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Return to Normalcy


Title: Return to Normalcy

Author: chelle

Author's email:

Author's URL:

Fandom: Atlantis

Archive: Ask first

Pairing: John/Rodney

Rating: R

AN: The rules change and John and Rodney struggle to adjust.

Thank you to Grrrl for the beta and the helpful conversation.

"Feingold won," John said softly.

Caught up in what John's mouth was doing to his neck, Rodney couldn’t quite figure out what John was talking about.

"Election results were in the databurst," John said still mouthing Rodney's neck.

Dimly recalling that the U.S. had had an election and Feingold had been the candidate John had wanted to win, Rodney murmured, "That's good," and slid his hands slowly down John's back. He didn't really want to think about a distant election, not when John was in his arms, naked, and they only had a few hours before Rodney would have to sneak back to his quarters. Leaving John behind with that look on his face.

Capturing John's mouth with his, he slid one hand lower, tracing the space between John's cheeks.

John groaned.

Rodney did it again, because making John feel good was pretty much the best thing ever.

He was going to make John feel so good.


"He kept his promise." John's voice drew Rodney's attention and he glanced to the side. John was standing at the end of Rodney's lab bench, hands on his hips and a smile on his face.

"Who?" he asked, his eyes sliding back to his laptop screen.

"Feingold. He changed the uniform code. Soldiers can get blowjobs now."

"I'm happy for you," Rodney said, scanning the information on his screen. What had inspired the Ancients to try that, he thought, eyes narrowing. He felt John lean over him.

"And we can give them." John's voice was low and intimate

"That's nice."

"What are you reading?"

"The Ancients' research on ZPMs. It's the history of their experiments."

"Ah." John squeezed Rodney's shoulder. "I'll see you at dinner."

Rodney waved an acknowledgment, barely registering John's exit.


Placing his tray on the table, Rodney dropped onto the seat next to John's, nodding at Carson and Lorne on the other side of the table, and promptly began eating. Feeling all three of them watching him, he said, "Skipped lunch."

"Skipped?" Carson asked.

"Power bar," Rodney answered, scooping more potatoes onto his fork.

John raised an eyebrow. "Just one?"

"Three, but still…"

John lifted his eyes upward, not quite rolling them. It was oddly affectionate, at least Rodney thought so. "That research must be fascinating."

"It is." Rodney nodded solemnly. Taking another bite he smiled at John around his fork. John smiled back.

"More interesting than Jenny Agutter?" Carson asked.

"Who's Jenny Agutter?" Lorne asked.

"Actress. Logan's Run. Carson's got a thing for her," Rodney answered between mouthfuls of string beans.

"You're the one with the obsession, Rodney," Carson said.

Rodney shook his head. "I said she was attractive. I never said I was obsessed. Besides, I can't be."

"Why is that?" Lorne asked.

"She's British. I'm Canadian." Rodney pointed his fork at Carson. "Carson, however, is Scottish."

After staring at him for a long moment, Carson turned pointedly to John. "How are people reacting to the new regulations?"

"Told you he was obsessed. He's trying to change the subject," Rodney said, pleased when John grinned.

John's gaze moved from Rodney to Carson. "No problems so far."

"We're not anticipating any," Lorne added.

Rodney paused with the fork half-way to his mouth. "What new regulations?"

"The ones I told you about this afternoon," John said.

"You told me about new regs?"

"Yes, I did." There was an edge to John's voice that meant Rodney had missed something important. Rodney frowned, trying to remember what John had said.

"The new president has changed the Uniform Military Code," Lorne said. "He eliminated the regulations prohibiting members of the military from taking part in certain kinds of sex."

"Oh," Rodney said. "I see." Now he understood why John was put out.

"You'd have seen sooner if you'd been listening this afternoon," John said. Rodney winced. Perhaps John was more than put out.


"Hey, it's not as interesting as ZPM research. It's not going to get you a Nobel Prize. Why should you care?" Standing, John nodded at Lorne and Carson, then walked away, leaving Rodney to stare after him.


He'd fucked up royally. Rodney was smart enough to realize that. Not noticing when your lover told you your relationship no longer had to be hidden was, well, exactly the kind of thing Rodney would do. John knew that about him. He should have made it more obvious, done a better job of getting Rodney's attention.

None of which mattered. Not if Rodney wanted to keep getting laid. Sex with John--anything with John--was worth an apology. Especially since Rodney was the one in the wrong.

Taking a deep breath, he knocked.

John's door slid open to reveal John standing in the doorway, legs apart, arms folded across his chest.

There wasn't any point in trying to build up to it, not with the way John was looking at him. "I'm sorry," Rodney said. "I should have paid closer attention when you were in the labs earlier."

"Yes, you should have."

At least they agreed on that. "I know." John didn't appear to be softening, so Rodney added a second, "I'm sorry." Still nothing. "If you let me in, I'll make it up to you." Offering sex was always a good making up tactic in Rodney's experience, at least when it was being offered to him.

John gazed at him steadily for a long moment before taking a step back.

"I really am sorry," Rodney said when the door shut.

"This is important to me."

And Rodney not paying attention had hurt him. John didn't let hurt feelings show, but Rodney had eventually figured out where to look. It was in his forehead, the set of his eyebrows. Plus, his mouth would set in a straight line. John's mouth was never straight. It was always curving this way and that unless he was trying not to let something show. Seeing John's straight mouth, Rodney felt like more of a heel than he had in the mess. "I know. I really am sorry. Very sorry. I'm a jerk sometimes, and--"


"Okay that I'm a jerk or--"


Rodney thought he detected a tiny bit of affection in John's voice and he added hopefully, "Or okay you accept my apology?"

"Okay to that, too."

"Oh, thank God," Rodney said and pulled him to a hug.

"You're supposed to thank me for forgiving you."

Rodney nuzzled the side of John's neck. "Can I thank you with a blowjob?"

"If you really want to." John's petulant tone always had the odd effect of making Rodney want to hug him, even though it should have been annoying. Since they were already hugging he squeezed John tightly for a moment. Then he kissed the side of John's neck and dropped to his knees.


He was very lucky that John was the kind of guy who accepted apologies. Very lucky. Of course Rodney accepted apologies too, especially when accompanied by blowjobs. Or he would if given the opportunity. Rodney pressed a quick kiss to John's chest, then inhaled deeply, his eyes falling shut. John smelled so good after sex.

"I think you should talk to Elizabeth as part of making it up to me," John said, and Rodney opened his eyes, looking up at John in search of an explanation of what it was he was supposed to talk to Elizabeth about. "Ask for bigger quarters," John added. "Maybe with a grown-up sized bed."

"Bigger quarters?"

"So we can share."

Rodney tried to process that. "You want to live together?"

"Metcalf and Simons do."

"They're married." John didn't want to get married, did he? Because they couldn't, and Rodney wasn't ready, no matter how good John smelled, and they couldn't.

"And we aren't, but I think Elizabeth would be willing to okay the quarters anyway, don't you?"

"I…you want to live together?"

"You don't." John's tone was flat.

With a sinking feeling that he was going to end up apologizing again, Rodney said quickly, "I didn't say that, but that's a lot of togetherness." The kind of togetherness that in Rodney's experience was better in theory than practice.

"Think about it," John said after a long moment.

"Okay." Rodney kissed John's chest again, trying to ease the tension he could feel building between them. Life would be so much simpler if John was easier to read, if Rodney had some way of seeing these things coming. Instead, Rodney was left flailing. As usual.

John stroked the back of his neck. "It'd be nice to have a real bed."

"It would." There wasn't any arguing with that. Every time they changed position, they had to make sure neither of them fell off, or kneed the other in a place that would kill the mood. Full-sized bed--good. Living together--

He could feel John slipping into sleep.

"I should go," Rodney whispered, starting to draw back.

John's arms tightened around him. "Stay."

They never stayed. It was too much of a risk. Except now it wasn't. "Okay," Rodney said, settling back in.

John was asleep long before he was.


"Have you thought about it?" John asked, leaning forward in his chair.

It had only been two days, not enough time to reach a conclusion. The mess was crowded--it always was when they served pizza for lunch-- and Rodney glanced around. They were at a table for two, and unlikely to be overheard, but still.

"You don't have to worry about anyone hearing us, not anymore," John said. "I could lean over and kiss you, and--"

"Please don't."

John sat back, his mouth in that giveaway straight line.

"I'm sorry," Rodney said hastily. "It's not… I don't…" John's expression didn't change, and Rodney took a breath before trying to explain. "What we have, it's private, personal. Everyone in Atlantis doesn't need to see it."

"Maybe I want them to see it."

"I don't." Usually words and feelings just poured out of Rodney, whether he wanted them to or not. Now, when he needed the words they were all bottled up somewhere, but he needed to say something, needed John to understand. "You and I," Rodney's voice was low but insistent, "it's important." Why couldn’t John see that? That what they had needed to be kept safe. "Precious. I don’t want to just flaunt it."

"You flaunt everything else."

That stung. Sure Rodney flaunted his work, but not his private life, not the real one. Maybe because it had never been worth flaunting before. Now that it was, Rodney didn't want to. "No I don't, not really."

"You can't hide forever."

"I'm not trying to. I like that it's just us, that we're the only ones who know. I like it being our secret."

"We have more than just a secret," John said softly.

"I know. That's what I've been trying to say."

John nodded, but his mouth still wasn't curving.


Good orgasm. John resting against him. Rodney should have been able to close his eyes and relax, but he couldn't seem to.

The orgasm had been really good. They were always really good with John, but they'd been out of sync somehow, not communicating the way they usually did. They still weren't. Even with John in his arms, Rodney felt alone, cut off. This wasn't how it was supposed to go. Not having to worry about being caught was supposed to make things easier. "Did you really want to kiss me in the mess?" he asked, pushing his reluctance to reopen the subject aside.

"Maybe." John's breath puffed against Rodney's skin where he was resting on Rodney's chest. "It's fun to imagine, coming out like that, in a blaze of glory."

"If you say so, Mr. Bon Jovi."


"It wouldn't help your career or your command."

"There's nothing they can do about it now," John said.

"Changing the rules doesn't change attitudes." After they'd gotten together, Rodney'd done a little reading about what life was like for gays in the American military, and any organization where new recruits were berated with the word "fag" was unlikely to suddenly become open-minded in Rodney's opinion.

John lifted his face from Rodney's chest. "No one in Atlantis will make an issue of it. You don’t get sent to explore another galaxy if you're inflexible."

Rodney didn't argue. He didn't think it would be a problem on Atlantis, but he also thought the reason had more to do with John's heroism than everyone else's tolerance.

"And if we ever return to Earth, I'll retire."

"What?" Rodney pushed himself backward until he was leaning against the wall behind the bed, forcing John to sit as well.

"I'll have 20 years in next year. So if we go back, I figured I'd retire, get a job flying, or teaching people to fly. Thought we'd get a place together, unless--"

"You'd give up your career for me?"

John shrugged. "I've never been good at following orders. I do it, but I'm not good at it."

"That's because you should be in charge."

John smiled at him as though Rodney had said something amusing. "There's a slim chance I'll make it to full bird colonel. I'll never go above that."

Limiting himself didn't sound like the John Sheppard Rodney knew. "How can you be so sure?"

"Because I don't want it."

"Oh," Rodney said. "Okay." Feeling a little better, Rodney kissed him, just a little kiss, just enough to make Rodney feel less like the rug had been pulled out from under him.

"Are you ashamed?" John asked.


"Ashamed. Are you ashamed? Is that why you don't want to come out?"

Rodney stared at him. "Are you daft? You're the hottest person in the entire city. Not to mention really, really cool. How could I be ashamed of you?"

"I didn't mean of me," John said, but Rodney didn't quite believe him. "I meant ashamed of what we do."

"You think I'm ashamed of having sex?"

"Of sucking cock, of being fucked. Yeah, it occurred to me."

"Well unoccur it. I am not ashamed of sucking your cock. Or having you fuck me. The entire idea is ridiculous."

John's face closed off. Rodney couldn't believe it. He'd said the wrong thing. Again. He was beginning to wish the damn rules hadn't changed. Trying to determine what it was he'd said, he kept talking, hoping to make it better. "Sex with you, it's… I didn't know sex could be this good. I don't think it's because you're a guy. Women still do it for me. I still get hard thinking about them."

John moved back and Rodney grabbed his arm. "I'm not saying this right, as usual."

With a pointed look at Rodney's hand, John lifted his gaze to Rodney's face. Rodney had seen him give friendlier looks to Wraith.

"Please let me explain, or try to." Even though John nodded, Rodney kept a firm grip on his arm. "Women turn me on, but you, you make me crazy. I feel things for you I don't even have words for. You make me want to do all kinds of weird things like cuddle and… and sing."

"You want to serenade me?" John's expression softened.

"I've thought about it," Rodney admitted, relieved when the corners of John's mouth turned up just a little. "Seemed easier than talking."

"What were you going to sing?"

"I don’t know." Rodney shrugged, trying for the cute evasion thing John always did. "Something classic, maybe from the forties."

"Uh-huh. Or?"

Rodney lowered his voice to a mumble. "Elton John."

John's entire face lit up. "You were going to sing me 'Your Song.'"

"I was not," Rodney said, even though John's smug expression was making him smile. "I was going to sing 'Rocket Man.'"

"Liar," John said and kissed him.

Deciding a little embarrassment was worth it if it meant John would kiss him like that, Rodney eased John down onto the bed, kissing him the entire time.

He slid his hands over John. He loved the feel of John's skin, his muscles, even the hair on his chest. He couldn’t think of any part of John's body he didn't love.

He just hoped John felt the same way about his.


The best thing about diplomatic receptions was the food, at least in Rodney's opinion, although the fact that this one might net them some naquadah was good too. Rodney found it hard to get excited about naquadah when he was studying ZPMs.

Plate full, he turned from the table and surveyed the gate room. All of the senior staff were here, as Elizabeth had ordered, along with Lorne's team which had made the initial contact. The Drathians had brought about a dozen people, all rather attractive Rodney noted. What were they, the planet of beautiful people?

John was talking with their leader. Rodney thought her title was Jonora or maybe Jonoria. He didn't really care, not when he could look at John. John needed tighter uniform pants, or maybe just tighter ones to wear when they were alone. Pants that would show off his ass to better advantage.

He munched absently on a piece of celery filled with peanut butter and wondered who Elizabeth had let plan the food. Filled celery seemed a little unsophisticated for people living in the City of the Ancestors.

Noticing that John was standing closer to the Jonor-whatever than was strictly polite, Rodney frowned. It wasn't as close as John stood to him these days--Rodney was convinced John was trying to out them through loss of physical space, not to mention frequent unnecessary touching--but it was still too close.

She smiled and John smiled back. Rodney relaxed a little. That was one of John's public smiles. They didn't mean anything, not that she would realize that, of course. How could she realize it? She wasn’t the one John touched unnecessarily. Celery gone, Rodney moved onto a miniature carrot.

The unnecessary touching was a good compromise. Unspoken, but still good. No public announcement, but they weren't quite hiding either.

The Jonora clearly didn't realize she had been getting the public smile, because she leaned close to John, showing off her cleavage. Rodney could practically see her navel, her dress was so low cut.

John would back away any moment, not much, just a polite step or two.

Or four.

Except he didn't. Instead, he leaned in too. Naquadah, Rodney reminded himself. John was just being polite.

She placed a hand on John's arm.

Rodney abandoned his plate on the nearest flat surface and marched over to them. The Jonora looked up as he approached and John smiled. Rodney didn't smile back. "Hi," he said sticking out his right hand and sliding his left around John's waist. "I'm Rodney McKay. Doctor Rodney McKay, chief scientist."

The Jonora accepted his hand. She was even more attractive up close, all smooth skin and green eyes. And big hair. "I am Natala, Jonora of the Drathians. You may call me Natala."

"You may call me Do--" John elbowed him in the ribs. "Rodney."

"I have been hearing much of your science, first from Major Lorne and now from John. He makes it sound quite fascinating."

"John likes science. Don't you, honey? He's always hanging around my lab. I have to send him away just so I can get work done." Feeling John stiffen, Rodney kept his eyes on the Jonora.

"I can see where he would be a distraction."

"He is that."

"Excuse us, Natala, " John said, backing out of the circle of Rodney's arm and taking hold of his upper arm. "We need to talk. Don’t we, darling?"

Rodney winced at the emphasis John placed on the word darling. "It was a pleasure meeting you," he said as John began dragging him toward the door. "Think you could loosen your grip," he muttered to John.


Rodney wasn't about to ask twice. As soon as they reached the hallway, John pushed him through the first door they came to.

"We're in a closet."

Standing in front of the door, hands on his hips, John answered, "Think of the irony." There wasn't a hint of ironic appreciation in John's tone.

"You wanted to come out," Rodney said, because the best defense was a good offense, and John had wanted them to come out. Hell, he wanted to live together, in quarters with one bed. Hard to get more out than that.

"Did it ever occur to you that maybe I wanted some say in how we came out?"

"You threatened to kiss me in the mess." Rodney hadn't meant to raise his voice, but John was being a hypocrite.

"I didn't though, did I?"

"Well, no."

"No, because I respected your feelings, whereas you haven't thought about mine, not once."

"That's not true. I've thought about them. I just didn't know what to do about them." Rodney barely knew what to do about his own feelings. How was he supposed to know what to do about someone else's?

"So you made a fool out of both of us? In front of pretty much everyone, not to mention a woman with a planet full of naquadah."

"She was hitting on you!" No way John hadn't noticed that. Rodney had noticed from across the room.

"She was flirting with me."

"Same difference."

"Not really," John said, his tone softening slightly. "It was the kind of flirting people do at these things. You smile, you make nice, and when the conversation is over you both walk away feeling good about it. No one expects it to go anywhere."

Rodney crossed his arms. "She touched you."

"On the arm. You called me honey."

"Yes, well, I was…um…"

"I know exactly what you were doing. You were staking a claim."

"I was not," Rodney said, trying to put some heat into it. "Okay, maybe I was. But do you have any idea how often I've had to sit idly by and watch some alien priestess hit on you?"

"Which doesn't change the fact that you outed us without asking me how I felt about it."

"You wanted to come out. You've wanted to come out ever since the rules changed," Rodney pointed out, again. John could be so damn exasperating sometimes.

"I have. And you didn't want to, so we didn't."

"Now you have what you wanted."

John sighed and moved to sit on a nearby box. "On your terms, just like everything else."

"I'll ask Elizabeth, about the shared quarters. I'll go out and ask her right now." John looked up at him, and Rodney knew John could probably see how scared he was. But that last sentence hadn't sounded good and this whole thing was a mess. Rodney could compromise. He could, especially if it meant not losing John. "Whenever I've lived with someone before it's never lasted more than six months, but it might be different with you. Everything else is."

"Why didn't you want to tell people about us?"

"The truth?"

"No, I want you to lie to me."

Knowing there was no way out of it, not if he wanted to keep John, Rodney walked over and sat on the box. It wasn’t a big box and he was facing a different direction, ninety degrees from John with only the back edge of their hips touching. "Imagine if people knew you were gay. Women hit on you all the time. If people knew you liked men, too--"

"More," John said, interrupting.

"That's even worse. Every gay man in Atlantis would be throwing himself at you. Bad enough I have to endure all their crushes."

"All their crushes?"

"Okay, Samuelson's crush. He sighs every time you come into the lab. Like a schoolgirl."

John didn't say anything and Rodney looked down at his hands. His reasons for staying in were nothing compared to John's reasons for wanting to come out. Not wanting to be ashamed anymore, not wanting to hide, those were good reasons. His own weren't so noble.

"There were all these things about you that only I knew. Things you'd only shared with me. I liked that." It had made Rodney feel special. Now everyone knew John's secret.

"But they know I'm with you."

"Are you? I haven't exactly been the best boyfriend. Oh, God, tell me we can call each other something other than boyfriend."

"There's always partner. Or lover."

Rodney looked over his shoulder at John. John smiled and Rodney let out a sigh of relief.

"You've never been the best boyfriend, but I'm not either, so I figure that makes us even," John said.

Rodney nodded several times, rapidly. "It does."

John laughed at him.

"Make-up sex?" Rodney asked, grinning himself.

"We're in a closet."

"Think of the irony."

Lips curving in a happy grin, John kissed him and Rodney returned the kiss eagerly. He had always liked make-up sex, although he wasn’t so keen on the arguing part.

"Just so we're clear," John said, pulling away, "don't ever call me 'honey' again."

"Got it. No honey allowed." Wrapping a hand around the back of John's neck, Rodney pulled him into another kiss.

John slipped his hand under Rodney's shirt.

"What about sweetheart?" Rodney asked.

John pinched his nipple.


Another pinch.


"I am not food, Rodney."


"Not if you want to live."

"You're no fun at all," Rodney said, trying to pout instead of smile.

"Oh, really?" John asked. Then he slipped to his knees.

"Okay maybe you're a little fun," Rodney said when John's mouth closed around his cock.

"A little?" John asked, casually stroking him.

"A lot. You're a lot fun."

With a smug nod, John went back to what he had been doing, and Rodney went back to moaning.


"Do I look like I've been having sex in a closet?"

John eyed him critically. "You're a little rumpled. No more than usual."

"I'm not usually rumpled, am I?" He wasn't. Radek was rumpled, but Rodney wasn't. He couldn't be. The rumpled scientist, it was too much of a stereotype.

John kissed him which wasn't an answer, but Rodney was willing to go with it.

Of course John didn't have a hair out of place, figuratively speaking. Rodney sighed. He had a really pretty boyfriend. At John's puzzled look, he said, "Nothing."

A quick kiss and John turned toward the door. It slid open as he approached and John peeked out, looking up and down the hallway. He gestured for Rodney and they made it out of the closet and into the hall without being seen.

"I never thought I'd have to worry about sneaking out of a closet," Rodney said quietly. "Hey," he grabbed John's arm, and then looked up and down the hallway. It was still empty. "Maybe we could do it again in the closet near the infirmary, or in a jumper, or my lab. If we got caught it'd just be embarrassing." Risky semi-public sex, clearly this rule change had advantages Rodney hadn't considered yet.

John shook his head and resumed walking. But he was thinking about it, Rodney could tell.

The party was clearly winding down when they re-entered the gate room. The Drathians had gone, and only some of the Atlantis crew remained. The food table was nearly empty. Rodney wasn't too sad about it. They'd been mostly vegetables anyway, and nearly public make-up sex with John was better than celery any day.


Rodney flushed, his flush deepening as Elizabeth approached.

"Nice party," John said to her.

Elizabeth arched an eyebrow. Rodney did too, or he would have if he could have, because that was cheeky, even for John. Maybe really good semi-public make-up sex made John reckless.

"The Jonora thought so. She asked me to apologize to both of you for her forwardness. I told her it wasn't necessary."

Rodney looked at the floor.

"Fortunately for the two of you, she was still happy to trade with us," Elizabeth said.

"That's good," Rodney said, lifting his eyes and gazing over Elizabeth's shoulder. "That's very good. It won't happen again. I've already apologized to John."

"No you haven't."

Rodney glared at him.

"At no point did the words 'I’m sorry' cross your lips."

"Sure they did. You just couldn't hear them over your moans." Realizing what he'd said, Rodney covered his mouth with his hand. Elizabeth turned away. Rodney decided that if the universe was a fair place, the floor would open up and swallow him. Then he realized Elizabeth's shoulders were shaking.

John was shooting him his "stop telling the nice people how to make a bomb" glare, but Rodney ignored him. Squaring his shoulders, he said, "Elizabeth, there's something I'd like to ask you."

After a moment, she turned back around, pressing her lips together in a clear effort to keep from laughing again. "Yes, Rodney?"

"You know the quarters we found in the east wing, the ones you set aside for people who, uh, wanted to cohabitate. I'd like to move there."

"You want to cohabitate?"

Rodney nodded.

"Mind if I ask with whom?"

"Like you don't know." He gestured in John's direction. "I'd like to move in with Colonel Snarky here."

Elizabeth shifted her attention to John. "What about you, Colonel Snarky?"

John shrugged. "I like him."

"And that would be the part where you're a less than perfect boyfriend," Rodney said.

"I thought we were going with partner."

"And John wants a grown-up bed," Rodney said to Elizabeth.

"I'm sure he does." She looked between them. "You can have whatever quarters you like." She paused, looking between them again, all traces of amusement gone. "Until today neither of you ever let your relationship interfere with what was best for Atlantis. I expect that will again be the case."

"It will," Rodney said hastily. "I will let John flirt with any and all alien priestesses with access to naquadah."

Elizabeth looked at John. "And I'll flirt," he said.

"Okay then. I'll see you at tomorrow's briefing." Elizabeth started to go.

"Wait a minute," Rodney called after her. "You knew?"

Elizabeth turned and grinned at them. "Half of Atlantis knew."

"But we were so careful." Rodney looked at John.

John tilted his head to the side. "Maybe we weren't careful enough."

"No." Rodney shook his head. "They only know because you've been Mr. Touchy these last two weeks."

John started for the door and Rodney walked beside him. "Maybe she's just messing with us."

"I'm sure that's it."

"Me, too."

"She did see me coming out of your quarters once."

"You didn't say anything?"

"It was early. I didn't think it looked suspicious."

"You always look suspicious."

"I do not." Rodney stopped walking. "Now, I can look as suspicious as I want."

"No public sex."

"Who said anything about sex?" Rodney turned and started walking, humming softly. After a moment he began singing, "And I think it's gonna be a long long time / Till touch down brings me round again to find / I'm not the man they think I am at home / Oh no no no I'm a rocket man…"

John elbowed him in the ribs, but his lips were curving every which way so Rodney simply started in on the next verse.

He was a good boyfriend, after all.

Or at least no worse than John.