Pairing: Sheppard/McKay; past Sheppard/Mitchell and Sheppard/Holland
Disclaimer: SGA does not belong to me, I'm just having fun.
Author's Notes: Takes place on Earth during The Return. Thanks, as always, to splix for encouragement and beta.
Summary: Returning to Earth stirs up hidden yearnings and ghosts from Sheppard's past.
"Go! Dial the gate," Sheppard yelled at an outcrop of rock where, he hoped, the scientists were still hidden. "Tell them we're coming in hot."
"I've got Andrews. He's hurt and we're being followed. Get moving now!" Sheppard barked, silently cursing the loss of his radio.
"Okay, we're going!"
Sheppard saw the men scurrying over the rocks, hampered by backpacks laden with samples. He tried to get a better grip on Andrews. "Come on, buddy, help me out here," he murmured to the semi-conscious man.
"Sorry," Andrews slurred, trying to get his feet under him and moving in the right direction.
"It's okay, you're doing great." Sheppard steered them around a large boulder. Eventually, he heard the whoosh of the gate but also the sounds of the villagers closing the distance behind them.
They stumbled into the clearing and approached the gate. The scientists were hovering before the rippling event horizon, clearly unsure if they should go through or not. Sheppard cursed silently. "Go!"
The mob was getting closer, their angry cries echoing through the forest. Objects flew past them, and something hard, probably a rock, hit Sheppard in the back, but he kept going, practically dragging Andrews to the gate. There was a split second of disorientation and then they were stepping into the SGC. "Close the gate," he ordered needlessly into the general cacophony.
Hands reached out to support Andrews, lifting his weight off Sheppard. The medics settled him on a gurney and whisked him toward the infirmary.
General Landry entered the gate room. "Report."
Sheppard turned to the general, biting back anger at the series of stupid errors and miscommunications that had turned a routine mission on its head. He really missed his team. "We got the samples."
Landry raised his eyebrows. "Good. We'll debrief after you're cleared by the doctors."
John sat quietly as the cut on his forehead was cleaned. It had bled a lot, but at least it wouldn't need stitches.
A nurse hurried over. "Sorry to interrupt, but it's urgent." She handed him a phone.
A spike of fear shot through him. "Sheppard."
"What the hell were you thinking? Do you have any common sense? Why do you--"
"Hello to you, too, Rodney." John felt the tension in his body relax a notch. "You got to me before the debrief. I'm impressed."
"Good 'contacts' are a plus," Rodney said smugly. "But don't try to distract me. Your reckless behavior is stressing me out. I can't work knowing you're out there deliberately putting yourself in needless danger."
"Nice to know you care about my wellbeing," John said sarcastically, but secretly he was warmed by Rodney's words. "It really wasn't that big a deal."
"Go ahead and downplay it, the entire base knows you got your men back safely."
"It's what I try to do," John said. "And now, I've got to go to the debrief. Talk to you later."
John woke with his heart racing and the feeling that something horrible had happened. He sat up, flashes of bright sand and scorching air, stale sweat and desperation flitting through his mind. "Damn it." He didn't want to go there. He rubbed his face and ran his hand through his hair before glancing at the clock. 0340. Great. Both too late and too early to call Rodney.
John flopped back against the completely inadequate base pillow. Rodney kept harping at him to find an apartment and get out of the tiny room beneath the mountain. He'd argued that he was too busy to deal with it, but if he were completely honest, he knew he'd been holding out hope that they'd find a way to return to Atlantis.
Atlantis. John missed Atlantis like a piece of his soul had been torn away. The city, the jumpers, the people, his team. There was a ragged hole where they should be, but weren't. He'd been in the military long enough, moved from posting to posting enough times to understand that nothing lasted forever. That didn't make the pain of this loss any less.
He missed running with Ronon's strong, quiet presence beside him. He missed Teyla, her grace and wisdom and strength. And, for all that Rodney was on Earth, John was losing him as well. Not that he'd ever really had him, of course, but John had taken what he could get. Having Rodney on his team, living and working with him so closely, had been almost as good. Random phone calls just couldn't compete.
John sighed and rolled onto his side, curling into himself. He needed to accept things as there were, not how he wanted them to be. He breathed deeply, slowly, relaxing his body back into sleep.
The sky lit up as the RPG hit Mitch and Dex's helo. Sheppard felt the heat of the blast, and the boom of the explosion rang in his ears. Pieces of debris fell around him as he walked, unscathed, into the flames.
Sheppard followed Holland around the barracks, excitement pooling in his groin. When they were out of sight, he dropped to his knees, looking up with anticipation. "Please, sir."
Holland grinned and sank his hands into Sheppard's too-long-for-regulation hair. "I think I want to hear you use my rank."
Sheppard bit his lip but then relented. "Captain."
"What?" Holland stroked his thumb along Sheppard's lower lip.
"Please let me suck your cock." Sheppard swiped his tongue along Holland's thumb. "Sir."
Sheppard undid the tan BDUs, pushing them down before taking Holland's semi-erect cock into his mouth, sucking and swirling his tongue as it grew to full hardness. He tilted his head back and pulled on Holland's hips, inviting.
"God, Shep," Holland moaned as Sheppard deep-throated him. "You're fucking amazing."
Sheppard closed his eyes and hummed, loving the taste and scent, the feeling of submitting and yet being in control. He lowered one hand, running his fingers over Holland's solid thigh, feeling the strength of the muscle.
Holland's gasps turned into groans and Sheppard felt something warm and wet on his hand. Startled, he opened his eyes and gagged at the sight of blood dripping from a wound in Holland's thigh, painting the sand scarlet.
"Damn it, no!"
Holland reached out. "Save me."
"I tried," Sheppard cried, startling himself awake. "I tried."
His cell phone rang with the distinctive notes of the Imperial March and John gratefully stopped poking at his laptop to answer. "Hey, Rodney."
"Hey. I had a few minutes before I need to instill more fear in my minions. How's it going?"
John smiled and propped his feet on his desk, tiling back in his chair to a near gravity-defying angle. "Oh you know, gate out looking for Ori, fail to find any, create our own mishap, lather, rinse, repeat."
"Hmph, you need a better team."
"I liked the one I had," John said quietly.
"Of course you did." There was talking in the background and Rodney yelled at the person before getting back to the conversation. "You sound tired."
"I haven't been sleeping well the past few days," John blurted out, startled that Rodney had noticed. He didn't really want to explain so he added, "No big deal."
"What's up? Are you sick?"
"No, I'm fine."
"Is Landry overworking you? I can call him and --"
John's feet hit the ground and he sat up straight. "No!" He took a breath and quieted his voice. "No, you don't need to do that."
"Then tell me what's the matter," Rodney insisted.
"Just some disturbing dreams. It happens sometimes, nothing to worry about it."
"I wish I could come out and see you," Rodney said, "but I'm at a critical juncture with this experiment."
"Yeah, that would be cool, but I understand, buddy," John said quickly, happy that Rodney had offered. "Don't worry about me."
"That's asking a lot." There was a crash in the background. "Damn it. Can't leave them alone for a minute."
"Go deal with it."
John twirled his pencil and added another number to his sudoku puzzle. He was exhausted but unable, or perhaps more likely unwilling, to sleep. The knock on his door was unexpected. He got off the bed and went to answer it.
"Hey, Shep, we're finally on the same planet at the same time."
"Cam." John smiled and stepped back from the doorway. "Come on in." He shut the door and turned, finding himself enveloped in Cam's arms. He hugged back, closing his eyes and soaking in the feeling of warmth and human contact. "It's been too long."
"Missed you, too." Cam pulled back and looked at John's face. "McKay was right, you look tired."
John stiffened. "You talked with Rodney?"
Cam laughed. "I was barely out of the shower after our mission when he paged me. He's got it bad, Shep, if he's harping on me to check in on you for him."
John dipped his head so Cam wouldn't see the longing on his face. "I'm sure he just likes being in charge and ordering people around."
Cam tilted John's head back so their eyes met. "If I didn't know you welcome his attention, I'd consider his behavior stalker-ish and creepy."
"He's not that bad." John looked at Cam's expression of disbelief and laughed. "Okay, point. But at least he cares enough to keep in touch."
"You've got it bad, too, boy," Cam said, shaking his head. "And let's not get distracted from the fact that you don't look like Earth is agreeing with you."
John turned away, not wanting to talk.
"Come on, Shep, let's get you out of this cave. Some food, good company, beer, it will make you feel better."
John turned to Cam. "Okay. Thanks."
They had considered going out for steaks, but in the end opted for picking up pizza and relaxing at Cam's house. John took a sip of beer, set the bottle on the coffee table and contentedly leaned back into the couch cushions.
Cam returned from the kitchen and settled in next to John. "How are you doing?"
"This is the most comfortable I've been in ages," John said.
Cam reached out and ran his fingers through John's hair, massaging his scalp. "Feel good?"
"Yeah, really good," John practically purred.
"Think you could get some sleep now?"
John tried to sit up. "Don't want to dream."
"I'll be here," Cam said, pulling gently so John was lying against his chest. "Just rest."
John sighed, relaxing within the circle of Cam's arms.
Cam rubbed John's back slowly. "Would telling me help?"
John was quiet for a moment. He and Cam had been friends, often with benefits, for years. They knew each other's secrets. Cam was one of the few people he could talk to, he just needed to start somewhere. "I hate being back. Nothing is going right."
Cam rested his cheek against John's hair. "You didn't want to leave Atlantis. It's natural that things here wouldn't seem as good."
"It's not just the city, although being able to control things with your mind is pretty sweet." John smiled for a moment. "I miss my team -- knowing how they're going to react in a situation, being able to trust them. Every mission I've led here has had something go wrong because of miscommunication. It sucks."
"You know it takes time to build that level of trust," Cam reminded. "It still sucks, though."
"What else is bothering you?" Cam asked gently, trying to get to the heart of John's problem. "You said you didn't want to dream."
"My last mission was supposed to be routine. Captain Andrews and I escorted a couple scientists to collect samples. But I ended up having to hide the scientists and sneak back into the village to rescue Andrews before their torture killed him."
John took a breath. "Since then, I've been dreaming about Mitch and Dex and all the men and women I've lost, that I couldn't save."
Cam tightened his arms around John. "Holland?"
"I'm sorry, Shep."
"It wasn't your fault." Cam stroked circles on John's back. "You did everything you could."
"I know," John said wearily, unable to forget holding Holland in his arms as he died. "Sometimes it doesn't matter."
"Yeah, I get that."
John nodded against Cam's chest, warmed by the steady beat of his heart. "I know you do." And surprisingly, that connection did seem to make a difference. John sat up slowly and picked up his beer. "To absent friends."
Cam clinked his bottle against John's. "Absent friends."
They drank and then set the bottles down, silence falling for a moment. John smothered a yawn, breaking the mood.
"You need to get some sleep," Cam said. "Come on."
John allowed Cam to walk him through the motions of preparing for bed. Before getting in, John hugged Cam. "Thanks."
Cam kissed John's forehead. "You're welcome."
They curled up together and slept.
John woke to the smell of coffee and immediately thought of Rodney. He smiled and stretched, opening his eyes to realize he was in Cam's bed and the sun had been up for quite some time. He felt rested and more centered than he'd been since leaving Atlantis.
He got up and took a quick shower, borrowing Cam's razor. After he'd subdued his hair, he put on the sweats and Air Force t-shirt Cam had left on the foot of the bed and padded barefoot into the kitchen. "Morning."
"Almost afternoon," Cam said with a grin.
"Sorry, didn't mean to mess up your day."
"Not a problem." Cam poured a cup of coffee and brought it over to John, giving him a one-armed hug. "I'm glad you got some sleep."
"Me, too." John accepted the coffee mug and took a sip, savoring the rich flavor. "Mmm. Thanks -- for everything."
"What are friends for?" Cam asked lightly. "Just glad I could help."
The doorbell rang. John raised his eyebrows and Cam shrugged, clearly not expecting anyone. John took another drink of coffee as Cam went to open the door. The bell rang again, impatiently, and John knew who it was before hearing Cam's drawn out, "McKay." Keeping his face neutral, John wandered into the living room.
"Well of course it's me," Rodney blustered, sweeping past Cam and advancing on John. "Who else would check up on Sheppard when he didn't answer his phone for hours?"
John automatically reached for his non-existent phone. "Must have left it at the SGC."
Rodney gave John a withering once-over, pausing at his bare feet and again where Cam's slightly too big sweats hung low on his hips. "Along with your common sense."
"Hey, that's uncalled for." Cam stepped between John and Rodney.
John smirked at Rodney. "How did you get here so fast?"
"Oh, whatever." Rodney took the coffee from John's hand and drank half of it. "We do have beaming technology, you know."
"Well yes, yes we do," John agreed, impressed that Rodney had finagled access to it.
Cam sighed. "You want your own mug?"
Rodney looked down, surprised to see the coffee in his hand. "Yes, thanks." He handed the cup back to John. "How are you?"
"Better." John let Cam take his mug. "Actually, thanks for calling Cam."
Rodney rolled his eyes and said tightly, "I didn't realize I was setting up a play date."
John grinned, liking the note of jealousy in Rodney's voice. "Cam's been a friend for years. It's good to see him."
"You're telling me there's nothing untoward going on here," Rodney said dubiously, waving his hand in the general direction of the kitchen.
"Not this time," John agreed.
"Not-- what?" Rodney sputtered. "After all we've been though together, you wait this long to tell me you like men?"
"That a problem?" John tried to read the look on Rodney's face.
Rodney put his hands on his hips and stepped closer. "You don't think I might have found that information useful?"
"Considering that your type runs much blonder and curvier, I didn't think it was an issue," John shot back.
"You don't fit the rules, so why would this be any different?" Rodney said with a note of defensiveness.
John's eyes widened at the seeming admission. "Are you serious?"
"Yes." Rodney looked vulnerable and uncertain. "Does that mean anything to you?"
John closed the distance between them, determined to seize his chance. "Everything. It means everything." He leaned in and kissed Rodney.
Cam returned with a tray and three steaming mugs. "Well, it's about time, you crazy kids."
John kissed Rodney once more before stepping back and giving Cam a wide grin. "He likes me."
"I'm happy for you." Cam set the tray on the coffee table and stage whispered, "But I still don't get what you see in him."
John bumped Cam's shoulder. "He grows on you."
"Ha, ha," Rodney grumped. "Very funny."
John let the bubble of happiness expand in his chest and laughed.
"Hey Cam, I know you're on a mission now, but I'm about to do something really...reckless, and I just wanted you to know that I appreciate everything. Stay safe." John hung up before he was tempted to erase the message.
John stood on the balcony and watched the sunset bathe the towers of Atlantis in rosy light. The sound of waves lapping against the pier was both soothing and invigorating. He was back where he belonged, in his city, surrounded by his team.
"It is good to be back," Teyla said, echoing all their thoughts.
John thought Rodney's door closed and locked, taking a moment to appreciate the feeling of connection with the city. Then he saw Rodney at the desk and all his attention focused on the man he loved but had thought he'd never have. "Hey."
Rodney looked up and grinned, shutting his laptop without a second glance. "Finally. I can't believe it's taken this long to be alone together."
John nodded, acutely aware that while many things had happened between their first kiss and now, actual sex wasn't one of them. "I think we've got the disasters down to a manageable enough level to take the night off."
Rodney came over to John. "What do you want to do?"
"Everything." John felt his stomach tighten, both with anticipation and anxiety. He didn't want to mess this up. He took Rodney in his arms and kissed him, lightly at first and then with greater intent. "Anything. I'd do anything for you."
"Wow, that's just..." Rodney waved his hands and then kissed John again. "Amazing."
John smiled against Rodney's lips and pulled their bodies closer. "Want me to blow you?"
Rodney let out a squeak and tightened his grip on John's hips.
John licked the shell of Rodney's ear and whispered, "Get you all wet and desperate and then let you fuck me?"
"Yes," Rodney groaned.
"Excellent." John nibbled his way down Rodney's neck, tracing his fingers over the fabric of Rodney's t-shirt and pinching lightly at Rodney's nipples. He went to his knees, nuzzling Rodney's crotch before undoing the BDUs.
"Don't tease." Rodney put his hands in John's hair but didn't push. "I've imagined this for so long."
John looked up, surprised by the desire in Rodney's voice. It didn't seem possible that Rodney could have wanted him for as long as he'd wanted Rodney. "So much time wasted."
"Yes, yes, we're both idiots, now let's get on with it."
John turned his head and kissed Rodney's palm. "Sounds like a plan." Then he took Rodney's cock into his mouth and sucked enthusiastically. He worked Rodney over with his tongue and the barest hint of teeth until Rodney tugged on his hair.
"Stop, it's too good," Rodney gasped. "I want to be able to fuck you."
John sat back and grinned at Rodney. "Get naked first."
"You, too." Rodney started pulling off his clothes, scattering them haphazardly as he headed for the bed.
John watched Rodney while he undressed himself, folding everything into a pile in case he needed to dress quickly. He took condoms and lube from a pocket and joined Rodney. "Here, let me."
"Okay." Rodney stood still as John ripped open the wrapper and rolled a condom onto his cock. "Can I touch you?"
"Sure." John took a step back and held his arms at his sides, waiting to see what Rodney wanted to do.
Rodney walked around John, looking at him from all angles before running his hand along John's shoulders, down his back and over his ass. "How are you so gorgeous?"
John felt himself blushing. "Please."
"Please what?" Rodney teased.
Rodney stood behind John and wrapped his arms around so he could circle John's nipples with his thumbs. "This what you want?"
Rodney pinched the pebbly flesh into sharp points. "Like that?"
"Yeah, want to feel it."
Rodney rested his hands on John's hips and nipped at the base of John's neck where the chain of his dog tags lay. "You will."
"Now who's teasing?" John pushed back, wiggling his hips to try to get Rodney's cock against his ass. "Touch my cock."
"No whining." Rodney smoothed one hand over John's hipbone and down to encircle John's cock. He stroked along the rigid length, slowly and steadily.
"All right, all right." Rodney nudged John forward until his shins hit the side of the bed. "Bend over."
"Yeah." John shivered with pleasure as he sank to his knees on the mattress and bent over so his ass was in the air and his elbows rested on the bed. After a while of nothing happening, John looked over his shoulder. "Any time now."
"Sorry," Rodney said, rubbing his hand over John's ass. "You're very distracting."
Rodney opened the lube and spread some on his fingers. "Just so there are no surprises, you have done this before, right?"
"Yes, you don't have to be gentle with me." John rolled his eyes. "In fact, I'd prefer the opposite."
Rodney slid two fingers into John's ass. "Better?"
"Yes," John choked out, tightening around Rodney. "Fuck me."
"In a minute," Rodney said, stroking John's back while he prepared John with his fingers.
John gritted his teeth and let Rodney control the pace. He was about to start begging when Rodney removed his fingers and thrust into him. "Fuck --" He rested his forehead against the blanket and pushed back, letting the burn flow through him.
Rodney stilled, buried deep within John. "You okay?"
"Definitely." John rolled his hips, demanding more.
"Good." Rodney grabbed John's hips and held him still while he fucked John with short, sharp thrusts that hit John's prostate repeatedly.
John muffled his cries in the blanket. Rodney was gripping his hips tightly enough that he couldn't move easily. The thought of the bruises he'd have, marks of Rodney's possession, drove him wild.
"God, John --" Rodney slowed down, lengthening his thrusts and pausing when he was as far as he could go.
"Faster," John begged, so close it hurt.
"Want to make it last."
"Next time," John argued. "Touch my cock and fuck me."
Rodney reached around and squeezed John's cock as he set up a punishing rhythm. "Come on, then."
John bucked beneath Rodney's thrusts, so turned on by the added stimulation from his cock that he came, surfing the waves of pleasure that crashed through him. He eventually noticed that Rodney had a death grip on his hips and was still hard within him. "Go on."
Rodney pulled out and very slowly pushed back in. "Not too much?"
"No, it's good." John let the pleasure simmer, exciting even without the goal of release.
"Wanted you...forever," Rodney panted, keeping his strokes long and smooth.
"Me, too. Wanted to kiss you to shut you up." John tightened around Rodney, trying to break his composure. "Wanted to blow you in your lab."
Rodney groaned and started thrusting faster.
"Wanted to fuck you on the pier."
"I'm amazed...that it takes...sex...to get you to talk," Rodney gasped, pounding into John.
"Wanted to bend over for you. Have you fuck me raw." John felt Rodney push deep and freeze, shaking through his orgasm. "Wanted to cuddle afterwards," he whispered into the blanket.
Rodney ran his hands over John's back while he caught his breath. "Oh my god."
John lifted himself onto his hands and knees after Rodney pulled out. He was about to get up when Rodney put a hand on the small of his back and handed him a wad of kleenex. "Thanks."
Rodney waited until John was done then started pulling the covers down. "Get in."
John crawled to the other side of the bed and maneuvered himself between the sheets. He watched Rodney climb in beside him, but resisted snuggling up to him in case that wasn't his thing.
"Well, come on, I expect such fabulous sex to be rewarded by a good cuddle," Rodney demanded.
John opened his arms and smiled. "You heard me?"
Rodney kissed the top of John's head and tangled their legs together. "I want it, too."
Sighing with contentment, John rested his head against Rodney's chest. It had taken then a while, but they were finally together.
"I can't believe it took us this long to get on the same wavelength." Rodney idly ran his fingers through John's hair.
John tilted his head up and met Rodney's eyes. "It was worth the wait."
John thought down the lights and closed his eyes. He was back in Atlantis, back with his team and with Rodney. He was finally home.