Notes: Set shortly before Trinity. We assume that the Daedalus returned to Earth after Duet and arrived on its next run sometime before the start of Trinity.
"Back to separate rooms," Rodney sighed as the announcement came over the comm system that the Daedalus had arrived. "At least they didnít get here in the middle of a meal this time."
"Shit!" John glared at his perfectly innocent fitness reports. "Remind me again that I like being in the military?"
Elizabeth smiled crookedly. "Considering how often we all heard about your promotion, you love being in the military, Colonel. And the Daedalus will only be here for a few days." She considered for a moment before suggesting, "Have you ever thought about moving your quarters, Rodney, so youíre neighbors? There is that empty room to one side of Johnís, and Iím sure the city would cooperate if you wanted to put a connecting door between them."
John stared at her. "Elizabeth, youíre a genius!"
"I think this was a case of being too close to the problem," Rodney added. "We were involved in it, so we couldnít see the simplest solution."
"Itís a good thing you have other people around to think for you, isnít it?" Radek said, enjoying the chance to say that to Rodney. When Rover raised a pincer, Reza shifted between them and settled back to the floor, radiating the same smugness as Radek.
"You can leave on the Deadalus, you know," Rodney grumbled, glaring at the other man.
"I think not!" Carsonís objection was quick and vocal.
If anything, Radekís expression grew even smugger. However, the smile vanished a moment later. He was the only one of them facing the door just then, most of the senior staff looking at him and Rodney, so he was the first to see the new arrival. "Colonel Caldwell," he greeted stiffly, making everyone turn toward the doorway.
"Doctors, Colonel." Caldwell nodded, his expression politely correct. "Iíve brought your new liaison officer. Col. Davis?" He stepped aside to allow the newly promoted former SGC liaison to enter the briefing room.
"So, they give out promotions for selling people to Russia now?" Rodney growled.
Davis chuckled, though he did eye theówell, from the reports he read, it was called a roveróthat rolled out from under the table and started toward him, waving its arms menacingly. "Actually, that almost got me demotedóthey returned you, remember? Something about defective goods."
Rodney laughed and stood to shake the other manís hand. "Rover, get back here; Paul wonít hurt anyone."
"Aye." Carson was smiling also as heíd met Paul Davis in Antarctica. "Congratulations on the promotion, Colonel; this is quite the surprise."
"From all I heard itís well deserved. Welcome to Atlantis, Colonel," Elizabeth said graciously, rising from her seat to offer her hand.
"Great, another diplomat," John groaned, but he was grinning as he offered his hand as well. "I suppose you wonít let me trade nuclear weapons either?"
"Thank you, Dr. Weir, itís a pleasure to be here." Davis nodded as he shook her hand. "Iím looking forward to learning more about the city from you than what Iíve read in the reports." He turned to Col. Sheppard next, greeting him as well. "And no, sorry, no nukes, but send them McKay; itíll be just as loud."
"Col. Caldwell," Rodney said, "take him back. Please."
Caldwell shook his head. "It sounds like youíre going to fit in here just fine, Colonel. Iím surprised Dr. Heightmeyer hasnít requested double the staff."
"Thatís because more than half of us are stoic military sorts," John replied instantly. "We donít go in for headshrinking."
"Oh, aye, John," Carson laughed, "yer just an emotionless automaton."
"See, even our doctor admits it." John grinned triumphantly until Rover bobbed up and down quickly under the table, forcing the air from under itself with a blatting noise.
"Iím inclined to agree with the rover," Davis laughed, causing Rodney to smirk.
"And well you should; heís smarter than most people in here."
John was about to respond to that when he remembered Caldwellís presence, and he simply said, "Heís not just a rover; heís Rover. The two by Carson and Radek, Drs. Beckett and Zelenka, that is, are Ciora and Reza."
"Youíll get used to them," Rodney offered.
"Any chance of getting a list of which one goes with who?" Davis asked.
Radek said, "We never thought about it, but it shouldnít take long to put one together. And you can tell them apart by their emblems. Each has one." Ciora, Reza and Rover all turned so that he could see their markings. "Rover has a hand, my Reza has a scythe, and Carsonís Ciora has a caduceus for obvious reasons."
"If you see one with a flame, watch your six," John warned laughingly. "Thatís Loki, and heís as much a prankster as his namesake. Heís Lt. Lindstromís."
Davis nodded. "Thank you, Colonel, Iíll remember that."
"You know," Rodney commented, "with all these colonels around Iím getting hungry for Kentucky Fried Chicken."
"Youíd better be... used to whatís available here." Johnís slight hesitation was almost unnoticeable as he remembered who was there and censored what heíd been about to say.
Ignoring the byplay, Caldwell asked, "You seem to like these carts, Colonel. You donít have one yourself?"
John was glad heíd thought up a reason for that. "I didnít think I needed one since McKayís on my team, so Rover comes with him. Some of the teams did end up with two, but Roverís more self-aware than the others, so I decided it was best to just stick with him."
"Heís got Ronon; heís almost as good as Rover," Rodney smirked.
"And I thought dealing with Jack and Daniel was insanity," Paul murmured to himself.
"The SGC in general tends to be more independent-minded than most military operations, and Atlantis is even more so," Elizabeth chuckled. "Itís a good thing weíre a civilian operation, despite the military presence."
"And from what Iíve read, youíve done an amazing job at keeping the two parts working well together."
Hearing that, Rodney turned his attention back to Paul, taking in the way he was focused on Elizabeth. He smiled and nudged Johnís leg with his foot and leaned back in his chair, plotting.
John gave him a dirty look for the kick before following Rodneyís gaze. His own eyes widened, and he hoped Elizabeth and Col. Davis got along because Rodney looked like a man on a mission.
Beside Rodney, Radek leaned closer to hiss, "Leave them alone! They will decide for themselves."
"Of course they will," Rodney hissed back, "with help!"
"Och," Carson sighed, looking at where Elizabeth, Col. Davis, and Col. Caldwell were all talking. "Weíre all doomed."
"Is it too late to transfer back to Antarctica?" John groaned.
"Still have that penguin fetish, do you, John?" Rodney asked curiously.
John muttered something under his breath, the only part of which was at all intelligible was, "... dead fish!"
Caldwell started backing out of the room. "Now that Iíve introduced you, Col. Davis, I really should get back to the Daedalus."
"Thank you again, Col. Caldwell," Paul said, watching the other man stride away before turning back to the others, shaking his head. "Dr. Weir, does your senior staff often send experienced Air Force officers running in terror?"
She laughed. "Experienced officers, planetary leaders, alien menaces, and innocent passersby."
"Hey, I resemble that remark!" John chuckled.
"Thatís John and Rodney responsible for that," Carson protested laughingly. "Radek and I are quite innocent."
Rodney looked at John and rocked back in his chair, laughing.
John looked at Davis. "And if you believe that, I have some lovely beach front property for sale."
"Iím not quite that gullible, so have fun on the beach, Colonel."
"Damn. And here I thought I was going to fund our-my retirement," John chuckled.
"I think he is going to fit in very well here," Radek murmured to Rodney.
Rodney nodded, smiling widely. "I think youíre right."
"And you can commiserate with Elizabeth over having to stay here most of the time. We keep our diplomats where itís safe. Though actually, having an experienced negotiator might come in handy sometimes," John mused. "And itís not like we can afford to risk Elizabeth."
"Just remember who got off Olesia on her own, Colonel!" Elizabeth said indignantly.
"Lorne and a team of Marines," John retorted, making her grumble.
"I never said I was Wonder Woman..."
"Another superhero?" Radek muttered. "This must be an American thing."
"...but I can be a lot more use in negotiations than being told youíve turned us into arms dealers!"
John winced. "One little mistake..."
"Donít worry, Colonel," Rodney chuckled, patting Johnís arm. "Iówe all love you." His smile turned a bit sickly as he tried to cover the mistake.
"Trust me, going off-world isnít such a wonderful thing, right, Radek?" Carson asked quickly.
"No, off-world is very... disturbing," Radek agreed emphatically, also talking fast.
"Though from what Iíve read, staying here can be quite exciting as well," Davis answered, when it seemed everyone else had run out of things to say.
They all grew silent, and unthinkingly, John reached out and covered Rodneyís hand with his own, offering comfort as they all remembered the day of the storm.
If he noticed the gesture, Col. Davis didnít comment on it. "Well, it looks as if I know how to kill a mood. If youíd be so kind as to give me directions to my quarters, Iíll get settled in there."
Elizabeth shook her head. "Please forgive us, Colonel. There are a lot of memories, good and bad, here, and sometimes they take us by surprise. Let me make it up to you and show you to your quarters."
"Youíre in the middle of a briefing, Doctor; thank you, but itís not necessary."
"No, no, weíre done here!" Rodney said quickly, looking down at where Johnís hand still covered his, then up at the others.
"See, theyíd never forgive you if I stayed and continued now," Elizabeth said, amusement clear in her tone, though she was watching Davis closely for a reaction to Johnís telling gesture.
"Well, Iíd hate to be the one to keep people in a meeting they wanted to leave, so Iíll have to take you up on your offer," Paul said easily.
"This way then." Elizabeth gestured toward the door, smiling.
After they left, John slouched a little lower in his chair and frowned slightly before his expression cleared. "Iím pretty sure he picked up on us, and he didnít care."
Rodney flipped his hand over and tightened his fingers around Johnís. "He has worked with Jack and Daniel for quite some time, so maybe he doesnít care."
John nodded. "Could be. And itís a good thing." He straightened up. "But that doesnít mean we shouldnít follow Elizabethís plan. And since this meetingís obviously over, shall we go start moving your stuff thatís in Ďyourí room again?"
"Do ye need any help with the moving?" Carson asked as he closed his laptop and set it on Cioraís tray.
"Sure, thatíd be great," John replied. "That way Rover wonít get buried in the stuff." He shook his head. "Considering how much is in our room, thereís still an amazing amount there. And then weíll need to see about putting a door between them. We might need your help there, Radek."
The Czech shrugged. "Anything to keep Rodney out of my hair."
"Are you saying I have a lot of junk?" Rodney asked, glowering. "And Iíll bet the city just opens up a door for you without any work."
"Well, just in case it doesnít, itís best to be prepared."
"Aye, thatís verra true," Carson nodded.
"What, were you all boy scouts here?" Rodney sighed.
John nodded. "Got all my merit badges and everything."
Rodney groaned. "It figures."
"Want me to show you the knots I learned?"
"We are going to start loading things," Radek said hastily, getting to his feet.
"If I get a call later today to help someone with circulation problems, remind me to ignore it," Carson commented as he and Ciora followed Radek and Reza out of Elizabethís office.
"So damn vanilla," Rodney sighed, looking after them.
"So do we sneak off first or go get this over with and then lock ourselves in our room where we wonít be vanilla?"
"If we go off now, theyíre going to leave, and we wonít have anyone to help us move everything."
"Good point. So letís go pack." John was curious to see what would happen when they tried to put a door between their quarters, not that he would ever admit it.
Rodney reached out, caught Johnís hand, and squeezed it. "Well, if we go slowly, maybe Carson and Radek will have it all packed by the time we get there."
John rolled his eyes. "And then they may do us an injury, and Carson wouldnít treat it!"
"Rover would save us."
"And then Ciora and Reza would attack him, and Elizabeth would kill us for starting the Atlantis version of Robot Wars!"
"Rover could take them both with no problem."
"Do you want to deal with Carson and Radek if they get damaged or explain the whole thing to Elizabeth?"
"Fine, fine weíll go move things then try to build a door."
"See, you really are a genius."
Rodney just looked at John, then rolled his eyes and headed toward the transporter.
"Just keep telling yourself you love me." John followed, enjoying the view, and Rover rolled along between them.
"At times itís what keeps you alive!"
John snickered. "Itís my fatal charm."
"Donít drop that!"
"Rodney, itís a blanket; it wilnae break," Carson sighed."
Radek snickered and John hastily choked back his own laugh before he found himself sleeping on the sofa they didnít have.
"I donít give a damn about the blanket; thereís something inside it!" Rodney grabbed the bundle and set it on top of Rover.
John set a box of odds and ends on Rover and pulled Rodney into a hug. "Iím sure Carson wasnít going to break your whatever."
"If he had dropped it, it would have broken, and itís not like there are malls out here."
"I really think Rodney has gone round the bend," Carson sighed to Radek.
"I think he did that when he got involved with a military officer," Radek replied loudly enough for the other two to hear.
"Hey!" John protested. "Everyone loves a man in uniform."
"Everyone had better not be loving you!"
"Only from a distance," John promised, laughing. "And totally envying you."
"I think I may be sick," Radek announced.
"Iím feeling a bit queasy myself," Carson nodded.
"Jealous," Rodney smirked.
"Absolutely." John smirked as well, which turned into a full-fledged grin when Radek and Carson looked from one to the other and groaned. Laughter was evident in his voice when he looked around the room and asked, "Is that all of it?"
Rodney gave the room a final once-over and nodded. "Looks like it, and you know, this place is close to Elizabethís quarters; maybe we should have Paul move in here instead of wherever he is."
"Rodney," Carson sighed. "Just because ye and the colonel are disgustingly sappy together, ye donít need to match-make for the rest of Atlantis."
"Disgustingly sappy?!" Rodneyís tone approached a shriek. "Look at you and Zoolander!"
Radek threw a pillow at Rodneyís head and sighed in resignation when Roverís arm shot out to catch it.
John glared at Carson. "We are not sappy!" he said in disgust. "Weíre slutty!"
"Youíre slutty!" Rodney corrected. "I, on the other hand, have a healthy sex drive."
"Yer both as hormonal as adolescents," Carson muttered.
"And as annoying," Radek agreed.
"Youíre just jealous." John started to laugh when Rover rolled toward the door, clearly intent on leaving with or without them.
"I think weíd best follow Rover before he leaves a trail of Rodneyís belongings in the hall," Carson laughed as he mentally asked Ciora to follow the other cart.
When Reza fell in behind as well, the carts made an odd little parade down the corridor. Radek snickered. "I think Col. Caldwell might run even faster if he were to see this."
"They need banners orówhat are those things called?--batons," Rodney commented, shaking his head.
Rover seemed to hesitate, and John groaned. "Oh, thank you, Rodney! Now weíre going to have cart majorettes roaming the halls of Atlantis. Unless... do we know if the others will follow Rover when he starts these things, or do they only respond to their personís desires?"
"I did have to tell Ciora to follow him," Carson offered, looking amused at the idea of a cart parade. "What about Reza, Radek?"
"I donít know if she would have followed on her own since I told her to when I saw the others leaving."
"So thereís a chance Janus may have programmed them to take instructions from their Ďolder brotherí," John mused. "I guess that makes Rover the officer."
"Hmm, I wonder if he outranks you," Rodney mused.
"Nope, only Elizabeth does in Atlantis, so youíre still going to have to follow orders."
Radek nearly choked as he tried to imagine Rodney following orders.
"In your dreams, John."
"I dinna think I want to be hearing about either of your dreams," Carson said quickly.
"You might learn something," John chuckled, making Radek glare at him.
"We will leave those sorts of lessons to the two of you."
Rodney glanced over at John and snickered before mouthing Ďvanillaí.
"Ye might remember the both of ye asked us for our help and we can easily rescind the offer."
"You wouldnít do that to us. Youíre a nice person, Carson." John grinned at him. "Besides, then it would take us longer to finish, and we might not be able to restrain ourselves till we got done."
"Which would be really bad if Col. Caldwell decided to come talk to John," Rodney added.
"You wouldnít want to be responsible for me being sent back to Earth in disgrace, would you?"
Carsonís answer was to rub his forehead and brush past them, clutching Radekís hand as they entered the transporter, following the carts.
"I think we vanquished them," John murmured to Rodney, careful to keep his voice too low for the other couple to hear since they did still want Carson and Radekís help, along with their cartsí.
"Far too easily," Rodney whispered back. "No contest at all."
"It was never in doubt," John agreed, giving Carson and Radek an innocent smile in response to their suspicious gazes.
"Oh, now Iím very worried!" Radek exclaimed.
"And you said he wasnít smart," Rodney laughed.
"I feel the need to have the two of ye report for full physicals," Carson growled.
"Now, now, you wouldnít abuse your position that way, would you?"
"For the two of ye, Iíd make the effort."
John was relieved when they neared the door to Rodneyís new room and it slid open for them, rescuing him from the need to comment. "This seems very familiar," he sighed, carrying Rodneyís pillow inside and giving the wall between this room and theirs a dirty look.
Rodney opened his mouth, then shut it, staring as the wall shifted, manufacturing a door where there had been none before. "I really, really hate you."
John was still staring at the new door, trying to think of something to say that wouldnít piss Rodney off more, when Radek went to inspect it. "Visually it is no different than any other door in the city. Which makes me wonder how many other apparently solid walls might lead to rooms we are unaware of."
"Perhaps weíll find them as theyíre needed," Carson added quickly.
Giving in to his curiosity, Rodney walked forward to examine the new door. "I wonder if the matrix remakes itself or theyíve just been camouflaged all along."
John shrugged. "Could be either of both for all of me. But Iím pretty sure that the shower off your lab was there all along."
"Hmm, camouflaged then," Rodney mused. "Interesting."
"Itís going to take us even longer to explore and map the city," John sighed.
"Not as long as youíre around and the city keeps giving up its secrets to you," Radek pointed out.
"Slut," Rodney grumbled.
"Jealousy will get you nowhere," John retorted. "Besides, itís not like itís anything I do on purpose."
"The thing that scares me is I wonder just what the city would do for you if you really wanted it to."
John looked intrigued. "It flies, doesnít it?" he mused.
Radek gave him a look of pure horror.
"Donít you even think about it!"
"I was just saying..." John gave him an injured look.
"Well, stop saying and start unpacking!"
"Well, weíve gotten yer stuff here, Rodney," Carson cut in, "and now I believe Radek and I are making our escape."
"Thanks for the help," John called after the two menís rapidly retreating backs. "Definitely vanilla," he chuckled as he turned back to Rodney after shutting the door. He wandered over to the new common door between their room and this one and stuck his head through.
"Weíre going to need to shift a few things around to unblock the doorway. Unless you really want to fall over it all."
"And why would you think Iíd want to do that?" Rodney asked, staring at John as if he were insane before beginning to unload his extra clothes from Roverís tray. "Really, John, sometimes you come up with the strangest ideas."
"Itís called sarcasm, Rodney. I know youíre familiar with it." John squirmed past the chair sitting in the previously invisible doorway and started moving things to clear the entrance. The chair he moved a bit to one side but still partially in the doorway so that the open space wasnít too obvious in case anyone was ever in the room, and the various odds and ends he moved elsewhere until the path was clear. That done, he went back into the other room. "What, not done yet?" He made sure he wasnít in swatting range when he said it.
Rodneyís response was to throw a rolled up pair of socks at the other man. "Remind me why I wanted to do this?"
"Because you love me," John replied smugly. He came farther into the room and took some of the things from Rover, beginning to put them away.
"Oh yeah." Rodney snorted as he set the remainder of Roverís rock collection in the corner for the cart to arrange to his liking. "There is that, plus the fact you have a cute ass."
"I knew it! You only want me for my body!"
"Yes, John, thatís the only reason I want you."
"Cool." John grinned. "I always wanted to be a boy toy."
"Fine, weíll get you some nice tight leather pants like Rononís, and you can parade around in those and your thigh holster."
"Kinky! Will you fight to keep me then?"
"Do I get a gun?"
"Sure, but you can explain the injuries to Carson and Elizabeth."
"One look at you and theyíd know exactly why it happened." Rodney looked around the room and nodded. "There, decent enough for what itíll be used for."
John nodded. "At least we never have to worry about running out of storage space." As he spoke, the wall behind Rodney slid open to reveal what seemed to be a large closet, and his eyes widened.
"Anything else in hiding you can find?" Rodney sighed.
"How should I know?" John sounded aggrieved. "I didnít even know you didnít know about the shower. Am I supposed to walk up and down every inch of Atlantis, asking each part of it to open?"
"I meant in our rooms, but the idea does have its merits!"
"Iím not spending the rest of my life wandering the halls!"
Rodney snickered. "Fine then, how about we sneak into your room and make out like kids doing illicit things, and then we can discuss the plan to get Elizabeth to notice Paul."
"I like the first half of that plan. I think theyíll both kill you, though, if they figure out youíre matchmaking."
"Why? Heíd be better for her than Simon-the-asshole."
"_Kavanagh_ would be better than that idiot! I just think theyíd rather pick their own mates, and youíre not exactly subtle, Rodney."
"I donít try to be."
"I never would have guessed." John snorted. "My point is that theyíd know inside of a minute that you were trying to fix them up, and that would probably make them ignore any attraction they actually do feel just to prove that theyíre not being manipulated into anything."
"You take the fun out of everything."
"Do you want to sleep in here?"
"Then you might want to rethink that last comment!"
"Youíre plenty of fun where it counts!"
"Thatís much better," John approved. "Iíd hate to think I was unappreciated."
"Oh, get in the other room so we can make out like teenagers."
"Now thatís a plan I can get behind." John laughed as he headed straight for the bed, pulling his t-shirt off as he went.
"Thatís because you have the hormonal levels of a teenager!" Rodney laughed, catching up to John and sliding his hands around his waist to stroke his chest as he nibbled on his neck.
"I havenít noticed you pushing me away or claiming to have a headache," John retorted. He leaned back against Rodneyís solid bulk, feeling the fabric of his shirt against his bare back, and he let his head fall to Rodneyís shoulder, offering his neck up.
"Hello, genius here." Rodney pinched Johnís nipple in retaliation.
John shuddered, his cock twitching at the pleasurable pain, and his back arched, pushing his ass back into the cradle of Rodneyís hips and his chest against that teasing hand.
"So, John, you gonna let me get past second base?" Rodney asked, teasing the soft skin under Johnís earlobe with his tongue. "I promise I wonít tell anyone."
Moaning, John pressed closer, his hands scratching at Rodneyís thighs though his uniform. "I think you may hit a homer."
Rodney snickered, sliding his hands down Johnís chest to undo his belt. "Guess those rumors about you being easy were true."
"You ought to know," John snorted. He reached back with one hand as he turned his head to kiss Rodney, hungry for him.
"Mmm." Rodneyís tongue slid over Johnís, stroking into his mouth and exploring the familiar contours even as he undid Johnís fatigues and slid a hand inside them to stroke his erection. John groaned into the kiss, his hips thrusting forward as Rodneyís knowing fingers aroused him.
"Feel so good." Rodney continued to worry Johnís neck even as he pushed aside his pants, shoving them down over his thighs so that he could stroke both hands over his groin as they rocked together.
"Yeah, you do," John rasped, nearly whimpering from the combined sensations of Rodneyís teeth and hands.
"Want to feel you come like this, against me, because of me."
"Oh fuck." This time John did whimper, and his head fell back against Rodneyís shoulder again. He could feel the fabric of Rodneyís uniform against his bare back and ass, and it felt deliciously dirty to be standing half naked and on the brink of coming while Rodney was still fully dressed.
"Later," Rodney promised, arching his hips against Johnís ass, his hand tightening down on his cock. "When youíre nice and relaxed, Iíll fuck you."
That was it. With that picture in his head, John came hard, only Rodneyís arm around his waist keeping him on his feet as he shuddered through the spasms of pleasure.
"So damn gorgeous," Rodney whispered against Johnís shoulders as he watched him come, slowly gentling him before walking him toward the bed. John made a soft, incoherent sound of contentment and simply went wherever Rodney steered him, stepping out of his pants as he went.
"Easy," Rodney murmured, urging John to his knees alongside the bed and stepping back to strip off his clothes. Remaining where Rodney had placed him, John lowered his head to the bed, pressing his cheek against the cool sheets, and waited.
"Oh fuck." Rodneyís eyes widened as he stared at Johnís supine form, and he tore at his clothes, needing to be against that warm flesh again. He grabbed for the lube, and dropped to his knees again, rubbing up against Johnís back. Johnís back arched like a catís as he pressed into Rodney; he even made a sound of contentment that was remarkably similar to purring.
"Mmm, I like that sound." Rodney straightened up and nuzzled the small of Johnís back as he slicked up a finger and pressed it inside his ass. A soft whine was added to the sounds John was making, and he pushed back, taking Rodney deeper.
"Oh fuck, gotta be in you." Rodney hurriedly stroked lube over his cock and pressed into Johnís ass, hissing as the barely stretched muscle gave way around him. John panted through the initial burn, the relaxation of his muscles from his recent climax helping, and then it was all pleasure and he was pushing back, begging for more.
It didnít last long, as Rodney was already on edge from teasing John, and once it was over, he managed to get them both on the bed and stay curled around Johnís back, his face buried against Johnís neck.
"Nice," John murmured.
Rodney chuckled. "I see Iíve made you at a loss for words for once. I like it."
John blew a raspberry but couldnít be bothered to roll over to do it to his face. The odd noise made Rover roll over and rise up so he was level with their faces to make sure they were all right, and John started to laugh. He reached out with one hand to pat the cart. "Sorry, Rover. Weíre fine."
"Mmm, better than fine," Rodney sighed, stroking Roverís sensor array as well. "And I hope youíre feeling good enough to do me a favor."
"Youíre not going to make me move, are you?"
"Not now, you idiot, later, tomorrow even."
"Okay, thatís doable. Whatís the favor?"
"Talk to Paul. Get to know him."
John twisted to peer over his shoulder at Rodney. "Why?"
Rodney grinned and kissed him on the nose. "So you can agree with me that he and Elizabeth are perfect for each other."
"Iím just so deliriously happy, I want everyone to be the same." Rodney waited a beat while Johnís eyes widened, then snickered.
"You sounded like Cadman again for a minute there!" John made a show of shuddering.
"Thank you so much for the reminder of that wonderful time! Whatís next, you bring out that bra and try to get me to wear it?!"
John snickered. "Only if we get the device out first. You donít have the tits for it right now."
Rodney growled and bit John on the shoulder for that remark. "Ass."
"Is well-fucked at the moment."
"So, you never answered me..."
"About? Oh, Davis? Sure." John shrugged. "Heís under my command, sort of. Iíd want to meet with him anyway, especially since heís the next most senior officer. Though outside the direct chain of command."
"Mmm, good." Rodney kissed the slightly reddened spot where heíd bitten John, then snuggled in closer, relaxing.
"Col. Davis." John rose to his feet, extending a hand when the other officer came into his office. "Thank you for making time to meet with me today. I know you have a very full schedule getting up to speed, and youíre not really under my direct command, but I do like to get to know the people in Atlantis."
"Col. Sheppard," Davis shook his hand and nodded in greeting. "I could say the same for your schedule, and I appreciate the opportunity; knowing how the ranking officer is likely to handle situations is helpful in doing my job."
John grinned as he waved Davis to a seat. "Some people would tell you that I just react randomly."
"From what Iíve read from the reports, you react based on your convictions," Paul commented as he sat, his attention on the other man.
"You sound like a follower of the Jack OíNeill school of military thought rather than Caldwellís," John observed, smiling wryly. "Then again, Iím told you worked with the SGC and SG1 for several years, so youíd have to be pretty flexible."
Paul chuckled quietly at the comparison. "Adaptability is definitely something you learn when working with Gen. OíNeill, in both diplomatic matters and military ones."
"OíNeill? Diplomatic?" John laughed. "I donít think those two words belong in the same sentence."
"I didnít mean he was; I meant it kept my skills sharp, and I have the feeling that will be the same here."
"Ah." John grinned again. "You could say that," he agreed. "Though Elizabeth does try to keep Rodney and me in check."
Paul chuckled at that. "Well, hopefully Iíll be able to help with that and give her a bit more free time; Iím sure thatís a fulltime job on its own."
"Oh yeah, youíre going to fit in here just fine." John leaned back in his chair. As much as he hated to admit it, Rodney might have a point. Davis did seem to be exactly what Elizabeth needed.
"Iím glad to hear you say so, but I do have a question for you." At the inquiring look, Paul continued. "Iíd like to hear your assessment of relationships hereóbetween the civilians and the military."
John shrugged. "After last year, being stuck alone out here with no way back to Earth, weíre a pretty tight-knit group. Relationships have formed between the most unlikely people," he quirked a grin, "and as long as work doesnít suffer, no one pays any attention to it. Iím pretty sure that there are some relationships between officers and enlisted personnel too, but with everything these people have to face, Iím not going to tell them not to find what comfort they can. We just try to keep things like that out of reports back to Earth," he finished bluntly.
"I was referring to working relationships, but I appreciate the candor." Paul leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees. "I understand that Atlantis is a unique situation, and as long as these relationships donít affect the cityís safety, theyíre no concern of mine." He paused and gave a half-laugh. "Oh, and Gen. OíNeill said to tell you that next time you and Rodney come back to Earth, you owe him and Daniel dinner."
That last comment had John relaxing again. "They should come here. I know Daniel wants to, and the general would enjoy it too, I think." He chuckled. "Theyíd certainly fit in well."
"Thereíve been some issues on Earth that have required their attention." That was a considerable understatement. "But I know theyíre trying to get here.
"To answer your original question, we all work surprisingly well together. Thereís Kavanagh, of course; everyone despises him as far as I can tell, but heís a competent worker if you can get him to stick to what he knows and stop thinking heís Rodney or Radek. And Bates and Teyla pretty much canít stand each other, but for the most part people get along. Well, Rodneyís a bit of an acquired taste," John admitted ruefully.
"Kavanagh... isnít he the one who activated the device that switched the gender of all the ATA-gene-enhanced personnel?"
John growled at the memory. "Yes! I still think I should have shot him that time! And for the love of all you hold holy, donít mention that to Rodney. He wasnít amused by the whole thing."
"I doubt any of you were, and Iíll remember to stay far away from Kavanagh and whatever heís tinkering with."
"Good choice." John grinned. "I never thought to ask, do you have the gene?"
"No. Dr. Beckettís offered to try the gene therapy on me, but I havenít decided if I want to go that route yet."
John nodded. "Understandable. But if you do, the only way youíll be able to tell the difference is that Ancient technology will react to you. And you can have a cart if you want one. But thereís no physical changes. Hell, I have it naturally and never even knew it."
"Having a cart is supposed to be a selling point?" Paul asked, laughing. "From what Iíve seen, theyíre obsessive."
"No, thatís just Rover," John chuckled. "The others are helpful and definitely have personalities, but thatís mainly picked up from who they imprint on. But they mostly stick to what you tell them to do. Roverís more self-aware and is quite likely to try to steer us to doing what he wants."
"Iíll keep that in mind, Col. Sheppard, though Iíd think theyíd be better off assigned to military or scientists with need for themóunless theyíre good at negotiating trade agreements."
"No, but theyíre great for concealing alcohol, which you may need after talking to some of these people!"
"Hmm, that idea has merit; I may have to reconsider taking Dr. Beckett up on that gene therapy."
"Youíre okay, Col. Davis," John chuckled.
"Thank you, Col. Sheppard, and I have to say the same to you. Iím looking forward to working with everyone here."
"Itís John." The computer on his desk dinged, and John sighed. "I hate that damn calendar. But itís time for our morning briefing." He stood up and gestured Davis to precede him out of the office.
"Meetings are the burden of command, and itís Paul." The two men headed out of the office toward Elizabethís conference room.
"On time for a meeting, John? Iím impressed," Elizabeth greeted him cheerfully, a cup of coffee in hand. "Or is it your good influence I should be thanking, Col. Davis?"
"Col. Sheppardís computer can take the credit," Paul laughed.
"Have we startedóoh good, we havenít," Rodney commented as he rushed into the room, juggling his datapad and laptop because Rover was carrying a tray of snack food.
Elizabeth sighed. "If everyone ever got here on time, I might die of the shock."
"Perhaps it is fortunate then that it is unlikely ever to happen," Teyla put in, sounding amused.
John looked around. "Just us this morning? No Carson and Bates?"
As if on cue, those two hurried into the office, almost getting stuck in the doorway as they tried to walk through it at the same time.
"Who needs sitcoms?" Rodney snickered, pouring himself some coffee and settling in a seat to take the tray from Rover, absently patting the cart as it settled behind his chair.
John took the seat beside him, helping himself to a muffin. "Those apple things do taste better baked." He looked back in time to see Ciora pull Bates out of the way so Carson could continue, and he snickered. "Are we going to have to give you a course in how to get along with carts, Lieutenant?"
"If they stayed out of the office, it would make things much less crowded."
Rodney snorted even as he took the muffin out of Johnís hand and ate it. "Okay, Lieutenant, letís see you get Rover out of here and keep him out."
John shook his head at Bates. "Donít waste your time. I couldnít do it, and he likes me! And get your own muffin!" he added to Rodney. "That was mine!"
"Oh, boo hoo," Rodney took a bite and smiled around the mouthful.
"Rodney, ye have the table manners of a hooligan," Carson sighed.
"Itíd serve you right if I started eating lemon-cranberry ones!" John groused, reaching for another blueberry muffin and making sure to keep hold of it once it was within Rodneyís reach.
"Itís probably a good thing you didnít see this before you accepted the posting here, I imagine," Elizabeth murmured laughingly to Col. Davis.
"Dr. Weir, you deserve a medal," Paul murmured, shaking his head. "I thought Iíd seen a lot, but this..." he chuckled. "Well, youíre never bored."
Overhearing, Bates looked over. "I was at the SGC, and thereís no way youíre going to tell me that itís any calmer there. Iíve seen Gen. OíNeill and Dr. Jackson go at it."
Paul nodded, ignoring Rodneyís look of outrage and Carsonís laughter. "I must have just gotten used to them, or perhaps itís the case that thereís no Tealíc here to stare at them and say ĎIndeedí."
Elizabeth chuckled, having seen exactly that when sheíd been at the SGC. "No, we have our own dynamic here. And it works pretty well for us... most of the time."
"I can see that, and Iím not going to try to change things here, though I canít say I might not offer suggestions." Paul smiled at the last.
Reminded of some of Col. Caldwellís suggestions, everyone let out a universal groan. Realizing that it might be taken the wrong way, Elizabeth hastily clarified, "That wasnít meant for your suggestions, Colonel."
"Iím... glad to hear it."
"Donít worry, Colonel, when we discount your suggestions, youíll know," Rodney laughed.
"Yeah, Rodneyís idea of subtle is hitting you over the head with a hammer to knock you out before dropping a boulder on you," John said.
"I believe heíd miss ye with the hammer though," Carson laughed.
"I like to think so."
"Elizabeth, can we start the meeting now?"
"That would probably be best." She sat down. "I believe youíve all met Col. Davis, our new liaison officer. Col. Davisí job will be to avoid situations like the Genii, so when you encounter potential allies, heíll go along to meet them."
"And to keep them from getting nukes," Paul chuckled.
"Be an arms dealer just once and nobody lets you forget it!" John complained.
"To be an effective arms dealer, ye really need a long, leather coat," Carson offered.
"You could steal Conanís," Rodney suggested.
"Heís going to swat you like a mosquito one of these days," John warned, grinned.
Rodney sniffed even as he took another muffin. "Weíve bonded over food; he likes me."
"The meeting," Elizabeth said a bit desperately.
"If I may make a suggestion?" Everyone looked at Col. Davis, and he grinned. "Muzzles."
Teyla looked blank, but everyone else burst into laughter. "Theyíll be on my next supply requisition!" Elizabeth said. When everyone was silent, she started again, "Now, about the planet you suggested we visit, Teyla?"
"I heard about Eradus from contacts on Kepria. The people there are supposed to possess technology not unlike Olesia. If they are inclined to trade, the results would be beneficial to all of us."
"I hope their similarities donít include feeding people to the Wraith to keep themselves safe," Rodney commented.
"No, it is known to the Keprians that the Eradii have suffered greatly from the Wraith cullings. They are no friends of theirs."
Elizabeth looked questioningly at John, who nodded. "Sounds promising. I think we should check it out."
"Col. Davis? Your opinion?" she asked.
"I have to agree, another ally, especially one with a higher technological level, would be welcome."
"All right then, you have a go." Elizabeth nodded.
"You coming with, Paul?" John asked. "It should be a fairly quiet mission, giving you a chance to experience the Pegasus galaxy without anyone shooting at you. Youíll find that a refreshing change."
"Dr. Weir?" Davis asked, glancing toward the leader.
"Oh, come on, Paul, just say yes," Rodney laughed.
"You might as well; that way youíll know what youíre dealing with." She smiled wryly. "Oh, and itís Elizabeth."
"Except in front of Col. Caldwell," Paul answered, "and it in that case itís Paul, and Iíd be happy to go."
Rodney kicked John under the table.
John glared. "Half an hour to get your gear together before we head out. And if youíll excuse us, Dr. McKay and I have something to discuss in the meantime."
"Now thereís a shock," Carson muttered, shaking his head.
John eyed him. "Like you and Radek donít have frequent conferences!"
"Out!" Elizabeth sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose.
Teyla laughed quietly. "Col. Davis, I wish you much luck."
Rodney stood, Rover scooting out after him. "Youíre coming along too, Teyla; someone has to keep Conan under control!"
"Actually, Teyla, if you wouldnít mind, could you let Ronon know when weíre leaving?" John asked. "Rodney and I need to discuss the proper respect for oneís team leader."
The others left, and Paul looked over at Elizabeth. "So should I expect them in the gate room in half an hour?"
She nodded. "Weíre not much on formality around here. Especially when that particular team is involved. Good luck."
"I might need it," he laughed. "Iíll see you when we get back, Elizabeth."
"If you kick me every time they talk to each other, Iím going to be black and blue!"
"Oh, please, Rover smacks you and you donít even bruise any more, so I donít think that a tap is going to contuse you!"
"Iím a battered man!"
"Do you want me to kiss it and make it better?"
Rodney dropped to his knees and kissed Johnís shin.
Rodney glanced upward and gently closed his teeth on the fabric over Johnís groin.
John stumbled back against the door of their room and pushed his fingers into Rodneyís hair. "Oh yeah," he breathed.
"Exactly," Rodney murmured, reaching up to undo Johnís belt and pants and mouth him through his boxers.
"Mmm, good." John leaned back and stared down, watching Rodney.
"Just good?" Rodney asked acerbically, glancing up, his eyebrows raised.
"Get rid of the boxers and Iíll bump it up to stellar."
Rodney nodded, "I can do that," and tugged Johnís pants and boxers lower, leaving them down around his knees so he could taste the bare flesh.
"Oh fuck yeah. Better than irrational numbers."
In answer, Rodney opened his mouth, taking the head of Johnís cock into his mouth and sucking on it, moaning at the familiar, earthy flavor. John groaned and thrust forward, moving his hands to Rodneyís shoulders. Rodney slid his hands to Johnís ass, urging him to thrust as he took him deeper, sucking harder on the hot flesh in his mouth.
"Oh God," John moaned, hips rocking back and forth into Rodneyís sucking mouth, his fingers kneading the shoulders they were resting on.
Rodney growled in response, letting John fuck his mouth and loving the sensation.
John rocked faster, groaning with pleasure, not even trying to make it last. Rodney sucked harder, wanting to taste John as well as feel him, his own hips rocking in echo of Johnís movements. Johnís eyes had closed, and he forced them open again to watch Rodney sucking him off. The sight of it was too much for him, and he thrust forward again and came.
"Damn, you taste good," Rodney breathed once he pulled back and could speak again.
John caught his breath and pulled Rodney to his feet and into a deep kiss, his tongue seeking the taste of himself mixed with Rodney. Rodney leaned into the kiss, his mouth open and welcoming to the kiss, his hands tightening on Johnís hips so that he could rub against him. John reached between them, his hand curving over Rodneyís erection, and then he slid to his knees.
"Oh yeah," Rodney sighed, twisting around to lean against the door, arching his hips into Johnís hand. John made short work of the zipper and pushed Rodneyís boxers down until his cock sprang free and John could close his lips over the head.
"Fuck, thatís nice," Rodney whispered, tangling his fingers in Johnís hair and tugging him inward.
John pulled back to grin up at him, licking precome from his lips. "Only nice?"
"Oh, just shut up and blow me, Colonel."
"He can dish it out, but he canít take it." John smirked and sucked Rodney back into his mouth and right down his throat. Rodney groaned and rocked forward, reveling in the sensation of tight muscles closing around him. John cupped Rodneyís ass, tugging, urging him to move, to take what he wanted.
"Oh fuck, John..." Rodney whined, tightening his fingers in the dark, messy hair and thrusting hard, claiming Johnís mouth as he gave himself over to his need, riding it out until he came, whimpering, his knees almost buckling.
John pulled back slightly as Rodney came, just enough to taste Rodney before swallowing. He waited until the last spasm had passed and then rose to his feet to kiss Rodney again.
"That was very, very good," Rodney murmured, smiling dopily as he leaned against John.
"Yeah, it was." John wrapped an arm around Rodneyís waist, holding him close.
"Ready to take a nap now."
"íFraid not. We have a mission in a few minutes."
"Aliens bad, bed good."
"I think I may have killed a few too many of your brain cells this time."
"Iíd still be smarter than anyone else here," Rodney grumbled.
"Itís not ego if itís the truth."
"Good answer, I like that answer." Rodney pulled back and smiled at John, his eyes still unfocused. "Mission now?"
John nodded. "Time to go make some friends."
"Let Paul and Teyla do the talking."
"Iím not the one who lets his mouth run away with him!"
"Are you complaining about my mouth?"
"Only when youíre talking to strangers. Try not to tell these that you can build weapons, okay?"
"Fine, so long as you donít promise them any C-4."
"Deal." John let go of him to tuck himself back in and fix his clothes.
Rodney chuckled as he set himself to rights as well. "Okay, are we ready?"
After a quick check to make sure that everything was zipped, John opened the door. "Letís do it."
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