The room was on the far side of the city, in a conveniently out-of-the-way corridor in a section that had been searched and deemed ‘safe’. In other words, it was just a room, no hidden Ancient doohickeys or nanoviruses waiting to get out. The room was larger than most, and as it was on the ground floor, having a view of one of the docking areas where water craft could have moored had there been any, chances were it had been some sort of reception hall at some point in time.
Now, however, the room had been converted into a firing range. Mannequins were lined up along a solid wall with reinforced steel behind them, cannibalized from other parts of the city, with bales of straw stacked in front of the steel to prevent random ricochets.
The displacement fields that had kept the water out were lowered, and the smell of the ocean wafted through the room. Water birds that had somehow found and made Atlantis their home cried out mournfully as they soared the skies, diving for food, or nested in available nooks and crannies.
The stained glass substances used for windows and decorations cast a rainbow of warm patterns across the floor of the weapons salle. All in all it gave the room a lazy subdued feeling, rather like a sunny Sunday afternoon in the middle of summer. One could practically hear the cicadas chirping if one only listened hard enough.
And no one would ever guess, looking at this room on this particular day, that barely two weeks ago the inhabitants of Atlantis were in a fight for their very existence as an armada of Wraith hive ships hung overhead, weapons sending a rain of fire and destruction down upon the city shields which had been almost beautiful in its deadly intent.
Two weeks and the renewed hope brought by the team from Earth and then the arrival of the Daedalus had changed a lot, though, as had the battle for existence.
"Now your hand goes here." Gently hands were positioned correctly, callused palms sliding against the smoother skin of someone who was used to using his mind not his might. "Be careful not to slide your fingers across this; it ejects the clip. I think that’s where you went wrong when you squared off against those Wraith."
McKay’s head whipped around to stare at Sheppard, eyes narrowing and body tensing, as if waiting for the tease so he could explode in righteous indignation.
"Teyla said you were exceptionally brave, thinking you were all alone and still willing to fight instead of run like any sane person would do. I’m proud of you too, Rodney. But then I always have been. I wouldn’t want anyone else watching my back when things are at their bleakest," John Sheppard continued quietly, defusing the explosive situation with practiced finesse.
"Really? I mean, of course you wouldn’t," Rodney blustered, puffing up like a bantam at the praise.
"No, of course I wouldn’t," John agreed, hiding his smile as he shifted a leg in between McKay’s, encouraging the science department head to widen his stance for optimal balance. Of course, he neglected to remove the leg once Rodney had corrected his positioning, but neither man made mention of it.
Nor did they comment on the fact that John was pressed much closer than necessary for the weapons demonstration or that Sheppard’s hands still covered Rodney’s around the barrel of the gun, stroking now rather than guiding.
Sighing, Rodney leaned back slightly, his head resting in the crook of John’s neck, eyes closing and a soft sough of contentment escaping from his lips. They were alive, safe, and relatively unscathed. The immediate threat was over, and though Earth was suddenly much closer than it had been less than a month ago, it was still far enough away that ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ seemed a thing of the past.
"Tomorrow we’ll practice reloading your weapon," John whispered in Rodney’s ear before moving one hand up to cup the other man’s jaw and turn his head just slightly. Their lips met and sealed together; breath was exchanged and shared. Rodney moaned quietly, the gun clattering to the floor, its safety still engaged, as he turned.
Straddling John’s thigh, he pressed their bodies together until not even air could pass between them, and his hands came up to wrap around John’s neck.
The major’s hands slid down and behind, cupping Rodney’s ass lightly as they began to rock back and forth against one another, mouths eating at each other. They were alive and together. The sun was shining; the breeze wafted the scent of the ocean into the weapons salle.
In the command tower Elizabeth Weir smiled and hit the off button on the monitor depicting her commanding military officer and head of sciences. Life in Atlantis was returning to normal at last.
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