere. The reentry should have been bumpy, but the jumper's inertial dampeners took care of it, making it seem as though Rodney was a smooth pilot.

Spotting a large fluffy cloud, he dove into the center of it, and then brought the ship up on the far side. He could feel John smiling approvingly.

Teyla didn't react.

There were several small clouds ahead of them and Rodney wove the jumper around them. His timing wasn't quite as good as John's but it was far better than anything he'd ever managed in his own body.

Confidence growing, he tried to put the jumper into a roll, only to have it falter. The jumper dipped toward the ground and then John was there, not taking over but somehow guiding him. It was sort of like when he'd been learning to hit a baseball and his father had placed his hands over Rodney's on the bat, except John was inside him.

John guided him through the movement and then drew back, letting Rodney do the next one on his own. As the jumper finished the roll it was all Rodney could do to keep from letting out a whoop. He settled for saying, "That was cool."

"Yes, it was," John answered with a laugh.

Teyla merely looked at him, but there was a small smile peaking through her calm expression.

Rodney grinned and headed for Atlantis.


Rodney handed control back to John as soon as they landed, letting John and Teyla relay information to Elizabeth. He wanted to know what had happened with the dart while they were gone, and almost asked John to ask.

"You want to check in with Zelenka?" John said as they made their way back to John's quarters.

Rodney knew John couldn't read his thoughts, but sometimes it felt like he could. "I'll just radio him."

John handed over control mid-step and Rodney stumbled a little. "You do that on purpose."

"No, I don't," John said, but Rodney could hear his grin.

Rodney decided to let it go and pushed the button on the radio. "Zelenka."

"Rodney, how was your afternoon?"

"Fine." Rodney found it more than a little unsettling that Radek always seemed to be able to tell which of them was speaking. "How did the trial go?"

"The mice died."

"It could have been worse," John said, "the rabbit could have died."

Rodney ignored him. "Do you have any idea what the problem is?"

"We're still analyzing the test results."

"Email them to Major--"

"Colonel," John said.

"Colonel Sheppard's computer, would you? I'll take a look at them over dinner."

"I'm sending them now."

"Thank you."

"When are you going to get my rank right? It's been two months, Rodney. I thought you were supposed to be smart."

"About science." Rodney could feel John's glare. "I'll try to remember."

"Thank you."

They had reached John's quarters and Rodney started toward the bathroom. The waterfall may have been pretty to look at, but he was hot and sweaty. Pulling John's shirt over his head, he dropped it to the floor. Then he leaned down to untie John's boots. It took him only a couple of minutes to strip. Reaching into the shower to start the water, he froze. So far John had been in charge during all hygiene or bathroom related activities, and Rodney had found other things to think about. Now here he was about to shower in John's body, John's naked body.

"It's fine," John said.

"Are you sure?"

"Go ahead and take a shower."

Drawing in a deep breath, Rodney stepped under the water. It felt incredibly good, and he stood there with warm water landing between his--John's--shoulder blades. Tilting his head to the side, he let the water caress his neck, switching sides with a muffled sigh.

"Soap, Rodney."

Feeling a little self-conscious, Rodney picked up the soap. He couldn't wash John's body, but he wasn't entirely comfortable admitting to John that he couldn't. Deciding that he was going to be uncomfortable either way and so should take the option that was least embarrassing, Rodney rubbed a soapy hand over John's chest.

John's chest was lean, all of John was lean, but solid. His chest hair felt pretty much like Rodney's, except there was more of it, and in more places. He'd known that, of course, he'd seen John bare-chested a couple of times, usually when his life was in danger.

He hadn't seen anything lower down, though, and so far he'd been very careful not to look. But he couldn't not look if he was going to wash. Lifting a leg, he placed a foot on the small, built in seat at the back of the shower. John's legs were lean too, and hairy. Rodney kind of liked the way they felt, the way the muscle curved beneath his hands.

When John's legs were done, he washed John's arms and under his arms, his shoulders and as much of his back as he could reach. He was about to turn off the water, when John said, "You missed a spot."

"Right." Rodney let go of the water controls. "Do you want to take over?"

"I'm fine."

"Of course you are," Rodney muttered. John was daring Rodney to touch his dick, which was typical of him, completely typical. The man had no sense of what was appropriate. If he wanted Rodney to wash his dick, then Rodney was going to wash his dick. Turning the soap in his hands, he worked up a good lather and then reached behind John's dick for his balls.

John's scrotum was tighter than his, and it felt like his balls had less room. Rodney wondered if that was true, or if it just felt that way. He slid his hand back further, intending to wash there too, and froze. John liked to have his ass touched. John touched his own ass when he jerked off, and that was something Rodney should absolutely not know.

John's dick hardened. Rodney could feel it against the inside of his arm.

"Rodney," John said softly.


"I meant what I said this morning. You can, if you want to."

"I--" He had no idea what to say to that, but he couldn't escape the feel of John's dick pressing into John's arm. The problem was that they may have been John's, but they felt like his.

Rodney leaned against the wall and took hold of John's dick. It was long and slender. Rodney studied it, sliding John's hand slowly up and down, satisfying his curiosity more than anything else. John's dick looked like John, minus the crazy hair. Overly attractive, a bit of a smart ass, charming in a strange way.

"I assume it meets with your approval."

"Mine's bigger."

John laughed.

"It is," Rodney protested, but he was smiling.

"I believe you."

Rodney stroked again, getting a feel for what John liked, or what John's body liked. The whole thing was very confusing.

John's hand felt strange, calluses in the wrong places, but Rodney supposed that it felt perfectly natural to John's dick. He tightened his grip, trying the short, quick movements he preferred. It didn't feel as good in John's body as it did in his own.

"I usually go for longer strokes."

"I think I can jerk off on my own."

"Just trying to help."

Loosening his grip, Rodney tried a longer stroke. That was better.

"Told you."

Rodney chose not to dignify that with an answer, concentrating instead on jerking off. He'd never touched another guy's dick, and this was kind of like touching his own and kind of like touching John's. It was weird and exciting, and he was getting the rhythm of it. The pleasure was sharper than it had been this morning, more direct, and he moved his hand faster.

"Like that," John whispered, "Just like that."

Rodney whimpered. He was so close. They were so close.

A few more strokes and he was coming. John's cock pulsing long and hard in John's hand, except it was Rodney's cock and Rodney's hand.

As his breathing eased and his heart rate returned to normal, Rodney found himself staring at the semi-hard cock in John's hand.

"We're starting to wrinkle," John said quietly.

Rodney stepped away from the wall and turned the water off before stepping from the shower.


He took John's laptop with him to the dining hall and read through the data Zelenka had provided.

John was usually restless in the evenings, but he was oddly quiet, letting Rodney eat his fill and then some.

John's quiet was distracting him and finally Rodney said, "John."


"Are you okay?" Rodney asked.

"I'm fine. How about you?"

"I'm fine too."

"So we're both fine," John said.

"Or we're both liars."

"Or we're both liars," John agreed. "Are you done stuffing yourself and me?"

Rodney closed John's laptop and rose, figuring that was answer enough.

Neither of them said anything during the walk to John's quarters. When they got there, Rodney wordlessly handed control to John, who went into the bathroom to pick up the clothes Rodney had left on the floor. "I'm scared to think what your quarters must look like," John said, tossing his clothes into a hamper.

"I'm neat."

John didn't say anything.

"Okay, mostly neat," Rodney conceded.

John fell back onto the bed, with his arms spread. "The results weren't good, were they?"

"It might have been better if the rabbit had died."

John simply closed his eyes.

"I'm sorry," Rodney said when he couldn't take the silence any more.

"It's not your fault."

"I know, but having someone else in your head, tagging along all day…"

"It's not like this is a barrel of laughs for you."

Neither of them mentioned the jerking off, although Rodney wasn't sure it had been jerking off in the strict sense, since Rodney had been touching a dick that wasn't his own. Did that make it sex? Had he had sex with John or just John's dick? "Parts of it aren't so bad. The flying, that was cool."

"Yeah, it was," John said and Rodney felt him smile. It was the big, genuine smile, not the charming smile. Rodney was sure of it. "I bet it'll be weird when you're gone, although the quiet will be nice."

"Are you saying you'll miss me?"


"I won't miss you either."

"Of course not. You'll be able to see me whenever you want."

But you won't be naked and I won't be touching your dick, Rodney thought, and then immediately squelched it.

John casually ran a hand up the center of his chest, over his shirt. Except there wasn't anything casual about it. Rodney kept quiet. John made a couple more passes with his hand, and Rodney felt John's cock start to harden. Either John really liked the feel of his own hand or the thought of Rodney there, watching, was turning him on.

His fingers brushed a nipple on the next downward stroke, and then he rested his hand on his stomach.

"Don't stop," Rodney whispered.

John tugged his shirt up slightly and slipped his hand under it. He touched slowly, sliding his fingers through his chest hair, letting Rodney feel it. He reached a nipple and circled it with his fingers. Then he squeezed it, sending a jolt of pleasure through them both.

John's cock ached, pushing against its confinement. "You have two hands, you know," Rodney said, keeping his voice low.

"Patience, grasshopper."

"It's your cock that's aching."

"So it is." John gave it a squeeze with his free hand and Rodney gasped. John grinned and pressed his palm flat against his cock, rubbing it back and forth.

"We're really going to do this," Rodney whispered.

"Only if you want to."

The very idea of it was perverse, the two of them jerking off together in John's body. They'd done it twice already, but this felt more deliberate. "I want to."

Rodney had spoken so quietly that he wasn't certain John had heard him. Then John sat up and pulled his shirt off. Lying back on the bed, he ran both hands over his chest and abdomen. His skin was warm and smooth, and it was almost like Rodney was touching him. Except this time there was no soap to hide behind, no pretending that this was for anything other than pleasure.

John pressed a hand to his cock and Rodney gasped. He was touching and being touched at the same time, but it was all happening in one body, and John was feeling everything he was feeling.

Taking his time, John unbuttoned his pants. Rodney wanted him to hurry, wanted to feel John's cock in his hand again, even if John was the one doing the touching. John sat up to untie his boots and Rodney tried to contain his impatience. The boots were removed, and then the socks, and finally the pants, boxers and all.

John lay back in the bed and Rodney struggled to contain his groan. Just the thought of John lying naked on top of his bed, cock hard and sticking up, was exciting. The reality of it…

Rodney had never thought about how intertwined the mind and body were during sex. Now he wondered if John could feel his arousal in some way, if Rodney's arousal was adding to the hardness of John's cock.

Then John touched himself and Rodney stopped thinking. The first time he'd been trying to notice as little as possible, and the second time it had felt almost like jerking off in his own body. But this, this felt like sex. John was trying to make him feel good, trying to make them both feel good.

Sliding one hand up and down his chest, John stroked his cock with the other. His touch was light and slow, teasing. Rodney didn't mind. He just wanted to stay here, tucked into a corner of John's mind, feeling John touch himself and imagining what John looked like, his face twisted in pleasure, his entire body on display.

He'd never wanted to see another guy naked before, but he wanted it now.

"Rodney, you okay?" John whispered.

"I wish I could see you."

John went still, and for a moment Rodney thought he'd said something wrong. Then John rose from the bed.

He went into the bathroom. There was a mirror on one wall. It wasn’t full length, but if John stood back far enough he could see everything.

He could see John's thighs, and he could almost feel them under his hands again. Then there was John's cock, rising from a nest of dark hair. John was long and lean everywhere, and the way his body fit together he looked like sex. Like he had been made to touch and be touched, to move his body with someone else's, sliding and pressing. Lifting a hand, John squeezed a nipple and Rodney groaned.

"You like that," John whispered.

Rodney almost said that he liked John, but he stopped himself just in time. John didn't seem to need an answer anyway. He continued teasing his nipple with one hand and slid the other down his abdomen, stopping just above his cock. John lifted his gaze from the image of his cock in the mirror to his face. Rodney could see his arousal in his wide eyes and slightly parted lips.

Suddenly, Rodney found himself in control. Staring at John's reflection in the mirror, at John's hand just above his cock, Rodney took a moment to try and regain his equilibrium. John wanted Rodney to touch him.

John wanted his touch, and Rodney wanted to touch him, so he did, sliding John's hand down until it was curled around John's cock and giving it a long slow stroke. John made a quiet, pleased sound and Rodney did it again, and again.

With his other hand he explored John's chest, feeling skin and muscle and hair, the mild curve of a pectoral, the slight outline of John's ribs along his side, the solid strength in his abdomen.

Letting go of John's cock, he slid that hand lower, to cup John's balls. They filled his hand, round and vulnerable in their soft sac. Rodney rubbed the base of John's cock with his thumb, sending pleasure through them both, staring at the image of John in the mirror, one hand on his balls, the other pressed against his stomach.

John's hands felt good, nimble and strong, with fingers that were made for exploring. He wondered what it would be like to feel John's hands on his body, not that he was keen on the idea of John seeing him naked. John looked a lot better naked than he did.

Rodney resumed stroking John's cock.

Unsure how John would react, but wanting to touch more of him, Rodney slid John's hand around behind him and down onto his ass. John's ass was solid, and its curve filled Rodney's hand. His own hands were bigger than John's and Rodney spared a moment's thought for how that would feel, how John's ass would feel in his own hand. But it was only a moment, because he had John's ass in his hand, and it didn't matter that it was John's hand. He could feel an ass beneath his hand, one he'd never touched before, and he could feel a hand on his ass, except it wasn't his hand, not exactly. It was too narrow to be his hand, but it somehow was.

The whole thing was confusing and overwhelming and it didn't help that his other hand was on a cock that was and wasn't his, touching in a way he never touched his own cock and sending pleasure skittering through him.

He began moving the hand on his ass--John's ass--teasing the crack with his fingers. He'd never done anything like this to himself, but John liked having his ass touched so maybe he'd like this, and Rodney wanted John to feel good, too.

"God, Rodney," John said, his voice low.

"I know." Rodney stared into the mirror, seeing his own arousal on John's face. He wondered if that was how he always looked during sex, open and exposed, or if it was just this, just what they were doing.

He looked down at John's cock, at John's hand stroking John's cock. He had picked up speed and he slowed his movements. He didn't want to come. He wanted this to last.

"Slower," John whispered and Rodney obeyed, groaning at the thought that John wanted this to last too.

Rodney let go of John's ass, bringing his hand back around and squeezing a nipple, hard, since John seemed to like that. It sent a jolt of pleasure through them both.

There was fluid on the end of John's cock, pooling at the slit, and Rodney scooped it up with his finger, bringing it to his lips. John's fluid was a salty tang on his tongue. Rodney groaned. He was tasting John. That was John's taste on his tongue--John's tongue.

Pulling his finger slowly back, he rubbed John's lower lip with his finger. John had a really sexy mouth and how had Rodney never noticed that? John's mouth had more curves than Marilyn Monroe. Rodney traced them with his finger, not even realizing that his other hand was no longer moving.

"I wish I could kiss you." The words escaped before Rodney even realized he was speaking.

"Yeah, yeah, me too. I--"


"Touch me," John said softly, his tone making it a request.

"Here?" Rodney asked, running a hand along John's shoulder, feeling John's strength. "Or here?" Rodney moved his hand down John's arm, over the firm curve of his biceps and then down along his forearm. "Here?" he asked again, running his hand through the soft hair on John's abdomen.

"Everywhere. Anywhere. Just…"

John sounded impatient and aroused. Needy. He needed to be touched. By Rodney. John needed Rodney to touch him. He had made John sound like that, and making John sound like that was even better than flying.

He edged his hand lower until both hands were around John's cock. He moved them back and forth in a slow stroke. Then he slid one hand down to John's balls, cupping them again. Spreading John's legs, he moved his hand farther back, pressing at the space behind John's balls, before moving still farther back. He traced the edge of John's opening, as much of it as he could. He had to admit that it felt good. It made him want more.

Straightening, he left the bathroom.

"Rodney?" John asked.

He didn't answer, lying in the center of the bed and pulling John's legs up with his feet flat on the bed.

"There's oil in the drawer," John said softly, voice rich with desire.

"Right," Rodney answered, a little shaky. Rolling onto his side, he opened the drawer in John's nightstand. Rodney hesitated. He was about to poke through John's porn drawer, and guys didn't go poking through other guys' porn drawers, but he wanted to touch John.

Reaching inside, he found a small plastic bottle and removed it. Snapping it open, he poured the oil onto his fingers, rubbing with his thumb.

Then he rolled back onto his back and drew in a deep breath before reaching between John's legs--his legs. The angle was better and he touched a little more firmly than he had in the bathroom. He traced John's opening, feeling hair and wrinkled skin, sensitive skin that responded to his touch, and he could feel the pleasure his touch created.

He pushed his finger inside, just a little. Someone groaned. Rodney wasn't sure if it had come from John in his head, or if he'd groaned out loud. Not that it mattered. John's muscles squeezed him and Rodney waited a moment before pushing deeper. John was smooth inside, warm and tight. He could feel John with his finger, and he could feel the finger too. He could feel it inside him, inside John.

Overwhelmed, he closed his eyes. Then John was there, guiding him, showing him how to touch, where to reach and caress. God, it was good. If his ass reacted to being touched like this, he'd touch himself too. Maybe it did. He'd never tried it.

Right now all he could feel was John, guiding his hands. He was caressing John and John was caressing him. The pleasure was his and it was John's.

He moaned John's name.

"I know, Rodney, I know." John sounded overwhelmed too.

Comforted, he took hold of John's cock. Gone were the slow, careful strokes. He needed to come, needed John to come, and he stroked hard and fast. A quick, sharp thrust of his hips and he let go, his body--John's body--shaking almost violently, shoulders lifting from the bed.

The shaking eased and Rodney fell back against the bed, breathing hard. John was still there, still next to him somehow. Rodney closed his eyes, focusing on the feel of John next to him.

His breathing slowed, deepening until he fell into sleep.


Rodney woke slowly, feeling lazy and content. He tried to roll over and snuggle down into the covers only to realize he couldn't make his body move. Because it wasn't his body, it was John's. "John," he said softly.

No answer. John was still asleep. Rodney wondered how he could get back to sleep. It wasn't as if he could close his eyes. They were already closed.

John stirred and Rodney could feel him slowly waking. Apparently all it took to get John to wake up like a normal person was sex. Weird sex.


"Good morning."

"Morning," John answered, stretching a little and then settling back into the bed.

Maybe they could both go back to sleep. That would be good, because then they could avoid the "morning after the really weird but good sex" awkwardness, at least for a while.

John must've been thinking the same thing, because he closed his eyes. Then his radio went off and John fumbled for it, removing it from the nightstand and pushing it into his ear. "This is Sheppard."

"John, it's Elizabeth. I would like to meet with the two of you this morning. 0800." There was just enough of a rise in her voice to indicate that the time was negotiable, but only if they really needed it to be.

John glanced at the clock. It was a little after seven. "We'll be there."

"See you then."

Rodney didn't say a word as John rose from the bed and went into the bathroom. He didn't look at the mirror, simply relieving himself and climbing into the shower. Rodney held back while John showered, trying to stay away from the feel of skin beneath John's hands, and the feel of hands on skin.

Breakfast was pancakes. John ate the first one and then silently handed control to Rodney. He systematically sliced it into rectangles with horizontal cuts and then into smaller rectangles with equally spaced vertical slices. Piling two of the rectangles onto his fork, he ate them both at once.

John snorted.

"What?" Rodney asked.

"You are organized about the weirdest things."

"Just because every piece you ate was a different size…"

"It's more spontaneous that way."

Rodney should have had a comeback for that. He wanted to have a comeback for that, but all he could think about was John spontaneously running his hands over his chest. Blindly, he reached for John's orange juice. The first time John had had some, Rodney had pitched a fit. John had listened to him for a full minute before calmly pointing out that they were in his body, not Rodney's, and his body liked citrus just fine. Rodney still hadn't drunk any of it when he was in control. His aversion was simply too deep.

But drinking orange juice was better than thinking about John naked and getting a hard-on he wouldn't be able to hide.

He could almost feel John's worried frown, but John didn't say anything, and Rodney finished their pancake without interruption.

When he was done eating he handed control back to John and they left the mess. Elizabeth was waiting for them. She rose when they entered. "John, Rodney, come in," she said with a smile.

John smiled back and sat in the chair across from her. "How are you this morning?" If Rodney had been able to roll his eyes he would have.

"Fine." Elizabeth clasped her hands and leaned forward. "How are you? Both of you?"

"We're fine." John leaned back in his chair. "Aren't we, Rodney?"

"Are you using the royal we?" Rodney asked snidely.

"Well, I do have a parasite."

"Very funny."

John smirked and Elizabeth frowned. "Forgive me for saying so, but you don't sound fine," she said.

John started to hand over control to Rodney, and everything convulsed. John's body slipped from the chair and everything went black.


The light was bright and Rodney tried to close his eyes, but he wasn't in control. He was really, really tired of waking up like this.

"Rodney?" John said softly. Rodney could hear the worry in his voice.

"John, what happened?"

"We had a seizure."

"A seizure?"

Carson leaned over them. "Rodney's awake?"

John nodded. "Tell him what you told me."

Carson gave a quick nod and started speaking. "The human body simply isn't built to sustain two human minds at the same time. There were signs of distress in yesterday's MRI. The one I ran today was worse."

"Great," Rodney muttered. Carson had been speaking in his calm, professional voice, and that was never good. "How bad is it?"

"He wants to know how bad it is," John said.

"This body cannot sustain both of you indefinitely. One of you will have to--" Carson paused, "let go."

Let go. Of course one of them would have to let go, and of course John would offer. Rodney was going to be forced to live out the rest of his life with a handsome face, a graceful body that had been made for sex, and hair that actually needed styling.

But first he was going to feel John die. He was going to feel John let go and slip away. "I'll do it," Rodney said.

"You will not," John countered.



"It's your body." And Rodney wasn't going to be the reason he gave it up.

"And as you are always telling us, Atlantis needs you."

"Here we go. The self-sacrificing hero routine."

"It's not a routine."

"Habit, then," Rodney said, determined that just once he was going to do the heroic thing, and ignoring the part of his mind that suggested maybe letting go was the cowardly thing, since it meant John was the one who was going to have to live with Rodney's death, instead of the other way around.

"I have no intention of sacrificing myself, Rodney, and I'm not letting you die either."

"And how do you propose to save us?"

"I'm not going to," John said, sounding calm and confident. If Rodney were more inclined toward fighting he'd want to hit him. "You are."

"I'll just pull a miracle out of my ass, shall I?"

"If that's where you keep them."

"Shut up," Rodney said. He couldn't pull a miracle out of his ass, but he might be able to pull one out of a Stargate.

"Shut up? I thought we were having a fight."

"We need to go to the lab."

John rose from the bed, and Carson stopped him with a hand to his chest. "Where do you think you're going, lad?"

"To the lab. Rodney had an idea."

"You should rest."

"Why? So we can die well-rested?" Rodney asked.

"Rodney had an idea," John repeated. "We've got to give him a chance to try it."

"What kind of idea?" Elizabeth asked, stepping forward. Rodney hadn't even realized she was there.

"I don't know," John admitted.

"Let them go," Elizabeth said before Rodney could tell John to let him take over and explain. Carson stepped back.


Zelenka understood almost immediately. It took a couple of hours but they were able to create a workable interface between the dart and the gate's rematerialization system.

"We should test it first," Zelenka said.

Rodney shook his head. "There isn't enough time."

Zelenka frowned. "It wouldn't take that long."

"There isn't enough time," Rodney repeated. He had been fighting it all afternoon, the urge to let go, to just fade away.

"Rodney," John said, worry in his tone.

"I'm fine."

"I thought you said there wasn't time," Radek said.

"There isn't," Rodney said with a shake of his head. "Just get it ready." He walked over to stand in front of the dart.

"If this doesn't work…" John said.

"It'll work," Rodney said tightly. If it didn't it would probably kill them both, and he wasn't going to think about that.

"If it doesn't…"

"It will," Rodney insisted, because he wasn't going to let John die and he knew John wouldn't let him die. Since they were either both going to live or both going to die, and neither of them would let the other die, that meant they were both going to live. It was simple and logical, and he just needed Radek to start the damn thing before his faith in logic failed.

"If it doesn't…" John said again.


"I'm just saying that if it doesn't, I..." John's voice trailed off.

"Yeah," Rodney agreed and drew in a deep breath, "yeah." He nodded at Radek, "Do it."


Bright lights and Rodney turned his head, trying to get away from them.

"How are you feeling?" Carson asked, and everything came rushing back.

He was alive and in his own body. His own slightly clumsy, citrus allergic, not made for sex body. Relief flooding him, he tried to sit up, but Carson's hand on his shoulder stopped him. "John?" he asked, certain that if he'd made it John had made it, even if the knot in his stomach didn't share his certainty.

"He's fine. Still asleep, but he's going to be fine."

"Where? Can I see him?"

"He's right over there." Carson looked at the bed to his right and Rodney followed his gaze. John was lying there, looking whole and handsome, and just whole.

Rodney relaxed into the bed, the knot slowly unwinding.

Elizabeth had been sitting near the foot of John's bed and she rose, coming to stand at Rodney's bedside. "You did good, Rodney."

"Of course I did."

"His ego is intact," Zelenka said from the foot of his bed.

"Listen, Radek, you did good work. The idea was mine, but you were… helpful."

"He means, 'thank you,'" John said, his voice pleasantly strong, if a bit sleepy. Elizabeth and Carson immediately went to his side, Carson asking questions and checking monitors.

Rodney closed his eyes and listened.


Carson had released Rodney, taking John in for another MRI, "just to be on the safe side. Not that I expect to find anything, you understand."

Rodney had come back to his quarters. He was home. In his own body and his own space, and he didn't have the slightest idea what to do. He didn't want to sleep, or work. At loose ends, he walked around his quarters, scooping up some laundry from the floor and tossing it into the hamper.

He knew who the knock was as soon as he heard it.

John looked nervous, which, oddly, didn't make Rodney feel better. He took a step back and John stepped into the room. "I thought maybe we should…" John said.

"What did Carson say?" Rodney asked at the same time.

"Fine," John said, "I'm fine."

"We probably should," Rodney said.

Conversational gambits evidently exhausted, they stood too close together, carefully not making eye contact.

Finally, Rodney gestured at the couch. "Do you want to sit?"


Rodney led the way, scooping up a laptop and placing it on the low table in front of the couch before sitting. John sat next to him, leaning forward and resting his elbows on his knees, giving Rodney a fine view of the back of his head.

After a couple of minutes, Rodney leaned forward, too.

"So," John said.

Rodney waited for him to say something else for a moment, then added his own "so."

"We should talk, right?"

"Right," Rodney said, "because that's what adults do, and we're adults, and adults talk."

"If A then B."

Rodney nodded. "Exactly."

"So," John said again.

"That was…" Rodney added.

"Weird," John finished. "But, you know, good weird. At least I thought it was good weird."

"I thought it was good weird, too," Rodney said hurriedly, before John could think that he hadn't thought it was good weird. "Sex, sex is…" Rodney paused. "We did have sex."

John rubbed his hands on his pants. "I'm pretty sure."

Rodney watched John's hands as they moved over his thighs. He swallowed. "So."

"Now we..." John turned toward him and Rodney could feel John's eyes on the side of his face.

Rodney shifted, leaning back and returning John's gaze. His eyes were bright, the way they usually got when someone was shooting at them. Rodney leaned toward him, because John was looking at him with bright eyes and those curvy lips were slightly parted. John leaned too. For one fraction of a second Rodney was convinced that something would happen, that a radio would go off, or someone would knock on the door, but no one did. Their lips met. John's lips were firmer than they looked, but Rodney liked that. He pressed closer, bringing a hand up to rest on John's neck.

Kissing John was easy. Rodney probably should have found that surprising, but he didn't.

They parted and Rodney stared at him. Kissing John was easy, but not kissing John was kind of awkward. Then John smiled.

He'd missed John's smile, and he smiled back.

"That wasn't weird," John said.

"But it was good."

John nodded and kissed him again.


There was a furnace pressed against his back, making it too hot to sleep comfortably, and Rodney tried to move away from it. He couldn't, and the struggle pulled him further toward wakefulness. Realizing what the heat was, Rodney stopped moving and opened his eyes.

John's arm was locked tight around his chest and John was pressed up against his back. No wonder the man could eat his body weight and not gain an ounce. He apparently burned it all off as heat.

He'd noticed that John was warm earlier, of course, but they'd been in the middle of having really good, not weird sex.

Rodney's own arm was hanging off the bed, his fingers brushing the floor. He pulled it back and rested it on top of John's. Kicking at the covers, he managed to free his feet, and he took a moment to enjoy the cool air flowing over them before closing his eyes.

He needed to go back to sleep because in a few hours it would be time to wake up, and Rodney knew exactly how he wanted to wake up. Sex in a shared body was nice once in a while but a blow-job was better, and he was pretty sure John would agree with him.

Humming slightly to himself, Rodney drifted off to sleep.