Summary: Somehow John always knew exactly what he wanted…
Info: An addition to the Cabin series but take place between Exile and Reinstatement. Wouldn't be complete without a little snide commentary as well
The rain drummed down steadily on the roof of the cabin in a way that it seldom did this far north. Whereas Rodney would normally find it soothing, cheerfully lighting a fire and settling in for the evening with a hefty book and a cup of coffee (and maybe some of those snickerdoodles he'd purchased the week before), it was impossible to enjoy the storm this evening.
Not when John was out in it somewhere.
His concern for John was stupid, he knew. John was a seasoned military man; a veteran of a wide variety of conflicts spanning not only Earth but the Pegasus galaxy as well. He'd served in Afghanistan and Antarctica, as well as in Atlantis. For the last five years, Rodney had worked by his side and over time, had learned bits and pieces of John's past—alluded to without ever really discussing, like the presence of the faint, white scars on his skin that kept their stories to themselves. He knew what John was made of through and through, and even if he didn't know the forces and stresses that created the man, he trusted John with his life.
His ability to navigate his way home in a driving rainstorm, not so much.
John had been less than gratified with the gift of a GPS unit that Rodney had installed in his little red Jeep. Rodney had almost refused to let John in the afternoon he'd arrived unannounced at the cabin and he'd been forced to confess that he'd gotten lost several times on his way up so that Rodney wouldn't kick him back out on the road that evening. Rodney had never let him forget it, and had purchased the GPS online when it became apparent that John really did mean to stay.
"What are you trying to tell me, McKay?" John had drawled at the dramatic reveal of the newly installed GPS system, looking unimpressed with the present.
"That I don't ever want you having trouble finding your way back to me. Seriously, I don't know how you managed to get certified as a pilot. You have the worst navigation skills of anyone I've ever met, and that includes Zelenka."
John had just given him the oddest look and then moved deliberately into Rodney's space with that deceptively fast, slinky sort of thing that he did. He'd been suddenly up in Rodney's face, even though it looked like he was merely oozing his way along.
"It's true!" Rodney had protested, even as he'd braced himself for the punch that was surely going to come to his shoulder. "You couldn't find your way out of a paper...mfph!"
Rodney's words had been swallowed when John's lips had closed on his with bruising force that gave way to something softer, gentler and even just a little bit desperate. It didn't take a genius like Rodney more than a second to realize John was reacting to the first part of his statement and not the part where he denigrated John's navigational abilities.
That little altercation had led to a very pleasant interlude, one that Rodney remembered with a smile each time he thought about it and one he would not mind repeating again. With that in mind, he'd carefully made his plans for the evening. He'd neatly stacked the wood that John had brought in earlier by the hearth so it would dry out and be readily available to feed the fire that was now blazing merrily in the grate. He'd poured out two glasses of the aged Scotch he'd been saving for just such an occasion. He had a tray of those little meatballs and Vienna sausages much warming in the oven, begging to be popped into the mouth. He had some of those tiny ham biscuits John loved so much, with the light and flaky crust that melted in your mouth and melded perfectly with the tangy flavor of the Virginia salt ham.
He'd showered and shaved, putting on the aftershave that John had once told him 'smelled nice'. He was wearing the slate blue sweater that he knew brought out the blue in his eyes. He wanted sex in the worst way; he'd been thinking about it all afternoon. Ever since John said he was going into town on a supply run.
Finding himself in John Sheppard's bed had been a startling experience for Rodney. The first time it happened, he'd put it down to 'one of those things' and had prided himself on being adult enough to recognize it for what it was—ohmygod, we're still alive sex between buddies. It was the sort of thing he'd read about but never in his life imagined would happen to him. The second and third times that it had happened, Rodney had discovered the term 'fuck-buddies' and knew at once that it applied to him and John. He hadn't given it much thought when he'd moved on to a relationship with Katie, nor again a scant year later when he began to seriously date Jennifer.
Because it was ludicrous to think that John really wanted him. He was just a convenience. A means of releasing some tension. A way to feel good without any commitments. And, Rodney suspected that the very illicit nature of the relationship was three quarters of the appeal. On some level, John probably needed the risk of being caught. Kind of like the way he seemed to get more aroused if there was just the slightest edge of pain involved...
It wasn't until they'd lost Atlantis that Rodney had realized there was anything more to their relationship. He'd gotten a hint of it when they were all standing on the balcony that day, staring out at the Earth sunset that seemed at once familiar and alien. Rodney had placed his arm around Jennifer's shoulders and glanced over to see John, for the briefest of moments, looking lost and alone. Rodney had ignored his impressions at the time, happy to be alive, in the company of his girlfriend and confident that Atlantis would be returned to the appropriate galaxy in due course, where he and John would go back to saving the day. He hadn't counted on the gross stupidity of The Powers That Be.
When they'd been forced to land Atlantis on Earth, Rodney had been certain it was only a matter of time before the city was flown back to Pegasus. After all, they'd been promised that this would be the case. Only the weeks had turned into months and the promises got bogged down in discussions of funding and the struggling world economy and before he knew it, Rodney was witnessing the slow but certain cannibalization of the city before his very eyes. John became closed off and uncommunicative, not that this was ever a big stretch for him, but Rodney could tell that watching what was happening to Atlantis was killing him. And nothing they did or said made any difference to the people at the top.
Expedition members got re-assigned when they protested. Pegasus natives, such as Ronon and Teyla, eventually found themselves making their way back home via the Daedalus. Finally Rodney could bear it no longer, and he'd taken off for the old family cabin in the Canadian wilderness.
Jennifer had refused to come with him. She'd taken a position with the SGC at Cheyenne Mountain and suggested that he do the same—or if Landry wouldn't have him (a distinct possibility); a commuter relationship from Area 51. He'd still been willing to fight for Atlantis at that point, to see the city rightfully returned to her place in Pegasus. Jennifer had told him he was being unrealistic and implied he was being stupid and they'd had words. The kind of words that you don't forget or forgive. Rodney had gone off to the cabin to lick his wounds and become a hermit. Much easier on the heart that way. It wasn't until much later that he realized that he didn't miss Jennifer nearly as much as he missed the city, his team and John. That had given him a few sleepless nights as he tried not to remember the look on John's face that day on the balcony. John must have known, even then, that it was the end of everything they'd had together.
Until John showed up at the cabin. John with his easy smile and his assumption that Rodney wouldn't turn him away and his packing up all his worldly belongings to move into Rodney's cabin. John not taking no for an answer and forcing his way into Rodney's life. Discovering that John had retired from the military—had cut all strings to his former life so that he could be with Rodney without reservation.
He'd had to revise everything he'd ever thought about John in those first 24 hours when John had landed on his doorstep. That process had caused him to review everything concerning his relationship with John over the years and he was embarrassed to realize that despite his own obliviousness, despite his relationships with various women, John loved him. Him. Rodney. John, who could have anyone he wanted, male or female. John wanted to be with him.
At first in those early days, the sex had been almost a daily thing. Over time it had matured into something a little less frantic. Which was a good thing, Rodney told himself. Once or twice a week was normal for two, whether or not they liked to admit it, middle-aged men. Rodney found it hard to believe sometimes that he was more interested in sex than John was (because seriously, the man was made for sex) but he suspected that he was making up for lost time. It bugged him sometimes to realize that he was having the best sex of his life now, when at the most, he could be expected to have maybe only another 20 good years left. That simply wasn't enough.
Oddly though, John seemed to crave intimacy more. Rodney had been startled by it at first—John's need to touch him. An arm around him on the couch in front of the fire, or John's long legs thrown over his as they were both reading. John's fingers in the hair on the back of his neck. John spooned up behind him in bed, one arm snaked around his abdomen. The way his lips curved into a smile against Rodney's during a kiss. Catching sight of the open and unshuttered expression on his face. The deep breath he took when he first stepped outside the cabin in the frigid mornings or the kiss he planted on Rodney's bare shoulder during the night.
John retired and living here in the cabin with him, was far more loving and close than Rodney could have ever have imagined.
But as good as that was, sometimes a guy just needed sex.
Hence the preparations for the evening. Which were starting to feel like an exercise in futility as the evening wore on and John had still not returned. Rodney had tried calling him once on the cell phone but he'd been rolled over to voice mail—not surprising with the difficulty in getting a signal around here.
The rain was lashing at the windows now, the wind howling around the eaves of the cabin and rushing down the chimney, causing the fire to flicker and dance in the hearth. Rodney began to picture all kinds of worst case scenarios—from John being stuck up to the hubcaps in mud to the road washing out to John recklessly deciding to ford a creek bed and his Jeep being swept away...an unseasonable mid-winter thaw had created the current, turbulent weather situation and it somehow seemed every bit as dangerous as the worst, life-threatening events they'd ever faced.
Rodney gave a little shiver at his thoughts and moved into the kitchen to start a pot of coffee. Scotch was all very well and good but he was betting John would want something warm when he finally made it back to the cabin. Besides, coffee always smelled rich and welcoming. He busied himself with the filter and measuring out the amount that wouldn't result in John making a face and attempting to stand a spoon up in the cup to determine its strength.
It wasn't his fault he couldn't hear anything over the steady fall of the rain on the roof. Standing at the doorway was more about being practical than anything else. When he finally saw the beams of headlights cutting through the slanting rain, he closed the door and hurried over to the oven, turning off the low heat so the food would appear to be casually waiting for consumption. He flopped down on the couch, opening the paperback by Scalzi that he'd been reading earlier, red pen in hand to mark all the scientific errors.
He pretended not to notice the heavy thud of boots on the porch as they approached the door and managed to look up with mild surprise when John entered the cabin.
"Oh hey, you're back," he said, pleased at how nonchalant he sounded.
John had entered the cabin with his arms full of grocery bags, scuffing his boots on the mat by the door before setting his burden down on the kitchen counter. He was wearing an Australian oilskin coat and hat, the brim of which drained a pool of water on the floor as he tipped his head and began hastily opening drawers in the kitchen. He looked devastatingly hot—with a two day beard in place and that whole air of having come in from the elements—all wood smoke and rainwater and wet leather. But there was a purpose to his movements that Rodney recognized from countless missions past.
Rodney dropped his casual act and moved into the kitchen. "What's up? What are you looking for?"
John glanced up at him in the middle of searching a drawer, looking very much like an extra from The Man From Snowy River. "I need a flashlight. I thought I heard something."
Alarm sharpened Rodney's voice. "What sort of something? A ping in the engine or the kind of something that would only show up on the Sy-Fy channel, complete with the alien-of-the-week movie?"
John frowned as he grasped hold of the flashlight. "I dunno. Sounded like a cat."
"I'm coming with you."
John waited impatiently while Rodney donned a coat and the two of them went out into the heavy downpour, John's flashlight shining a thin beam into the night, the beads of rain lighting up as tiny shards of light in front of them.
"Where did you hear the sound?" Rodney shouted over the driving rain.
Before John could answer, there came a tiny mew from the Jeep.
"Pop the hood!" Rodney ordered, huddling down into his rain coat. He snatched the flashlight from John in passing and hurried forward to release the catch once John depressed the internal mechanism inside the car.
He lifted the hood, shining the beam of light all around until he caught the green-gold flash of eyes. "Take the light!" he commanded, passing the flashlight off to John as he scooped up the kitten and hurried back into the house.
Once inside, he gently deposited the sodden kitten on the couch, murmuring to the oily form as he demanded that John fetch him a towel and checking the limp body for injury.
"Is he going to make it?" John queried, having shed his coat now and handing Rodney a towel.
"She," Rodney corrected as he dried off the small kitten. "I don't see any injuries. She appears to be lucky in that respect. She must have crawled up in the engine to stay warm when you parked in town—she's lucky the fan belt didn't get her. I can't believe she rode all the way from town in the engine! She's cold and shocky though. We need to get this motor oil off her though. Why is she so oily? Haven't you been doing maintenance on your car?"
Rodney looked up from the kitten then and saw John looking back at him with concern and guilt written all over his features and something inside of him twisted just a little. "This is not your fault, doofus," Rodney said sharply. "We should have some chicken broth left from that soup we made the other day. Zap some in the microwave, will ya?"
He started violently when another towel hit him in the chest and he glared at John, only to see him grinning. "That one's for you. Dry off before you tell me how you're going to die from pneumonia."
John had shed his raingear and his hair had already sprung back to its artful disarray, no doubt helped along by John fluffing it surreptitiously when Rodney wasn't looking. Rodney roughly toweled his head and face dry and dropped the towel on the floor beside the couch. No matter what he did, his hair was never going to be 'artful' these days.
He crooned to the little black and white kitten as John heated up the broth and then handed her to John as he rummaged around in the kitchen drawers until he came up with a syringe. When he turned back towards John, he was cradling the kitten against his chest. He was wearing a black sweater over a white turtleneck; the colors of his clothing oddly matching the kitten's as well. There was a rare moment of softness on his face that Rodney knew he would treasure someday, when he pulled out memories such as these and examined them again.
John looked up at him and the moment was lost. The sardonic eyebrow was back in place; John was passing the kitten back to Rodney and absolving himself from the outcome.
In the end, Rodney determined that the kitten needed a warm bath to remove the motor oil and raise its core temperature. He'd bathed it in the sink, using Dawn and ignoring John's eyebrow, providing a running commentary on what he was doing and why ("It's a de-greaser and perfectly safe as long as we don't get any in her eyes..."). He'd then blow-dried the kitten and syringe fed it the broth while John hovered nearby and pretended he wasn't really that interested. Then Rodney had gone online and ordered flea and earmite treatments, pointing out the need for each to John as he typed with the kitten in his lap and explaining as he worked that he'd need to take the kitten in to the vet's and have her examined, as well as receive her vaccinations as soon as possible.
When he'd come back from setting up the makeshift litter box (lined with one of Kavenaugh's papers that he'd put through the shredder earlier that day, perfect use for it if you asked him), he discovered John was sprawled on the couch, the kitten settled on his stomach as he fed it bits of ham biscuit. She was eating with a voracious appetite and purring like an outboard motor and John was smiling.
"Are you trying to give her diarrhea?" Rodney snatched up the kitten and glowered at John.
He propped himself up slightly, enough to give a shrug. "I'm more of a dog person anyway." He began to pick at the white hairs stuck to his black sweater.
Rodney snagged a biscuit for himself and carried the kitten into the bathroom, gently depositing her in the little nest of towels he'd made for her, complete with hot water bottle. He pinched off a tiny amount of ham for the kitten before popping the rest of the biscuit in his mouth.
"That's all for tonight," he admonished as he left a saucer of water and the litterbox nearby. "We don't want you getting sick. I'll cook up some chicken in the morning and then we'll see about getting you some real food from town." The kitten looked up sleepily at him as it began kneading the warm bedding and yawned widely, her little pink tongue curling up at the edges. He turned off the light and shut the door, resisting the urge to tiptoe away.
John was reading Scalzi when Rodney returned to the living room, boots off and sock feet propped up on the coffee table. He had a glass of Scotch sitting next to him on the end table. The fire had banked down; the logs glowing red in the soft light of the room. He looked up with a slight tilt to his head. "Everything okay?"
Rodney nodded, moving over to the fire to place another log on it, the flames immediately spurting higher as sparks flew upwards with the shifting of logs. "She was falling asleep when I left. I think she's going to be just fine. She perked up once we got her warm and she ate well, like she was starving in fact, and if she doesn't blow out with diarrhea as a result," he paused to narrow his eyes at John, "then I think she'll be just fine. I'm going to call her Puffin, after those black and white seabirds. There are a fair number of them around the coast and islands in the Pacific Northwest." He didn't add that they might have originated in Pegasus, like so much of the indigenous wildlife of that area.
"We got them down in California in the winter," John said briefly, revealing yet another little glimpse into his past.
Rodney moved over towards the couch. John obligingly shifted his legs so Rodney could get between the couch and the coffee table; he looked up with a raised eyebrow when Rodney leaned down and lifted John's drink, taking a long, deep swallow before setting the glass back down.
He stood in between John's parted knees. John was giving him an assessing look, a slow smile stealing over his lips. He picked up Scalzi again and pretended to read. "That's nice," he drawled. "So I guess we're keeping the little puffball then?"
"Puffin," Rodney corrected, bumping John's knee with his own.
John looked up.
"You got me a cat," Rodney said.
"It wasn't on purpose," John said dryly. "If it had been, I might have been a little more careful with it. As in, I dunno, bringing it home on the inside of the car."
"You got me...a cat." Rodney sank down to his knees slowly, placing his hands on John's knees and sliding them slowly up the damp fabric of his jeans. "I've been wanting a cat for years. Did you know I gave up my previous cat to go to Atlantis?"
John set down the book; all pretense at reading abandoned. He'd been smiling until Rodney mentioned Atlantis—then his face froze up and went blank. It had been so long since Rodney had seen him do that. He'd almost forgotten what it looked like.
"He was old," Rodney continued softly, his hands still stroking John's thigh. Rodney watched his hands move over John's leg rather than looking straight at him—giving him time to find himself again. "I wanted to come to Atlantis so badly and I knew I couldn't bring him. And I told myself he wouldn't care; he was just a cat. As long as someone popped the lid on the can twice a day, he didn't care who that someone was. But I never stopped missing him. He died sometime during the forth year."
"Rodney..." John started, but then fell silent. His hand reached out to squeeze Rodney's shoulder instead.
"It was worth it though," Rodney looked up suddenly and caught John in an unguarded expression of sympathy. "I wouldn't have given up a single second of Atlantis...well, okay, maybe some of the seconds where we were convinced we were all going to die, but still on any given day, everything I experienced there was worth it. Everything. Only when...when I came back here, I began to want another cat. You know?"
"Yeah." John continued to move his thumb in small circles on Rodney's shoulder.
"And now you've given me one." Rodney ran his hands along the outside of John's thighs as he leaned in and kissed him. John met him halfway.
"Still not intentional," John said against his lips before leaning back again.
"Doesn't matter. I wanted a cat and you got me one. That deserves a reward. Name it."
John's eyebrows perked up at the word 'reward'. Really, he was such a kid sometimes. "Name it? Really?" His tone was speculative.
Rodney could just see the wheels turning and knew John was planning tedious hours of KP type duty on Rodney's behalf. He decided to help the decision process along.
"Oooh," he said with false innocence, running a hand up the inside of John's thigh and brushing his crotch in passing as he made his way towards the fly. "These jeans are very wet. You should take them off."
John responded by automatically sliding his hips forward and spreading his knees further, his eyelids dropping to amused, half-lidded expression. "Oh, I dunno. I've had worse."
"No doubt," Rodney said tartly before he remembered he was supposed to be seducing John. The sudden grin on John's face told him that John knew this too.
Time for the big guns.
Rodney leaned in and pressed his face against John's crotch, nuzzling as best he could through the heavy cotton denim. A hand on the back of his head caused him to look up; John was staring down at him with dark, wide eyes.
Not wasting his advantage, Rodney undid the metal button and began to lower the zipper, his breath catching when he saw that first patch of black hair. Jesus. John had gone commando again. That never, ever failed to arouse Rodney beyond all belief. Something about the unexpected sight of coarse hair when any normal person would be wearing boxers, if not long underwear in this weather, made Rodney wild to get his mouth on John.
Maybe that's why John did it.
The heavy cotton of the jeans bunched around John's erection as Rodney lowered the zipper, not allowing him any decent access at all. "Lift up," Rodney demanded and John chuckled at the imperious command but complied. He shifted his hips so that Rodney could work the jeans down off of them—Rodney continued to pull the pants down past the first tantalizing glimpse of his hipbones and over his ass, down until they were past his knees, to his ankles and then impatiently, Rodney jerked one foot out of the jeans and left the rest to dangle on John's other foot. He pushed his way in between John's legs further, taking but a moment to appreciate the beauty of John's cock before grasping it firmly in hand.
John closed his eyes and tipped his head back at Rodney's touch, his head resting on the back of the couch, his Adam's apple bobbing as he swallowed. He was so beautiful and perfect and Rodney was seized with a moment of intense pride that this was all his—he was a very lucky man.
It made him hum with appreciation when he closed his mouth over the end of John's cock, even if John was a little too far back on the couch for strict comfort. The very tip of John's cock was moist with a tiny bead of precome. Rodney's mouth soon provided all the moisture he needed however, to facilitate the slick slide of his lips around the soft head and the movement of his hands against John's shaft.
He knew that John would never believe it, but Rodney loved giving John blow jobs. He really got off on bring John such pleasure; it was as though John's cock was made for his mouth. John seldom came during oral sex however, and Rodney saw it as a personal mission to make each blow job as prolonged and intense an experience as he could.
He loved the smell of John's skin, the musky scent of his balls, the slight tang of the precome itself. He loved the way his lips would slip up and down John's shaft as he pumped his mouth around it, and the feel of John's fingers in his hair or the way they'd sometimes grip his shoulder. He loved looking up to see John staring back down at him, fascinated by Rodney's actions or even better, eyes closed and lost in the feeling of it. Rodney counted it as a plus if he could make John groan and he would lose all sense of time during a blow job—pausing to slide his lips off the tip with a pop, nuzzling the head with his face and mouth, licking, sucking, bobbing all the while to John's blissed out expression. Moaning into it, taking John as deep as he could and wishing he could go even further.
Tonight he was in luck. After working John's cock until his jaw ached with the effort, he recognized the coiling tension in John's thighs that told him this would be one of the times when he could bring John to orgasm with just his mouth. He pushed a hand blindly under John's sweater, seeking a nipple and thumbing it slowly, smiling as he felt John arch slightly up into his touch. He pinched the nipple hard, rolling it between thumb and forefinger while thrusting his tongue hard and fast against the underside of John's cock.
John began to shudder into Rodney's mouth with a little groan and Rodney felt as pleased as when some theorem he'd proposed followed though to the logical and predicted outcomes. Until he choked on the thick fluid and had to pull off, finishing John off by hand.
John lay with his head back and his mouth slightly open for a long moment while Rodney watched him with satisfaction and then he suddenly opened his eyes and leaned forward. In one swift movement he grabbed Rodney by the back of the head and kissed him deeply, his tongue pushing into Rodney's mouth as though chasing the very essence of himself there. It was unbelievably hot.
"Jesus, Rodney," John said with a slight laugh as he sagged back on the couch. "Remind me to bring you kittens more often."