Rating: High PG-13 to Low R
Summary: In the midst of a trading mission, John and Rodney find themselves deposited in the middle of nowhere. With only themselves for company, they must find a way home.
Author's Notes: cupidsbow requested a "plotty friendship romance between John and Rodney" and also mentioned a like of Ancient tech and alien cultures - I hope this suffices!
The first night was purely by accident. John had been trying to drag Rodney from the village marketplace where apparently naquada and Ancient technology were both considered common enough to be put on the equivalent of a Pegasus galaxy clearance sale, while Teyla was arranging a meeting with the town elders for trade, Ronon at her side. They had returned to the inn to discover Teyla and Ronon had arranged lodging for themselves for the evening, but they needed to do the same for themselves.
"How many?" the clerk asked with a bored drawl.
"Two," John replied, looking to Teyla to double-check she was set for the night. The way her eyebrows rose should have told him something.
The clerk gave him a slip of metal with a crystal on the end that he assumed was a key to his room. When Rodney was not given one of his own, he changed that assumption to be a room for both of them, thankful the other man tended not to snore.
He walked over to the rest of his team in time to hear Teyla comment, "I had not known they had progressed this far."
"It's about time," Ronon replied with a snort.
"What's about time?" he asked.
"That you two finally f-," Ronon started, to be smoothly cut off by Teyla.
"That you two have expressed your feelings for each other," she smiled.
John was confused and looked at them, then back to where Rodney was fondling a light fixture that glowed from within. "Er, what do you mean?" he asked, scratching the side of his head.
"You and McKay," Ronon spelled it out for him. He slapped him on the shoulder and Sheppard tried not to flinch. "Glad you got over whatever it was and got on with it."
John swallowed. Okay, so there were feelings, but he felt for all of his team and maybe he was a bit more protective of McKay, but the guy had a nasty habit of getting kidnapped and disabling his weapon more than using if effectively and... Wait. They thought they were together. Which meant... "We're not," he insisted. "Whatever you think, we're not."
Ronon smirked. "Yeah, whatever."
Teyla smiled her diplomatic smile that meant she didn't buy what was being peddled but was willing to play nice to prevent a diplomatic incident. "We understand, John," she told him reassuringly. "Doctor Weir explained your government's rules when Ronon asked Major Lorne to complete the Rite of Shim'la with him. We simply wish you to know that you can feel free to express yourself freely with us, both at home and away."
"But," he stuttered.
"Seriously, it's okay," Ronon said, walking away. Apparently, as far as he was concerned, it was the end of the discussion.
Teyla left with him, leaving John blinking and holding the oddly shaped room key. "But we're not together," he told the air before him, knowing there was no one around to listen.
Rodney chose that moment to wander up, pocketing his scanner to allow his hands to wave freely. "We have time to wander, right? No immediate, yet boring, negotiations to go to right away? Because I think I managed to talk one of the vendors into selling us one of his Ancient devices for like three bars of chocolate."
"What?" he asked, blinking to refocus on what his friend was saying and not imagining how other people, other teammates, could think they were something more than that going on between the two of them.
"I have no idea what it is yet," Rodney said, obviously mishearing or misinterpreting what he had meant. "It looks like a possible projection system of some sort. Who knows? Maybe it still has some information from the Ancients in it! What's important here is the fact that it's Ancient, it looks to still be in one piece, and it's costing us only three chocolate bars."
John checked his watch, mentally calculating the next check in and converting the planet's local time. "Yeah, we still have a bit," he affirmed. "The preliminary meeting's tomorrow and it looks like they don't plan on serving dinner for another hour or so."
"Excellent," McKay said, clapping his hands together. "Let's go see how much of this stuff we can get."
John sighed, shaking his head. "Just don't hustle them too much, we still have formal trade negotiations in the morning and I'd prefer if they weren't pissed at us."
"Promise," Rodney agreed. He walked over to where Teyla and Ronon were looking at a booth, asking, "Hey, Conan, how many chocolate bars did you stash on you this time?"
The whole issue of sharing a room didn't come up again until several hours later after a pretty decent meal of meat and vegetables, all assured to be citrus free, and plenty of something that tasted a bit like apple juice, if apple juice was purple with a bubblegum aftertaste. McKay was happily hording a burlap sack next to him that held not one, but three separate Ancient devices in its depths, all purchased for the sum total of four chocolate bars, a Powerbar, and a ballpoint pen John had found in his pocket.
The meal was cleared and most of the other patrons were disappearing off to places unknown when Teyla rose gracefully and bid goodnight. Rodney had been following them up the steps to their rooms, gazing longingly into his sack, looking up just as Teyla and Ronon each entered their own separate rooms using the odd crystal keys. "Where's my key?" he asked.
John resolutely did not blush as he admitted, "Apparently there was a miscommunication of some sort, and we're sharing a room tonight."
"How'd that happen?" Rodney questioned, watching Ronon wave and smirk before closing his door.
John had talked with Teyla earlier, trying to figure it out. She had always arranged the rooms for them in the past, excepting for the few times Ronon had, and had somehow never managed to mention that, in the Pegasus galaxy, the question "How many?" did not apply to how many rooms, but instead to how many would be sharing a room for the evening. "Long story," he told him, figuring he would not care for cultural differences and all that. "Suffice it to say, we're stuck together for the night. They gave us a room for two though, so we should be set."
He managed to open the door, hoping against hope that "two" still meant two beds. Opening his squinched eyes all the way, he tried not to openly sigh in disappointment at the single, though extremely large, bed in the center of the room. The rest of the room looked to be comfy and cozy with wood and stone walls, woven rugs, and a window that overlooked the marketplace.
Rodney made a sound of approval. "Very nice," he commented, shoving his way through to drop his gear near a small wooden table with matching chair. "Very North Woods-ish."
John closed the door behind him and eyed it critically, trying to find some fault in it. He couldn't come up with a single thing. There were the same oddly glowing lights on the walls, and even something that looked like a washbasin with what passed for towels on this planet. He sat down heavily on the bed, surprised at the softness as he sunk further than he expected, and prodded one of the many feather pillows piled near the carved wooden headboard.
He turned to see Rodney already pulling out his loot and setting it on the table, making odd cooing noises of pleasure as each one was revealed. With a sigh, he pulled off his vest and draped it over one of the bedposts. He kicked off his boots and settled back against the pillows, pulling out the little hand held game he had brought with to keep himself occupied, figuring McKay would be at it for a while.
The view of the sky through the paned window grew darker and he felt himself starting to doze. A glance told him Rodney was still focused on his finds, muttering to himself as he set up sensors and took readings. He gave one last check of the door to make sure it was securely locked, and radioed Teyla and Ronon to make sure they were set for the night before allowing himself to drift into a light snooze.
A noise startled him to awareness, and he blinked to find the room filled with light. Wondering how long he had slept, he checked his watch, only to find it blinking 12:00 like some shorted out alarm clock. Something felt off though, so he took a closer look at his surroundings. He was still sitting on the same bed with the same neutral-colored coverlet, and the same red-brown rug lay on the same wooden floor, while Rodney worked at the same little table next to the same fireplace.
He blinked. Fireplace? They were on the second floor of a rustic inn that had only one shared hearth on the first floor.
He checked again, but it was still there. Pushing himself up from the bed, he wandered closer, feeling the warmth floating towards him as he approached. The wall was shorter than he remembered, and he peered around a corner to find a second, smaller room that was set up like a little kitchen. It was complete with a hand pump for water in the sink and strange almost-wrought iron fixtures that he assumed were cooking tools next to where the fireplace opened on that side of the wall.
Shaking his head, he shuffled over to the window and Rodney, catching a glimpse of trees and grass instead of the marketplace. He reached towards his teammate, intending to ask him just what the hell was going on, when he heard him swear profusely and jump as if shocked.
The electricity jolted through his body as well, and he closed his eyes for a moment to ground himself. When he opened them again, he was back in his original room, sans fireplace, only moonlight streaming in from the window as Rodney continued to curse soundly at what ever he was working on. He settled back against the pillows, wondering if he should tell McKay of his findings, or if it would be laughed off as an extremely vivid dream.
Rodney was headed towards the bed now, rubbing reddened hands together as if they still stung. "I give up for the night, that hurt," he muttered.
That was apparently that as he kicked off his own boots and tossed his jacket into a heap on the floor before climbing under the covers. "'Night," he yawned. Turning away and smushing his pillow just so, he warned, "You better not hog the blankets, it's getting cold in here."
He rubbed his eyes, looking around the room once more to make sure nothing changed again. Nothing did. Rodney was already lightly snuffling beside him, so it was doubtful he had noticed anything odd. Writing it off as a side effect of the bubblegum apple juice mixed with McKay's earlier North Woods comment, he pulled his own side of blankets back into place and tried to fall asleep again.
He awoke the next morning finding himself incredibly rested, if a bit cold. He looked over to find that, despite his warning, McKay was the one who had managed to steal most of the covers the night before.
Memories came flooding back and he sat up, eying the room carefully. Everything looked the exact same as it had when he had fallen asleep, complete with the funky wall sconces and lack of fireplace. Writing it off as an odd dream after all, especially considering he remembered several other odd dreams involving all sorts of issues he'd prefer not to deal with, he stood and stretched, feeling his back pop into place and all remaining stiffness disappear.
He splashed some water on his face and gave his teeth a quick brush. Checking his watch, he was pleased to see it working again, another sign of it being only a dream as far as he was concerned, and paged Teyla to confirm they had just enough time for a quick breakfast before they needed to head out to the meet the village negotiators. He woke McKay by tossing a Powerbar at his head and promising him some of the coffee-tasting tea from the tavern downstairs. Hoping it didn't produce as vivid of visions as the juice, he got ready to start his day.
The day itself was relatively boring. Introductions followed by posturing followed by hints of what either side could offer the other. Everyone was polite and friendly, and understood when they did not want to reveal everything about themselves at the get-go. It was the Pegasus galaxy, after all, where anything that could screw you would. They ate a light lunch of local favorites, with more of the apple juice passed around. He stuck to water.
That night they ate dinner in the inn's tavern again, discussing their results and agreeing they were most favorable. The planet was the equivalent of the Ancient's dumping ground, with people from other planets dropping off crap they couldn't get to work in an attempt for a quick sale or trade for something more useful, like rakes and hoes. The town's elders were more than willing to let them work out their own deals with the sales stalls, as well as a more formal arrangement for some of the larger items they had cluttering their own shelves. Basic medical aid and the some crop analysis for a particularly troublesome vegetable were more than fair enough for access to things that had Rodney openly salivating.
After dinner, Teyla and Ronon disappeared to their own rooms again and John noticed he had forgotten to arrange a second room for himself or Rodney for the night. The scientist was still on too much of a tech high to care, and walked into the room expounding on all the things he had set his sights on.
John pondered that, as well as both his own reluctance to mention the rooming situation and the little bauble he caught Ronon slip Teyla at lunch that she wore for the rest of the day, while Rodney got settled at the little table again. He was determined to figure out at least one of the devices before they headed home, hoping to have a head start on Zelenka when they returned.
He jotted out a preliminary report while things were still fresh in his mind before settling in with his game again. This time, when he felt himself start to drift off, he stripped down for bed and tucked the blankets around him in a pre-emptive attempt to keep them come morning.
The problem was, morning seemed to come earlier than expected. Light was streaming in from the window again and Rodney was standing near the foot of the bed, a dumbfounded expression on his face. "What the fuck?" he asked, gesturing around them. It was then John realized the cabin was back, only this time Rodney was interactive.
"Go back to sleep, it will go away," he muttered, pulling the pillow over his head and really hoping what he said was true.
He had no suck luck as the pillow was pulled out of his grasp and an exasperated McKay looked down at him. "Already tried that, and are you implying that you have seen this before? Because this is a first for me."
John checked his watch. Dead again. He glanced towards the window and saw the shadows of trees shifting the light patterns filtering through the glass. A peek around Rodney showed the fireplace, not quite roaring with life, but flickering steadily away.
He pinched himself, and it hurt. He pinched McKay, and got slapped for it. "What was that for?" Rodney demanded.
"Thought it was a dream, like last night," he shrugged, dragging himself out of the soft bed. He stretched, ignoring the face Rodney made at the popping noise, and wandered around the room, verifying it truly was as it was before, down to the little candles replacing the wall sconces and the entrance to the kitchen. "Looks just like it," he decided.
"Wait," Rodney stopped him before he could climb back under the covers and wish it away. "You saw this before?"
He nodded. "Fell asleep while you were working and figured it was a dream brought on by the bubblegum juice," he explained, realizing how stupid it sounded.
"Did you drink any last night?" Rodney asked. He shook his head. "Neither did I. It hurt when you pinched me and my feet are getting cold which all adds up to most likely, not a dream."
"Did you try contacting Ronon or Teyla?" John asked, looking for his vest and his radio.
"I woke up in a strange place that was surprisingly not where I fell asleep. I figured, why try the others when I can go out an pick berries?" Rodney snarked. "Of course I tried them. No answer, by the way, in case you were wondering."
He found his radio and tried it anyway, receiving nothing but static and a knowing look from his irritated teammate. He pulled on his clothes and gear from the day before and shoved his feet into his boots. A glance out the window told him, yep, still the wooded landscape and no sign of the marketplace. A check to the kitchen showed him the same tools as before, as well as a loaf of bread and a jar of something that looked like preserves of some kind.
There was a wooden door at the far side of the kitchen that was latched from the inside. He opened it cautiously, gun already in hand, half expecting to find a cell door and half expecting to find some kind of hallway leading to other little places like this. What he found was nothing. Well, not strictly nothing, he corrected himself. What he found was an outside that matched the view from the inside: acres of trees and grasslands as far as the eye could see.
Rodney appeared at his shoulder. "Where are we?" he asked.
"I don't know," John admitted, not recognizing anything other than from a dream.
"Where are the others?" came the next question.
"I don't know," John repeated.
"Who left us the food?"
He turned to Rodney, hoping his irritation showed on his face. "I don't know," he said for a final time.
"You really don't know much, do you?" Rodney sighed, puttering back into what truly was a little wooden cabin in the middle of the woods.
John bit his lip in an attempt not to say something he would regret, not knowing how long they were going to be stranded here or how long they would have to put up with each other's company. He followed his friend back into the kitchen, and then to the bedroom, which appeared to be the only other room in their little home away from home. A quick looked around showed all their gear was still there, complete with the tech Rodney had picked up the day before and his scanners.
McKay must have made the same realization at the same time he did, hurrying over to the table and the various gadgets laid out on it. "Could it be one of these?" he asked, picking up each one in turn, looking it over carefully, and setting it down again. "Could they have transported us someplace? Or the room itself? Maybe it sent us here and can send us back?"
He started digging through the room, tapping on walls and looking under the bed, randomly closing his eyes like he did whenever he was trying to work a particularly stubborn piece of Ancient equipment. Nothing happened. He opened the door that had led to the hallway at the inn, finding it to now be a closet, complete with clothing of the local style and colors, down to the tooled leather belts and boots.
John leaned down to tie his own standard boots and settle his vest into place, before heading back towards the door to the outside. Once again, Rodney appeared at his shoulder. "Where are you going?" he demanded.
"To go take a look around, see if I recognize anything," he replied reasonably. "If we're on the same planet, maybe there's a village around that can show us the way back to the gate."
"Hold up," Rodney requested, running back to grab his own jacket and pack. "I'm going with you."
"You don't want to stay and knock on wood anymore?" John asked with mock seriousness.
"Surprisingly, no," Rodney responded, trying to hook his holster around his thigh. "For some reason, I thought it would be best if we stuck together when dropped off in a strange place with no idea where we are or how we got there. And they say you know strategy. No wonder I always win at chess."
"I was waiting for you and you don't always win," John shot back, opening the door once more. He dug in his pocket and pulled out a Powerbar, splitting it in two and handing half over to his teammate. He wasn't sure if he trusted the randomly appearing food yet, and it was safest to go with what they had.
Several hours later, and they had wondered a fair distance in each direction, finding exactly nothing. There were trees, there was grass, there was a little stream with what looked like the same type of fish they seemed to find everywhere else, but there was no sign of civilization of any kind. They headed back to the cabin and sat down at the table with matching sighs.
"Well, that was pointless," McKay summed it up. John was forced to agree.
"We'll choose a direction and go farther tomorrow. If there's nothing there, we come back and do the same in another direction the next day," he laid out. "We've definitely missed a check in by now so, if we're on the same planet, Lorne should have some Jumpers looking for us."
"And if we're not on the same planet?" Rodney asked, poking at the bread. From the look on his face, he already knew the answer.
John shrugged, replying anyway. "Then we're screwed."
Rodney spent the night playing with his trio of Ancient devices in case one of them was the cause for this whole debacle. He found a tiny light that would not turn off on one of them, but nothing on his scanners to indicate it was actually doing anything.
They had broken down and tried some of the bread when they realized they only had one Powerbar left between the two of them, finding it to be tasty and apparently perfectly safe given that nothing horrible happened after several hours. The pump in the sink gave them plenty of running water, even if they had to use the woods for their other needs, and the fireplace was keeping the relatively warm as long as they kept feeding wood into it from the pile beside it.
They climbed into bed at the same time that night, wishing each other pleasant dreams and for everything to go away in the morning.
It did not.
They awoke to the same cabin, the same lack of contact with their friends, and the same dwindling fire. There was a fresh loaf of bread on the table, but no sign as to how it got there. John sniffed the jar of preserves, finding it smelled a lot like the juice he had back at the inn. He dipped a corner of his piece of bread into it, finding it tasted the same, right down to the bubblegum. He washed the taste away with some more water and grabbed his gear for another exploration adventure.
They walked straight out from the door to the cabin, stomping down the high grasses and pushing their way though the bushes and trees that appeared not long after the cabin disappeared from view. After several hours, they ate some apple bubble sandwiches they had brought with while sitting on a conveniently placed log and mused about just how fucked they were. Another two hours, give or take given neither had working watches, and they headed back.
The fire was dying when they returned, and most of the wood from the night before was already used up. There was no new loaf of magical bread waiting for them, but neither of them wanted to go back out to look for the stream in the dark in hopes of catching something. They ate the scraps from their breakfast and Rodney settled down with his devices again, occasionally asking John to try to activate or deactivate something to no avail.
Giving up with a sigh, they tossed the last of the logs on the fire and crawled into bed again. Neither were surprised to wake up in the same place the next morning.
The bread was back, as were the preserves, and they resignedly ate their breakfast. They headed for the stream this time, planning on heading back in time to try to catch dinner if there was no village to be found.
There was a narrow place were they could cross with minimal dampness, and they continued on for as far as they dared. They headed back a bit early, having spied from the top of a hill exactly more of the same continuing on in that direction. Reaching the stream once more, John fashioned a fishing line out of some thread and a bent needle from his sewing kit. Rodney doubted it would work, so he was the one who got to clean and cook the not-trout for that evening's meal while John cut wood for the fire with the axe lying near the door.
That night, while lying under the blankets to shield off the growing cold, Rodney posited his theories on the situation. They varied from transportation to another planet, to transdimensional conduits, to malicious elves. John countered with the similarities in food sources and environment, lack of energy readings, and the fact his grandmother always told him elves were helpful as long as you were nice to them. Rodney snorted and said something unkind about his heritage and they fell off to sleep.
The next few days were followed with more of the same. They traveled in each direction, finding nothing, only to return to fish for their meal. Every morning, a fresh loaf of bread and jar of preserves appeared and every night, Rodney swore the jar of butter-like grease they found in the kitchen cabinet refilled.
On the fifth night, John stayed up in the kitchen, hoping to find out how the food was replaced. His back regretted it in the morning, especially since it had come back between one blink and the next. That day, they took the day off from exploring, letting John take a much needed nap and Rodney focus on the devices, with the exception of the requisite time to fish and cook. They always caught what they needed, and they always had enough supplies to cook with. The redundancy was getting old to say the least.
Rodney had managed to take apart two of the devices, at least partially. Inside the cover for one, he had found an inscription. He beckoned John over, knowing his Ancient was better and not ashamed to admit it, and had him try to decipher it. The closest he could get after an hour in dwindling light was, "What Dreams May Come," which was really kind of hokey when he thought about it.
That night, lightly shivering in a pair of boxers and a t-shirt that had not quite dried from when he washed them in the sink the night before, John pulled the covers a bit tighter around him and turned to look at Rodney beside him. He had looked before, of course. He had seen him nearly daily over the course of the past few years, studied him while he worked out the supposed secrets of the universe, and even watched him while he had done the most mundane of tasks like played solitaire on his computer during Botany's turn to give reports during a meeting. This was different though. This was... unguarded.
Rodney lay on his pillow, mouth hanging slightly open, completely dead to the world. He had a slight line of stubble he had missed while attempting to shave that morning, but that was to be expected given their only mirror was the tiny one in John's kit. Even in his sleep, he had shadows under his eyes from the long hours traipsing through the woods searching for a way out, fishing for his sustenance, and toiling with the devices. He had done everything John had asked him to do with minimal complaint, trusting he was doing his best to keep them both alive.
John smiled at the thought of that trust. They had worked together for far too long, saved each other's asses far too many times, to not trust each other. Yeah, they had their setbacks, but they always found a way back to it. Sometimes it was a shared candy bar or contraband bottle of booze, others it was a slap to the head, and still others it was being willing to cover for each other when one of them made a stupid mistake that had no bearing on the life or death situations they always seemed to find themselves in.
This was not life or death, not yet, but it had the potential to be. They had no idea what the weather patterns here were other than it was getting colder with each passing day. They had no idea how long the magically appearing bread would continue or the stream would stay full of incredibly stupid not-trout that jumped at their makeshift lines. Most importantly, they had no idea how long they would be stuck here, together, with no one else around they could rely on but each other.
That night, he edged just a bit closer to Rodney in the huge bed, sharing in the warmth of another body under the same covers, and shivering a bit less. It was the best he had slept since they got here.
The morning found them with a dying fire and a biting cold in the air. As John chopped a bit of extra wood, the first few flakes of snow began to fall. Hurrying loads of wood into the cabin in an attempt to keep it dry, he caught sight of the first animal he had seen since they got here that wasn't swimming in the stream. The little brown bird squawked at him and flew back into the forest. As he grabbed the last cord of wood and the axe, he idly wondered if it would taste good with the apple bubble spread.
They had switched to wearing some of the supplied clothing mixed with their own, realizing the cloth simply wasn't drying fast enough and two sets of clothing got pretty ripe pretty quickly if worn too often. He kept the long sleeve linen-like shirt on when he climbed into bed that night, still shivering from the cold. Rodney crawled in soon after him, cursing the Ancients and admitting he had gotten nowhere once again.
They lay awkwardly next to each other for a while, shivering in silence and tugging the blankets tighter around each other. Finally, Rodney broke the stillness with a huffed, "This is ridiculous," and shuffled closer. Off the look he received, he replied, "We each have ninety-eight degrees worth of heat to share, it's about time we did." Without another word, he lay on his side and pulled John close, spooning together and sharing the warmth.
John's dreams that night were interesting to say the least, and filled with a vividness that rivaled the supposed reality they found themselves in. In the morning, he desperately hoped he had not said or done something embarrassing in his sleep as he pulled himself out of Rodney's grasp and prepared to start the day.
It snowed for three days and they spent the majority of it inside. John found some halfway decently dry wood in the forest around them and chopped it for their needs while Rodney managed to catch enough fish to keep them fed, if not pleased by the fact. Each night, they huddled together for warmth, something John resolutely refused to call cuddling no matter what his mind said.
Rodney had managed to get one of the devices to flash in a new color and another one to project a star map onto the ceiling above them. They had no idea where in the galaxy the map was from, or even if it truly was from this same galaxy, but they lay in bed together that night laughing and joking and making up names for constellations no one had probably ever thought to put together outside of two tired expedition members light years away from their home.
They woke in the morning tangled together, a mess of blankets nearly in knots around them. After some awkward posturing, and a scarily knowing look from McKay, they separated themselves and settled into what was becoming their normal routine.
It had stopped snowing, but the wind had picked up and the temperature dropped even more. John went a bit deeper into the woods to find anything not covered in snow and happened upon another one of those damned birds. Willing to bet his share of not-trout that he had no chance of actually hitting it, he tossed the axe towards the creature, surprised when it turned out they were having poultry for dinner.
It was a pain to pluck and prepare, but he had been right and it tasted quite good topped with the apple bubble preserves. High on something other than fish, and relatively warm beneath the blankets and layers of clothing, he turned to do his nightly Rodney-gazing, only to find himself being stared back at.
"How long?" Rodney asked.
"Have we been here?" John clarified. "I think it's been about nine or ten days."
Rodney shook his head. His hand snaked out from the covers, cupping John's stubbled cheek. "How long?" he repeated, blue eyes daring him to look away.
John swallowed, knowing he could pretend to not know what he meant, blow the whole thing off if need be. Instead, he matched the gaze and admitted, "Since Antarctica."
Rodney snuffed out a laugh, shaking his head. "God are we stupid," he sighed, leaning in for a kiss. It was quick and warm and loving and too wet against too chapped lips and completely everything he had hoped for and more.
Not believing what he felt, what he saw, he breathed, "Really?"
"Really," Rodney confirmed, leaning in for another kiss.
They woke up late the next morning, tangled together and both jumping at a knock on what they thought was their closet door. John was with it enough only to call out, "What the hell?"
Ronon's voice answered on the other side, laughing, "You're going to miss breakfast if you stay much longer."
"What?" he asked, stumbling out of bed and over to the door, finding himself in his boxers and t-shirt he had put on all those nights ago.
Sure enough, Ronon was on the other side, looking like nothing was out of the ordinary. "Also, turn on your radio, it was off earlier," he directed before heading off towards the stairs to the tavern, Teyla at his side.
John turned to Rodney, finding him wide eyed and still in bed. "This..." he started.
"It happened, didn't it?" Rodney asked, pulling the covers back and padding over to him. "The past ten days, last night, it happened, right? It wasn't just a dream?"
John checked his watch, which was working once again, verifying the date and time and showing Rodney the same. Before he could freak out, he pulled him close, kissing him like he had the night before. "It happened," he assured him, smiling against his lips.
Later, after the negotiations and the return to Atlantis, never mentioning anything to anyone, Rodney came to John's room, one of the devices from the marketplace in hand. He pulled it open to reveal the inscription, "What Dreams May Come" that they had seen before. Next to it, a new inscription had appeared: "To Those Who Dare to Dream."
Smiling, John set the device on his bedside table and patted the mattress beside him. Quirking a grin of his own, Rodney settled in next to him.