Sneak Attack


It's been one of those days they try not to take for granted on Atlantis -- busy, of course, since there's never a shortage of things to be done, but no crises arise that they can't handle, nothing goes permanently awry, so when John shows up in Rodney's lab at a semi-reasonable hour with a bag of Cheetos and an equally-cheesy sci-fi DVD, Rodney happily admits that he has no pressing reason to turn the invitation down.

They settle in John's quarters, slouched side by side on John's narrow bed, with the bag of Cheetos nestled between them, and as the movie starts, they fall into a sleepy, companionable silence. After a while, they begin to gravitate naturally into the same space, until eventually they're pressed together from shoulder to elbow and then some, warmth pooling at every point they collide. John's bicep is a solid presence against Rodney's own, his leg is so close Rodney can feel the heat of him even through layers of cotton -- so close it takes a conscious effort for Rodney to keep his foot from coming to rest naturally against John's.

An hour or so into the movie, Rodney glances over to find that John isn't just being quiet; his eyes are closed, his head leaning to one side, mouth slightly parted and lax in sleep. He looks relaxed -- vulnerable, Rodney thinks, and that's such an anomaly that Rodney can't take his eyes away. John's hands are still, curled loosely in his lap, harmless-looking, and it feels like a secret Rodney's not supposed to be privy to.

John's chest rises and falls in a gentle, rhythmic wave as he lies there, oblivious to Rodney's scrutiny, and Rodney's awareness of John takes a new turn as he realizes it would take only a tiny change in coordinates to do what he's secretly imagined doing for more than two years. Just a shift of his hips, a simple turn of his head -- and John's mouth looks so soft and accessible, and Rodney thinks God, yes, yes, yes -- he could do this, he could do it right now, and John would never even know. John would never know but Rodney would know, finally; and he would always know, afterwards, what it was like to feel John's mouth against his, and that's a secret he thinks he would be more than willing to keep.

Once formed, the idea takes hold, grows insistent, becomes irresistible. His heart thudding behind his ribs, Rodney holds his breath, leans on one hand to keep the bed from dipping too sharply between them, and shifts his weight ever so slightly -- just enough to bring his head even with John's, his mouth even with John's. Slow -- God, so slow, and it seems to take forever to move just an inch, but Rodney forces himself to lean forward in torturously tiny increments, knowing that if John wakes this chance will be gone forever -- not to mention a whole slew of other consequences Rodney can't even begin to fathom right now, not the least of which would most likely mean a dramatic end to this thing that's always been there between them, this thing that's *always* been more than a friendship even if it isn't, and can't ever be.

So close now, practically nose to nose -- so close that Rodney can breathe in John's slow, rhythmic exhalations, so close that if John were to open his eyes right now the game would be up; there would be no possible excuse Rodney could give, no explanation other than the real one -- that Rodney is about to kiss John, right there on the mouth, right here on this bed, with the moonlight filtering in through the windows and painting them both in silver and shadows. Another fraction of an inch, and Rodney's nervous, more nervous than he can ever remember being before, sweat breaking out all across his skin and his heartbeat like a tribal drum in his ears, but it's too late to turn back now -- John's mouth is right there, and Rodney's never wanted anything as badly, never been more anxious to risk sacrificing so much.

Finally, finally, he leans into the distance that remains between them, until his chest is pressed against John's arm and then he's there, touching his lips to John's. His arms are trembling and anxiety is setting off blaring klaxons in his head but there's nothing else to do but to go through with it now, to press his mouth against John's and close his eyes, waiting for all hell to break loose.

.... and it does, because suddenly there are hands grabbing him by the shoulders, warm breath on his lips in a rush, and Rodney pulls back, his eyes flying open, cursing out loud for real this time because fuck, this is it, this is the end of everything and how could he have possibly thought anything would be worth that? There's a horrible, drawn-out, angst-filled moment in which nobody moves, and John's eyes are very wide and very green as they stare into Rodney's, but then a moment later Rodney is gasping in relief as a warm mouth presses back against his, as a sleek tongue licks against the seam of his lips, seeking entrance, and dimly Rodney realizes that John isn't pushing him away at all -- in fact, he's pulling Rodney closer, and smiling, and suddenly Rodney is smiling too, right there against John's perfect mouth.


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