chelle

Atlantis

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Virgin Sacrifice in the Mid-Afternoon

chelle

Title: Virgin Sacrifice in the Mid-Afternoon

Author: chelle

Author's email: chelle@chelle.slashcity.org

Author's URL: http://chelle.slashcity.org/

Fandom: Atlantis

Archive: Ask first

Rating: NC-17

AN: Thank you to Kamil for reassuring me that the bit the spouse claimed didn't work really did work and to Wickdzoot for begging encouragment and the naming of alien species and priests. Curses on Emu for convincing me that every fandom needs a virgin sacrifice story.

Rodney took a deep breath and tried to contain his frustration. Containing things like anger and frustration didn't come easily to him. He was more a let it all hang out kind of guy. Well, maybe not all of it.

Teyla was in deep conversation with two of the natives, who didn't appear that formidable, except for the nasty looking weapons they carried. The swords—Rodney figured they were probably technically called something else, but they were long and pointy and that made them swords as far as he was concerned—had curved blades that seemed to be designed for the express purpose of separating heads from bodies. Rodney had never fancied the idea of being beheaded so he took another deep breath and tried to keep his annoyance from showing.

Teyla frowned. She did that a lot so Rodney tried not to see it as a bad sign. Still, he cast a sideways glance at Major Sheppard, who met his gaze and shrugged. Simultaneously, they looked at Teyla who was moving away from the natives and toward Rodney.

"Doctor McKay, I need to ask you something."

Her voice was pitched low, giving Rodney the impression that this was something they might not want overheard. Taking a step closer to her, he asked, "What?"

"Have you ever had sex?"

"What? Of course I've had sex. I'm not that much of a geek." Out of the corner of his eye he saw one of the natives fingering his weapon and lowered his voice. "Why do you want to know?"

She ignored his question and instead asked one of her own. "Have you ever had sex with another man?"

"No," he snapped, "I've never…" He looked at the semi-circle of natives in front of and surrounding them. He swallowed. "Why do you want to know?" he asked again.

Major Sheppard moved close enough to join their conversation, and Rodney felt a hand press reassuringly into the small of his back. "Teyla," he asked quietly, "What's going on?"

"Dr. McKay desecrated the temple of P'taratha. The P'lekar feel he should take part in the purification ritual required to rededicate the temple, since he is the one responsible."

"I didn't desecrate anything," Rodney protested. "All I did was enter the damn thing."

"What's involved in this ritual?" Sheppard asked, ignoring Rodney's protests.

"Dr. McKay is to be the sacrifice."

"Sacrifice?" Rodney squeaked, eyeing the long blade carried by the closest native.

"It is not a human sacrifice, McKay," Teyla said. "You will not die."

That was a relief. Then Rodney remembered her earlier questions. "What, exactly, am I expected to sacrifice?"

"Your sexual purity."

"Sexual—" Sheppard repeated.

"But I'm not a virgin," Rodney argued.

"You said yourself that you have never been with another man," Teyla replied with annoying calm.

Rodney shook his head. "No, no way. I can't. I won't."

"Relax, Rodney," Major Sheppard said before turning to Teyla. "Can you explain that this isn't our way? That we don't have sex as part of rituals and we'll be happy to make restitution in some other way."

"I will try, Major," Teyla said with a slight bow of her head. Unfortunately, she didn't sound hopeful.

Rodney watched while she spoke with the P'lekar, his mind throwing up images of natives in grass skirts dancing by torchlight, volcanoes, and stone altars. And hideously unattractive priests with large penises.

"Stop," Major Sheppard said quietly.

Startled, Rodney turned to look at him. "What?"

"Whatever you're imagining, stop. We'll figure something out."

Oddly, Rodney was reassured a little, because Sheppard usually did figure something out.

Teyla looked over at them and shook her head.

"Tell them I'll do it," Sheppard said, removing his hand from Rodney's back and placing himself between Rodney and the natives. "I ordered him into the temple. The responsibility is mine."

Rodney shook his head. This was Sheppard's idea of figuring something out? Was a martyr complex a personality requirement for Air Force officers? "You can't."

"Sure I can."

"You're military."

Sheppard shrugged a little. "There are extenuating circumstances."

"I wasn't aware the regulations made allowances for extenuating circumstances."

"It's non-consensual."

"You're volunteering."

"To protect you."

"I don't need to be protected," Rodney's voice was getting louder.

"You sure about that?" Sheppard countered, stepping closer to Rodney and glaring at him.

In truth, Rodney wasn't sure about that at all, but he wasn't about to let Major Sheppard take his place. He'd have gone into the temple even if the Major hadn't suggested it. Wondering if martyr complexes were contagious he said, "Yes."

Before the Major could answer, Teyla stepped close to them. "The P'lekar say that you may both participate."

"What?" they said, turning simultaneously to face her.

"I explained to the P'lekar that Major Sheppard felt responsible for the desecration of the temple, and the Irahuel decided that he should be the one to accept the sacrifice."

"Accept the sacrifice," Rodney repeated. "You mean take don't you?" Both Teyla and Major Sheppard turned to look at him. "As in take me."

"If by take you mean penetrate, then, yes, that is what I mean."

Sheppard blanched slightly and Rodney felt a momentary glow of satisfaction.

"We could fight our way out," Ford put in. He was standing with his back to his teammates, facing the blade carrying natives arrayed in a semi-circle around them.

Rodney followed Major Sheppard's gaze as he studied the situation. The natives were undoubtedly no match for the team's automatic weapons, but behind the blade carrying P'lekar were women and children. It appeared at least half of the village had come to see the strangers. As much as Rodney wanted to say they should shoot their way out, he couldn't seem to. His virtue just wasn't worth that much.

Apparently, Major Sheppard agreed. "No," he said, glancing at Rodney who nodded in agreement. "We'll do it."

Right. They were going to do it. Literally. Fuck, or in Rodney's case be fucked. With witnesses. He had no doubt there would be witnesses. Some days he wished he'd stayed in Canada. Sure the Inuit had some strange traditions, but as far as he knew they'd never sacrificed anyone's sexual purity. Plus, Tim Horton's. He missed Tim Horton's. Rodney sucked in a breath and tried to contain his anxiety.

One of the P'lekar with whom Teyla had been speaking approached and indicated that Rodney should follow him. In spite of Sheppard's unhappiness at the separation of the team, McKay followed. He was led into a building with a high ceiling and large rectangular windows. It reminded him a little of a museum in Ottawa that his parents had taken him to when he was a kid. He followed the man in front of him into a round room with a large sunken tub in the middle of it.

There were two women in the room, both relatively young and both very attractive. One of the women approached him and began tugging at his clothes. "Hey!" He batted her hands away. The man who had led him here pointed at Rodney and then at the bath while saying something Rodney couldn't understand. Evidently he was to bathe. "Fine," he muttered and the man gave him a long look before turning and leaving. The woman resumed tugging on his clothing. Rodney captured her hands and pushed them back. "I'll do it myself," he said firmly, releasing her and undoing the fastenings on his jacket.

He undressed as efficiently as possible and then climbed into the bath. The water was wonderfully warm and lightly scented. He closed his eyes. The one thing Atlantis seemed to lack was a bathtub; maybe he could at least get a good soak out of this.

Soft hands touched his shoulders and Rodney's eyes flew open. Pulling away, he turned to look at the woman behind him. "No."

She replied, not that it did her any good since he couldn't understand a word she said, and reached for him again.

He backed away from the wall and out of reach. "I can wash myself."

The second woman, who had been standing and watching, squatted and held a small opened jar out to Rodney. Accepting it, he looked inside. It contained a pale green substance with the consistency of lotion. He dipped a couple of fingers into the stuff and then rubbed it between his thumb and fingers. It began to foam. Soap. Looking up at the woman he said, "Thank you." She nodded and backed away.

Neither woman tried to touch him again, but they didn't leave either. Rodney turned his back on them and washed quickly, any pleasure he might have gotten from the bath gone.

When he stepped from the tub he was handed a large soft cloth, far softer than any towels he'd ever owned on Earth. Then he was given a blindingly white robe to put on and nothing else. Evidently, he was expected to walk around on an alien planet clad in nothing but the P'lekar equivalent of a bathrobe. To add insult to injury, it didn't even reach his knees. He moved toward his clothes, but the women intercepted him. Each taking an arm, they led him from the chamber.

He was led out of the chamber and to the temple he'd supposedly desecrated. Fortunately the ground was smooth, because they didn't bother to give him shoes. The temple was filled with people standing in neat rows and clad in robes similar to his, except theirs were blue. He was guided down the center of the temple to the altar he hadn't had a chance to investigate earlier. It was waist high and padded. There were ropes attached to it in what Rodney assumed were strategic places. The only light in the room came from candles, hundreds of them, and the smoke had an almost sweet scent.

The other man who had been talking to Teyla was standing in front of it. Rodney guessed he was the priest, the Irahuel Teyla had referred to. The priest said something and the two women turned Rodney so that the altar was on his right.

Major Sheppard was being led into the temple, and Rodney turned his head to watch, carefully keeping his body in the position in which it had been placed. There was no point in further antagonizing these people. Major Sheppard was positioned directly opposite Rodney about half a meter away. The Major was also in a robe, but his was forest green.

The priest raised his arms and the P'lekar began to chant, softly at first, but the sound grew steadily louder. It reminded Rodney of the Whos down in Whoville and he wondered how the Major would feel about being Max, since Rodney was clearly the Grinch.

He glanced at the crowd and then back at Major Sheppard. He didn't want to think about the crowd, but then again he wasn't sure he wanted to think about Major Sheppard.

The robe closed fairly low on the Major's chest, exposing dark brown chest hair. Rodney had never understood why anyone would find chest hair attractive, even his. He'd dated a woman in college who was always running her fingers through his chest hair after sex. It had been kind of nice, even if it had kept him awake. He wondered if women did that to Sheppard and if he liked it or if it kept him awake.

The priest lowered his arms and the chanting got softer, but it didn't subside entirely. He lifted a bowl into the air and began his own chant, his voice rising deep and loud over the softer chanting of the crowd.

Major Sheppard glanced at the priest and then back at Rodney who shrugged.

The priest kept chanting and Rodney shifted his weight from one foot to the other. Standing still had never been his strong suit, not that he was in a hurry to finish this. Major Sheppard was standing almost perfectly still, which probably shouldn't have been a surprise given that he was military, but it was. From what Rodney had seen the Major was always full of energy, but then again it was a contained sort of energy—potential energy, like a ball at the top of a ramp. Everything really was physics.

Sex was physics, Newtonian physics, mechanics and equal but opposite reactions with a little biochemistry thrown in. So he had nothing to be nervous about. It would just be a little physics, some friction, the release of potential energy. Except it was Major Sheppard's potential energy and it was going to be released in Rodney's ass.

His thoughts must have shown on his face, because Major Sheppard gave him his reassuring look, the one that always made Rodney start to panic. Before Rodney could react, the priest held the bowl out to Rodney; he accepted it because there really wasn't anything else he could do.

The priest lifted his now empty hands to his mouth, miming drinking. Rodney raised the bowl to his lips. The liquid was cool, which was surprising given how warm the temple was becoming, and almost tasteless. Thirsty, he drank more deeply than he'd intended.

Taking the bowl from Rodney, the priest handed it to Sheppard who took a smaller drink than Rodney had. The priest then placed the bowl on the ground between them and lifted his arms again. The chanting resumed. Rodney noticed that the Major's lips were glistening with moisture. He forced his eyes away from the man's lips only to find himself staring into the Major's surprisingly dark eyes. Rodney rarely noticed other people's eyes, unless they were really striking, like Samantha Carter's, but he had to admit that the Major's eyes were nice and deep, almost bottomless. Clearly the drink was getting to him because people did not have bottomless eyes.

The priest clapped three times and the two women who had tried to bathe him appeared at his side. At the same moment the chanting changed. There were now two distinct chants, point and counterpoint, action and reaction.

One of the women untied his robe and it fell open, revealing his semi-erect cock. Rodney had no idea when he'd started to get hard, but he hoped the Major wouldn't look down.

It was a vain hope.

Major Sheppard dropped his eyes and Rodney went to full mast.

He didn't have time to be mortified because the two women pushed the robe from his shoulders and he was suddenly naked in a room full of—he didn't want to think how many people. Major Sheppard must have sympathized because he held Rodney's gaze, giving Rodney something to focus on and preventing him from looking at the sea of faces that were now being treated to Rodney in his full monty glory.

The two women knelt, one on each side of him, and began carefully rubbing his feet with oil.

Rodney didn't look down. There were two beautiful women kneeling at his feet, oiling his feet. It was every guy's fantasy, at least every straight guy's, minus the audience. Rodney knew there were people who got off on being watched, but he wasn't one of them. The exposure, all those eyes on him, it was nerve-wracking, which is why his heart was pounding. He couldn't explain why his dick was hard, or why he was staring at Major Sheppard, whose hands clenched into fists when the women's hands began sliding up Rodney's calves.

He was being prepared. For the sacrifice.

The thought made him blanche. Major Sheppard must've noticed because he mouthed something at Rodney. He wasn't able to make out all of it, but he was pretty certain that the last word was okay. Trust Sheppard to think this would all be okay.

One of the women's hands hit a ticklish spot on the inside of his thigh and he instinctively pulled his leg away. John smiled. Rodney smiled back before he could stop himself. The woman began touching his leg again, firmer this time, almost the way Major Sheppard would touch him.

Determined to ignore that thought, Rodney concentrated on the chanting. It was an intense, complex interplay of voices. One set of voices would rise as the other was subsiding and then the second set would rise while the first subsided. The two groups worked together and in opposition, sharing a rhythm, each reinforcing the other. The metaphor was obvious, and Rodney tried to find something else to think about. It wasn't easy, not when people were chanting, and the air was filled with a sweet, tantalizing scent that was just out of reach, and women were touching him, and Major Sheppard was looking at him, watching him being touched. Why wasn't the Major being touched? Didn't he need to be prepared? Rodney glanced down and swallowed. Major Sheppard was prepared. He was so prepared he was parting his robe.

Rodney jerked his eyes upward and once again found himself staring into Major Sheppard's eyes. The Major looked embarrassed and Rodney offered him a small smile. Between the erotic chanting, the sensual smells, and the beautiful women, he couldn't blame the Major for getting hard. Unless the Major was embarrassed because Rodney was the reason he was hard.

Shockingly, Rodney kind of liked that thought.

Before he could fully examine it, the two women moved from his thighs to his ass. Rodney gasped. Major Sheppard took a step toward him, but the priest put out an arm, stopping him.

Rodney tried desperately to think of something else as four hands moved over his ass and abdomen; they were carefully avoiding his cock and balls and the space between his cheeks, but that didn't make it any better. He didn't want their hands on him, didn't want more strangers staring at him, watching him be touched. He wanted to have sex in his own bed, with a person of his own choosing, and without an audience.

The Major captured his gaze again, held it as the hands on his body began to move higher. He stared into the Major's eyes and tried to imagine that he was in Atlantis, in his own bed, and the hands on him were Samantha Carter's. She'd touch him and he'd touch her and look into those amazing blue eyes.

But he was looking into hazel eyes, really nice hazel eyes, kind eyes, understanding eyes that made it clear he wasn't alone, that Major Sheppard was right here with him.

He kept his eyes locked on Sheppard's as fingers brushed his nipples, causing him to suck in a breath. Sheppard did the same and it was almost as if the hands on him were the Major's.

That was okay, more okay than it should have been, so Rodney went with it. He looked at Major Sheppard and imagined that they were alone and that the hands on him were his.

He wanted to reach out and undo the belt holding the Major's robe closed. He wanted to touch warm skin and solid muscle, and maybe he'd figure out the attractions of chest hair.

The two women reached his shoulders at last and simultaneously removed their hands from his skin.

His relief was quickly superseded by panic.

He fought to contain his emotions as they led him to the altar. Positioning him at one end, they pushed his shoulders down until his chest was flat on the altar. Then they began tying his wrists.

"Hey, is that really necessary?" he heard Major Sheppard ask, but no one answered him.

Rodney turned his head, trying to see the Major, but with his arms stretched out in front of him his range of vision was limited. When he felt his ankles being tied, he gave up and rested his head on the altar. It was soft, probably made from the same material as the towels they'd given him earlier.

A hand touched his back and he knew without looking that it was Sheppard's hand. The Major leaned over him and whispered, "You okay?"

Rodney's cock, which had begun to soften, immediately hardened. "Yeah," he whispered back, because even though there was nothing remotely okay about any of this, he trusted Major Sheppard.

The Major didn't say anything more, but his lips brushed the back of Rodney's neck. Rodney could feel Major Sheppard's erection against his ass and he remembered that the women had oiled him pretty much everywhere except where he needed to be oiled.

He needn't have worried. While Major Sheppard stroked his back with one hand, the other slid between his cheeks. They must have given him the oil, because his hand slid easily up and down, going slightly deeper each time. It wasn't quite where the oil was needed. Rodney was trying to decide if he should say something when a finger brushed his opening. Major Sheppard traced the edges a few times before slipping his finger inside.

Rodney closed his eyes. He wanted to shut it all out—the chanting spectators and their stinky candles, the altar, the rope, and the Major's hands. What was it with him and Air Force officers anyway?

The Major began to slide his finger gently back and forth. Rodney was glad the women hadn't done this because this was intimate, really intimate. It should have been humiliating to be touched like this, but Major Sheppard was a good guy, and Rodney knew he wasn't enjoying this, at least not in a humiliating the geek way. Rodney almost hoped he was enjoying it in other ways.

The hand on his back was moving in slow circles and Rodney tried to focus on that, but the Major's finger slid all of the way in and suddenly Rodney was feeling pleasure he hadn't known his body could feel. The Major moved his finger back and forth, caressing that same spot again and again. Rodney made a whimpering sound that would have been embarrassing if Rodney had still been capable of embarrassment.

Major Sheppard withdrew his finger and Rodney almost protested, but then it was back and it had brought a friend. The first finger had gone in easily, but two made him feel stretched. It wasn't painful, but it wasn't really pleasurable either. Until the Major found that place again and Rodney had to bite his lip to keep from crying out. He knew what a prostate was; he even knew that some men really got off on having it played with. He just hadn't known that he was one of them.

He tried to push back against the Major's fingers, but the restraints limited his movements. He moaned in frustration.

The Major leaned over him. "I'm going to try now, if you—"

"Do it."

The fingers withdrew and a moment he felt what he assumed was the head of Major Sheppard's cock against his opening. It felt big, bigger than it had looked. One of the Major's hands was on his hip and the other continued to stroke his back. He didn't try to push inside and Rodney wondered if he thought he could enter Rodney by osmosis.

Frustrated, Rodney tried again to move his hips backward. He didn't get any farther this time than he had the last time, but it didn't matter because John pushed. Rodney felt himself stretch and it hurt, but not unbearably.

Once inside, the Major held still. It was thoughtful thing to do, except Rodney didn't want time to adjust, he wanted John's cock where his fingers had been.

At last John began moving, easing a little further inside him. Rodney moaned.

John didn't stop this time. He kept pushing until he was all of the way inside, until Rodney could feel his balls brushing against his own.

He was full. Rodney hadn't even known he was empty and now he was full. Suddenly the people watching didn't matter, the priest didn't matter, the only person who mattered was the man inside him.

John moved carefully, gently and it was weird to think that another guy was fucking him with care and tenderness. Except this was Major Sheppard, and he was that kind of a guy, a good guy, a good man.

A good man who needed to touch Rodney's cock. If Rodney could have done it himself, he would have. But his hands were tied and his cock was hanging in mid-air, neglected and aching.

John's cock brushed his prostate and Rodney cried out. John must have realized it was in pleasure not pain, because he did it again. Then again. Rodney twisted his hands so that he could hang onto the rope binding his wrists. He needed something to hang onto. John's cock was going to make him fly apart, away, something.

"John."

John leaned down, kissed the back of his neck, and suddenly Rodney wanted John's mouth on his. He teased Rodney's skin with his lips for a moment before thrusting deep. This was better. The angle wasn't quite as good, but Rodney liked the feel of John above him, his hairy chest rubbing against Rodney's back with every thrust.

He was thrusting harder now, and Rodney's body wanted to respond, to move with him. He groaned in frustration. The next thrust pressed directly into his prostate and pleasure overwhelmed everything else. John repeated the movement, taking him with long steady strokes that were pushing Rodney closer and closer.

He came hard, blindingly hard. He heard John moan, felt John's cock twitch inside him, felt John's come flood his insides with warmth, and the whole time he was coming.

The pleasure subsided and Rodney lay there with John's softening dick inside him and John's body on top of his. He was trembling and John whispered soothing nonsense in his ear.

The priest untied the ropes binding his wrists and John brushed a final kiss to the back of his neck and stood. He withdrew from Rodney's body as carefully as he'd entered it. Rodney felt hands untying his ankles and knew the hands were John's. He pushed himself upright, ignoring protesting muscles, and gratefully accepted the robe the priest held out to him. The priest said a few words to him that Rodney didn't understand and then bowed his head. He started to walk away, and, not knowing what else to do, Rodney followed. John followed him.

The priest led them to a small room at the back of the temple. Inside they found their clothes and two large basins of water. The priest said a few more words, bowed his head again, and left. Rodney immediately went to one of the basins and stuck a finger in it. The water was warm, almost hot. Picking up the cloth beside the basin, he dropped it into the water and undid his robe. Retrieving the cloth, he began cleaning the oil from his chest and abdomen.

Normally the idea of bathing in front of Major Sheppard would have mortified him, but after what they'd just done he didn't have a whole lot of shame left.

Resting one leg on a nearby chair, he began to wash it, dimly aware that John was washing as well.

Finishing with his legs, he tried to wash his back, but no matter what angle he tried he couldn't seem to reach the center. He had his arm twisted behind him when he felt John's hand close over his.

Rodney let the cloth go and John began to wash his back with long, firm strokes. It felt good and Rodney willed his cock not to respond. Then John began washing his ass, first the cheeks and then the space between them. Rodney should have protested. He could reach his own ass, but John was so respectful it felt as if he was restoring Rodney's battered dignity as he cleaned him.

John tossed the cloth into the basin and Rodney turned slightly, noticing that John was already wearing his shirt and pants. John held up a towel and Rodney accepted it gratefully.

Without a word, John moved to the other side of the room and resumed gearing up. Rodney wondered if they'd ever actually speak again.

Rodney was putting on his vest when someone knocked on the door.

"Major Sheppard. Doctor McKay." It was Teyla's voice.

"We're here. We'll be out in a minute," John called. Walking over to Rodney he closed the top buckle on Rodney's vest, the one Rodney had been about to reach for. "You ready?" he asked.

"Sure."

"Okay," John said quietly, but he didn't move away, and his hands were still on Rodney's vest. Unsure what John wanted, Rodney stood perfectly still. Then John leaned forward and kissed him, lightly, briefly. "Let's go," he said, releasing Rodney and starting toward the door.

Heart pounding, Rodney followed.

***

Rodney re-read the paragraph for the fourth time. Zelenka wrote clear, concise lab reports that didn't usually require repeated reading, but Rodney's concentration was off. With a sigh he leaned back against the headboard and rubbed his eyes. He was working in his quarters because there were too many distractions in the lab, or so he'd told himself. In truth, he was working in his quarters because here he could let himself be distracted.

Not that he wanted to think about it. He just couldn't seem to stop. They'd been back for almost two days. Shouldn't he have thought his way through this by now? The thinking might have gone faster if he hadn't kept getting hard. It was difficult to think when most of your blood was located south of your waist.

A knock on his door was followed by a softly called, "McKay."

Maybe he could pretend he wasn't home. Unfortunately doing so would simply delay the inevitable. "Come in."

The door slid open and John stepped inside. "I stopped by your lab and Kavanaugh said you were here. Everything all right?"

All right? Rodney wanted to say. We had sex. In front of a couple hundred spectators. Is any part of that all right? Instead he said, "Peachy."

John seemed to hesitate before saying, "Okay, good. There's a mission briefing tomorrow at 0800."

"Ford told me."

"I guess I should—" John jerked his thumb in the direction of the door before starting toward it.

He was almost to the door when Rodney said, "Thanks."

John stopped. "You're welcome." After a moment he turned around. "Should we talk?"

Rodney didn't need to think about his answer. "No."

All the tension seemed to flow out of John. "Thank God."

Rodney chuckled.

John smiled and then chuckled a little, too. "I figured I had to offer."

"How responsible of you."

"I'm very responsible."

"I noticed."

"Was that an insult?"

Rodney grinned. "Would I insult you?"

John titled his head to the side and made a show of considering his answer. "No." Moving closer, he perched on the edge of the bed, facing Rodney. "You really okay?"

"It's not like I didn't enjoy it," Rodney snarked, and then blushed when he realized what he'd said.

"You weren't the only one."

"Yes, but you were—"

"On top?" John suggested. "You had two women touching you, trying to turn you on."

And John hadn't. John had been turned on, had gotten hard, by looking at Rodney. "Oh."

"Yeah, oh."

They were silent for a long moment, neither of them willing to look at the other. "Well," Rodney said when he couldn't take it anymore.

"I should—" John said, once again pointing his thumb at the door. But he didn't get up.

"I meant what I said," Rodney said when the silence began to get oppressive again.

John looked at him.

"The thanks. You." Rodney looked down at the blanket covering his bed. "It would have been worse with a stranger."

"I couldn't let you. Not alone. I couldn't."

"Responsible team leader," Rodney said.

"Friend," John countered.

Rodney had been studiously avoiding John's gaze, but he looked up and found himself caught. John's eyes seemed lighter in his quarters than they had in the temple. Rodney started to lean forward. John leaned, too, and a moment later they were kissing.

It was a small kiss, nothing to write home about, and nothing to get hard over, except Rodney was. He was fully erect from just the feel of John's lips on his.

They looked at one another for a heartbeat, then two. Rodney could see desire in John's face, was pretty sure John could see it in his.

Between one moment and the next his lips found John's, or John's found his. It didn't matter.

The kiss was all passion and clashing tongues and no finesse. But then they relaxed a little and Rodney discovered that John liked to tease. He'd slip his tongue into Rodney's mouth and then pull it away before Rodney could respond. He'd suck lightly on Rodney's lower lip and then release it just when the sucking started to feel really good.

Exasperated, Rodney took hold of John's shoulders and pushed him flat on the bed. Then he straddled John, leaned down, and kissed him. John moaned. Taking that as a good sign, he cupped John's head in his hands and kissed him some more.

John lifted his hips, pushing his erection into Rodney's.

Rodney eased them out of the kiss and drew back until he could see John's face.

"Jesus, Rodney."

Rodney grinned.

John grinned back. "Smug bastard."

Gazing down at John, it suddenly occurred to Rodney that John didn't look quite right. "You shaved."

"What?"

"You shaved."

"I shave every day."

"In the morning and by noon you've got 5 o'clock shadow." John had shaved for him. He'd come here hoping… "You were hoping to get laid."

"I was just trying to be responsible. Prevent whisker burn."

"One ritual sacrifice and you think I'm easy."

"Trust me, Rodney." John slipped his hands under Rodney's shirt. "There is nothing easy about you."

"Damn straight there isn't."

John giggled and Rodney couldn't stop himself from joining in. John rolled them so he was on top and Rodney sobered.

"Are you sure you want to do this?"

"I shaved, didn't I?"

"There aren't any extenuating circumstances this time."

"I volunteered."

"John."

"The regs are bullshit. Everyone knows that."

"They're still the regs," Rodney argued. "They could still be used against you."

"The Air Force is a long way away."

John kissed him, but Rodney wasn't willing to let it go, not quite yet. "I still think—"

"Don't. It's my choice, Rodney. Mine. And I've made it."

Rodney couldn't argue with that, so he wrapped his arms around John's shoulders and pulled him into a kiss.

An hour or so later, his fingers moving lazily over John's chest, Rodney decided that he really did understand the attractions of chest hair.