Third Time's a Charm


John kisses Rodney for the first time after yet another mission-gone-bad, when a few (agonizingly endless, horror-stricken) moments showed each of them what it would be like to live without the other, once and for all. It’s a quick, angry stamp of a kiss, a kiss that says don’t you ever do that again and what the hell were you thinking and god, we almost *lost* you and afterwards, when they’re both fine and the world hasn’t ended, John fully intends to pretend it never happened at all -- despite the way Rodney stares at him as if he’s a complex but fascinating scientific anomaly, one that absolutely isn’t supposed to exist.

The second time, Rodney is lying completely still on a bed in the infirmary, his knuckles bruised, his body wilted from exhaustion, and he doesn’t open his eyes as John’s shadow falls across his bed, doesn’t even bat an eyelash when John bends down and drops a feather-light kiss against his temple, whispering “Rodney, jesus,” before straightening, turning and stalking away.

The third time – the time that really counts -- they’re sitting shoulder to shoulder in the blue-black glow of a starless night, out on the pier. It’s a perfectly normal, uneventful evening, with nothing really to distinguish it from any other until John takes a deep breath, turns his head, and leans forward across the bit of space between them. A soft brush of his lips against Rodney’s, a light, gently exploring touch of his tongue, and then he’s pulling back, feeling sixteen years old and bashful, of all things. But Rodney surprises him, moving eagerly into the remaining space that separates them and kissing John back, deeper this time, curling one strong hand around John’s neck as if he expects John to run away again. When John finally does pull back, only to breathe, Rodney’s eyes are wide and dark, like the sky, and John doesn’t think about leaving at all.

(Since then, John has kissed Rodney in just about every way he can think of: pressed into darkened corners and up against walls, tucked into a dozen shadowy places in the city where no one can see. He’s kissed Rodney in huts, crude shacks, tents, and lean-tos, bent over balconies, spread out in tall grass. He’s kissed Rodney from above, below, and behind, kissed the sharp bend of his elbow, the curve of his brow, the arch of his foot, the ridge of his spine. He’s pulled Rodney close in the shower, sipping droplets from the soft edge of his lower lip and the rough underside of his jaw, and he’s pulled Rodney close beneath blankets and sheets in the silent darkness of the wee hours, fitting his body perfectly against Rodney’s in a way he’s never seemed to fit anywhere else, not even close, ever before.)

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