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That Pon Farr Thing


Title: That Pon Farr Thing

Author: chelle

Author's email:

Author's URL:

Fandom: Atlantis

Archive: Ask first

Pairing: John/Rodney

Rating: NC 17

AN: Thank you to Grrrl and Danvers for their criticism and encouragement, and to jenlev for listening.

Intent on getting to the infirmary, Rodney dodged around Lt. Miller. Radio calls from Beckett came in two types: annoying and crisis. There wasn't any in between. Since Beckett hadn't called to harass him about his blood pressure or a missed physical, that meant there was a crisis.

Probably involving Colonel Sheppard.

Ronon and Teyla were standing in the infirmary, staring at one of the curtained rooms--taking probably out of the equation.

"What happened?" Rodney asked, breathing more heavily than usual after his jog through Atlantis.

"Sheppard collapsed while we were sparring," Ronon said.

Rodney glared at him. Ronon needed to recognize that not everyone had his strength. Rodney was about to tell him so, when Teyla moved between them. "I do not believe Colonel Sheppard was injured as a result of their sparring. He began to tremble violently and then fell to the floor."

Rodney frowned. "He had a seizure?"

"Rodney," Carson said, appearing from between two of the curtains. "Come here."

Ronon forgotten, Rodney followed Carson into the curtained room. John was sitting hunched over in the infirmary bed, arms wrapped tightly around himself, shaking violently.

"Colonel?" Reaching out he rested a hand on John's shoulder. He could feel John shaking beneath his hand, and he instinctively moved his fingers back and forth where they touched skin just above John's collar. "Colonel?" When John didn't answer, he looked up at Carson.

"Colonel Sheppard began shaking violently about fifteen minutes ago," Carson said.

"Can't you stop this?" Rodney asked. Beneath his hand, it felt like John didn't have control of a single muscle in his entire body.

"I could give him some intravenous valium and knock him out, but I'd rather not do that since we aren't sure of the cause."

"You weren't exposed to any nanoviruses or anything were you?" Rodney asked John. Because that could be bad, very bad, for all of them.

"Destroyed," John answered, pausing between each syllable, his voice shaking. He leaned against Rodney as though that single word had left him drained.

Rodney slid his hand from John's hand to the back of his neck, without conscious thought. "Right, of course, the blast would have destroyed them all. Unless they were shielded. You and Zelenka didn't break through any lead shields when you were out exploring, did you? No, no, you would have told me if you had."

"I'd like you to stay with him," Carson said. "We're a bit shorthanded at the moment, with everyone on MX8-527."

"Of course." Rodney said, concentrating on the feel of John beneath his palm as though he could make the shaking stop by thinking about it. Feeling John shake was more than a little disturbing, but then John being injured was always disturbing. Rodney thought it was probably because he relied on John to keep him safe.

"How are you feeling?" Carson asked.

"Weird, also anxious," Rodney answered.

Carson gave him one of those looks.

"Sorry," Rodney muttered and Carson looked down at John.


"Better." This time there weren't any pauses between the syllables.

"Do you think it's eased enough for me to draw blood?"

John sat up, no longer leaning on Rodney, but Rodney left his hand where it was. He frowned, looking down at his still trembling arms. "Maybe."

"Hold out your arm," Carson said.

"And let the bloodletting begin," Rodney whispered, drawing a tiny smile from John, who was now trembling only slightly. He watched as Carson tied a tourniquet around John's arm and then patted the area just above his elbow, looking for a vein. Carson slid the needle into John's arm and filled three vials.

Pressing a piece of cotton to John's arm, Carson told him to bend it and press on the cotton. Then he turned away and pulled a set of scrubs out of a drawer. "Now that the shaking has stopped, I'd like you to put these on."

"Why?" Rodney asked.

"Because it will be easier to examine him."

"You think you're going to learn what caused the seizure by palpating his stomach? Shouldn't you be doing an MRI or something?"

"Does it have to be him?" Carson asked John. "Teyla and Ronon are both right outside. I'm sure either of them would be happy to keep you company."

"Sorry, Doc," John said with an almost rueful expression.

With a shake of his head, Carson left.

"Sorry to drag you into this," John said, lifting the cotton and checking his arm.

"I'm happy to help," Rodney said. Which he was, even if there wasn't anything he could actually do. "Just as long as you aren't contagious."

"If I am, I'm sure it's too late for you."

"Probably," Rodney agreed, and the weird thing was that he was okay with that. Mostly.

John eyed the scrubs. "I should probably change."

Rodney shrugged, and John stood, moving out of touching range. Rodney's hand dropped to his side. John pulled his t-shirt over his head and Rodney looked away from the long stretch of John's back.

"Done," John said, climbing back onto the bed. Rodney sat next to him, one leg on the bed and one on the floor.

Feeling John shake had been unsettling. He could imagine how unsettled John was feeling. "You okay?"

"Sure." John wrapped his arms around himself. "Why wouldn't I be?"

"Because you were shaking like a leaf and we have no idea why or how to stop it."

"That's comforting."

Rodney winced. "Sorry. I'm not very good at this."

"It's not like I'm dying, Rodney."

"No, of course not. No one said you were." John was absolutely not dying. Rodney wouldn't allow it.

"I'm sure Beckett will figure this out, and in the meantime we'll just have to get comfortable."

Rodney stood. "Maybe you should lie down. That way if you start shaking again, you'll be horizontal."

John gave him an odd look, but he shifted into the middle of the bed and settled back against the pillow.

Rodney pulled up the railing on the infirmary bed and walked around to the other side.

"What are you doing?" John asked.

"Making sure you don't fall out."

"I'm not going to fall out of bed."

"Not with the railings up, no." He locked the second one into place.

John glared at him.

"Look," Rodney said, "Teyla said you collapsed. The last thing we need is for you to roll out of bed and hit your head."

"Come closer," John said.

Rodney leaned over the bed and John hit the back of his head. "Hey," Rodney protested, rubbing the back of his head even though it hadn't hurt. "Keep that up and I'll send in Ronon." Although he figured if John was feeling well enough to tease him then that had to be a good sign. Unless he was teasing Rodney just to make it seem like everything was all right. Which was the more likely option, since John was most definitely not all right.

Fortunately, Carson entered pushing a cart loaded with equipment, and distracted Rodney from his thoughts. "Glad to see you're all settled," he said, his eyes landing on the railings.

"Rodney's worried I might fall out of bed," John said, shooting Rodney a look.

Rodney crossed his arms. "A little bit of caution never hurt anyone. Speaking of which…"

"I'll have the blood results in an hour or so," Carson answered, maneuvering the cart next to the head of the bed. "I want to put these electrodes on you so that if you have another seizure we'll be able to monitor what's happening." He rubbed some gel onto the bottom of an electrode.

John looked from the electrode to Rodney.

"It's just an EEG," Rodney said. "It monitors electrical activity in your brain."

"There's electrical activity in your brain?" John asked as Carson tilted his head to the side with one hand and pressed an electrode to a place just above John's ear with the other.

"Quite a bit," Carson answered.

"How many of those things are you going to glue to my head?" John asked.

"About 20."

John looked at Rodney, who patted his hand.


"How you feeling, Medusa?" Rodney asked.

Tilting his head to the side, John glared at him. "Bored."

"What's 4,329 times 764?"

"Three million, three-hundred seven thousand, three hundred and fifty-six."

"You're a freak, you know that?"

"You're entertained by my freakishness, so what does that make you?" John countered.

Lowering the railing, Rodney perched on the side of the bed. "Easily entertained."

"Very--" John broke off as he began trembling.

"Carson," Rodney yelled, rushing out into the center of the infirmary. "It's happening again."

Seeing Carson come out of the lab and start toward them, Rodney went back to John's bedside. "John?"

"Rodney." John even sounded shaky.

"Colonel," Carson said. "How are you feeling?"

"Isn't it obvious?" Rodney said.

"Shaky," John said.

"Told you it was obvious," Rodney said to Carson who pointedly turned his back and examined the screen on the EEG. The tremors weren't easing. Needing to do something, Rodney wrapped his hand around John's, and began patting John's arm with his other hand.

Carson turned around. "How long have you been touching the Colonel?"

Rodney let go. "Just a minute."

"Don't let go," Carson said.

Rodney took John's hand again.

Carson looked back at the machine. "Keep touching him."

Gazing down at John, Rodney resumed patting his arm. It was kind of awkward, so he tried stroking instead. That was weird too, but he did it anyway.

"Any better?" Carson asked turning to look at John.

"The tremors are easing," Rodney said.

Carson ignored him continuing to focus on John.

"Yeah," John said, "it's getting better."

"You think my touching him is helping?" Rodney asked.

Moving to stand next to the bed, Carson nodded. "That's what it looks like on the EEG. There was a marked change when you touched him. And the earlier seizure eased after you came in and rested your hand on the colonel."

Rodney frowned. "I've never heard of a seizure getting better through touching."

"I haven't either, but that doesn't mean it can't happen."

"I'm just glad it's over," John said.

"I'm sure you are," Carson said, smiling at him. "I was on my way to tell you that we've got the initial results on the blood work. Your white blood count is normal, so this probably isn't being caused by an infection. Which we pretty much knew, since you weren't running a fever."

"What about nanoviruses?" Rodney asked.

"There isn't any sign of those, either."

"You're sure?"

"Yes, Rodney."

"Because if he starts hallucinating and drops dead in a few hours…"

"He won't," Carson insisted.

Rodney crossed his arms in front of his chest. "He hadn't better."

John frowned at him. "I thought we'd agreed that I destroyed all of the nanoviruses?"

"I'm just being cautious," Rodney said.

"You mean worrying over nothing," John answered, squeezing lightly with the hand Rodney was still holding.

"May I resume the examination now?" Carson asked.

Rodney nodded.

"Thank you." Shifting his attention to John, Carson said, "Usually when adults begin having seizures it's the result of head trauma. You haven't had any nasty bumps you didn't tell me about, have you?"

John shook his head. "No."

"Okay. There are certain chemicals that often appear in the blood following a seizure. I want to draw some more blood and check for those, and examine the EEG results. Then we can talk about the next step."

"I'll stay with him," Rodney said.

"Good. Call me if he begins to seize again," he said to Rodney, then left, leaving them alone in the curtained room.

Rodney pulled a chair up next to the bed and sat. "So what's 12,037 times 5,982?"

John sighed. "Seventy-two million, five thousand, three hundred and thirty-four."

He drifted off after just two more problems, which made perfect sense to Rodney. Just watching those seizures had made him tired. Stretching out in the chair, he looked at the bed and the man sleeping in it. Hospital beds could make anyone look vulnerable and the wires coming off of John's head didn't help. He'd seen John vulnerable before, but it was always disconcerting, doing odd things to Rodney's insides.

Elizabeth came in, and Rodney sat up straight. "How is he?" she asked softly, stopping next to Rodney's chair.


"Carson said he had a second seizure."

Rodney nodded. "Carson thinks touching helps, which at least gives us a way to stop them."

"It's something." Elizabeth shifted her gaze from the bed to Rodney. "I'm sure he'll find a way to fix it."

"Since you're here, I'm going to run to my office and get my laptop, maybe pickup his book for when he wakes up."

"You're a good friend, Rodney."

Having nothing to say to that, he started to leave.

"By the way," Elizabeth added, just before he passed between the curtains, "Teyla and Ronon left with Major Lorne. They didn't want to go, but I convinced them that there wasn't anything they could do for Colonel Sheppard here."

She must've done some pretty fast talking, or maybe just ordered them to go. Rodney didn't ask which. Elizabeth was right, of course, there wasn't anything they could do here, and the mission with Lorne's team had been planned two weeks ago. "I'll be right back," he said.


John was awake when he returned. Awake and shaking. Abandoning his laptop on the chair, Rodney moved past Elizabeth to John's side. Carson and Elizabeth were each holding a hand, but it didn't seem to be making any difference. Rodney placed a hand on John's arm. John stared up at him with wide eyes, and Rodney could have sworn there was fear in them.

Seeing John's fear made Rodney's insides clench. He stroked John's arm the way he had earlier, willing it to help. John didn't look comforted. With his other hand, Rodney stroked John's forehead. He was pretty sure the shaking was starting to slow. He glanced up at Carson, who was looking over at the EEG. "There, it's easing, right?" he said to John. "I can feel the difference."

"I hate this," John muttered, but his voice wasn't shaking and Rodney took that as a good sign.

"If it it's any comfort, I'm not that fond of it," Rodney said.

"I thought touch was supposed to help?" Elizabeth asked.

Carson had let go of John's hand to study the EEG, and he turned back toward the bed. "Rodney's touch did. Yours and mine had no effect."

"Any idea why?"

"None," Carson said, shaking his head. "It's possible the colonel has imprinted on Rodney in some way."

"Imprinted?" Rodney repeated. "He's not a duckling."

"He's also in the room," John said.

"Sorry, Colonel," Carson said. "Rodney, would you hold out your arm?"

Sighing, Rodney complied.


"You don’t have to stay with me," John said. "Carson can call you if I start seizing again."

"I'm staying."

"You should really get some sleep."

"You'd stay if our positions were reversed," Rodney said, placing his dinner tray next to John's and pushing the cart they were on out of the way.

"No, I wouldn't."

"Yes, you would." Rodney picked up John's book and held it out to him. "Here. Now shut up and read."

"You should have gone to med school with that charming bedside manner."

Rodney picked up his laptop and returned to his chair. "I'm nice to sick people."

"Only if they're nice to you first."

"I don’t see any reason to treat them differently from healthy people."

Shaking his head, John opened his book. Rodney went to work.

He was partway through Weaver's report on the new interface they were constructing between their computers and the Ancient mainframe when he had an idea. "Maybe you're experiencing some sort of Ancient pon farr."

"I am not experiencing pon farr," John answered without even looking at him.

"But the touching…"

"Do I look fourteen to you?" John asked. "Besides it'd be kind of pointless to have me experience pon farr with you, wouldn't it? It's not like we can reproduce."

"Good point," Rodney said and went back to his report.

When John fell asleep a couple of hours later, Rodney eased his book from his hands and marked his page, before going back to work. A couple of hours after that, Carson came in pushing a small bed. Rodney's mumbled "thanks" was genuine, and he crawled almost immediately onto it and closed his eyes.

He was awakened by the sound of John calling his name, and stumbled from the bed to John's bedside. John was seizing again, and Rodney immediately clasped John's hand in his. "I'll get Beckett."

John shook his head. "Can't do anything." The words were slightly stuttered.

It was a good point. All Beckett would do was look at the EEG and then draw blood. But John's trembling wasn't easing.

"Make it stop."

He was already touching John, but maybe if he touched more. Letting go of John's hand, he lowered the railing and got onto the bed. Pressing himself against John's side, he slid one hand under John's scrubs onto his stomach. Moving it in small circles, he asked, "Better?"

Resting his hand on Rodney's arm, John nodded once. Feeling John's hand shake where it was curled around his biceps, Rodney pressed a little closer. "It'll be okay," he whispered, even though he had no idea if it would be.

Gradually, the shaking eased. Rodney stayed where he was. Feeling John's breathing deepen, he closed his eyes.


"Good morning," Carson said brightly, and Rodney glared at him, gratified that John was glaring too. Even if his face was mere inches from Rodney's, and Rodney's hand was resting on his stomach. "How are you feeling?"

"My back is stiff," Rodney said, sitting up.

"Hungry," John said.

"Yeah, I'm hungry too," Rodney said and pointed at John's stomach.

Carson rested his hands on the railing that was still up. "It looks like you had a seizure last night."

"Just the one," John said.

"And that's when Rodney crawled into bed with you?"

Rodney had turned his back to Carson and John, intending to get out of the bed. He turned back. "Hey, I did not… He needed me." Lifting his chin, he added, "Besides, I don't see why it matters."

"We know that physical contact with you eases the seizures. I wonder if it might help prevent them as well."

It was an interesting thought. The previous night had been the longest amount of time John had gone without a seizure since the whole thing had started. Rodney considered the idea as he got out of the bed.

"Can we take this stuff off now? My head is starting to itch, and I'd love a shower." John tugged on his hair.

Carson looked at the machine, clearly reluctant.

"What is it going to tell you that it hasn't already?" Rodney asked. "You've got records of three full seizures."

"All right," Carson agreed. "I'll take it off for now."

"Thank you," John said. Looking at Rodney, he added, "You should shower too."

"What a good suggestion. Thank you. Otherwise I might have spent the whole day in the clothes I wore yesterday."

"Glad to help."

"I'll go shower and snag us some breakfast. Call me if anything happens."

He showered quickly and practically jogged to the mess, but John still said, "There you are" when Rodney entered the infirmary as if Rodney had been gone for hours.

Rodney held up the tray. "I brought food."

"Eat fast. Beckett says I can shower in my own quarters if you come with me."

"Now I'm supposed to watch you shower?" Rodney was determined to draw the line at cuddling.

"You don't have to watch. Just be within shouting distance in case something happens."

"I can do that," Rodney said, sitting on the edge of the bed and placing the tray between them.


John didn't have a seizure in the shower, fortunately. Nor did he have one in the lab or the jumper bay when they decided to check in on the new maintenance teams. They also took a swing through the gate room, visited with Elizabeth, and made Cadman review all the duty rosters for the next two weeks.

Rodney wasn't entirely convinced Carson would approve of their little tour, but he went along with it because John's pout wasn't a pretty thing. "You never actually work, do you?" Rodney said as they walked. "You just spend your days going from one part of the city to another, annoying everyone in your path."

"It's called supervising, Rodney."

"Uh-huh." Although the Cadman bits had been fun, not that Rodney would ever admit that to John.

"Besides, you liked picking on Cadman."

Rodney was about to argue the point when John said, "Oh, shit," and leaned up against the wall.

Trying to be as unobtrusive as possible, Rodney placed a hand on John's arm, glancing around them to see if anyone was looking. The hallway was empty. Good, he really didn't want to explain that the colonel needed Rodney to touch him. There was a closet about ten feet away, maybe they could wait there for Carson.

John doubled over.

"Wait, wait." Rodney slid an arm around his waist. "Here, just…" He began guiding John toward the closet, struggling to hold him upright. "I know you can do it. Just a couple more feet."

They reached the door, and Rodney slammed his hand onto the door control, quickly pulling John inside.

John collapsed against him, and Rodney wrapped his arms around him, slipping his hands up under John's shirt. John's own arms were tight around Rodney and he buried his face in Rodney's neck.

"Want me to call Beckett?" Rodney asked quietly.

He felt John shake his head.

"Okay." He rubbed John's back with one hand, keeping the other wrapped tightly around his waist. John's entire body was shaking; Rodney wasn't sure how he was managing to stay upright, even with the way he was leaning into Rodney.

Concentrating on the skin beneath his hands, he tried to soothe John's tremors with slow strokes up and down the length of his back.

The tremors slowly let up, finally stopping altogether, but Rodney found himself reluctant to let go. John didn't move either, and Rodney could feel John's breath on his skin. "We should go see Carson."

"Yeah," John said, drawing back. "I guess we should."

Carson started toward them as soon as they entered the infirmary. "Problem?"

"I had another one," John said.

Carson's eyes flicked to Rodney and then back. "Let's take a look."

They followed him into the same area where John had spent the night. Rodney watched as Carson examined John, shining a light in his eyes, and checking all the usual things--blood pressure, pulse, temperature. "When was the last time you two touched?"

"Before the seizure?" John asked.

Carson nodded.

"This morning when you woke us up," John said, and Rodney squirmed a little at the reminder.

John was sitting on the edge of the bed with Carson on a stool in front of him. "Maybe you should touch more often," Carson said.

"Why?" Rodney asked, moving closer to the bed.

"I've been thinking about the possibility of prevention. Something in your skin is stopping the seizures."

John glanced at him quickly. "Okay," Rodney said.

"Maybe if the colonel is exposed to enough of whatever it is in your skin that stops the seizures, he won't have them at all."

"We can try it, I suppose," Rodney said, not quite looking at John, who wasn't looking at him.

"Good." Carson stood. "I'd like to draw some more blood, and I want you to stay here for a while, Colonel."

"Have you found anything?" John asked.

"Between the blood work and the EEG, we've eliminated all the usual causes of seizures. Now we just have to determine what is causing them." Patting John on the shoulder, he reached for the tourniquet.

After surrendering another pint of blood, they sat side by side on the edge of the bed. Touch John. Rodney could do that. After all he'd been doing it on and off for the past day.

He'd even done it all night.

"I think I'll go get my laptop," Rodney said.

"Get my book, too, would you?" John asked.

"Sure." Rodney stood. "I'll be right back."


John was still sitting on the bed when Rodney returned. Handing John his book, Rodney sat beside him and opened up his laptop. As it began to boot, he reached over and placed a hand on John's arm.

John didn't say a word.


"This isn't working," Rodney said. "I can't work with one hand on you." He was sitting cross-legged on John's infirmary bed, hunched over his laptop, his left hand resting on John while he typed.

"Just a sec," John said and stripped his shirt off. "Now you."

Rodney forced his eyes away from John's chest. "Why?"

"Because then we can press our sides together and you won't have to rest your hand on my arm."

"Oh, right, good thinking." Rodney pulled his shirt over his head and tossed it onto the closest chair.

John pressed up against him so that their shoulders were together. With John's warmth sinking into him, Rodney resumed working.

When Rodney stretched, trying to get out the knots in his muscles created by hunching over, John said, "Here." Picking up the controls, he adjusted the bed so that they could lean back and Rodney could still work. Then he pulled the blanket up and Rodney had to lift his laptop while John settled the blanket over them. "You cold?" Rodney asked.

"A little." John picked up his book and resumed reading, his shoulder pressing comfortably into Rodney's.

Not long afterwards, he felt a weight on his shoulder. John was drifting off. Not letting himself think too much about it, he slid an arm around John's shoulders. John turned toward him, settling into Rodney's side with his head now more on Rodney's chest than his shoulder.

Rodney tried to work one-handed, but gave up after a few minutes. It had been a long time since anyone had slept in his arms. He'd forgotten how nice it felt. And it wasn't as though he was taking advantage. He was supposed to touch John. Holding him was simply the most efficient way to do that. Closing his eyes, he concentrated on the feel of John resting against him, warm and heavy.

If he liked it, that was no one's business but his.


Rodney had no idea what woke him, but when he opened his eyes, Teyla and Ronon were standing at the foot of the bed, staring at them.

"Go back to sleep," Teyla said. "We did not mean to intrude. We just wanted to make sure the colonel was okay."

"And since he appears to be…" Ronon added, and Rodney was pretty sure there was amusement in his voice. It was often be hard to tell with Ronon.

Rodney shifted slightly. His arm was getting numb. "This isn't what it looks like. Well, it is, but it isn't. We're not. He just needs me to touch him."

"Touch him?" Teyla asked.

John stirred beside him. "Helps with the seizure things," he answered, yawning and sitting up. "What time is it?"

Rodney was shaking his arm, trying to get the numbness out, and he stopped to look at his watch. "6:30."

"How was the mission?" John asked, apparently unconcerned that their teammates had found them cuddling.

"Fine," Ronon answered.

"We were able to secure a trade agreement," Teyla said.

"For?" Rodney asked.

"Beans," Ronon said.

"Does anyone in this galaxy grow something other than beans?"

John squeezed his shoulder. "Speaking of beans, think Beckett will let us have some dinner? I'd like to get out of here." John stood. "I feel fine now. Maybe that whole preventative touching thing is working."

Which meant they'd have to do more of it. Rodney wasn't going to think about that. "Since you seem to be able to survive without me, I'm going to the bathroom. Be back in a minute."

John nodded.

The bathroom was on the far side of the infirmary, and he would have jogged there if it wouldn't have jarred his bladder. John had been resting on the damn thing.

Carson was there when Rodney got back to John's curtained room, looking in John's throat as if it was going to let him see what had caused the seizure. "You seem fine," Carson said.

"I feel fine," John answered.

"I'd like to keep you overnight again. We still don't know what's causing the seizures, and whenever I let you out, you take your time coming back."

John looked unhappy but he didn't argue. Rodney imagined that losing control like that was freaking him out at least a little. It would have freaked Rodney out.

"I'll get us both some dinner," Rodney offered. He needed to get away for a few minutes, clear his head of the feel of John.

He turned to go, but Ronon stopped him, holding out his shirt.

"Thanks," Rodney said, pulling it on.

He was just over half-way to the mess when Teyla radioed asking him to return to the infirmary. He ran.

John was sitting in the bed shaking violently. The others were surrounding him. Pushing past them, he pulled John against him, sliding one hand up and down John's bare back. John reached for him, his hands going under Rodney's shirt as he wrapped his arms around Rodney's waist and leaned against his chest.

The shaking began to subside. Rodney looked up at Carson. "This has to stop."

"We're doing our best, Rodney."

"Do more."

"Getting angry with Dr. Beckett will not help," Teyla said. "Colonel? How are you feeling?"

"As cuddly as Rodney is, I'd really rather this stopped," John said, his cheek still resting on Rodney's chest.

"I can understand that," Ronon said.

Ignoring him, Rodney rubbed slow circles in the center of John's back.

"I'll have dinner brought in," Carson said, clearly trying to be supportive. "And I'll arrange a more private place for you to spend the night."

"Why can't we go back to my quarters?" John asked, lifting his head from Rodney's chest. "It's not like I'll be alone, and Rodney can call you if anything happens."

Carson frowned.

"It would be more private," Teyla said, gently reminding them all that having word get around that the chief military officer was having seizures which could only be eased by cuddling with the chief scientist would not be a good thing.

"All right, but tonight I want you to call me if anything happens."

"We will," John said.

"Any chance we can get a bigger bed?" Rodney asked, thinking about how his back had felt that morning. "There is no way two adult men can sleep in one of those little beds without someone getting hurt, and if you want us to stay in physical contact..."

"We'll take care of it," Ronon said.

"We'll be back soon," Teyla said, and they turned to go.

"And I'll see about that food," Carson said before following them out.

"I'm sorry I got you into this," John said, resting his forehead on Rodney's chest.

Rodney patted his shoulder with one hand and rubbed the center of his back with the other. "We don't even know how you got me into this, or if."

"I asked for you. Beckett wanted me to choose someone to stay with me while he ran the tests. I picked you."

"Oh, well," Rodney said, his chest puffing slightly at the thought that John had wanted him around. "I'm flattered, and if when this is over you wanted to spread the word among some of the women that I'm cuddly…"

John chuckled, creating an odd sensation in Rodney's chest. "I suppose you do need all of the help you can get."


"I can't sleep," John said.

"Yes, I noticed." Ronon and Teyla had managed to get a larger bed moved into John's quarters, but it wasn't that big. Plus, they were lying with their bare shoulders pressed together.

"I'm not tired. Spending the whole day in bed just…"

"You did nap," Rodney said. "What do you usually do when you can't sleep?"

"Jerk off."

"I should have guessed."

"What do you do?" John turned to look at him. "Invent algorithms for counting sheep? Calculate pi?"

No way was Rodney admitting the algorithm thing. "Pi."

"Figures." John was quiet for a moment. "I tried counting sheep once. I had these fluffy little sheep running up to a fence and jumping over."

"Did it work?" If it had worked Rodney was going to suggest he try it again.

"I forgot to have them run away when they landed on the other side and they started piling up."

Rodney burst out laughing.

"Then I started laughing," John said, just managing to get the words out as he began to laugh too.

Which made Rodney laugh harder, and he rolled onto his side, leaning into John, both of them shaking. "Only you," Rodney managed to choke out.

"I blame Sesame Street," John finally managed gasping as his laughter subsided. Rodney's was fading too. They were so close they were breathing one another's air. "Ernie used to count sheep."

Rodney nodded. "When in doubt, blame muppets."

John grinned at him. "Exactly."

John's grins were contagious and Rodney couldn't help but grin back. His leg had somehow ended up between John's and he could feel John's thighs on either side of his own. John's upper body was twisted toward him, leaving their faces mere inches apart. Rodney's grin faded as his attention became focused on the feel of John's warmth seeping into him.

"You should sleep," John said softly.

"Right." Rodney slid his leg out from between John's. Then he turned over onto his other side. John rolled over too, pressing their backs together.

Rodney swallowed and closed his eyes.

He had no idea how much time he actually spent asleep, but he woke gradually to a still-dark room in a bed that wasn't his. It took him a moment to remember where he was and why. Then he realized he could feel movement. John's arm was moving and he could hear the hushed brush of flesh on flesh.

John was jerking off.

John was touching himself, stroking his own cock, and Rodney could hear it, could feel the motions of John's arm. Closing his eyes, he began calculating pi. He managed ten places before giving up.

John stopped and Rodney let out a breath. Maybe now he could get back to sleep.

"Rodney, you awake?" John whispered.


"Oh." John paused. "Sorry."

"It's okay."

"I couldn't sleep," John said quietly. He actually sounded embarrassed.

"And we know how well counting sheep works for you."

John chuckled but it sounded forced.

They lay there, backs pressed together, neither of them moving. Rodney could feel John's breathing. He tried to force his mind away from the idea of John touching himself. It wasn't working. "Did you finish?" he asked, because if John had maybe he could sleep.


"I can go into the bathroom and you can… take care of things."

John didn't answer for a long moment. "It's okay."

"It's not a problem. I could take care of things too, and then maybe we can both get some sleep."

"You have things to take care of?" John asked carefully.

"I woke up to the sounds of someone masturbating. Yes, I have things to take care of."

"We could take care of things together," John suggested.

The suggestion that John might touch his cock was enough to make Rodney's harden even further. "How together?"

"We could each take care of the thing we need to take care of only in the same room."

"Oh." Rodney tried to consider the merits of John's suggestion, but he couldn't seem to stop his mind from going in circles of John, cock, touching, cock, John.

"You kind of get used to it when you share a room with a bunch of men."

"We could do that," Rodney said, deciding he might as well do it since he couldn't seem to think about it.

Rodney slid his hand into his boxers and closed it around his cock. He was damned hard.

"Ready?" John asked.

Ready? Like jerking off in the same bed with a male friend was something you could be ready for. "Is there a countdown too?" Rodney asked.

"If you want there to be."

"Let's just get started."


Rodney felt John's arm move. John was stroking his cock, knowing that Rodney could feel him move. He could almost picture it--John's bare chest, his cock full with arousal, his hand, the flex of his arm muscles.

"Rodney." John nudged Rodney's back with his elbow.

"Sorry." He stroked himself from base to head. It felt odd. He did it again, but all he could think about was John listening, knowing what he was doing, feeling the motions of his arm.

He tried to match his movements to John's; maybe that would help, make him feel less self-conscious.

It wasn't working and his hand slowed, finally stopping altogether.

A few moments later John stopped. "Rodney?"

"I'm just not much of an exhibitionist."

John turned over and Rodney felt John's cock brush his ass through both sets of boxers. "Want help?"

Rodney tried to think rationally about that, but he couldn’t get past the idea of John's hand on his cock. "Sure."

John edged closer until he was snug against Rodney's back, his cock resting in the space between Rodney's cheeks. Rodney didn't have time to think about that because John wrapped an arm around his waist. His hand slid from Rodney's stomach down into his boxers and curled around Rodney's cock just above Rodney's hand. Biting back a groan, Rodney pulled his hand out of the way.

Long, easy strokes up the whole length of his cock, Rodney wondered if that was how John touched himself. No one had touched him like this in a long time and the feel of a hand that wasn't his on his cock was incredible. Closing his eyes, Rodney let himself feel it, John's hand touching him and John pressed tightly against his back.

There was something missing.

"Wait, wait," Rodney said and John stopped. He moved far enough away from John that he could turn over onto his other side, facing John. Reaching into John's boxers, he took John in hand.

"Good idea."

"I thought so." He tried to stroke but John's boxers didn't seem to be big enough for both John's cock and Rodney's hand. "Can you take these off?"

John's answer was to wiggle out of them, and the sight of John's hips moving back and forth and up and down was enough to make Rodney swallow hard. Pulling his boxers over his feet, John gave him a surprisingly serious smile. "You too."

Rodney lay back and lifted his hips, pushing his boxers down. Naked, he returned to his side and found himself face to face with John. John's hand closed around his cock and Rodney gasped, which he was pretty sure was against etiquette in a situation like this, but John only smiled more broadly.

Remembering why he'd rolled over, Rodney reached for John's cock. Circling it with his fist, he gave it a slow stroke. It wasn't that different from his own. Warm and solid, John's cock felt good in his hand. It felt like John, which made perfect sense in a John Sheppardish sort of way.

John had already found a rhythm, a little slower than before but still good. Rodney tried to match it, succeeding after a few strokes.

They looked surprisingly hot together--two cocks, two hands, moving in concert. He wanted to rub his cock against John's, wanted to rub all of him against all of John.

But he didn't, instead he stared at their hands and tried not to get so overwhelmed by the feel of John's hand on him that he lost the rhythm of stroking John.

John started moving a little faster and Rodney copied him. Then John groaned, a low, needy sound, his hand stilling, and a moment later John's cock pulsed in Rodney's hand. Warm fluid on his stomach and Rodney started stroking again, slower this time, and lifted his eyes to John's face. With his lips parted and his eyes unfocused, John looked vulnerable, exposed in a way he hadn't before, even when Rodney was watching him sleep. Busy watching John, Rodney was surprised when he felt John's hand move over him.

This time he didn’t try to contain his groan. John moved his hand just right and Rodney came, pleasure obliterating everything but the realization that he was coming with John.

John didn't let go until Rodney was done, completely wrung out. Then he gently released Rodney's cock. "I should be able to sleep now." John's tone was conspiratorial and Rodney chuckled.

"I should hope so."

John patted his hip and then sat up to retrieve the blankets they'd shoved out of the way. Rodney helped him spread them out, only mildly surprised when John moved in close and slid an arm over Rodney's waist. Rodney did the same and John fell asleep like that, his chest brushing Rodney's.

Watching him, Rodney thought that he should shift into a less intimate position, maybe get something to clean them up. He fell asleep before he could move.


When he woke John was gone. Rodney was about to panic when he realized the shower was running. He needed to go back to his quarters and get a fresh uniform, take a shower, but he didn’t want to leave until he was certain John was okay. Although he probably wouldn't have gone to shower if he was shaking.


John could be stubborn.

Rodney was still thinking about it when John came out of the bathroom. His hair was plastered to his face, except for a few strands that were sticking up. Rodney was trying not to look lower than the hair even though he'd seen pretty much all there was to see.

"Good morning," John said.

"Good morning," Rodney answered, swallowing hard when John turned to face the closet. Nearly everything hadn't included John's ass.

"You can shower here if you want," John said.

"Okay, thanks. How are you feeling?"

John pulled on a pair of boxers and turned around. "Fine. I feel fine."

"Are you sure?"


Reaching into the closet, he pulled out a pair of uniform pants and began pulling them on. "Go shower, Rodney."

"All right." Rodney didn't move. Maybe he could pass his erection off as a guy morning thing rather than a naked John Sheppard ass thing. When John turned back toward the closet, Rodney seized his chance, moving quickly toward the bathroom.

Once in the shower, he leaned his forehead against the wall, fervently hoping that John really was better.


The call from Carson came in the middle of the morning. Rodney had been half-expecting it, even while hoping that whatever had been causing John's seizures had worked itself out. John's condition wasn't life threatening, but Rodney ran all the way to the infirmary anyway.

John was in the same room as before, hunched over, shaking violently, with Carson petting ineffectually at his shoulder.

Stripping his shirt off, Rodney climbed onto the bed and pushed John's shirt up and out of the way. Carson took the hint and eased John's shirt off while Rodney stroked John's shaking back with one hand, his other splayed on John's stomach.

As soon as he was free of his shirt John reached for Rodney, wrapping his arms around Rodney's shoulders. Rodney lay back, bringing John with him. With John more or less on top of him, Rodney snapped his fingers. "Blanket."

Carson spread a blanket over them. Thanking him, Rodney made a shooing motion with his hand. After glaring at him for a long moment, Carson left.

"This is fucking nuts," John muttered.

"Yeah." Rodney stroked his back, feeling the shaking begin to ease.


"I'm bored."

"I'm not exactly highly entertained," John said to Rodney's neck. He was still lying mostly on top of Rodney, and while his skin felt good against Rodney's after an hour or so it ceased being interesting.

"Wanna do something?" Rodney asked, then stuttered when he realized how it sounded. "I mean I could go get your book, or a chessboard, or something."

"Chess sounds good." John's lips skimmed Rodney's neck when he spoke.

"Okay. I'll get my chess set and maybe some lunch?"

"Lunch would be good too." John started to sit up and Rodney let him go.

Standing, Rodney reached for his shirt. "I'll be back in a few minutes. Will you be okay?"

"I'll be fine, Rodney." John was looking up at him, head tilted slightly.

"If you need me--"

"I'll radio."

Rodney nodded and leaned down to brush his lips across John's.

Leaving the infirmary he walked quickly toward his quarters. He didn't want to leave John alone for too long. The seizures had to be freaking him out, even if he wasn't showing it. He'd looked a little…

Rodney stopped walking. He'd kissed John. He'd leaned over and kissed him, like it was perfectly normal, like he had the right to just--kiss.

A couple of Marines were coming toward him and they separated to walk around him. Rodney barely noticed.

He'd kissed John.

Rodney took a step, then another. Maybe it wasn't so bad. He and John had done some fairly intimate stuff. Stuff John had initiated. And John hadn't said anything when Rodney had kissed him.

Of course, he might have been too stunned to say anything.

Or maybe he hadn't noticed. It had been a small kiss.

The door to his quarters slid open and Rodney stepped inside. His clothes were right where he'd left them, on the foot of his bed. The bed he hadn't slept in. Because he'd been in John's bed doing intimate stuff, like touching, and coming, and making John come.

He didn't have time to think about that now. Striding across the room, he retrieved his portable chess set and headed for the mess and sandwiches.

John was sitting up in the bed when Rodney got back to the infirmary. "What took you so long?"

"Sorry," Rodney said and held out the lunch tray. "I got you turkey."

"Cool, thanks," John said, taking the tray and putting it on the bed in front of him. Opening the wrapping on his sandwich, he looked up at Rodney. "You gonna eat?"

"Of course." Rodney sat across from him on the bed, putting the chessboard down next to him.

They ate in silence with John occasionally smiling at him as he chewed. Rodney tried to smile back and picked up his sandwich. Maybe John hadn't noticed. With all the touching they'd been doing, maybe--

Who was he kidding? Even Sheppard would notice someone kissing him. Although Rodney was pretty observant and he hadn't noticed that he'd kissed him.

"You all right?" John asked, his sandwich already demolished.

"Of course, why wouldn't I be?"

"No reason," John said with a shrug. He pointed at the chess set. "If you hand me the board, I'll set up while you finish eating."

Rodney handed him the board, watching while John opened the drawer in the side and took out the pieces, long fingers placing them in a neat row. Fingers that had been around his cock. Rodney swallowed, choking on his sandwich.

John leaned forward and patted his back. "You okay?"

"Fine, fine." Rodney pointed at his throat. "Just went down the wrong way."

John squeezed his shoulder and then leaned back.

Wiping his mouth with his napkin, Rodney dropped it onto the tray and moved the tray aside.

"Ready?" John asked.

"You can play white."

Grinning, John placed the board between them. "You may regret that." Then he moved the king's pawn forward two.

Rodney responded by moving his king's knight.

John moved the queen's pawn with his left hand. Rodney's hand was resting next to the board, and John slid his right hand under Rodney's and pressed his fingers against Rodney's palm.

Rodney looked up at him, but John's attention was firmly on the board. He didn't look like he was about to have a seizure, but Rodney figured it was best to be cautious. He closed his own fingers around John's. With his free hand he moved a pawn.

Four moves later he took John's queen, and John brushed his thumb over Rodney's knuckles. Maybe John's seizures were contagious because Rodney shivered.

Carson chose that moment to finally make an appearance. Rodney started to let go, but John held on, even as Carson's eyes landed on their joined hands. Rodney looked up at John, who gazed steadily back. Rodney tightened his fingers.

"How are you?" Carson asked, standing next to the bed.

"Rodney just took my queen, but other than that I'm fine."

"Have you found anything yet?" Rodney asked.

Carson nodded and pulled up a stool next to the bed. "I think it's connected to the Ancient gene. We know that it causes certain enzymes to be released through the skin. One of those enzymes has been altered."

"How? What caused it? Can you reverse it?"

"I'm sure he's getting to that part, Rodney," John said, looking at Rodney as he spoke and then turning his attention to Carson.

"I'm afraid we don't have all the answers yet, but we'll get there," Carson said.

Rodney snorted.

Carson glared at him and then shifted his attention back to John. "Right now, I'm investigating what it is about Rodney that eases the seizures. We both know it isn't his charming personality."

"Something must've caused the change in the enzyme--triggered John's body to make the altered version."

"Yes," Carson said.

"What about the device you and Radek found in the south tower?" Rodney asked John.

"It didn't do anything."

"That you saw." John made his 'you're right' face. Rodney wasn't holding his breath for the day when John actually said it. "It's in the lab. We should give it another look," Rodney said.

"If it did something, why wasn't Zelenka affected?"

"No gene."

"I'm sure he was some, Rodney."

"Ha. Ha. Are we checking it out or not?"

"Fine," John said, "but I want you to be careful."

"Like I'm ever reckless. Besides, if I start having seizures you can touch me and make them stop."

"Assuming I want to touch you."

Rodney didn't point out their joined hands; he simply locked his eyes on John's. John gazed back, the corners of his lips turning slightly upward.

Carson cleared his throat. "Keep me informed of what you find and if Colonel Sheppard has any further problems I want you to come back to the infirmary."

"I thought I'd just take him back to my quarters and hug him."

"I'm sure you did," Carson said, leaving Rodney convinced he didn't understand sarcasm.


The device was round, about six inches in diameter, with one button on the top and several tiny screens along the sides. "It could have emitted something," Rodney said. "A form of energy we can't see or hear."

"It could have," Radek said from the other side of the lab bench. "Why do you think it did?"

"I don't know that it did. I'm just--curious."

Radek glanced at John who was standing at Rodney's side and then back at Rodney. "All of my notes are on the shared drive."


"You're welcome." Radek turned away, returning to his own work.

John edged closer and placed a hand on the small of Rodney's back. "I'm sure you'll figure it out, assuming there's something to figure out."

"Thanks," Rodney said dryly.


An hour later he decided it was useless. It wasn't that there wasn't anything to discover. Rodney didn't know that for certain. What he did know was that he couldn't concentrate with John touching him.

As soon as Radek had left for lunch, John had worked his hand under Rodney's shirt. That had been distracting enough, but when John had started stroking the small of Rodney's back with his thumb Rodney's brain had gone off-line. For the last several minutes he'd simply been standing there, feeling John touch him, the same caress over and over.

"Find anything?" John asked, leaning so close his breath brushed Rodney's cheek.

Rodney didn’t turn to look at him. "No."

"Maybe you should take a break."

"Maybe," Rodney agreed, swallowing nervously.

John slid his hand out from under Rodney's shirt. "After you."

They walked through the hallway side by side, neither of them speaking. John had told him to lead, but Rodney wasn’t sure of their destination. His quarters were closer, but he turned down the hallway leading to John's, John keeping pace beside him.

He glanced sideways at John, who glanced back. John looked as nervous as he felt, and Rodney tried to decide if that was a relief or not.

When they reached John's door, he entered first turning to look at John as the door slid shut behind him. John stepped close to him, and Rodney pulled in a breath. John looked like… He looked like… like he was going to kiss Rodney.

Which he did.

His lips were nice, smooth against Rodney's. This kiss wasn't anything like their first kiss. John clearly intended to kiss him, and kiss him thoroughly, tasting and teasing, his arms sliding around Rodney's waist, pulling him close.

When John at last drew back, Rodney stared, watching as John's lips curled into a self-satisfied smile. "It was sex," Rodney said, the words coming out in a surprised rush.

John frowned, and before he could speak Rodney added, "Last night. I wasn't sure. There was cuddling, but given your condition I didn't consider it conclusive evidence, and since we didn't do anything but," Rodney gestured with his right hand. "It could have been just two guys doing each other a favor, but now--" He wound down to a stop.

"It was sex, at least I thought it was." John's frown deepened. "But if you…"

"No, no I'm good with it being sex," Rodney said. John was still frowning and he didn't look like he was good with it. "Are you okay?" Rodney asked.

John quickly schooled his face into the same placid expression he used almost every time someone asked him that question.

"Don’t give me that look. This has to be weird for you. Seizures and all this touching, don’t even try to pretend you're okay with losing control of your body like that."

"I'm sure Beckett will figure it out," John said. He was avoiding Rodney's gaze, but at least the placid expression was gone.

Rodney reached for him, sliding a hand under John's shirt and resting it on his waist. "I am, too."

John moved closer, into Rodney's arms, and lowered his mouth to Rodney's. Their third kiss and it was nothing like the previous two. This kiss was just as careful as the last one had been, but raw, John working his way deeper and deeper until Rodney felt like he was spread out in front of him.

John needed him. There wasn't any way Rodney could turn away from that, and he slid both hands up under John's shirt, stroking and touching, offering pleasure, reassurance, whatever John needed.

When John tugged on his shirt, Rodney let go and lifted his arms so John could pull it off. Then John was touching him, careful yet eager touches that went everywhere, covering his shoulders, back and chest. Rodney kept still, just letting John touch, until John kissed him again. Less careful this time, but so much want. Rodney wrapped his arms around John's waist and pulled him closer, pressing their bare chests together.

John felt good against him. Really good, far better than a man should feel. Part of his mind pointed out that he should be freaking out about now, but Rodney ignored it. He had better things to do.

Still kissing, they sidled toward the bed.

Rodney's pants got tangled with his shoes when John tried to take them off, and Rodney sucked in a sharp breath when John slid to his knees and kissed Rodney's bare belly before untangling his clothes.

Fortunately, they had an easier time getting John naked. Then they were on the bed, kissing, touching, arms and legs entangled. There was skin everywhere. John's skin, under his hands and his lips. John pressed tightly against him. Moving against him, moving with him.

John buried his face in Rodney's neck when he came, his hips jerking, his fluid spurting between them, mixing with Rodney's.

"Maybe it is pon farr," John whispered when orgasm had given way to relaxation, his face still tucked into the curve of Rodney's neck.

"Maybe," Rodney whispered back, surprised at how much he disliked the idea.

John shifted so that he was lying beside Rodney instead of on top of him, an arm still stretched across Rodney's waist, his head on Rodney's shoulder. Rodney tightened his hold, wanting to make sure he didn't move any farther away. "It's the most likely explanation, right?" John said. "Two previously straight men suddenly having sex… How else would you explain it?"

We like each other. It feels good. We never bothered to think about it before now. None of which seemed quite as likely as the device or something changing them, making them want this. "I don't know," Rodney conceded.

"Yeah," John sighed.


Rodney woke to the feel of John kissing his neck. Shifting into the touch, he wondered if the enzyme was responsible for John's sex drive too, or if John was always like this. Not that Rodney was complaining. He'd liked being the recipient of John's first blowjob. He'd liked giving one too, far more than he'd expected he would. And being awakened in the middle of the night by an amorous John, who had proceeded to touch and kiss and suck until Rodney was a solid mass of arousal, had been good, too. Better than good. More like fantastic. Amazing. Incredible.

Turning onto his side, he found John's mouth with his, not caring that they both needed to brush their teeth, caring only that John was there for him to touch and kiss and stroke, wanting nothing more than to make John feel as good as he felt.


They had an early meeting with Carson and Elizabeth to discuss the situation. As much as Rodney was enjoying it, he knew they couldn't continue like this. Atlantis needed a military commander who didn't have seizures whenever the chief scientist wasn't there to cuddle him.

"How are you feeling, John?" Elizabeth asked as they sat.

"Fine. Practically bright-eyed and bushy-tailed."

"Good." Elizabeth smiled and then shifted her attention to Rodney. "How about you?"

"Fine, fine. Couldn't be better." That had been stupid thing to say, and he pressed his lips together to keep any more words from escaping.

She smiled at him as well, before turning to Carson. "What have you found?"

"Well, it seems that Colonel Sheppard's body has begun making an altered version of one of the enzymes the ATA gene helps to create." Carson pressed the remote in his hand and a drawing of a molecule appeared on the screen next to the table. "This is the unaltered version." A new image appeared. "This is the version Colonel Sheppard's body is now making." Standing, he pointed to several points on the molecule. "This is where the alterations are."

"Rodney's body has begun making this enzyme." A new image appeared on the screen. "It's one we've never seen before," Carson said. "But it appears to be being transmitted from Rodney to Colonel Sheppard by touch. Once in Colonel Sheppard's body, it combines with the altered enzyme to produce this." The screen now showed a new molecule, created by the combination of the molecules from John and Rodney.

Putting down the remote, Carson looked at John and Rodney, seated side by side. "My theory is that the combined molecule is somehow preventing the seizures. Unfortunately, the amount of it in Colonel Sheppard's system seems to depend on how much time he's spent with Rodney. In the morning, we find large amounts in his system, but during the day, as he is away from Rodney, the levels drop until a seizure occurs."

"Is there any way of getting the enzyme to Colonel Sheppard other than touch? Could he be given a shot?" Elizabeth asked.

Rodney stiffened.

Sliding a hand beneath the table, John squeezed his thigh. Rodney slipped his own hand beneath the table and took hold of John's.

"At the moment, no. The only source of the enzyme is Rodney, and I suspect that his body is making the enzyme in response to Colonel Sheppard's need for it. The contact is essential, at least for now."

"Any idea what caused the altered enzyme to be produced in the first place?"

Carson shook his head. "Colonel Sheppard and Rodney asked me that yesterday. Rodney suggested that perhaps the device Colonel Sheppard and Dr. Zelenka found in the south tower had done something to Colonel Sheppard."

Elizabeth gave him an expectant look.

"I looked over the device yesterday, but I wasn't able to determine what it does, or even how it does it. I can’t even find an on switch."

"I can," John muttered, his voice so soft only Rodney could hear him.

Rodney turned to glare at him, but found himself smiling instead. It was hard not to when John looked so damned goofy.

"I'd like to bring Dr. Zelenka in on this," Elizabeth said, drawing Rodney's attention. "The Ancient database is notoriously difficult to search, but with the information on the molecules that Carson has he might be able to find something useful."

"Yes, yes, knowing the molecular structure will certainly make the search more efficient, but are you sure we need to bring Radek into this? Given the private nature of--"

Elizabeth held up her hand. "Dr. Zelenka has spent far more time with the database than you have."

Rodney glared, even though she was right, but it was only because Rodney had been busy exploring other planets and more often than not saving them.

"And he has more discretion than the two of you combined."

"She has a point," John said.

"Fine. But can we avoid giving him too many details?"

"I'm sure we can do that."

"If we're adjourned, I'd like to take Rodney and Colonel Sheppard for more tests," Carson said.

Elizabeth stood. "I'll talk to Dr. Zelenka and then send him to the infirmary to meet with you."

"Are you beginning to feel superfluous?" Rodney whispered as he and John stood.

"Beginning?" John answered.

Rodney patted his shoulder. "So how many gallons of blood do you think he's taken?" he asked, looking at Carson.

John shrugged. "Two, maybe three."

"Do you think he drinks it or bathes in it?"

"Good question," John said pointing at him as they passed through the door and into the hall. "I think bathes."

"Could be where doctors get that distinctive smell."

"You're probably right. I always thought it was formaldehyde, but it does seem kind of blood-like, doesn't it?"

Rodney nodded. "It does."

Carson came up behind them. "If I were you, I'd start worrying about what other bodily fluids I might need."


"This is all your fault," Rodney said, glaring at the cup on the stand next to John's big new bed.

"My fault?"

"You're the one who said he bathes in blood."

"You're the one who asked."

"I was just trying to perk you up. You were just sitting there not saying anything, like you weren't the subject of the conversation." Rodney looked over at John who was on the other side of the bed staring at his own cup.

"What could I say?" John sat, his shoulders slumping. "I don’t know anything, beyond if I don't spend enough time touching you I lose control and my entire body starts shaking."

Walking around the bed, Rodney sat next to him. "I'd be freaked."

"I was pretty freaked the first time," John admitted.

"Carson's good, for a voodoo practitioner, I'm sure he'll find an answer."

"Aren't they called witchdoctors?"

"What?" Rodney said.

"Voodoo practitioners, aren't they called witchdoctors?"

Rodney frowned. "I don't know. We could ask one of the anthropologists."

John leaned into him, pressing his shoulder to Rodney's. "Maybe I will."

Rodney slid an arm around his waist, just because he could.

Holding up his cup, John said, "Want to help me fill this thing?"

"Only if you help me with mine."

"Deal," John said and kissed him.


Walking through Atlantis with a specimen cup full of semen in your pocket wasn't one of Rodney's favorite activities. The feel of the cup in his hand, the sample still warm, made him think about how they'd filled it. Lying back in John's arms while John slowly stroked him to orgasm had been unexpectedly good, especially with John whispering in his ear. So good, Rodney, you feel so good. Just thinking about it was getting him hard again and they'd barely finished.

Maybe this pon farr thing was making him really horny too.

But they had work to do. They were going to work in John's office, because John had requisitions, staff schedules and other paperwork to take care of. Plus, John's office was more private than Rodney's lab, and they could always claim to be working on mission schedules or something else that required both of them if anyone asked.

It was going to be a long day. Rodney was sure of it.


John yawned, stretching his arms back. Tilting his head to the side, Rodney watched him. He should cover his mouth when he yawned. No one wanted to see that deeply into another person's mouth.

That's where my cock was last night.

Rodney sighed. He'd been sitting in John's uncomfortable guest chair for hours now--and when he'd complained about the lack of comfort, John had claimed it was supposed to be uncomfortable, that way no one stayed long, and gone back to work, completely forgetting that Rodney had to stay--half-erect from an almost constant stream of similar thoughts. Between that and wondering if Radek had found anything, Rodney had gotten painfully little done himself.

"I think I'll go see Zelenka," Rodney said, standing, "Find out if he's found anything."

John frowned. "Wouldn't he call us?"

"Not necessarily. Besides, I need to get out of that chair for a while."

"All right."

Thinking that maybe John didn't want to be left alone, Rodney said, "I don't have to go."

"It's not like I can't call you."

"Okay, then, I'll just…" He pointed his thumb at the door. "I won't be long."

"Have fun."

The door slid shut behind him and Rodney wondered if maybe he should have kissed John good-bye.


"What have you found?" Rodney asked, looking over Radek's shoulder.

"Nothing, yet." Radek pushed out with his elbow, but Rodney held his ground. "I'm writing search programs to look for representations of the three molecules Dr. Beckett found in you and Colonel Sheppard, starting with the one he found in the colonel."

Rodney made a small huff of agreement and watched the images scrolling over Radek's monitor as the computer searched for a match. "This could take days." The Ancient database was vast.

"It could," Radek agreed. He was writing a second program on a laptop, this one keyed to search for Rodney's enzyme, while the search continued on his regular monitor; the one connected directly into the Ancient computers. A ping made them both look up. "But it doesn't appear that it will."

The screen showed a match. Rodney watched as Radek scrolled through the data. "There are pages of information here. This is going to take some time to translate."

He should stay, help with the translation. He wanted to know what had happened to the colonel, what had happened to him, didn't he? Taking a step back, he said, "I'll go tell Colonel Sheppard."

Radek, absorbed in his reading, merely waved at him.

"What did you find out?" John asked as soon as he entered the office.

"He found an entry. It's pretty big. The translation could take hours." Rodney looked from John to the uncomfortable chair.

"Want to get some dinner?" John asked, standing.

"Sure." If John wondered why Rodney wasn't still in the lab, joining in on the research, he didn't ask, for which Rodney was grateful because he didn't really have an explanation.

They were in line when John mentioned that he was feeling a bit off and suggested they eat in his quarters just to be safe. Rodney was more than happy to agree. He didn't want to be in the mess with John, having to pretend that he didn't know what it felt like to have John's cock in his mouth.

Something he might never feel again, not once Radek was finished.

John had a small table in his quarters and they ate there. Rodney was reminding himself that he liked meatloaf when John took Rodney's hand in his. "Feeling okay?" he asked, his fingers tightening around John's.

"Thought it was better to be safe than sorry," John said, not looking up from his dinner.

"Good thought." They hadn't touched most of the afternoon, instead sitting on opposite sides of John's desk. His meatloaf became more appetizing, and Rodney began to eat more quickly.

Pushing his empty plate away, Rodney leaned back in his chair.

"Somewhere you need to be?" John asked, raising one eyebrow.

"No." Rodney stroked the back of John's hand with his thumb. "Just other things I'd rather be doing."

John scooped up what was left of his dinner onto his fork and ate it all at once. "Me, too."

The rush of affection that went through him didn't feel at all like the result of an enzyme.

When John stood and walked around the table, Rodney pushed his chair back. John leaned down to kiss him, and Rodney returned the kiss eagerly, reaching for John's hips and tugging him closer, until John was straddling him. Then John sat, and he had a lapful of John Sheppard, warm and solid and just waiting to be touched.

Rodney slid his hands up under John's shirt, stroking the long line of his back as they kissed. It was all so good, touching John, kissing John. Rodney wasn't ready to give it up.


"I think you killed me," Rodney muttered.

Stretching out beside him, John bent down for a kiss. Rodney could taste himself on John's lips, which was hot and dirty, and Rodney kissed him again.

"So you liked it?" John asked, his hair a twisted mess where Rodney had buried his hands in it.

"I did." He hadn't thought he would when John had first worked his finger inside, but then he'd touched Rodney just right and there had been pleasure everywhere.

Resting his head on his arm and his free hand on Rodney's belly, John said, "An ex-girlfriend showed me that. Thought I'd died and gone to heaven the first time."

Rodney could understand that. Finger touching that place, mouth sucking your cock, it was pretty damn close to heaven.

"One time," John said leaning closer, as though sharing a confidence, his tone a little hesitant, "she used a dildo on me."

"Really? Did you like it?" Rodney tried to imagine that, something bigger and wider than a finger inside him. Reaching out, he rested a hand on John's hip.

"Sort of. It felt really good, but it kind of freaked me out. Fingers were one thing, but a fake penis..."

That made sense. "So you only did it the once?" Rodney stroked John's side. He couldn't seem to stop touching John, but John was touching him too, rubbing Rodney's belly with his thumb.

John nodded. "I'd almost forgotten about it. But then this afternoon I started thinking about what it would be like to try it again, only, you know, for real."

"You? Really? You want?" Rodney struggled to wrap his head around the idea. Even though he'd just come, his cock was pretty clear in its opinion.

"I think so." John's eyebrows were doing the twisty thing and he didn't look sure.

"I don't think this is something you should do if you have doubts."

"I'm not sure I have doubts so much as hesitations," John said. His gaze slid away from Rodney's. "The thought of it turns me on. Really turns me on. But…"

"It's another guy's dick in your ass."

"Thank you for that blunt description."

Rodney turned onto his side, causing their bodies to connect in all sorts of odd places, and touched John's cheek for a moment before kissing him. "I think it's the kind of thing we have to be able to talk about to do," he said, not that he was all that comfortable talking about it either.

"I want to do it. I really do. The thought of it, of you…"

Rodney kissed him again, taking the time to enjoy the feel of John's curving lips against his. "Just talking about it is making me hard," he whispered when they parted.

"So let's do it."

"Okay." Another kiss. "We'll need something. I don't think saliva will quite cut it for this."

"I think there's some lotion in the bathroom."

"That should work."

John rose from the bed and Rodney followed him. He poked through some bottles on the shelf above his sink, and then pulled out a large yellow tube with blue writing. Rodney took it from him and scanned the ingredients.

"It's water soluble and nothing looks toxic."

"Looks toxic. How much chemistry have you had?"

Ignoring him, Rodney opened the end of the tube and sniffed. "Smells okay."

"Since it passed the smell test by all means let's use it." Rodney would have taken John's sarcasm more seriously if his erection hadn't been poking into Rodney's hip. He wondered if it was the discussion about intercourse or what he'd done to Rodney that had gotten John hard again. He hadn't intended to get John off so quickly when they'd started. He'd just wanted to make him feel good, but John had looked and sounded so amazing that once he'd started jerking him off Rodney hadn't been able to stop.

"I just wanted to make sure it wasn't flowery. Some places shouldn't smell like flowers," Rodney said, closing the cap.

John stared at him.

"Well, they shouldn't."

"No, we wouldn't want my ass to smell flowery."

"I was thinking more of my dick."

John grabbed the tube from his hands and left the room. Rodney followed.

"We are still doing this, right?" he asked, kneeling next to John on the bed.

Bending his knees so his feet were on the mattress, John drew his legs back and apart.

"I take it that's a 'yes,'" Rodney said, shifting so he was kneeling between John's legs.

John held out the lotion. "Here."

Accepting it, Rodney pressed a kiss to the inside of John's thigh. "So should I apply it directly or use my fingers?"

John appeared to think about it for a moment. "Fingers."

Squirting some of the lotion on to his fingers, Rodney held up his hand for John to see. "Think that's enough?"

"No idea. You can always add more."

"Good point." His goal was visible, and Rodney touched the edge of it with his fingers. Should he just push inside or do something else first? John's skin was wrinkled and the smattering of hair only accentuated how vulnerable this part of John was. Rodney had no idea why John being vulnerable did peculiar things to his insides.

He pushed the tip of his finger inside. The first thing he felt was a tight ring of muscle, and he frowned slightly, because he had no idea how he could get a second finger past that, let alone a penis. But then he was past it, and, wow, John was smooth and soft inside. He circled his finger, very soft. Tantalizingly soft.

"Is this okay?" he asked, pushing a little deeper.

John nodded. "A little weird."

"Do I need more lube?"

"Couldn't hurt."

Pulling his finger out, Rodney squirted some lotion into his palm and then dipped his finger into it. Then he pushed his finger back in. "How do I find the prostate?"

John lifted his head from the pillow and looked at Rodney. "I don't know."

"You found it on me."

"I got lucky."

"Guess I'll just poke around then."

"Oh, that sounds like fun." John dropped his head back onto the pillow.

Rodney frowned. "Was that sarcasm?" He moved his finger in a slow circle.


"Think I found it," Rodney said with a grin, moving his finger back.


"You're so articulate."

"Stop bragging." John's hands tightened in the sheets. "That feels good."

Now that he knew where it was, he could feel the small bump of John's prostate, and he brushed it with his finger. John squirmed, tilting his hips. A turned on John did all kinds of things to Rodney, made his dick get harder and his chest feel like it was cracking open. Maybe he could blame it on the enzymes.

He began easing a second finger inside, hesitating until John groaned and lifted his hips. Then he slid it all the way in, feeling John close around him. He moved, stretching out alongside John and kissing him softly, moving his fingers in time with their kiss.

John cupped the back of Rodney's neck, holding him in place, hungrily deepening the kiss. "I want…" he whispered when they parted.

"Me, too," Rodney said, kissing him again. "Me, too. Condoms?"

John tilted his head toward the table next to the bed, on the other side from Rodney. No way he could get there without pulling out of John, unless he straddled him facing toward his feet. Even he had to admit that was rather unromantic. He started to withdraw his fingers.

"Aren't we supposed to be sharing bodily fluids?" John asked and Rodney stopped moving.

"Good point."

"I thought so," John said and kissed him again.

If John kept kissing him like this they weren't going to get to the fucking part, because Rodney was going to be so turned on he'd start humping John's leg. "John," he said, pulling back.

"Yeah." John had that aroused look, eyes wide, lips parted.

Rodney kissed him again, desperate, needing. Then he kissed his way along John's jaw before burying his face in the crook of John's neck.

"Rodney?" John asked, sliding his arms around Rodney's shoulders.

Pressing a kiss to the skin beneath his lips, Rodney murmured, "I'm fine. Just really, really turned on."

"Me too," John said, sliding a hand up into Rodney's hair.

Taking in a deep breath, wondering why he'd never noticed how good John smelled, Rodney lifted himself onto one elbow. "You ready to move on?"

"Yup." John smiled at him, smug, but Rodney didn't care.

"How do you want to…"

John's smile shifted into a slight frown. "Hands and knees?"

Rodney nodded. "That should work."

John started to turn over, then paused. "Um, Rodney."

"What? Oh. Sorry." He carefully withdrew his fingers from inside John, who finished turning onto his hands and knees.

Heart in his throat, Rodney knelt behind him. The graceful stretch of John's back, the curve of his ass, even the back of his neck, it all looked just… He touched the small of John's back with his fingers, sliding them down over one of John's cheeks.


Picking up the lotion, he squirted more onto his fingers and pressed them against John's hole. He opened, and Rodney's fingers slid inside. Drawing his fingers back, Rodney stared at them. He was fucking John. With his fingers, and soon he was going to fuck John with his cock.

He squeezed half the tube onto his hand and then coated his cock, shifting his hips and sliding it through his slickened fist. Then he squeezed some more directly onto John's ass.

"Hey," John protested.

"I think we need a lot."

"Oh, okay."

Steadying himself with one hand on John's hip, Rodney held the head of his cock against John's opening. It looked way too big. "I'm not sure about this."

"It'll work."

"Okay." Rodney pulled in a breath. "Tell me if it hurts or if you want me to stop."

"I will. Come on, Rodney. Fuck me."

Rodney groaned. "You had to say that, didn't you?" Then he pushed forward just a little, sliding into pressure so strong it was almost painful. It began to ease and Rodney pushed a little more. John moaned and Rodney froze. "Are you okay?"


"You don't sound fine." He didn't; he sounded strained.

"It's just intense, that's all."

Rodney stroked John's back with his hand, smooth skin, tight muscle. Touching John was so damned easy. "Don't let me hurt you, please."

"I won't."

Staring at the place where their bodies joined, Rodney pressed again, sliding in a little more, seeing John stretched all around him. It was one of the most erotic things he'd ever seen.

"Try pulling back. Not all the way. Just a little."

Even though he was nowhere near all the way inside, Rodney did as John asked, John's tightness caressing him as he moved, sending pleasure skittering along every nerve he possessed. He pushed forward just as slowly as he'd withdrawn.

He was doing it. He was fucking John.

They were fucking.

Bending forward, he kissed John's back. "You okay?" he whispered.

"Yeah, it feels weird, but you're inside me."

"I know." He kissed John's back again. "I know."

Rodney straightened and they moved together, slow and careful. He still wasn't all the way inside John, but it didn't matter, because the part that was inside felt incredible, surrounded by a soft heat that seemed to cling to his cock.

Then John's arm and shoulder began to move. He was touching himself, and the thought alone was enough to push Rodney closer to the edge. "I wish I could see you," Rodney whispered. "I want to see you."

"I could turn over," John whispered back.

"Okay, okay." Rodney patted John's hip and then drew back until his cock popped gently out of John.

John turned onto his back, and Rodney just looked at him for a moment. His chest hair was matted down where come from earlier had dried in it, his skin was flushed, lips reddened by their kissing, hair a disheveled mess. Rodney thought he just might be the most beautiful thing Rodney had ever seen.

He trailed his fingers over John's cock, and John made a small sound. Rodney wanted to close his hand around it and just get John off, right now.

Grabbing a pillow, John lifted his hips. Seeing his intention, Rodney took the pillow and pushed it beneath him. "Will that work?" John asked.

"I think so." Rodney shifted closer and took his cock in hand, holding it by the base. "Do we need more lube?"


"Fine," Rodney muttered and positioned his cock at John's entrance. He pushed and John opened around him, easier than before. There was something breathtaking about that, about John just letting him in. "The way you look…" he said softly.

Supporting himself on one arm, John curled up until he could see too. That couldn't be good for his back, Rodney thought, but the thought vanished when John whispered, "Oh, God."

Rodney lifted his eyes from their joined bodies to John's face. John stared back at him for a long moment, then he lifted a hand to Rodney's cheek. "Fuck me."

Rodney could only nod, but apparently it was enough because John lowered himself back to the bed. Pulling back, Rodney began moving just like he had earlier. Easy, partial strokes, moving the top half of his cock back and forth inside John, letting momentum take him gradually deeper.

John shifted beneath him, tilting his hips, then he groaned, low and deep. The sound went straight into Rodney, settling somewhere inside him; he lost track of where.

When John resumed stroking his cock, all Rodney could think was that he'd done that. He'd made John look like that. Like sex, or what Rodney had always thought sex should look like.

Overwhelmed by the feel of John around him and the sight of John beneath him, he pushed harder than he had before. John gasped. Certain it was a good gasp, Rodney thrust again. "Close," he said, pleasure breaking him. "I can't…"

"Me, too." John arched, pushing his hips toward Rodney. "Me, too."

Rodney came, pleasure making his eyes close and his hips still, then stutter.


John's whisper made him open his eyes, even as another spurt of fluid left his cock. He was coming in John. John had stopped jacking himself and was staring up at Rodney, watching him. Maybe that was what made the pleasure coil inside him again, made him move his hips for two, three, more thrusts.

Then John started to come. Rodney could feel it, John's orgasm, from the inside. Every contraction, every shift of John's body, he felt. He'd made John do that. He'd made John look like that. It wasn't even over and he wanted to do it all over again.

Still twitching slightly, John relaxed into the bed. Dropping his head, Rodney kissed his chest, then a nipple, resisting the urge to rub his cheek in the fluid on John's chest.

"Rodney, could you…"

Sitting back, Rodney carefully drew his hips back until his softening cock slid from John's body. John immediately lifted his hips and pulled the pillow out from under them.

"That's better," he said with a sigh. Then he smiled at Rodney, a slow, satisfied smile, but it wasn't self-satisfied; it was them-satisfied. Smiling back, Rodney lay next to him. John's arms immediately closed around him, pulling him close.

"You okay?" Rodney whispered.

"Little sore. I kinda like it." He paused for a moment. "I liked the sex a lot."

"Me, too," Rodney said, resting his head on John's shoulder. "Me, too."

"That's good," John said so quietly Rodney almost didn't hear him.

"Did you think I wouldn't like it?" Rodney asked, tilting his head so he could see John's face.

"I just… It's been nice of you to spend all this time touching me and stuff."

"It hasn't exactly been a hardship."

"Yeah, well, I appreciate it."

"You're welcome. Can we sleep now? Because you tired me out."

John squeezed him quickly. "Sure."

Rodney kissed John's shoulder, then closed his eyes.


Rodney shifted in his seat. Apparently Elizabeth had had the chairs in her office replaced with less comfortable versions. John drummed his fingers on the table, and Rodney resisted the urge to close his hand over John's. He had to get used to not touching John. Radek had found something or Elizabeth wouldn't have called this meeting. If Carson would just get here, they could find out what it was, and Rodney could start adjusting to the not-touching.

John looked over at him and Rodney tried to smile, but couldn't quite manage it. They'd had sex in the shower less than an hour before. Up against the wall, rubbing their wet, soapy bodies together, holding tightly to each other when it was over.

The door slid open and Carson stepped into the room. "Sorry I'm late."

"It's not a problem," Elizabeth said.

Rodney refrained from commenting.

"Now that we're all here, Dr. Zelenka, would you tell everyone what you found?"

"Actually, it's what we found. Dr. Weir and I spent most of the night translating the information from the database. We discovered something quite surprising. The ATA gene isn't a natural mutation. The Ancients created it."

"So they deliberately created a gene which they could key their military equipment to, to prevent the Wraith from having access to it," John said. "Makes sense to me."

"They did it before the Wraith war."

"Before? You mean they were trying to prevent their own people from being able to access the jumpers or the chair?" Rodney said, considering the implications.

"It appears that way," Elizabeth said.

"What does that have to do with me? With the seizures?" John asked.

"There was some concern about the transmission of the gene from one generation to the next. The device you and I found in the south tower was part of an effort to control reproduction," Radek answered.

"So it is an aphrodisiac," Rodney said.

Radek shook his head.

"Not quite," Elizabeth said. "It was an attempt to create an aphrodisiac. All they succeeded in doing was making one person physically dependent on the other. The person exposed to the device began making the altered version of the enzyme, which would then trigger the gene carrier he or she came into the most physical contact with to begin making the cure."

John frowned. "But weakening members of their own military by giving them seizures seems more than a little shortsighted."

"The seizures aren't permanent. They fade gradually, over the course of a few weeks," Radek said.

Waving his hand back and forth between Elizabeth and Radek. "You're saying that in an effort to manipulate people who had received the ATA gene into becoming partners, the Ancients caused some gene carriers to have seizures, which could only be eased by physical contact with another gene carrier whose body would then become keyed to theirs?"

Radek nodded.

"Well that's not very efficient," Rodney muttered.

Elizabeth nodded, her gaze on John and Rodney. "They were hoping to manipulate the carriers' emotions as well as their bodies, but the experiments all failed."

"All of them?" Rodney asked, not quite looking at John.

"All of them," Elizabeth said. "While there may be a biological basis for emotion, it isn't open to manipulation, at least not by the Ancients' biologists."

It hadn't been the enzyme. It had been them. Rodney glanced at John, who was focused on Elizabeth.

"The subjects of their experiments, who hadn’t known what was happening until it was too late, petitioned the council to end the experiments. The council agreed." Elizabeth smiled. "In a few weeks, you'll be fine."

John nodded. "Great. That's great."

Carson cleared his throat. "As relieved as I am to learn that Colonel Sheppard will be fine, I'd still like to monitor his enzyme levels and Rodney's."

"More bloodletting," Rodney muttered and John turned toward him, smiling slightly.

Rodney's stomach turned over.


"How are you feeling?" Carson asked, applying alcohol to Rodney's arm with a piece of cotton.

"Fine," Rodney said, wincing as the needle pierced his skin.

"Good." Fortunately, he only drew one vial, then slid the needle out, pressing on the spot with another piece of cotton. "Hold this."

Rodney obediently pressed on the cotton.

Carson turned away and then returned, holding out a white tube.

"What's this?" Rodney asked, taking it.

"Just a little something for you and the colonel."

Rodney felt himself start to flush. "Oh… well… we can't… we don't…."

"I'm your doctor, Rodney. Everything that involves your health is confidential. The only things that get entered into files are the things the SGC needs to know. The rest is private."

"Thank you." Rodney curled his hand the tube. "I didn't mean any of those bloodsucking cracks, you know. I just wanted to make John smile."

Carson patted his shoulder. "Yes, I know."


Rodney went to his lab from the infirmary. He was pretty sure John had plenty of the joined enzyme in his system. He hadn't so much as twitched in more than a day. Well, he had, but not like that. And Rodney had work to do.

A lot of work. Important work.

Sitting on his stool, he tried to remember what it was.

He was in the middle of reviewing the sensor logs, something he had tried to do yesterday, when John turned up.

"Hey," John said, leaning against Rodney's lab bench.

"Hey." Rodney looked up at him and then away. Did he have to position himself so close that Rodney could feel the heat coming off of him?

"You know what I keep thinking?" John asked. "Why you?"

"Because I have the gene," Rodney said, his stomach tightening. Carson might think he and John were going to keep doing this, but Rodney wasn't so sure. Before they'd had an excuse, but now it was two straight guys and gay sex.

"No, no, not like that. When Beckett asked me who I wanted to stay with me, why did I ask for you. Want to hear the answer?"

Rodney folded his arms across his chest. "Sure."

"I had no idea what was happening to me. I couldn't make my body do what I wanted it to. No matter how I tried, it kept shaking. All I could think was that it would be better if you were there."

"Oh." John had needed him. Even before the imprinting. The knot of tension he'd been feeling all morning dissolved, leaving him almost giddy. "When Carson called me, I ran all the way to the infirmary. I was pretty sure something had happened to you, and I just wanted to get to you."

"It wasn't pon farr," John said softly, sounding almost awed. "It was us. All of it."

"Thank God."

John chuckled.

"Seriously. Best sex of my life. No one wants the best sex of their life to be the result of some enzyme."

John nudged Rodney's leg with his knee. "Best sex of their life?"

"Like you didn't think it was incredible."

"Never said I didn't," John answered with a grin.

"Carson gave me lube." When John's grin started to fade, Rodney added, "Don't worry. He's not going to say anything. As far as he's concerned it's no one's business but his." Rodney frowned. "And ours."

"It's going to be another day or so before I'm ready to try the intercourse thing again."

"You said you wouldn't let me hurt you," Rodney said, put out that John hadn't said anything last night.

"You didn't hurt me. I'm just a little sore. It's kind of cool. Every time I sit down it's like, 'Oh, hey, Rodney and I fucked.'"

"You are so weird."

"But I'm the best sex you've ever had," John said, nudging him again and smiling broadly.

"You're going to be insufferable now, aren't you?"

"Yup." John's eyes were bright and his smile was relaxed. Happy was a good look for him.

Rodney decided he could put up with a little insufferableness. After all, he'd made John look happy.

And he'd done it all on his own.