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Title: Solace

Author: chelle

Author's email:

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Fandom: Atlantis

Archive: Ask first

Rating: NC-17

AN: Set immediately after the episode 1.12 "The Defiant One," this story contains spoilers for that episode. Thank you to zoot, Grrrl, and kagey for their valuable criticism.

John realized his eyes were sliding shut and forced them open. Maybe he should have taken Ford up on his offer to ride back to Atlantis with him and McKay. The flight out, the fight, and now the flight back were taking a toll.

Not to mention the deaths.

He glanced at the man in the seat next to his. Rodney had his head back and his eyes closed. They should probably take turns sleeping and piloting the jumper. He reached out, touched Rodney's shoulder. "Hey."

Rodney turned toward him, opened his eyes.

"Why don't you go in the back, get some sleep?"

"There aren't any beds."

That was true. There were benches, however, but John didn't push it. Instead, he looked closely at Rodney. He looked as tired as John felt, and his eyes were a little shiny. While he was looking, Rodney closed his eyes and turned away. The quiet was a little unsettling. He wasn't used to Rodney being quiet. Although John had a pretty good idea what Rodney was feeling, even without him saying it. Exhaustion, combined with the post-adrenaline letdown, the beginnings of grief and guilt, and maybe a little shock over just how close they'd come.

He probably wasn't feeling the same gratitude that John was. If Rodney hadn't shown up, hadn't gone after the Wraith with nothing but his sidearm, John was pretty sure he wouldn't be here.

Even with his eyes closed, shutting out the world, Rodney looked alone, more alone than he should. He wasn't alone, neither of them were. "Rodney," John said quietly.

Once again, Rodney turned to look at him.

"Thanks. For what you did out there. If you hadn't shown up when you did…"

Rodney nodded, and John realized that his eyes weren't just shiny they were wet. Gall and Abrams had been Rodney's men, Rodney's colleagues. Before John could decide what he should say, Rodney once again closed his eyes and turned away.

It took just a minute to set the autopilot. Then John rose from his chair and walked around the console to squat in front of Rodney. "It's okay," he said when Rodney opened his eyes.

"What is?" Rodney asked, his voice lower and rougher than usual.

"Feeling something." John reached up and brushed a tear from Rodney's cheek with his fingers.

"I'm fine."

"I'm not," John said and reached for Rodney. He wrapped his arms around Rodney's shoulders. Rodney was stiff and the position was awkward, but Rodney needed this. So did John.

Rodney relaxed a little, put one arm around John's waist and began to stroke John's back with his free hand.

John closed his eyes and pressed his cheek against Rodney's neck. Rodney's hand was broad and warm and John felt the muscles in his back begin to relax as Rodney touched him. Rodney was alive. He was alive. For now, it was enough.

Rodney stopped stroking, resting his hand against the small of John's back. A moment later he moved his arms away and John reluctantly drew back. As he was sliding his arms from around Rodney's shoulders, his fingers somehow found their way to Rodney's cheek.

He stared at his fingers as they moved slowly over Rodney's face, feeling stubble and traces of wetness.

Rodney didn't move, not even when John's fingers brushed across his lips. Rodney's lips were a little chapped, but soft. John drew his hand back because Rodney was his friend and colleague and you don't touch a friend and colleague's lips. Rodney didn't know this, however, because Rodney touched John's lips.

With his own.

It was a soft kiss, not tentative, just soft. Rodney gently moved his lips over John's and John responded.

They kissed slowly, carefully, feeling each other out. When Rodney's tongue touched his, John made a quiet, needy sound, the first sound that either of them had made. Rodney paused for a heartbeat, and then continued the caress.

The position was awkward and his head was tilted at a funny angle, but John didn't care. Rodney kissed with a sweetness that made John ache, and aching was good. Aching meant you were alive and touching and being touched in return. So, yeah, aching was good.

His thighs started to burn, protesting against being forced to squat for so long. John tried to ignore them. Finally, he was forced to stand.

Rodney looked up at him and John held out a hand. Rodney looked as vulnerable as John felt and John had to do something about that. He couldn't let Rodney feel alone. Rodney took his hand, and John led him to the back of the jumper. There weren't any beds, but there were blankets.

Letting go of Rodney's hand, he removed all three from the storage compartment. Rodney took the pile from him and together they spread them, one on top of the other, on the floor of the jumper.

John stood, looking down at the blankets. He had no idea what to do next. Fortunately, Rodney did. Rodney moved in close and kissed him again. This time John was able to press his whole body against Rodney's, to feel Rodney's warmth and Rodney's strength. He wondered for a moment how his body felt to Rodney, if Rodney felt as comforted by their embrace as John was.

The kiss ended but John didn't let go. He started another one. Slow and deep and he liked the way Rodney tasted, and the way Rodney let him in, let him close. John kept pressing, kept trying to go deeper, until the need for oxygen forced him to draw back.

When he drew back, Rodney let go. He sat on the blankets, facing John, with his legs stretched out in front of him.

John stared at him for a heartbeat, and then joined him on the blankets. He sat close enough that they could kiss, and Rodney didn't disappoint him.

John parted his lips, drew Rodney inside, and for the first time he touched. He touched Rodney's chest, felt the muscles beneath Rodney's shirt. Then his fingers encountered a firm, tiny point. Rodney's nipples were hard. John didn't have words for what that did to him, for the way need escalated into something else, into desire and want.

Hungry for more, he slid his hand under Rodney's shirt, and why had no one ever told him that chest hair felt good. Soft and inviting, but then his fingers found what he was looking for. Rodney gasped, just a little, just enough to tell John that he liked it. So John brushed his fingers back and forth over Rodney's nipple a couple of times before pushing Rodney's shirt up and covering it with his mouth.

He sucked a little, rubbed it with his tongue, sucked a little more. When Rodney lay back on the blankets, John followed him down, still sucking.

Rodney placed his hand on the back of John's neck and the warmth slid into John. Every place they touched Rodney's warmth slid into him. It was even sliding into his tongue from Rodney's nipple. Rodney used his hand to guide John's mouth back to his and John sank into the kiss, sank into Rodney's mouth and everything it offered.

Some tiny part of his mind poked at him, kept reminding him that there was something else he wanted. Finally John focused enough to remember what it was. Taking Rodney's shirt in both hands, he tugged on it and Rodney sat up so that John could pull it off. Before he could do anything about all of that newly exposed skin, Rodney was pulling John's shirt up. John obligingly lifted his arms.

Rodney eased him onto his back and kissed him again. This time his body was partly covering John's. Skin, lots of it, pressed against his, reassuring and exciting, and John began to move his hands over Rodney's back and shoulders. Rodney had broad shoulders and that was good, better than John had ever thought it could be.

Then Rodney's lips left his mouth for his neck and John arched. Rodney was tasting him, teasing him, and John closed his eyes. For a moment John wondered how he tasted, because the planet had been hot and the fight had been intense and he had to taste of dried sweat. Rodney didn't mind or didn't care, because he was moving his mouth over John's skin, licking and sucking. John hadn't thought he could feel any more exposed. He'd been wrong.

One of Rodney's hands slid slowly up and down his side.

Rodney nipped lightly at John's collarbone.

John tried to touch, tried to caress Rodney in return. He slid his hand down over a biceps and then back up to a shoulder. He buried his fingers in Rodney's hair, which had no business feeling like it did.

When Rodney sucked on a nipple, John stroked the back of Rodney's neck with his fingers.

Rodney drew away, sat up, and John was so lost it took him a moment to figure out why. Rodney was untying John's boots. The boots that had to come off if they were going to take off their pants, if they were going to be naked together.

John sat up. His intention had been to help Rodney with the boots, but instead he captured Rodney's ear lobe with his mouth and sucked a little. Rodney groaned. John sucked a little harder and moved his hand over Rodney's chest. He liked the feel of Rodney's chest hair when he pushed his fingers through it, and the way Rodney's pec curved beneath his palm.

When John let go, Rodney tugged on John's boot. John leaned down to help him. As soon as his boots were off, John reached for the ties on Rodney's. They removed Rodney's boots too.

All that remained were their pants. John opened Rodney's before he could think about it, because if he thought about it he might not do it. He needed to do it. Needed to be naked with Rodney.

Rodney must have felt the same way because when John pushed at his pants, Rodney lifted his hips and helped John pull them off. Rodney's boxers followed.

Rodney was resting on his hip and elbow, completely naked. John told himself not to stare. He'd seen a lot of naked men in his life. He didn't need to stare. But none of them had been aroused.

Rodney had one foot flat on the floor, exposing everything.

John stared, and swallowed. He may even have licked his lips a little, because Rodney had a thick, full cock, and dark hair, and a crinkly looking scrotum that John wanted to touch. So he did. Lightly, tentatively.

Rodney was warm here, too.

John cupped Rodney's balls in his hand, felt their weight. Balls were such vulnerable things, easily hurt. John didn't want to cause hurt. He held them lightly, rubbed a bit with his thumb.

He was about to move his hand to Rodney's cock when he felt Rodney undoing the button on his pants. John watched as Rodney's hands lowered his zipper.

Before Rodney could slide his hand inside, John started to push his pants down. He wanted Rodney's touch, but he didn't want anything getting in the way, didn't want anything between them.

When he was free of his pants, John pressed his lips to Rodney's and used his weight to press Rodney down onto his back. He was lying on top of Rodney and they were both naked. Rodney was touching him, stroking his back, and he could feel Rodney, smell Rodney.

Rodney had sweated on that planet too, but somehow it just made him smell more like Rodney. And John liked Rodney enough to like the way he smelled. Or maybe it was the other way around. John didn't know and didn't care, because he could feel Rodney, Rodney's skin and Rodney's muscles and Rodney's lips.

And Rodney's cock. It was right there, next to John's own, pressing into him. He moved his hips a little, rubbing it, and Rodney moaned. John moved his hips a little more.

Wanting another look, John lifted himself up on his arms. He hadn't really noticed before, but Rodney's chest hair made a kind of inverted triangle, and his nipples were perfectly round. Rodney's chest was nice, but it wasn't what he most wanted to see. He looked lower, sucking in a breath at the sight of his cock next to Rodney's. It shouldn't have turned him on, seeing them together like that, but it did.

Then Rodney reached between them and wrapped his hand around both of them. John made a sound that was part surprise and part whimper.

Then he groaned as Rodney slowly started to stroke.

He wasn't sure what felt better the places where Rodney's hand touched his dick or the places where his dick touched Rodney's. Not that it mattered.

John placed a hand over Rodney's.

They stroked slowly. John watched their hands, then Rodney's face, then their hands again.

He was watching Rodney's face when Rodney started to come. Rodney's mouth fell open, but no sound came out. He closed his eyes, but only for a moment. Then he opened them again. He was looking at John when John lost it, when the sight and feel of Rodney's hand and Rodney's cock and Rodney's orgasm became too much and John came himself, trembling and spurting.

John buried his face in Rodney's neck and Rodney's arms closed around him. Once again, Rodney stroked his back, and John closed his eyes.


He woke to the sound of beeping. It took him a moment to process where he was and whose body his was tangled with.

"Autopilot," he muttered, pulling away before he had to deal with the fact that he was lying naked and sticky on top of an equally naked and sticky Rodney.

Unwilling to go into the cockpit naked, he hastily pulled on his boxers and pants before going to the front of the jumper.

They were home. Atlantis spread out beneath them, blue and wet. They hadn't yet found a name for the planet, although Ford had suggested several. John simply referred to it as Atlantis. It seemed easiest.

Sitting in the pilot's chair, he put the jumper into orbit.

Rodney came up behind him, fully dressed, and handed him both his shirt and one of those pre-moistened cloths from the first aid kit. He placed John's boots and socks on the floor beside his seat.

"Thanks," John said, not quite meeting his eyes. He wiped himself clean while Rodney went to sit in the co-pilot's chair.

Neither of them said anything as John finished dressing.


The debriefing went on too long. In spite of the sleep he'd gotten on the jumper, John was exhausted. So was Rodney. And they both needed time to process. Instead, they were in the briefing room, going over it again and again.

John felt like he'd been punched when Rodney described how Gall had died. Rodney should have told him. Not that he could have done anything, not that he would have had any words of wisdom to offer.

He wasn't going to think about comfort and how it was given or received.

He touched Rodney's arm when they left, told him to get some rest.

Rodney nodded, told him to do the same, and walked away.

John watched him for a moment before heading toward his quarters and his bed.

If, when he settled his head on his pillow, he imagined that it was warm, and had a low steady heartbeat, and arms that closed around his shoulders, well, that was between John and his pillow.