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[icon] FIC: Rules of Engagement- Part 3 (SGA Slash) - River's Run My Flow Of Ideas
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Subject:FIC: Rules of Engagement- Part 3 (SGA Slash)
Time:10:03 pm



It took over two hours, but they finally brought Rodney back to their cell, looking a hell of a lot worse for wear than when he had left. The scientist could barely stay on his feet, giving up on any attempt when the guards deposited him just inside the door and quickly closed and relocked it.

John surprised even himself with how fast he was beside McKay when the man’s knees gave out and he dropped to the floor. "Whoa!"

Rodney looked up at where John knelt beside him, mouth turned down in pain, and eyes a little shocked. "Those bastards zapped me."

"Christ," Sheppard mumbled, stopping his hand from resting on McKay’s head as he realized he might just increase Rodney’s pain instead of offer any comfort. "Why?"

"They didn’t understand the chemistry I was trying to explain. They thought I was making it all up. I mean, technically, I was, but they wouldn’t have understood it even if it had been the truth."

"McKay," Sheppard sighed in exasperation before giving up on chastising the man and instead asking, "Are you okay?"

"They only did it for a few seconds," Rodney told him before shaking his head in wonder. "I have no fucking clue how you survived for as long as it was activated on you." McKay turned his head to press his forehead against John’s knee. "It hurt like hell."

Sheppard took that as an okay to touch him. Resting his hand on Rodney’s neck, he brushed his thumb down the taut muscle there. "You should have stayed on the Daedalus," John told him.

"Would you have stayed?" Rodney asked, peeking up to meet John’s eyes.

"No," Sheppard confessed honestly. "But I’m a glutton for punishment. You’ve said so yourself on more than one occasion."

McKay reached up and gripped John’s wrist with trembling fingers. "Apparently, you’re a bad influence on me."

John’s mouth quirked and he bent down to brush his lips across Rodney’s temple. "I had hoped to corrupt you in other more enjoyable ways."

"If our useless expedition would ever get us the fuck out of here, we might get a chance to do that before these sons of bitches fry every synapse in our systems." Rodney rolled to his side with a groan and attempted to push himself up from the floor.

Sheppard did his best to help, grimacing almost as much as McKay from the exertion. "They’ll find a way," he assured.

"When?" Rodney demanded impatiently. "They’ve had more than enough time to get a team from Atlantis on the Daedalus. I mean, hell, Carson was even on base this week as opposed to ‘walking the earth’ like the Pegasus version of a Scottish Kung Fu master. He was there and so were Jennifer and Radek and pretty much everyone else with half a brain." Rodney braced himself with a hand on the floor. "Surely they could come up with something by now."

"Not everyone can be as brilliant as you, McKay," John patronized.

"That’s pretty damn obvious." Rodney managed to roll his eyes without falling over. "I would have had an answer hours ago."

Before Sheppard could point out that was just one more reason why Rodney should have stayed behind, he felt the familiar tingle of a transporter beam. Rodney’s smile indicated he felt it, too, and it was only a split second before he saw the grin again, only this time they were back in the room where they had taken refuge after John had first been shot.

"Daedalus, we have them," Carson reported through his radio, even as he and Radek squatted beside Sheppard and McKay.

"Well, it’s about damn time," Rodney snapped as Zelenka began running a detector along John’s back in the area of the tracking device.

"Not now, Rodney," Carson ordered. "We have a very limited amount of time to work here and none of it can be wasted on your belly aching. Colonel, I need you to remove your shirt for me."

"They implanted a device in McKay, too," John informed them, working on his buttons as Carson prepared a syringe.

"We figured that would be the case." Radek spoke from behind him. "I have a lock on the signal. I am attempting to override it now. Let me know if either of you experience any pain."

Rodney’s eyes widened in alarm. "What?"

John braced himself as best a person could brace for the kind of pain he knew would come if the device activated again. Carson wasted no time cleaning the area on John’s back around the device and warning, "You’ll feel a little sting here, lad. It’s just a mild local anesthetic. Unfortunately it won’t be enough to completely dull the pain when I make the incision, but it should be enough to take the edge off. Rodney, you’re next. Radek, you have about ten minutes before the area is completely numbed, at which point the device will definitely know something is happening."

"What do you mean, the device will know?" Rodney asked apprehensively.

"We’ll explain later," Carson deflected, moving quickly to repeat the procedure on McKay.

Sheppard looked up to see Teyla and Ronon glancing away from their guard duties at the door to smile back at them in relief. "Hey, guys," John greeted weakly. "Miss us?"

"It is very good to see you both," Teyla told them earnestly.

"You, too," John assured.

McKay, however, ignored their teammates, instead threatening, "Radek, you tell me what you are doing, right now, or I will personally rip this thing out of me and stick it in you"

At that point, Zelenka set into an explanation that lost John halfway through it, but he got the gist of it… bad signals replaced with good signals that would let them remove the devices without, hopefully, killing either John or Rodney. While McKay argued nuances with Radek, at one point yanking the monitor away to study it himself, Carson checked John over.

When John filled him in on the hypersensitivity and the lingering body aches, Beckett tsked. "I’d give you pain killers, Colonel, but I’m afraid they may activate the device. It’s why I used such a mild local."

"I’ve managed this long, Doc. I can make it a little bit longer."

When Radek exhaled in relief a few minutes later, John figured whatever the Czech had done had been successful. "Alright, Carson, you can begin," Zelenka told him, taking up his laptop. "The feedback loop appears identical to the one we discovered in Rodney’s previous readings. I should have no trouble intercepting it."

John figured they must know what they were doing, despite the increasingly worried expression on Rodney’s face. That was until Carson ordered the medic, "Charge the paddles and be ready."

"What?" Rodney demanded again, this time an octave higher than before.

"It’s just a precaution, Rodney," Beckett assured, taking up a scalpel. Although the look the physician exchanged with Radek when Zelenka nodded that they were ready, wasn’t making John feel very reassured. "Okay, John, here we go."

Carson had been right that the local really hadn’t done much, especially considering his already heightened sensitivity to pain, so that Sheppard squeezed his eyes shut and bit his lower lip to keep from crying out.

"Sheppard?" Rodney’s worried voice cut through the fuzz clouding out his thoughts.

"Not the device," John grunted to try to calm him.

Carson’s voice held a slightly distracted tone as he promised, "Almost done, Colonel."

Ronon spoke next, conveying a message that neither Sheppard nor McKay could hear since they didn’t have radios. "Lorne says we have company."

"They’re tracking us." Rodney was on the verge of panic; John could hear it in his voice. "They’ll activate the devices."

"They cannot," Radek told him. "I have overridden the signal."

"But if they get close enough with a stronger feed it won’t do any good," McKay countered. "You said it yourself that the interference will only work within a limited area."

"How limited?" Ronon asked.

"Three to five meters, maybe," Radek responded.

"Then they won’t get that close," Ronon promised as he and Teyla headed out into the hallway.

The gunfire started a few seconds after Carson finally removed the device from Sheppard’s back. Beckett exhaled heavily. "There we are, Colonel. You’re good as new… or at least you will be as soon as we stitch you up."

"McKay," John practically panted as he received another injection, this time he could instantly feel the warmth of the painkiller spreading through him. "Get it out of him." If the insurgents were moving in, they didn’t have time to close up John before starting on McKay.

"Aye," Carson agreed, instructing the medic to close the suture while he started on Rodney.

But he didn’t even get to make the first cut before Radek stopped him with a curse in his native tongue. "The feedback loop, it is different in Rodney." Another curse had him shaking his head in frustration as he pushed up his glasses. "This one is calibrated to Rodney’s body’s electrical signature, which is, of course, different than Colonel Sheppard’s."

"Can you match it to intercept the feed?" Carson asked in worry.

"Yes, yes." Radek was already pushing buttons on his laptop. "It will just take a moment to recalibrate to Rodney’s signal."

The sound of P90 fire grew closer, and Sheppard could only assume that Lorne and his men were falling back to their position, which meant the insurgents were moving closer. The fact wasn’t lost on Rodney, who looked from John to the door and back in growing terror. Sheppard would have asked for a gun, but the truth was, it wouldn’t matter. If they got close enough for John to shoot from where he sat, then they would be close enough to activate McKay’s device.

"Rodney," John tried to speak as calmly and confidently as he could. "They’re going to get that thing out of you."

"Oh, easy for you to say seeing as yours is lying on the…"

It took John a second to put together the fact that the device McKay was pointing at insistently was vibrating on the floor and that Rodney had stopped talking. But when John looked up from the mechanism they had just removed from him, Rodney’s face was screwed up in pain and his hand was clutching at his chest.

"McKay!" John lunged forward, disregarding the protests of the medic working on his back and grabbed Rodney by the shoulders as he started to tumble forward. Rodney flinched spasmodically and didn’t respond. "Rodney!"

"He’s going into cardiac arrest," Carson announced a little needlessly, although the confirmation had John’s stomach clenching tight. "Radek, you need to shut it down, now."

"I am trying," Radek insisted, hands flying across his keyboard.

Rodney was gasping against John’s chest, shudders of pain surging through his body, and Sheppard gripped his arms tighter and leaned his own head against McKay’s. "Rodney, just hang on. Okay? You just fucking stay with me."

"I can’t wait any longer," Carson announced, taking up a scalpel once again to begin the incision.

Teyla and Lorne backed into the room as the shooting in the hall grew louder. "We can’t hold them much longer," Lorne told them.

"Then beam us out," Carson ordered. "It doesn’t matter where we are right now; the device has already activated."

Rodney went limp against him, and if possible, that was worse than the tremors. John ground out a frantic, "Carson…"

Because this wasn’t happening. This was not fucking happening. McKay had come back to this God forsaken planet because of Sheppard, had ended up with the tracker in him as a result, and there was no way in hell Rodney was going to be the one to die today. Not after what he had done for John, not after what had happened in that cell, not with all that could still happen.

"Daedalus," Lorne yelled into his radio. "Request immediate extraction of all personnel directly to the infirmary!"

The room shimmered gold as John closed his eyes and wrapped his arms around Rodney protectively… a little late for that, he thought ironically, but it was instinct if nothing else. And when he opened them again, they were on the Daedalus.

* * * *

When Caldwell reached the infirmary, Beckett was kneeling on the floor cutting into McKay’s back as Sheppard supported the nonresponsive man.

"Charge the crash cart and have the epi waiting," the physician ordered to the room in general.

"He’s not breathing," Sheppard managed to croak out, fighting to maintain some sort of control. When he didn’t receive an immediate answer, he spoke more forcefully. "Carson, he’s not breathing."

"I know, lad," Beckett assured without stopping his work. "As soon as I remove the device I can attempt to restart his heart. Now hold him steady, the microfibers didn’t retract like they did when Radek overrode your device’s signal."

Sheppard’s back was dripping blood from his own incision; the medic behind him seemed to be waiting for Beckett to finish up on McKay so as not to jar either man.

Zelenka had backed away and Caldwell stepped in next to him to demand, "What the hell happened?"

The scientist was so intent on the surgery taking place a few feet away that he jumped in surprise to be addressed. "There were complications in intercepting the signal from Rodney’s device and the insurgents overran our position before we could do anything to stop them from activating the device and triggering a heart attack."

"I’m sorry, Sir," Lorne apologized from Caldwell’s other side. "There were just too many of them."

"I’m sure you did all you could, Major. We’ll debrief later. Right now we have other things to worry about." Like Rodney McKay in cardiac arrest on his goddamn infirmary floor.

"Got it!" Beckett proclaimed triumphantly, holding the device up. But the victory was short lived as he immediately ordered, "Let’s move him to the bed and bag him."

Ronon, the medic and two other members of the medical staff lifted McKay to the bed as Beckett stood to take the syringe from the nurse as they taped the monitoring pads in place on Rodney’s chest. Sheppard watched him go, appearing almost reluctant to release his hold on the man, then slumped to brace himself with a hand on the floor, as if McKay had been supporting him as much as Sheppard had been Rodney.

Teyla squatted beside him with a bandage to press to his shoulder to curb the bleeding. Her touch had John looking back at her, seeming to notice her for the first time.

"Help me up."

Sheppard’s request had Teyla calling to Ronon for assistance, and the two teammates managed to haul him to his feet. Then the three of them stood with their arms around each other, watching in rapt attention like everyone else in the room as Beckett tried to revive McKay.

"Clear," Beckett called, placing the paddles on McKay’s chest then watching the monitor for any indication that the heart rhythm had returned to normal. Unsatisfied with the results he received, Carson told them to charge again.

Sheppard seemed to slump even more at the news, or maybe his legs were just about to give out from the strain of what he had been through. Whatever the reason, Teyla and Ronon hefted him back up with more than just their bodies. "Carson is not giving up, so neither will we," Teyla insisted and John nodded mutely.

"Clear," Carson ordered once more, mumbling, "Come on, Rodney," after delivering the shock as he studied the monitor hopefully. The rhythm steadied into one even Caldwell could recognize as sounding normal and Beckett smiled, "Good, lad."

The tension seeped out of the room almost instantly as Beckett gave more medical directions, eventually settling on ones of a much more mundane nature, like suturing up both men’s backs and I.V.s to include antibiotics and pain meds. Teyla and Ronon moved Sheppard to a bed and hovered nearby during the procedure, although all three kept a wary eye to where Beckett was staying by McKay who had yet to wake.

By the time they finished stitching Sheppard’s back and Caldwell approached him, it was obvious the man was already experiencing the effects of the pain killers. "Colonel Sheppard, how are you feeling?"

Sheppard pulled his attention from McKay’s bed and regarded Caldwell with half-masted eyes. "Aside from one pretty spectacular moment, better than I have all day, and that’s the God’s honest truth, Sir." But the way the eyes wandered back to the bed across the way, Caldwell figured Sheppard would be even better if McKay were to wake up.

"That’s good to hear," Caldwell answered hesitantly, not sure what spectacular moment the injured man was referring too. Beckett must have ordered the really good stuff. Although given the way Sheppard was back to staring at McKay, he doubted Sheppard was paying much attention to anything Caldwell was saying.

When John looked back at him with a confused, "What?" his supposition was confirmed.

Caldwell gave a little snort. "Get some rest, Sheppard. We’ll talk more later."

"Colonel," Sheppard stopped him before he could walk away. "I just want to thank you for getting us out of there. I know us getting captured kind of fucked up the success of the mission and all."

Caldwell was willing to forgive the slip up and use of foul language in front of a superior officer considering that the drugs were obviously playing fast and loose with what little filter Sheppard possessed. But he wouldn’t let the man get away with downplaying the success of the mission. "Did either of you provide classified information to the enemy?"

"Absolutely not," Sheppard promised in a tone that had Caldwell looking for the two fingers raised in scout’s honor.

Caldwell gave a minute shrug. "None of our people were killed, everyone eventually returned, and the target facility was destroyed. I’d say this one goes in the win column."

"All very good points, Colonel," Sheppard agreed, but he practically forgot Caldwell was standing there when Beckett spoke across the way.

"Rodney, can you hear me? Open your eyes for me."

McKay’s eyes fluttered open and he looked around in confusion. "Sheppard?"

"Hey, buddy," John answered with a broad grin on his face. "How’re you doing?"

"We alive?" Rodney asked in a bit of surprise, his eyes trailing lazily in the direction of Sheppard’s voice.

"Looks like."

"We staying that way?"

"Damn well better." At that point, John attempted to climb out of his bed so he could talk to McKay directly at his bedside.

Teyla and Ronon were able to stop him before he pulled out his I.V. Ronon placed a hand on his chest and pushed him back into his pillow. "Whoa, Sheppard, where do you think you’re going?"

Caldwell rolled his eyes. Drugs, he thought in amusement. Although he knew that was only a part of it. Sheppard was close to his team. Too close when you got right down to it, and that tended to make him even more reckless as a result. It was a weakness Sheppard didn’t seem capable of overcoming. Hell, Caldwell doubted the man would even want to overcome it if he could.

Shakespeare had been right when he described soldiers in battle as a band of brothers. Something happened in combat to bind you to the people next to you, people who were staring into the face of death with you, people who were placing their lives in your hands as much as you were placing your life in theirs. And, yet, even in that bond, there was still a recognized hierarchy, an order, a protocol to be followed. The rules of engagement didn’t change just because someone saved your life or you saved theirs.

But with Sheppard’s team, something had… shifted over the years. The battle bond had transcended brothers in arms to become something more along the lines of genuine family. And there was more than respect and admiration at the root of it, there was a deep seated affection among the four of them. Some might even call it love. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that Sheppard was the only member of an Earth-based military on the team. No matter what Ronon’s military background, or Teyla’s combat prowess, or even McKay’s growing adeptness in the field, none of them knew what was required to be an officer in the United States Air Force, and maybe that had given Sheppard the excuse he’d been looking for all this time to pick and chose which protocol he wanted to follow. Because Caldwell knew that in Sheppard’s mind, there was no such thing as cutting your loses, there was no concept of acceptable collateral damages, not where the members of his team were involved. And it frustrated the hell out of Caldwell sometimes to see an officer with so much potential risk his career over individuals.

The thing was, Caldwell also knew the rest of Sheppard’s team felt the exact same way about him and would do anything to keep him safe. Jesus, just look at what McKay had done that very day and almost ended up dead as a result. If he were the type of man to wax sentimental, Caldwell knew that he might admit to being a little jealous of that fact. Fortunately for him, Steven Caldwell wasn’t the emotional type.

Caldwell didn’t bother saying goodbye; he doubted Sheppard would have even heard him seeing how engrossed he was talking to McKay, Teyla, and Ronon. He’d have plenty of time to stop by later during their trip back to Atlantis. Instead, he took one of the medics assigned to the Daedalus aside and asked to be kept apprised of the two men’s condition and notified immediately if anything changed, then headed back to the bridge.

Taking his seat, he advised the coms officer, "Transmit a message to the Burdack council that we’ve recovered our two men and will prepare a full report on what our science team discovered regarding the devices once we’ve had time to complete our study."

After the bullshit Haras had put them through, Caldwell really wasn’t in a huge rush to provide them with any information. Because of them, Sheppard and McKay had spent an extra four hours in captivity. If they had to wait a few days for the final analysis, Caldwell wasn’t going to lose any sleep over it.

When the transmission was completed, he nodded to the helmsman, "I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve had enough of this planet. Set a course for Atlantis, and I’d appreciate it if it was a nice quiet ride."

"I’ll do my best, Sir." Caldwell could hear the grin in the response even if he couldn’t see it.

When the hyperspace window opened in front of them and they were finally on their way with this mission literally fading away behind them, he allowed himself a small grin of his own.

* * * *

John had long ago decided that Rodney McKay slept in the strangest positions he had ever seen. Rodney’s favorite seemed to be flat on his stomach, arms pressed against the length of his body, and head turned to his side. Sheppard had seen him in that position many times over the years on overnight missions and John had always put it off to sheer exhaustion after a long day in the field. But then when Rodney fell ill with the parasite and he woke up alone and in a panic, his team took turns staying with him so that he was never by himself. John always volunteered for the night shift because McKay seemed to sleep better when Sheppard was in the room, and yeah, John slept better, too. That’s when John realized Rodney’s flat on his stomach sleeping position was how he always slept, unless he was in the infirmary, propped up and snoring… and often times drooling.

He’d spent most of the past week watching Rodney nap like that as they both recovered in the infirmary back on Atlantis, that was when they weren’t playing video games or visiting with Teyla and Ronon and the others or McKay wasn’t working on data until his headaches became so bad he couldn’t look at the screen any more. John had the same problem trying to catch up on a backlog of reports and paperwork he’d been putting off for a while, as well. He felt like he was recovering from a nasty flu bug and neither he nor Rodney complained too much when Keller and Carson insisted they sleep and even provided a few welcome drugs to help with that process.

Jennifer tried to hide the fact she was doting on McKay, but she pretty much sucked at it. John hoped like hell he did a better job of hiding the fact he was incredibly jealous and not on the verge of throwing a bed pan at her head. John felt his only saving grace may have been that anyone who caught him watching Rodney a little too closely would think it was an overprotective reaction to McKay nearly dying… again. It was a habit Sheppard would have been more than happy to break because when even the staccato breathes Rodney had been stuttering against John’s neck had stopped along with Rodney’s heart, John was pretty damn sure he was the one who was going to break. Even several days later, Sheppard couldn’t bring himself to talk about it in more than monosyllables when Rodney brought it up. Eventually, McKay caught a clue and just dropped the subject entirely, much to John’s relief.

More than that, John hadn’t mentioned what had happened with Rodney in the cell since they had been back and neither had McKay and there were times John began to question if he’d been delusional and dreamed it all up. Especially when Keller asked if Rodney was going to eat his fruit cup and McKay handed it over. But then John had been laying there one night, when the lights were low and the infirmary silent except for the occasional footfall of a nurse checking on patients, and he’d watched McKay sleep in that ridiculous belly flop position of his. Rodney had his head turned toward Sheppard’s bed, and he’d opened his eyes, saw John staring at him, and he’d smiled slow and sleepy and right at John before his eyes drifted shut again, and John thought his own heart might be the one to stop as a result.

After that, Sheppard started wondering how Rodney would sleep with him when they were finally released from the infirmary. Atlantis had tiny beds; there was no way to avoid snuggling up with someone if two people were sharing one. But flat on your stomach didn’t leave a lot of room for curling up with another person. In fact, it didn’t leave a lot of room for another person, period. John couldn’t help but think about how nice it had been with Rodney spooned up behind him like they had been in the cell on Burdack and wondered if, maybe, McKay would be willing to sleep with him like that. Would Rodney be willing to change the way he slept to be with John?

That’s when John started getting worried that maybe the meds they’d been giving him were making him a little loopy. Because guys didn’t worry about things like that. Guys didn’t think about changing the person they were sleeping with. Guys were the ones who resisted being changed. Hell, he had resisted it for his entire life. It was one of the main reasons why his marriage had failed. And what if Rodney didn’t want to change the way he slept? Worse yet, what if Rodney didn’t plan on him spending the night? And why the hell was he so worried about it when the only reason he’d ever wanted to spend the night with someone was when he might get laid again in the morning? This wasn’t the normal John Sheppard thought process when it came to having sex with someone. This wasn’t how he approached these sorts of situations. And that had him wondering who the hell had changed the rules of engagement on him when he wasn’t looking?

It was thoughts like those that had him hesitating to ring McKay’s doorbell as he stood in the hallway outside Rodney’s quarters. It was past midnight, and really, maybe this wasn’t such a good idea. They’d been sent home for limited duty for the next week that very day. While Sheppard felt tons better than he had the day they arrived back on Atlantis, he still wasn’t at one hundred percent and Rodney always milked these things longer than anyone else, so McKay was probably already in bed. But as absolutely dorky as it sounded even to himself, John kind of… missed McKay after seeing him literally every waking minute, not to mention several sleeping ones, for the past week. So, he took a deep breath and triggered the door chime.

From the other side of the door, Sheppard could already hear McKay bitching. "I’ve only been released from the infirmary for eight hours and I’m still, technically, on limited duty so you better have a really good… Oh, hey." The last was spoken in surprise when he saw John standing in his doorway.

"Burning the midnight oil?" Glancing past the scientist, John could see he had the laptop on his desk open to Jumper schematics.

Rodney looked him up and down, taking in John’s sweats and socked feet that were similar to what Rodney was wearing underneath his bathrobe. "Yeah, going over some things I’ve been meaning to do for a while just to pass the time until…" He left unsaid exactly what he was waiting for; instead he shook his head as if to get back on track and demanded, "What are you doing?"

Sheppard blinked in surprise and really started thinking this was a bad idea. But he was here now and he had to say something. "I was having trouble sleeping and was thinking, you know, I’d come see what you were up to is all."

When John shifted his weight awkwardly, McKay looked at him like he was a total moron. "I meant what are you doing ringing the damn bell? I left the door unlocked; I thought you would have been here a couple of hours ago."

Sheppard’s lips curled into what he hoped was a breezy smile and not one that showed how relieved he felt. "Yeah?"

"Yeah," Rodney confirmed, taking a step back to let Sheppard in then taking his time to kiss John thoroughly as soon as the door slid shut behind him.

If John had thought the delicate brushes of lips in the cell had been amazing, the real deal with a tantalizing play of tongue and hint of teeth on his lower lip left them in the dust. And he was a little breathless when he asked, "So, I take it the deal in the cell wasn’t just a fluke?"

"Not a fluke," Rodney assured with a shake of his head, maneuvering Sheppard backward toward the bed.

"And you’re really feeling up to the whole… together thing?"

John wasn’t sure why he was questioning this. Seeing as Rodney was running his tongue just below Sheppard’s jaw line, the answer should be pretty obvious. But he was trying to play it cool and if he didn’t talk to McKay, John was pretty sure he would be using his teeth to rip Rodney’s clothes off and that just seemed a little desperate.

"Together," Rodney told him, moving his mouth back to John’s.

John cupped the back of Rodney’s head and deepened the kiss, fisting fine brown hair when Rodney moaned gutturally and gripped John’s hips.

When Sheppard’s legs hit the foot of the bed and he fell backward, he looked up at where McKay stood staring down at him with a predatory grin on his face. "Are you going to say anything other than to repeat what I’m saying?"

"As a matter of fact, Sheppard, I am." Rodney’s grin just grew. "Shut up and take off your goddamn clothes."

John happily obliged, not really minding that Rodney didn’t talk for a while, which wasn’t all that surprising considering how he’d taken John in his mouth as soon as Sheppard’s sweats hit the floor. That kind of blew the concept of together out of the water seeing as all John could do was grip the sheets on Rodney’s bed beneath him and try not to swallow his own tongue. McKay also seemed happy enough to take care of himself while Sheppard laid gulping air and staring blissfully up at the ceiling when Rodney had finished with him.

But John slapped Rodney’s hand away and pulled McKay to lay beside him. "You do not get to have all the fun yourself, you selfish son of a bitch." At which point he set to kissing and fondling and stroking Rodney until they were both a sweaty, sticky mess.

The funny thing was that John’s brain seemed to have shut down most higher-level functions after orgasm so that it could concentrate on nothing more than the simple act of kissing Rodney and evaluate how it felt to have Rodney kissing him back. Good. It felt really, really good. It felt so good, in fact, that Sheppard would have been completely content to spend the rest of his life cataloging the nuances of how McKay’s tongue would flicker along John’s lower lip before Rodney tugged it between his own lips to suck lightly before releasing it and repeating the process. Or the feel of Rodney’s thumb as it ran along John’s jaw before Rodney’s fingers traced lightly down Sheppard’s neck, his collar bone, his shoulder, his arm and back up again.

McKay, however, was just the opposite. Once he was able to catch his breath and speak again, he quickly gave up on his parrot routine and eventually noted, "This is totally insane. You know that, don’t you?"

The kisses and caresses didn’t stop, so John could only answer with a distracted, "Uh huh," as he ran his nose lazily along Rodney’s recently shaved chin before kissing it. Rodney smelled like shaving cream and soap and he still tasted a little like John.

"Are you even listening to me, Sheppard?"

John silenced him with a long, slow, open-mouthed kiss that he could feel all the way down to his toe nails. "Do you want me to leave?"

"No, absolutely not," McKay insisted, tightening his hold on John.

Sheppard slid his leg between Rodney’s and cupped his ass to pull him in closer. "Do you want to stay at my place tomorrow night?"

John could already feel Rodney growing hard against his leg as McKay practically groaned, "Oh, God, yes."

"Then how insane it is seems to be a fairly moot point. Wouldn’t you say, McKay?"

Somewhere in the back of his head, Sheppard knew that wasn’t exactly the most logical argument, but lack of higher brain functions and all, it was the best he could come up with. Besides, it worked, because Rodney answered by hooking his leg over John’s hip and tilting his own forward and didn’t saying anything else coherent for a nice long while. During that time there was the feel of warm skin and exquisite pressure and an unhurried rhythm that produced the most amazing friction as it slowly tied a knot in the base of John’s spine then snapped it taut with the sound of Rodney’s name on his tongue.

Afterward, Rodney spooned up behind him, just like they had in the cell back on Burdack and McKay fell asleep as he nuzzled languidly into John’s hairline. John lay there with the feel of Rodney’s heart beating steadily against his back and McKay’s breath warm against his ear; proof positive that the whole fucking, Rodney-dead-in-his-arms experience was in the past. He drifted off thinking that sleeping with Rodney like this was pretty much goddamn perfect and it just showed how far McKay would go for him. Because it was one thing to risk your life for your best friend, it was another entirely to change your favorite sleeping position so he could spend the night without the risk of falling out of the bed. The thing was, it didn’t last. At some point in the night, McKay slipped back into his normal flat on his stomach routine, only this time Rodney’s arm was slung across John’s chest and his cheek rested on John’s shoulder and his leg was snuggled in warm and firm between John’s. And when Sheppard woke to the feel of soft hairs tickling his nose and his own warm firmness pressed against Rodney’s thigh, he decided this position wasn’t half bad either.

In fact, it was pretty much goddamn perfect, too.

The End

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spacedmonkey
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-12-24 07:50 am (UTC)
Oh, oh, oh, this is the best present. So glad my nightmares woke me up way too early so that I could read this.
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liketheriverrun
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-12-30 05:35 pm (UTC)
Well, I'm sorry to hear you were having nightmares, but I'm thrilled you enjoyed the fic. Thanks!
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hollymurph
Subject:Thank you for the present
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-12-24 08:07 am (UTC)
Thank you for the lovely story. It was fabulous, as always. And I very much liked the parts told from Caldwell's point of view. You wrote him very well, I think.

Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Holly M.
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liketheriverrun
Subject:Re: Thank you for the present
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-12-30 05:38 pm (UTC)
Thanks so very much! I've actually always enjoyed the Caldwell character so it was nice to have a reason to write him again. And happy holidays to you, too!
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dru_evilista
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-12-24 08:51 am (UTC)
Eeeee! Oh this was just too awesome for words! The fussy, worried, spoon feeding McKay(And REALLY, he would never do that for Keller. MsShep is a special love), the worried and grumpy team, the owies, the snark, the comfort, the hot sex! It's got it all! Oh I love it!
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liketheriverrun
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-12-30 05:41 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! When I saw the prompt, I decided I was just going to go for an all out "beat 'em up then hold 'em tight to make it better" fic. I'm so glad you enjoyed it.
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pegasus_01
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-12-24 05:31 pm (UTC)
*drops a pebble and watches the water ripple*
Er... I'm at work? That's my defense? Regardless, that was AMAZING!! I have been looking forward to the secret santa Sheppard H/C exchange forever and YAY!!! Yours is the first one I read! YAAAAY!!!! LOVED IT! Especially the awesome comfort going on (which is my favorite part of the H/C). Great way to break the monotony of work (there's nothing to do and I'm still stuck here). Much, MUCH LOVE!
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liketheriverrun
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-12-30 05:43 pm (UTC)
Thank you so very much! I can definitely relate to working on Christmas Eve and it being *dead*. I was there myself until I left at noon to go to urgent care before they closed for antibiotics for a sinus infection. Gah! But I'm glad you found more pleasurable ways to pass the time.
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kodiak_bear
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-12-24 11:21 pm (UTC)
Awwwww, perfect! (so I got to read it reasonably straight through)

When John shifted his weight awkwardly, McKay looked at him like he was a total moron. "I meant what are you doing ringing the damn bell? I left the door unlocked; I thought you would have been here a couple of hours ago."

Sheppard’s lips curled into what he hoped was a breezy smile and not one that showed how relieved he felt. "Yeah?"


This is so them and you get 'them' right all the way through, it's why I adore your stories!

Love the cell and poor beleaguered Sheppard wanting Rodney and Rodney's desperation driving him to first Katie and then Jennifer, just wonderful!

Oh and I have to second the other comment, you have Caldwell's voice dead to rights, I could see it all playing out in my head.
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liketheriverrun
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-12-30 05:57 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! Glad you found time to read. I'm still on travel for the holidays so don't have that luxury yet. I have to admit that I tend to write Caldwell based on the deleted scenes. *G* He tends to be a little more understanding in those, although he definitely still has that backbone that makes him a great commander of the Daedalus.
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margec01
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-12-26 01:33 am (UTC)
Ah, gee, I'm always so upset when you go over the word limit--NOT! Just more story to enjoy, I say.

Excellent hurt/comfort. Just the way I like it, too, where they're trapped somewhere and have to help each other, not simply get back to the infirmary.

I really liked their discussion about "training" another major, and whether Rodney would cuddle his other team members, Carson, Radek or Lorne. We all know he would do it if it would save the other's life, BUT that he really would only want to do it for John.

I love how Rodney changes John's "rules of engagement" for relationships and How it was one thing to risk your life for your best friend, it was another entirely to change your favorite sleeping position so he could spend the night without the risk of falling out of the bed. Lovely.

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liketheriverrun
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-12-30 06:17 pm (UTC)
Well, I'm glad you were able to cope with the additional reading materialm *G*. I tend to like them trapped and hurt more than straight to the infirmary. I'm so glad you liked it. Thanks!
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tiddletaddle
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-12-26 05:45 am (UTC)
*squee*
I could list all the ways I love this story, but I'd just end up quoting the entire thing back to you. :) I seriously loved this. It was beautiful. And I loved seeing things from a Caldwell perspective. I always liked him. :)
Thanks for this masterpiece. :) Hope you had a wonderful Christmas.
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liketheriverrun
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-12-30 06:20 pm (UTC)
Thank you so very much! I actually enjoy Caldwell, too. So, I was glad to see him mentioned in the prompt. So glad you enjoyed it.
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sobelle
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-12-29 05:12 am (UTC)
WONDERFUL team story!

Heavy on the McShep love just like I like it!!

I'm so happy that you're writing SGA so that when the show is gone from the air (with it's poorly written scripts) your stories will make it all better!!
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liketheriverrun
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-12-30 06:22 pm (UTC)
Thanks so very much! I was definitely in the mood to write a little slash, so I was happy to get a McShep prompt. *G*
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sian1359
Subject:Thank You
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-12-30 06:50 am (UTC)
I apologize for the delay in responding to this -- just got back onto the computer (and back into town) after Christmas with my family. Fortunately I had enough time to read this from start to finish before worrying about going to bed.

This is exactly the type of story I was requesting, and I feel like a won the lottery to receive my story from you (no respect meant to any of the other participating writers); I've always received a deep enjoyment reading your interpretations of the characters and was ecstatic back when you fell over to the slash side of SGA ;)

This story is no different: being chocked full of wonderful characterizations (and I agree with everyone who especially praised your Caldwell), a cool plot, and some 'just what the reader ordered' h/c. Thank you again so much for my gift and I hope that the New Year will bring you many of your wishes, just as you brought me one of mine with this story.
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liketheriverrun
Subject:Re: Thank You
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-12-30 06:31 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you! I'm so glad you enjoyed it! When I first got the prompt, Kodiak mentioned you hadn't received your story last year and she wanted to make sure you got something good this year. My first thought was, gee, no pressure there. *G*. But it was definitely a nice prompt to work with since I enjoy Caldwell and McShep and h/c. So I was hoping it was a win/win for us both.

And no worries about being late on commenting...I'm actually still on holiday travel myself.

Edited at 2008-12-30 06:33 pm (UTC)
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gracesullivan
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-12-30 08:23 pm (UTC)
Yea! That was pretty awesome--just what I needed this crazy holiday time...
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liketheriverrun
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-01-02 02:50 pm (UTC)
Thank you so very much!
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singing__wolf
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-01-18 01:24 pm (UTC)
That was a great ending. I love that you don't rush things at the end, "they got rescued - the end" crap. Because without the C, the H is just mean.

I was wondering why John let them take out his implant first. I thought he would insist on Rodney first, unless he was afraid something might go wrong and it was better for Carson to experiment on him? It's just that it didn't come up, and as obsessive as John is about Rodney's well-being over his own...

Still, it was fantastic. The love scene was just that... Love. Sexy, too... but that wasn't the important part. You are so good at making those real love scenes, not just sex scenes. Too often, I just skim the porn sections in stories, because it's just descriptions. But yours was touching and sweet and loving. Very much a part of the story, not just an excuse for sex.

Awesome. A+ baby.
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liketheriverrun
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-01-20 01:27 am (UTC)
Oh, I'm all about the C, baby! *G* And the love much more than the sex is definitely my thing. Also, I had John point out that Rodney had the implant, too, but they were already working on him since they had his biometric data already. In my mind, things were happening so fast that he really didn't have a chance... plus if he had then Rodney wouldn't have been hurt and no John angst. *G* Thanks so much!
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gail19
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-03-21 05:20 pm (UTC)
It can be very satisfying to watch Rodney and or John save the day, but there is something soothing in watching everybody else take care of them.

There is actually a small part of me that felt sorry for Keller, partly because she has lost Rodney (even though she doesn't really understand what she almost had), and partly because the guys got together without making a clean break first.

Which would be the only criticism I have, because the story, writing, characterization etc are all of the good.
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liketheriverrun
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-03-25 04:30 am (UTC)
Thanks so very much! I'm so glad you enjoyed the fic. As to the clean break for Rodney and Jennifer, you have to keep in mind that when I wrote the fic, they weren't a couple. In canon, I wouldn't consider them a true couple until Brain Storm and this fic is set before that (and the events of Brain Storm probably never took place in the series of events that would have followed this fic) so there was nothing to break off. They may have been flirting, but it's kind of hard to break up if that's all you're doing, especially when John in military and they can't exactly be open about their relationship.
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mezzo_cammin
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-09-24 02:21 am (UTC)
I have no idea how I missed this when it was originally posted, but I'm so glad I found it now. (thank you SGAgenrefinders!).

I really enjoyed the overall plot, and how you joined the action ("last week, on Stargate Atlantis..."). I loved, loved the hurt/comfort and the desperate emotions that the situation brought to the fore. Funny how eminent death will lower your emotional inhibitions. It was interesting to see things from Caldwell's perspective, as well, and I think you nailed him, especially in the scene with Dr. Novak. I also loved Rodney's reaction on the bridge, ordering them both to be returned to the planet. I believe he would actually do that.
Great story! Thanks for sharing!

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liketheriverrun
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-09-25 03:33 am (UTC)
Thank you so very much! And I'm glad you finally stumble across it. Also happy to hear you enjoyed Caldwell, he was a request of the secret santa recipient, so it's nice to worked in the fic.
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wanted_a_pony
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-09-26 06:30 am (UTC)
(Actually, I think the rec was in stargateficrec--at least, that's where I saw it.)

Gosh, this is so good; I'm so glad I finally found & read it! I'm usually a real wimp about H/C but this was non-gory enough that it didn't squick me, but it did make me sniffle a few times for the boyz! (Yeah, so maybe I'm a wimp in general. Wanna make something of it?!? ;-) I love the way you write each of the characters as competent & strong & individual, with different backgrounds & motivations but still willing to respect each other & see how others contribute to the safety of Atlantis & the Daedalus overall.

And of course I like the irony of John & Rodney not being able to do much more than sleep together when they finally realize their mutual attraction; & then the irony of John thinking himself into a frazzled state of "uncool" during the long days in the infirmary, while Rodney is uncharacteristically free of doubts about just what he wants, & how....

(And yes, a mean little part of me chuckled at the thought of John chucking a bedpan at Jennifer's head. But I'm glad he didn't. :-)
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liketheriverrun
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-09-28 01:11 am (UTC)
Thank you so very much! I'm glad you survived the H/C. *G* While I am definitely an H/C writer, I tend to give much more C than H, at least "on screen". I'm also happy to hear you enjoyed the characterizations, that's what I really strive for in the fics. Thanks again!
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emeraldsword
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-09-30 09:37 pm (UTC)
think this was recced somewhere because I've only just found it, but I'm so glad I did! Nicely paced, some really good angst there and I was very curious to know how it all worked out. And yeay, happy ending.
(Reply) (Thread)


liketheriverrun
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-10-03 01:13 am (UTC)
Thank you so very much! I'm so glad you found the fic and enjoyed it.
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margarks
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-10-02 02:50 am (UTC)
awww. very sweet! i love it when they are protective of each other!
(Reply) (Thread)


liketheriverrun
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-10-03 01:14 am (UTC)
Thank you so very much! I'm fond of them being protective, too. *G*
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sundara
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-11-14 12:47 am (UTC)
Catching up on unread fic...loved this! Realistic enough that I cringed when they got zapped, and when they removed the tracker from them. *wince* And great John/Rodney interaction. Love!
(Reply) (Thread)


liketheriverrun
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-11-17 04:01 am (UTC)
So glad you had a chance to catch up and that you enjoyed what you found. Thanks so very much!
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irina_irinova
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-04-14 04:27 pm (UTC)
Absolutely perfect McShep! And endless kudos for writing a brilliant Caldwell! Few people can capture his character, but you really did!
(Reply) (Thread)


liketheriverrun
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-04-16 09:36 pm (UTC)
Thank you so very much! The prompt for this fic included a request for Caldwell, which I was actually quite happy to oblige. I'd actually written him once before in a gen fic so it was nice to revisit him. I'm so glad you enjoyed it!
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)

[icon] FIC: Rules of Engagement- Part 3 (SGA Slash) - River's Run My Flow Of Ideas
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