blue flamingos

Soon Be Safe And Warm

Fandom: Stargate Atlantis

Category/Rated: Slash, PG

Year/Length: 2008/ ~1555 words

Pairing: John/Rodney

Spoilers: set vaguely in season 4, no spoilers.

Disclaimer: No, I don't own them, for which I should think they're profoundly grateful.

Summary: Rodney finds John at 1.30 in the morning

Author's Notes: Originally posted to [info]weloveladycat but I figured it's probably okay to post it here by now, and if it's not, someone will probably tell me.

Feedback: Yes please. Even if it's bad. Especially if it's bad.

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Rodney finds John at 1.30 in the morning, which is weird enough on its own, because John is always the one who comes to find him late at night, past the time everyone but the security patrol are tucked up in bed. What makes it even weirder is that he doesn't find John in either of their rooms, in the control room or the gym or out on his favorite balcony, all the places Rodney looks first – instead, he finds John sitting at his neat desk in the office he only uses during business hours (people have better things to do than chase around the city looking for me, Rodney).

John's looking right at Rodney, who's standing in the open doorway, but it's not until Rodney says, "Here you are," that John blinks and actually focuses on him.

"Here I am," he agrees distantly. "You need something?"

Rodney glares at him. "Do I need something? I'm sorry, do I look like one of your baby Marines?"

John cracks a small smile, tilting his head to one side to study Rodney before saying, "Maybe if you cut your hair..."

"Like you're one to talk," Rodney points out. "Seriously, what are you still doing here?"

"Working?" John waves a hand tiredly to encompass his open laptop and small stack of files. "They didn't make me military commander of the city just to stand around and look pretty."

"But you do it so well," Rodney says, just to get John to make his scrunched up hedgehog face of mixed amusement and dismay. "It'll still be here in the morning. Come to bed."

John nods, one hand back on his files. "In a bit."

Rodney blinks, hearing the words he's said a hundred times over the last four years echoed back at him. "It's nearly two in the morning," he says, aware that he's whining, just a little. "Aren't you tired?"

"I'm fine," John says, like he always does, and Rodney thinks, not for the first time, that they're all so constantly exhausted they've stopped noticing it. "Go to bed, I'll come by when I'm done."

"What, in time for breakfast?" Rodney asks, taking a couple of steps into the office, enough to bring him up close to the edge of the desk. "Whatever you're doing, it'll still be there tomorrow, why do you have to do it now?"

"Because I do," John says, not sulking exactly, but something more than just stubborn.

"Great, we're reduced to kindergarten responses. Leave it and come to bed before you regress even further."

"I can't," John says, right on the edge of snapping, and Rodney, who really just wants to go to bed and have John fall asleep next to him, snaps back, "Why not?"

"Because I've got jumper training, weekly officers' meeting, a visit to P3X 716 to check your scientists haven't driven my Marines to murder and/or mutiny, and mission briefings with Stackhouse's and Morgan's teams, all in the two days before our mission to P7Y 489. So unless you're going to tell me you've figured out how to fit an extra day in there somewhere, no, I can't leave this." John's voice doesn't even rise above regular conversation level, but his tone is tight and his hand comes up from the stack of files, allowing Rodney to read the name on the top one; and Rodney's never been great with names, but even he picks them up after four years, and – oh.

"The data-burst is going while we're on 489," he says. They usually make sure to keep both him and John on Atlantis for the weekly dial-in, in case there's anything needing an immediate decision, but they've been trading with the people of 489 for a couple of years, and they're strict about when they accept – and expect – visitors.

"Yeah." John sighs. "Look, I'm sorry, I have to get these done. They should have gone last time."

"No." Rodney cuts him off quickly, feeling inexplicably guilty. It's not like he would have pushed if John had just said he was writing his condolence letters to the families of his fallen Marines, rather than expecting Rodney to read his mind. John just looks so tired. "You should have said," he says, because it's true, and John will never learn without someone pointing out when he's being an idiot.

"Apparently," John says dryly. "We don't both need to be sleep-deprived, go to bed."

"Please. If we're talking sleep deprivation, let's start with back when I got my first PhD. It's a shame I wasn't a chemist, actually, because let me tell you, none of the legal uppers work for more than three days and..." He trails off into a grin when John huffs a reluctant laugh.

"Good thing we don't bother about little things like the legality of our drugs," John says, only half-joking; it's only funny, like most things in Pegasus, because it's true. "I'm fine," John says after a beat, catching Rodney's eye. "Go on."

"You'll come by when you're done?" Rodney asks. He wants to touch, suddenly – a hand on John's shoulder, his fingers in John's hair – to offer comfort, but John, caught up in the one part of his job that he never, ever delegates to Major Lorne, even when he's in the infirmary, is brittle, all sharp edges and harsh lines, and Rodney knows he'll allow the touch but that's all it will be, more likely to have the opposite effect than the one Rodney wants.

"Yeah," John says, looking back at his laptop screen, and Rodney might as well be gone, already put out of John's mind. He lingers in the doorway for a moment anyway, enough to watch John sit motionless for a long moment, then draw a deep breath and start typing.

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Rodney's woken from a restless sleep by the hiss of a door sliding open, footsteps coming to an abrupt halt. He twists round and sits up, John's shape backlit in the open doorway, letting in just enough light for Rodney's watch to tell him it's a couple of hours since he left John's office.

"I knew it," he says smugly. "I knew your need for self-sacrifice would win out over you actually agreeing to do something."

"Um," John says blankly and Rodney, taking pity on him, says, "Close the door. Unless you want the security patrol that's due past in, let's see, seven and a half minutes, wondering why you've got a naked scientist in your bed."

"They're not the only ones," John mutters, but he touches the crystal to close the door, then brings the lights up slightly and crouches to remove his boots.

Rodney lies down again, trying to get comfortable on John's too short bed (why John is still using it when they've got plenty of empty rooms with adult sized beds is a mystery on which John is inexplicably touchy and close-mouthed). That John has accepted his presence so easily says clearly that Rodney made the right decision in calling John on his tendency not to want to wake Rodney when John's up last, even though, hello, they've been sleeping together for two years now, and it's not like Rodney ever complains.

"Move over," John says, distracting him from his spinning thoughts. He does, giving John room to climb into bed, facing away from Rodney but close enough that they're touching from shoulder to knee; the closest John ever comes to asking for what he needs. Rodney gives it, moving a little closer to wrap his arm round John, rubbing slow circles into his stomach. John's wearing boxers and a t-shirt, but his skin's cool under his clothes and he's got the covers pulled up high, wrapped close around the two of them.

Rodney presses a careful kiss to the back of John's neck and John sighs, a tiny bit of tension easing from his body. "All done?" Rodney asks quietly.

"All done," John agrees. "Doesn't seem right to send typed letters."

Rodney thinks of their first meeting with the SGC brass after they re-established contact with Earth; John had hung back after, cornering General O'Neill and awkwardly handing over a small wooden box and a bundle of envelopes.

"No way to send handwritten stuff in the data burst," he says. It's the only thing he can think of.

"I know," John says. He shifts, brushing cold feet against Rodney's calves, winding up a little deeper in Rodney's embrace, and they lie like that in silence for a while, until Rodney's beginning to drift.

John's voice, even hushed as it is, is a shock, jerking him back awake, and it takes him a few seconds to realize that John's just said, "Thank you."

Apparently mistaking Rodney's necessary moment of thought for lack of comprehension, John adds, "For, you know, being here."

"Please," Rodney says dismissively. "Someone's got to keep you from staying up all night for the thrill of whichever long-dead author you're reading now." Except he totally belies his own tone by kissing John's neck – the only part of him in easy reach – again.

"What would I do without you?" John asks, voice dry and already fading down into sleep, but Rodney, feeling John slowly warm and relax against him, knows that John, tonight at least, really means it.


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