It's All Your Fault Radek, You Meddling Bastard

by fawkesielady_ed

Recipient: bluespirit_star
Pairings: Sheppard/McKay, Beckett/Zelenka, Markham/Stackhouse, Novak/Chuck
Raiting: NC-17
Disclaimer: Neither Stargate: Atlantis nor her Characters belong to me. I am not getting paid for this story.
Author Notes: Oh dear lord this story got long!! I hadn't intended for it to be 60,000+ words, but the whole idea just wouldn't fit into a short story. So here you are, a Bigbang length Christmas present!
Summary: "And how, exactly, do I look at him?" he asked and knew asking was a mistake the second she arched her eyebrow.
"Like you want to rip his clothes off and screw him into the wall," she said.
Damn, she did mean the same looks.
Word Count: 65,529

John reflected on his life as he sat in the back on the cab, watching the greater Vancouver area rush past in greens and browns. He'd spent most of his life in a strict military environment, starting with his father. The only part of his life that hadn't been military was college, and right after he graduated he joined the Air Force. There hadn't been a time; that he could remember, when he didn't have someone telling him what to do and where to go, when to sleep, when to eat, shower and shit. Even in college, there were professors telling him what was due and when, so he'd decided it was high time he had a little time for John Sheppard. He'd thought the military would give him grief about his request for retirement, but they hadn't. John supposed it was because of his record, it wasn't exactly clean and there was that ugly black mark on it, so why would they want to keep him longer than they had to? They'd cut him loose and John was a free man, of course he hadn't thought about what he was going to do with that freedom, so he'd ended up on the steps of his brother's house. He'd only been able to deal with Dave for about a week, then he started seriously thinking about his future.

He'd come to the conclusion that he was going to spend the rest of his life having fun, and he decided to start as soon as possible. He did a search on Google, not having any specific activity in mind, and found a link to a place called Deep Cove, in Canada. He clicked the link and found himself looking at the website for a small rural area in North Vancouver. After reading the page, he realized that Deep Cove was the perfect place for him, everything he read had some sort of outdoor sport involved with it, hiking, kayaking, skiing, oh yes, he'd found his little slice of Heaven on Earth. The next day he'd booked the earliest flight into Vancouver.


"Here you go, pal. Deep Cove," the cab driver said as he pulled over to the curb.

John thanked the guy, paid him and got out of the car. He looked around as he stood there with his duffel bag slung over his shoulder. There was nothing around him but trees, hills and a lake in the near distance. He inhaled deeply, taking in a lungful of the warm mid-July air, and then he began walking.

John walked for awhile, he didn't know how long but it didn't really matter, he didn't have anywhere to be. The slow pace in the warm sun was comforting and John found his mind wandering, thinking about the list he'd made in his mind of the things he wanted to do with his retirement. By the time John came back to himself, he had decided that he liked Deep Cove and that his decision to move there permanently was a good one, despite never having seen it. And that all the trouble and paperwork it had taken to become a Canadian resident was completely worth it.

John dropped his duffel on the ground and began rooting around inside for the bottle of water he'd stored there. The day had turned hot, and the weight of the duffel was wearing him down, and while he could easily walk another couple miles before needing to rest, the whole purpose of retiring from the military was to take it easy.

John looked up when he heard a squeaky door hinge, and he saw a woman leaving a building with an orange kitten tucked under her arm. He watched the woman get into her car and back out of the driveway and he realized that he'd been walking without paying much attention to his surroundings. He'd walked right into a populated area of Deep Cove without even realizing it.

Standing up, John looked toward the building. It wasn't much bigger than a regular one story house, it was white with hunter green trim, the screen door was wooden as well as the porch connected to the front. There were perfectly trimmed hedges edging the porch, and the grass was the greenest John had ever seen. There was a sign post standing in the yard and the carved wooden sign read: Deep Cove Veterinary Clinic, and under that in large block letters; Dr. R. McKay, DVM, and under that in smaller letters, was Dr. R. Zelenka, DVM. The sign perfectly matched the building; the background was painted white while the edges and the lettering were the exact shade of green as the trim. There was also a small paper sign hanging inside of one of the large picture windows and it read, in large red hand written letters; Now Hiring.

He cocked his head slightly, picked up his bag and walked up the walkway to the steps, if nothing else, maybe they had a water fountain or a soda machine inside.

It was cool in the clinic, the floor was cream colored tile, and the dark blue chairs contrasted the stark white walls nicely. The TV mounted above a huge fish tank was showing the weather and a variety of animal magazines were laid out neatly on the coffee table. There was a woman sitting behind the desk that separated the waiting area from the office area, and she was smiling at John, so John walked over to her.

"Can I help you, sir?" she asked as she stuck a pencil into the brown hair that she'd pulled back into a messy ponytail. She shooed a cat off the desk before giving John her full attention.

John ignored the sound of footsteps and said, "Yeah, I'm here about the job."

"We're not hiring."

John looked up to find a man with slightly thinning brown hair and a crooked mouth standing at a wall of folders. He had a stack of long manila folders with colored tags stuck to the ends in his hands. He looked from John to the woman when she began speaking again.

"Actually Doctor," the woman said timidly as she turned around in her chair. "We are, you asked me to put the sign up two weeks ago."

The guy John assumed to be either Dr. R. McKay or Dr. R. Zelenka looked at the woman as if he were about to throw her out the window. She seemed to get the same vibe from the look because she visibly shrank.

"Oh, right," the doctor said after a moment. "What's his name quit." He handed her the folders with the order to file them.

"Peter, doctor," she corrected as she took the folders from him. "And he didn't quit, you fired him."

"Whatever," the doctor snapped and waved his hands in a dismissive fashion. "He's not here anymore so it's the same difference. What's your name?" He asked and looked up at John.

John extended his hand toward the doctor, "John Sheppard," he answered.

"Right, come with me," the doctor said, ignoring John's offered hand.

John shrugged and stepped around the desk, smiling at the woman as he went, and followed the doctor into a room.

It looked like every other office John had seen in private practices, with medical journals on the bookshelf and degrees hanging on the walls. Both the bookshelf and the desk were oak and they closely matched the window frames which stood out harshly against the white walls. There was a large tan filing cabinet and a coat rack sitting beside the door, and the two ridiculously large office chairs sitting in front of the desk were also tan. John turned toward the door when he heard the doctor close it, and saw that even his pants were tan. Lack of color in their wardrobe was one thing the two men had in common.

"Have a seat," the doctor offered as he took off his lab coat and hung it on the hook by the door.

John dropped his bag on the floor and sat in the overstuffed office chair.

"You just get into town?" The doctor asked as he sat behind his desk. He was looking at John as if business was booming and John was taking up the time he had precious little of.

"Yeah, it seemed like a nice place to be," he answered finally.

"I hope you're not telling me you're a drifter asking me to give you a job." The man squinted his eyes slightly at John.

John couldn't help but chuckle at the man's tone. "No sir," he replied. "I'm planning on staying here for the rest of my life."

"Are you dying?" he asked bluntly.

John chuckled again. This was the strangest job interview he'd ever had. "No."

"That's good. What's your background?" the doctor pulled a pad of paper out of a drawer and a pencil out of the cup on his desk.

"Military. I just retired from the United States Air Force about a month ago. I have a degree in applied mathematics-"

"Really?" the doctor interrupted, his pencil almost falling from his hand.


"Then you're over qualified for the job I'm hiring for." He put the pad and pencil away and started to get up from his chair.

"I don't care, doctor," John said, standing himself.

The doctor stood up straight and crossed his arms over his chest. "You're that strapped for cash that you don't even care what the job is? You want it even though I told you it's beneath you?"

"I'm not strapped for cash. I just got out of the military where I spent half my life being given orders and putting myself in harm's way almost daily. I'm ready to do something easier, something that takes less effort than flying combat planes and helicopters. I grew up on a ranch, so I'm no stranger to animals. It doesn't matter to me what the job is, I'll do it. Which one are you anyway? There are two names on the sign out front."

The doctor uncrossed his arms and rested his hands on his hips. "I'm Dr. McKay, this is my practice so I would be the one doing interviews, wouldn't I? As for the job, it's cleaning animal cages, feeding animals, cleaning the exam rooms and the operating room after surgery and whatever else I find for you to do, and that's just the beginning of the list. Still want the job?" His tone implied that he was expecting John to turn it down.

"Yep," John confirmed, and stifled a grin as McKay's face went slack for a moment.

It only took the doctor a moment to regain his composure and he moved around the desk and offered his hand. "Alright, it's yours then."

John shook the doctor's hand and followed him out of the office, leaving his bag on the floor.

"You can take the sign down, Novak," McKay said as he led John past the desk.

John followed the doctor as he gave him a tour of the clinic. There was a total of three exam rooms and one operating room. There was a supply closet that had the mops and brooms and cleaning supplies, another closet that had medical supplies. Dr. McKay told John that he wouldn't have to worry about that closet, Kavanaugh was the inventory person and he handled the ordering of supplies. Finally, John followed the doctor through a set of double doors.

The room they were in now was large and mostly metallic. It smelled like animals and medicine. There was a metal exam table in the middle of the room and one of the four walls was lined with kennels, stacked three high. A second wall held a counter, also metal and two deep sinks while the third wall was bare except for the door. The only thing on the back wall was a rack of leashes and a door that led out into a fenced area that McKay told John he'd get to know intimately.

McKay turned toward John and stuffed his hands in his pockets. "This is where you'll probably be spending the majority of your time, depending on how many patients we have," he spoke and then walked toward the cages. "Most of the animals we get here are out patient but we do get serious illnesses, animals hit by cars, things like that. Keeping the cages clean will be one of your jobs, Mr. Sheppard."

"John," John corrected.

"John," McKay accepted. "Now come back to my office and I'll go over your full job description."

John nodded and followed McKay back out of the room and into his office.

Once in the office, John took his former seat while McKay pulled a small stack of papers out of the file cabinet.

"Alright," McKay said as he sat behind the desk and slid the papers across to John. "Every morning you'll move all the rugs that you picked up the night before, and put them back in front of the door," McKay said and pointed at the first thing on the three page list. "Check the surgery schedule and get the kennels ready for the day's patients. Feed Matka, don't ask about the name, she's Radek's cat, and as such, she only understands commands given in Czech. You'll get a list of the important ones."

John assumed that Radek was what the R in R. Zelenka stood for. He'd known by the name that he wasn't American or Canadian, but he didn't know where the name came from.

"Change her litter box too," Rodney was continuing. "Turn on all the computers and printers, stock all the supplies in the rooms, of course that should already be done if you've done your job the night before. Open the blinds, and take care of any overnight patients; this includes reading their charts, walking them if they're allowed to walk and feed them. The biggest part of this is reading the charts, never, and I repeat never, take an animal out of the cage for a walk if I or Dr. Zelenka has given the order that they are not to be moved. Understand?"

"I do," John replied and wondered silently if McKay was going to go over everything when John could just read it himself.

"During your shift, your duties are common sense things. I'm not going to go over all of these, because some of them you'll need some training for, but the easy ones are making sure the occupied kennels stay clean, clean the kennels immediately after they're no longer being used, clean and restock exam rooms after each use and keep the items we sell in front fully stocked at all times. We go through a lot of laundry so you'll need to make sure that's done, and believe me, that's a job in itself. You'll need to clean and sterilize animal dishes, litter boxes, surgical instruments and it needs to be done immediately after use. Either Novak or Markham will train you on the machine. You'll also need training on how to tend to minor post-op patients and kennel log keeping. The back page of that packet is a sample kennel log, but I'll have either Novak or Markham train you on how to actually fill one out, but basically, just write down everything you do for a patient and when you did it. The kenneled patients that are allowed to walk, you'll need to do that every few hours. Again, check their orders."

John turned the page and waited for McKay to go over his PM orders.

"Night tasks are basically the same as morning tasks. Vacuum the rugs and pull them up. Sweep, mop, feed the cat and change her litter. Make sure everything's stocked so you don't have to the next morning, make sure the kennels are clean and the laundry is finished. And the surgical instruments must be sterilized and wrapped and ready to go for the next day. Take out the trash and walk the animals that can walk..."

"Check their orders," John said with a smile and Rodney glared at him but nodded.

"You're my new kennel minion, John, and I know this seems like a lot to do, but trust me, it's not that bad and you'll get it down in no time. You'll be looking for things to do if you're even slightly competent at this job. You'll also need to be ready at a moment's notice to learn new things. There may come a day when I'll have to call you in to assist on something, and while that probably won't happen with two vet techs that are always on call, it could happen and you'll need to be ready. Also, this list is absolutely non-negotiable. Deal with that, we have a safe full of controlled substances. I'm not hiring a cleaning service."

John was trying hard not to smile too big. There was something about this man that he really liked, but he couldn't put his finger on it.

"Study the sample kennel log; make sure you're not completely ignorant to them when you're taught how to do them."

"No problem."

"You know what," McKay said and got up. "Just come with me, we're not busy right now and I'll go ahead and show you one of the kennel logs that are current. I think that sample is from a few years ago."

John followed the doctor as he went back through the double doors.

"Not that it matters when a log was written, they're pretty much the same now as they were three years ago." Rodney stopped in front of a cage that had a fuzzy white puppy inside. He took the file off the wall and opened the flap of the folder.

"See," Rodney said and pointed to the writing. "0830: Dropped off for routine OVH," he looked up at John and added, "That's a spay surgery." He looked back down to the file. "1000: Walked outside, urinated moderate amount. Novak administered medication, SQ, which means under the skin rather than intravenously, and she prepped the pup for surgery." McKay closed the folder and looked at John. "See? Not hard at all, just write down exactly what you do in detail. If a patient walked, but didn't go to the bathroom, I need to know incase it's a symptom of something. Understand?" He asked and hung the file back on the wall.

"Yes sir," John told him. The man had already put more information in his head than had been there in all the years he'd spent in the military.

"Any questions?"

"Just one,"


"Will I be getting a list of all the initials so that I'll know what they mean? If I'd looked at OVH and SQ, I wouldn't have known what they meant."

McKay chuckled and John liked the sound of it. "You'll learn, if you have any questions, just ask me or Dr. Zelenka, if we're busy, then ask Novak or Markham."

"Will do."

McKay had opened his mouth to speak again, but before he could, shouting voices wafted through the double doors.

McKay rolled his eyes and turned toward the door. "What is it now?" he asked, and threw his hands up exasperatedly.

Not knowing what else he should do, John followed McKay out into the waiting area.

"What happened?" Dr. McKay asked as he walked up to the distraught people.

There was a man and a woman, she was sobbing into her cupped hands while he was holding a limp and whining dog.

Novak was holding a stack of papers and trying to get the woman's attention.

"He jumped out," the woman wailed through her hands. "We were driving and he just jumped out of the truck!"

"He saw a squirrel," the man said. "He'll chase squirrels in the yard, but he's never jumped out of the truck before."

"Right, sit down and fill out the paperwork," Rodney snapped impatiently and snatched the papers from Novak. He handed the clipboard to the woman and nodded to a chair. "The sooner you get those papers filled out the sooner I can make your dog comfortable."

The woman wailed the entire time she filled out the papers and John was happy that he wasn't going to have to be the one to try to decipher the handwriting.

When the woman handed the clipboard back to Novak, McKay took the dog from the man. "John! Novak!" he called as he carried the dog away.

John turned and followed McKay back through the double doors.

The dog was laid on the table and Novak began rushing around the room pulling IV bags and plastic tubing off the shelves.

McKay turned toward John and threw him a ring of keys, which John caught without fail. "In my office, second drawer of the file cabinet, there's a file marked New Hires. Get one of each paper and fill them out."

"Alright, doc," John said and turned to leave.

"Rodney," McKay corrected.

"Rodney," John accepted.


John figured that with Novak in the room with Rodney, someone should be sitting at the front desk so he decided that since he was officially hired, it may as well be him. Of course, if he'd known how many issues he'd be faced with by sitting in the rather comfortable rolling chair, he'd have opted for the office.

The woman was still crying uncontrollably and John had to read some of the questions on his forms twice to understand what he was supposed to write.

"Is he a good doctor?" the man asked.

John exhaled loudly and looked up from his papers, annoyed at being interrupted again. "I don't know," he said truthfully, which made the woman cry even harder. "This is my first day, I've never seen him work. He seems like a good doctor though." He looked back down at his papers and decided to do his best to ignore the couple. Then the phone rang. John wondered if he should answer it, but Rodney hadn't told him to do anything but fill out the papers. By the time John decided not to answer the phone, the machine had picked up anyway, but John couldn't hear anything over the big mouthed woman.

John had no idea how much time had passed, but he'd finished his paper work when Rodney came through the double doors and stood in front of the couple.

"He's stabilized, he'll have surgery tomorrow then he'll have to stay here for several days, he needs to be observed. He's got a shattered pelvis, a broken elbow, I suspect a ruptured bladder, and as you saw, a lot of road rash.

And I'd suggest, if you're going to have him in the truck bed, strap him in correctly. There are proper and safe ways to harness a dog into the bed of a truck and it cost a lot less than the surgery I'm going to have to perform."

John got out of the chair and let Novak sit down. He watched as Rodney began walking toward his office. "Come on, John, bring me those papers," he said.

John carried the short stack of papers into the office and held them out to Rodney, who ignored them.

"Can you believe those people?" Rodney asked as he paced.

"You're not so good with people are you?" John asked.

Rodney stopped pacing and turned toward John. "People? No," he said. "Animals, I'm good with them, not so much with people. Those idiots knew their dog had a penchant for chasing squirrels, and yet they put him in the truck without harnessing him in and drive around a rural area where squirrels roam freely. Honestly, people should have to pass an exam to be allowed to own a pet, and I should be the one to create the test they'd have to take!"

"You want this or what?" John asked and held the papers toward Rodney.

"Oh, right," Rodney said and took the papers from him. He sat at his desk and glanced at each of the papers. "Good job. Be here tomorrow at seven am."

John told Rodney he'd be there on time, he picked up his duffel and headed toward the door. Novak had her purse over her shoulder when John stepped out of the office.

"It was nice to meet you, John," she said and shook his hand. "Welcome aboard."

John nodded. "Thanks, have a good night."

She smiled at him then called a good night to McKay, which was returned with a dismissive grunt from the office. She chuckled and leaned toward John. "He's kind of a bear right now, but he's not so bad once you get to know him... as long as you don't mind being barked at."

"Thanks for the warning," John told her as she walked toward the front door.


John was sitting behind the desk for a full thirty minutes before the light in Rodney's office finally went off.

John cleared his throat and Rodney startled and turned toward him.

"What are you still doing here?" Rodney asked.

"You told me to be here tomorrow at seven, but you didn't tell me to leave," John told him.

"Well I assumed my telling you when to be here tomorrow would indicate that the work day was over."

John shrugged and opened his mouth to speak but before he could say anything, Rodney's cell phone rang and he pulled it out of his pocket.

Rodney held up a finger toward John and walked back into the office. John sat back down at the desk and listened to the muffled argument as Rodney's voice raised.

John kicked his feet up onto the desk and the next thing he knew he was hearing a light tapping noise. He opened his eyes and found Rodney standing in front of him and tapping lightly on the desk with his key.

"Sorry about that," Rodney said.

"Mmm," John hummed sleepily, "no problem." He stood up and stretched, twisting the kink out of his back. "You can leave pre-surgery and post surgery animals alone over night?" John asked.

"No," Rodney told him. "Dr. Zelenka will be here in an hour, they'll be fine for that long. Where are you staying, John?" Rodney asked as he set the alarm and left the clinic, locking the door behind them.

John yawned deeply and shrugged his shoulders. "I was going to find a hotel; can you point me in the right direction?"

"No, but listen," Rodney said. "The man who used to own this clinic lived next door to it. The house is still there and you can sleep there if you want. It's got electricity; it's on the same bill as the clinic."

John nodded and looked to the side of the clinic. The house there was small and disused, but it wasn't falling over, and John had slept in worse. "Thanks, Rodney."

Rodney dug the key ring out of his pocket again and removed the only silver key. "Here you go," he said and handed the key to John.

John shook Rodney's hand and then walked around the clinic with him. John stood outside the shack and watched as Rodney got into his car. Rodney waved as he drove away and John returned it before unlocking the door and stepping inside.

The house wasn't much more than a one room apartment. There was a small kitchenette with a refrigerator and a stove; there was a love seat and a small TV that looked like it had to be black and white, sitting on a coffee table, and a folding cot against the wall. John sighed when he saw the cot; it was similar to the beds he'd spent the last several years on.

John put his bag on the loveseat, found the thin blanket and draped it over the old mattress, then he found the bathroom and ran the water until it came out clear.

He thought about the last few hours as he showered. They hadn't been the worst he'd ever had, it was his first day in a new place and he already had a job and a house.

It must have been his exhaustion, but the cot was the most comfortable bed he'd slept on in years. He put his head on his rolled up jacket and was asleep in a matter of seconds.


John was sitting on the porch swing of the clinic, gently swinging back and forth when Rodney came up the steps.

John had been on the porch since before the sun came up. He'd woken up at four am, which had been his schedule for as long as he could remember. He went for a run, found a coffee shop and a Dollar General store, neither of which were open. He took a shower when he got back to the house, and tried to catch the weather on the little TV, but the dust made his eyes itch, so he decided to go outside, he went to the swing on the clinic's porch and had been there since.

"Morning, Rodney," John greeted.

Rodney jerked his head toward him and stared at him with a confused look on his face.

"Don't tell me you forgot me already," John joked as he got off the swing and moved toward Rodney.

"Of course not," Rodney said as he juggled the coffee cup, stack of papers and the brief case.

John grabbed the cup just before Rodney could drop it, and retrieved the papers from his arm as well.

"Thank you," Rodney told him and was finally able to get the right key into the lock. "What are you doing here so early? I told you seven." Rodney asked as he pushed the door open.

John shrugged. "I get up early. I've had the same schedule for so long it's going to take time to change. That house is so dusty," he shook his head. "I just had to get out of there."

"You might as well get started then," Rodney told him.

John looked up when he heard the light squeak of the double doors.

"Ah, Rodney," a man with crazy hair and an accent said as he walked toward them. "The hit by car dog is stable and ready for surgery today. Markham has called in stating that husband is ill and needs care. I wanted to know if you would like my assistance on the surgery."

John looked from Rodney to the other doctor and Rodney finally caught his eye.

"Oh, right, Radek, this is John Sheppard. He's our new kennel minion," McKay introduced. "John, this is Dr. Radek Zelenka."

"Nice to meet you, doc," John said and held his hand out to shake.

Radek was more sociable than Rodney had been on their first meeting, and he shook John's extended hand.

"The pleasure is mine," Radek replied, then he turned back to Rodney. "So, would you like me to help you or would you rather just call Novak in?"

"Yes, you can help. Novak and her husband have an appointment with a doctor today, apparently they think the fertility treatment worked."

"Matka is not leaving the clinic," Radek said matter of factly.

"No, Radek, she's not. We have John to take care of her litter box now, Novak won't need to touch it."

"Excellent," Radek turned back to John and nodded. "Welcome aboard Mr. Sheppard."

"Thanks, doc," John replied.

"Right," Rodney said and walked toward the desk. "John, come with me please."

John followed Rodney through the double doors and into the metallic room.

Rodney walked over to the dog that came in yesterday, he opened the cage and reached in. "Change the puppy's water," Rodney said.

John went down to the other occupied cage, he pulled the chart off the wall and checked it for 'nothing by mouth' and any of the other things he'd heard in various hospital stays. When he didn't see anything, he pulled the bowl off the door. He got a clean bowl out of the cabinet and filled it with cold water, then put it back in place on the door of the cage.

John heard the dog that had been hit by the car whimper softly and he rejoined Rodney at his cage. "Is he really going to be alright?" John asked about the dog.

"Should be," Rodney told him as he scribbled something on the dogs chart. "It'll take him a long time to get completely better, and he'll probably limp for the rest of his life." Rodney hung the chart back up and went to the sink. "Problem is, he'll go right back to the same idiots that don't know how to take care of him."


John spent his first full day of work cleaning cages and getting ready for the few surgery patients Rodney told him were coming in that day; he swept the floor, mopped the exam rooms, refilled the jars of pet treats, and replaced the empty boxes of gloves in each of the rooms. And he restocked the pet food that was for sale in the waiting area. The puppy had left early that morning, and the dog Rodney and Radek referred to as HBC, wasn't making any messes in his cage.

It was easy work, which was what he wanted, and no one bothered him with orders. Radek rarely spoke anything in English and John didn't know if that was because he didn't like speaking English, or because he didn't like John, but it didn't really matter to him either way. If Rodney wanted him to do something, he'd ask, and judging by what Novak had said yesterday, that was a strange occurrence. John wasn't sure how he felt about Novak, she seemed like a nice enough woman, but she seemed a little too willing to tell him that Rodney was usually demanding and difficult to work for, and although this was John's first full day, he didn't see where she came by that knowledge.

It was busy today, at the moment there were three dog owners on one side of the room and two cat owners on the other, and between them, was a man with a snake in a glass box.

John had seen all kinds of animals throughout the morning, hamsters, guinea pigs, rats, cats and dogs, lizards and now the snake. Luckily though, there hadn't been any spiders. When John mentioned his aversion to bugs of all kinds to Rodney during Rodney's only short break of the day so far, he told John that they had seen a few spiders in the years since he took over the clinic.

John hadn't seen much of Rodney, and when he did see him he was getting a chart, putting one away or speaking to Radek, sometimes in Czech. Although once, when Rodney was on his way to an exam room, he asked John to clean room two. John got the broom, mop and bleach water thinking that was all he needed to do, since it had been all he'd needed to do all day, but when John got into the room the caustic smell of vomit and shit had nearly knocked him over. He went back to the supply closet and got a pair of heavy rubber gloves, a roll of paper towels and a mask. It had taken him half an hour to get the room clean, and as he scooped things off the floor and dumped them into biohazard bags, he wondered if maybe he'd made a bad choice in taking the job before he knew all that it entailed. But the approving nod and smile he'd received when Rodney saw the room made the entire disgusting experience worth it.


After John's lunch break at noon, Radek had put him in charge of answering the phone so that he could help Rodney get the walk in patients out so that they could get to the surgeries.

John sat behind the desk with the slip of paper that Rodney had given him with what to tell people when they called. He was tired of saying the same thing over and over again and was wishing that someone would give him a reason to say something else. Five minutes after making that wish, it came true.

"Deep Cove Veterinary Clinic," John said into the phone.

"Where's Rodney?" An angry woman asked.

"He's with a patient; can I give him a message?" John asked and pulled the message pad out of the drawer.

"No, but you can get him for me."

"Actually, I can't. He's busy, but I'd be more than happy to take that message." John had no idea who this was on the phone, but he already knew that he didn't like her. He hated people who expected you to drop everything and run at their beck and call.

"Okay, so the fact that I've never heard your voice before tells me that you're new, which means you are allowed to get away with that just this once. But now I'll ask again and I expect you to do it. Get Rodney for me."

"First, that wasn't asking, it was demanding. Second, he's with a patient, I still can't get him."

"Do you have any idea who I am?"

"I couldn't care less who you are ma'am, Dr. McKay is my boss. He says no interruptions, I don't interrupt him."

"My name is Dr. Katherine Brown-McKay."

"Really?" John asked, feeling something inside his stomach tighten up a bit. "I'm sorry, ma'am, I really can't interrupt him during surgery, but I really wouldn't mind taking that message."

"I'll call back, and I expect to talk to Rodney at that point."

"Well if he's not with a patient, I'm sure that won't be a problem."

After the woman hung up, John wondered if he'd still have a job after she called back and talked to Rodney. He wanted to keep the job, not only because it was easy work, but because he liked Rodney, but it had felt good to talk to the woman that way. She was the type of person that set John's teeth on edge.


Finally, Rodney and Radek had finished with the last surgery and John now had two overnight patients to take care of. Luckily for Rodney and Radek two of the four surgeries were easy. The dog that had jumped out of the truck bed was fairly difficult and had taken a long time.

"It was busy today," John said as he put the spray bottle back in the closet.

"Usually is on Wednesday," Rodney told him as he stretched and leaned against the wall beside the double doors.

"Oh," John said as he remembered the phone call, "A woman called for you a little while ago, I guess it was your wife, she wouldn't leave a message but said she'd call back."

Rodney growled and rolled his eyes as he pulled his cell out of his pocket. "What now?" he sighed and walked into his office, dialing a number on the way.

John sat down at the desk and shut down the computer. Once he'd done that he went into the lobby and pulled up the carpet in front of the door then he went back to the closet and got the mop bucket.

"Bud'te Trpelivi, ja nakrmim vas za minutu!" Dr. Zelenka spoke in a firm tone.

John looked over his shoulder as he mopped the lobby floor. "So did she come with you from home?" he asked.

"Excuse me?" Dr. Zelenka asked, focusing his attention on John rather than the cat that was winding around his ankles.

"Matka, did she come from Czech with you?" John clarified.

"Oh, no, she has always lived here. Rodney and I found her abandoned on front porch of the clinic in the winter, she was pregnant and we brought her inside. A week later she gave birth to seven kittens, Rodney and I were able to adopt five of them out, Rodney took one of the two that was left and I took the other. But we kept her because every veterinary clinic needs clinic cat." Zelenka explained.

"What's Matka mean?" John asked as he pushed the mop from the lobby to behind the desk.

Zelenka chuckled. "Mother, it seemed a fitting name."

John smiled, "so I've been calling that cat mom all day?"

"It was a name Rodney gave her. Every morning when we would come to work, he would go to her kennel and say 'good morning mom, how are the babies'. It was very comical."

"I bet. So did you have to teach Rodney Czech so he could talk to the cat?"

Zelenka shook his head. "No, Rodney and I have known one another for many years. He learned my language long time ago. I had to go back home for several years, and have only recently returned."

"Oh, I thought it seemed like you two were pretty good friends."

"Ano, very good friends, indeed." Radek said and grabbed Matka's bag of food out of the closet.

John was mopping outside Rodney's office and heard Rodney shout from behind the closed door. "I don't care! I'll be there in a couple of days. Whatever the hell you want can wait until then!"

He decided that whatever Rodney was shouting about was none of his business and he rolled the mop bucket back to the closet. John was shaking fish food into the tank when the bell on the door rang.

"Um-" John wondered what he was supposed to do. "Doc, there's someone at the door," he called out. Zelenka came into the lobby and opened the door slightly. John couldn't hear the quiet exchange, but a moment after that, a woman was walking all over the freshly mopped lobby with a shoe box in her hands.

"Hello," she greeted and smiled at John.

"Hi," John returned and stored the canister of fish food in the cabinet.

"John," Zelenka said. "Please get Rodney, this is his clinic he should make the decision."

"Right," John nodded and went to Rodney's office. He knocked lightly and opened the door. "Dr. McKay," he said.

Rodney was sitting in his chair, his elbows on the desk and his fingers massaging his temples. He looked up. "Yeah?" he asked, annoyed.

"There's a woman out here with a shoe box, Radek said I should let you know," John told him.

Rodney sighed and stood up. "Alright," he said as he pulled his coat back on. Rodney stopped before he got all the way to the door and cocked his head at John. "You're my hero, by the way," he said.

"Um, okay," John said. "Any particular reason why?"

"Yeah, that was my soon to be ex-wife that called. No one from here has ever talked to her like you did."

"Yeah, well, I didn't mean to be-"

"Don't apologize John, it was nice to hear her complain about something other than me for a change."

John nodded. "Well, you're welcome... I guess."

Rodney smiled and left the office.

"Who do we have here?" Rodney asked as he walked over to the desk with John following close behind.

The woman sat the box on the desk and John peered into it over Rodney's shoulder and couldn't stop the grimace at the sight of the cat. Blood was bubbling out of its nose with each of the fast shallow breaths and the front paw was twitching slightly.

John straightened when he heard Radek whisper something in Czech, and when Rodney shook his head, John saw that the heartbreak was matched on both vets' faces, and he realized that this had to be the worst part of their jobs.

"I found her by the road outside my house," the woman said.

"Thanks for bringing her in, we'll take care of it," Rodney said and took the box off the desk.

"Thanks doc," she said and left.

Rodney handed the box to Radek and went over to the door and relocked it.

"I hate this part," Rodney said. He took the box from Radek and carried it through the double doors.

John thought about following Rodney and Radek inside, but then he decided he'd seen enough death; he wasn't going to choose to see another one, whether human or animal. So he began restocking the pet treats.

Twenty minutes later, Rodney came out of the room and looked beaten.

"You alright?" John asked.

Rodney nodded and leaned his hip against the edge of the desk. "Yeah, just been a long day and this wasn't the best ending to it. Finish up, then we'll call it a night." Rodney said and disappeared into his office.

John took care of the dog he'd come to think of as the truck bed dog first, then moved down the line of cages to the other overnight patient, a bull terrier with what Rodney had called an Intestinal Foreign Body. He checked the charts and saw that neither dog was allowed to have anything by mouth, so he made sure their cages were clean and made sure their bandages were clean before turning out the lights and leaving the room.

Rodney was sitting at Novak's desk and had a chart pulled up on the computer. His shoes were off and his shirt was pulled out of his pants.

"Aren't you going home?" John asked as he sat on the desk.

"Not yet," Rodney replied. "I have a few things to do yet, you can go though."

"Nah," John said. He took the remote for the TV out into the waiting room, sat in one of the chairs and kicked his feet onto the coffee table. "Nothing to do over there. Not to mention, it's too dusty and the TV's black and white with bad reception."

"Yeah, wish I had something better to offer you-"

"Hey," John interrupted. "It's a roof and four walls, that's all the counts."

"So," Rodney said as he stood up. He went into his office and came back out with two bottles, one coke the other beer. "Military huh?" He asked and handed John the beer.

"Yep," John replied and took the bottle. "You don't drink?"

Rodney chuckled and sat down in another of the chairs. "Oh no, I drink, but I have to drive home tonight, and I refuse to drive even after only one."

"Very responsible."

Rodney took a long drink of his soda, growled as it burned his throat and then folded his hands behind his head.

"So, how long were you in the military?" He asked.

"Almost twenty years," John told him and took a drink of the beer. "So what about you?"

"What about me?" Rodney asked.

John shrugged. "How long have you been a vet?"

Rodney shook his head. "Long time. Like you guessed yesterday, I'm not great with people."

"Yeah, I've noticed. Although you did pretty well with the woman who brought in the cat."

"That's because she had enough of a brain to not leave an animal suffering by the side of the road. Of course, I have no way of knowing that she's not the one that hit it, and then felt bad about it."

"If she did, at least she felt bad."

Rodney chuckled but John could tell it was heartless. "Alright," Rodney said and went over to his shoes. "I'm going to check the patients before I leave them to Radek."

"Radek's going to work overnight again? Doesn't he sleep?" John asked.

Rodney huffed out a small laugh. "No, he's finishing up some paper work. We called Markham awhile ago, he's coming in tonight."

"Alright, well I'll see you in the morning," John said and turned the TV off and put the remote back on Novak's desk. He thought about waiting for Rodney, but it was apparent that he'd said something that bothered Rodney, so he called out a "night, Rodney," and left the clinic.


After John left the clinic, he went to the Dollar General he'd found that morning and bought a Swiffer duster set, a blow up mattress and a set of sheets. Then he went home, set up his bed and put the sheet on it, then he took a shower and finally lay down.

He thought about the day, it'd been a busy one; animals were in and out, there was the surgery on the hit by the car dog, and then the cat to end the day. Room two had been a disgusting mess, and he'd had to clean up more dog shit that day than he cared to think about. But there were little bits of the day than shone through the mess of the rest, Rodney's smile was one. And, of course, he thought about Rodney having to euthanize the cat and the sad look on his face when he came out of the back room. This morning, that young cat was probably chasing a butterfly, now it was dead. It was obvious by Rodney's reaction to John's thoughtlessness there at the end of the day, that Rodney didn't like the darker side of veterinary practices, but who would?

John didn't know why it bothered him so much that he may have upset Rodney, but it did. He liked Rodney, even though he'd only met him yesterday.

He thought Rodney was probably a pretty good guy all around, not just a good vet. He really didn't understand why Novak thought Rodney was a bad boss. John had seen Rodney get upset over animals being injured because of human stupidity, but he was a vet. The health and welfare of animals was his job, John guessed that pediatrician's got just as upset when they saw kids hurt by their parents negligence.

The last thing John remembered before falling asleep, was hoping that tomorrow wasn't so hectic.


John knocked on the door of the clinic at five am, hoping that someone was in there. It had been several days since he had watched the news, and he wanted to get the latest sports scores. He supposed he could have just bought a paper, but then he only wanted the sports section, and buying a paper meant that he'd have to go through the hassle of recycling it. It was much easier to just watch the news.

The man who answered the door was a little shorter than John, and had brown hair.

"Hey," John greeted.

"Hey," the man returned. "You must be the new guy. Radek told me we hired a new kennel minion."

"Yep, that's me," John told him with a nod.

"Radek also told me I'd recognize you by your... how did he put it? Um... gravity defying hair."

"Really?" John asked. "Hmm, never had it called that before, but I suppose it's accurate. I'm not due in until seven, but I was hoping to catch a bit of the news. My TV doesn't exactly work well. You mind if I keep you company in there?" John asked as he hooked his thumbs into his back pockets.

The man shook his head and stepped out of the doorway.

"I'm Jason Markham, by the way."


"Yeah, problem?"

"No I uh- well I just thought... I thought Markham was a woman."

Markham laughed. "That happens a lot when Radek talks about Nate. Since English is his second language he usually leaves out important words like 'his' and 'he'."

"Yeah, this first meeting would have been less awkward if he'd have said 'his husband is ill'," John said.

"So I take it you're not bothered by the fact that I'm married to a man," Markham said.

"Doesn't bother me, I'd guess you get less grief about it being here in Canada."

"Eh, somewhat, but a lot of people visit Vancouver, which means we get the eye when we go shopping. But we don't let it bother us."

"Good, there are some things that just aren't anyone's business."

"Truer words have never been spoken, my friend."

"John Sheppard," John said and held his hand out.

"Good to meet you, John."

"You too, Jason."

"Actually, I prefer to be called Markham," Markham said.

"Gotcha," John replied and took the remote control from Markham when he held it out. "Enjoy the news; I've got dogs to look after."

John nodded at him and clicked on the TV.


Rodney came in at six, and he looked like he hadn't slept well the night before.

"Morning, Rodney," John said from the chair he'd been sitting in since Markham had let him into the clinic.

Rodney looked over at him, then down at his watch. "Clean the kennels, then refill the pet treats and the gloves. We're getting a shipment today. Kavanaugh will be here later to restock the closet."

"Yes, sir," John said and snapped off a smart salute as he hopped off the chair.

Rodney sighed and turned away. "Just do it," he said.

John glared at the door to Rodney's office before going to the computer to clock in.

Markham came out of the back room just as John was finishing on the computer.

"Hey, Markham," John said and leaned a hip on the desk.

"Yeah?" Markham asked as he clocked out.

"What's up with Rodney today? He seems a little more brusque than usual."

"Oh yeah," he said, "I guess no one told you about his personal stuff."

"No, why would they?"

"Because, Dr. McKay is usually rough and a little difficult, but it gets worse when he has to go to Washington. He's always grumpy when he has to drive that far."

"Washington?" John asked. "Why does he have to go there?"

"He's going through a divorce, a particularly nasty one too. His wife is trying to take him for everything he's got. He's got to go to Seattle a couple times a month to do divorce things." He minimized the clock in program and walked around the desk.

"You're leaving?" John asked.

"Yeah, I worked the overnight for Dr. Zelenka last night, and I have to be here tomorrow because Radek has a big surgery and Dr. McKay will be gone." He turned and continued walking. He turned around before he reached the door and said, "My advice to you, John: tread lightly. My guess is, you have yet to piss Rodney off, but it's not something you should be looking forward to."

"Noted," John told him and went to the closet to begin restocking things.


Three hours and no patients later, the kennels were clean, the gloves and treats were stocked, the pet food in the lobby was restocked and the dog that could be walked, was walked twice. Rodney had been holed up in his office all day, and there had been several times when John had heard him shouting, probably at Mrs. McKay. He was about to sneak into the office and ask Rodney what else he wanted done when a tall thin man with long light brown hair pulled back in a pony tail walked through the door. The man looked like a freak, and John was itching to tell him that the Michael Bolton look went out with the eighties... if it had ever been 'in' at all.

"Who are you?" the man asked and his voice made John's teeth hurt. Of course, he had no idea if this man was a customer or a salesman or what, so he decided that being polite would be the best option.

"Sheppard," John replied. He suddenly realized that almost everyone he'd met so far had gone by their last names, and that meant he fit in perfectly, he'd been using his last name for the last twenty years.

"Right, well I'm Kavanaugh."

"Yeah, the stock boy," John said, recognizing the name from that morning's conversation with Rodney.

The man glared at him but John just smirked as he walked past.

John went back to check on the patients as Kavanaugh set about putting the boxes in the closet.

After he checked the orders to make sure nothing had changed, he gave the truck bed dog fresh water and made a note to himself to let Rodney know the dog was having bowel movements again, and then he cleaned the kennel and washed his hands.

John was about to take the second dog for his third walk when he heard Rodney shouting, he closed the cage and rushed back into the office area.

"Do you have any idea what would have happened if I'd stuck my hand in these!?" Rodney shouted and threw a box of gloves at Kavanaugh.

"It was an accident!" Kavanaugh shouted back, dodging the projectile.

"After all the times I told you to make sure you were ordering the powder free gloves, this is an unacceptable accident!"

"Rodney," John said calmly as he stepped between the two men. "Come on, you don't want to get in trouble for injuring the help, do you?"

Rodney looked at John for only a moment before he peered around him and glared at the other man.

"You're fired, Kavanaugh!" Rodney shouted at him. "I only keep people with brains in my company."

"I only come in twice a week anyway, losing this job isn't that big a deal," Kavanaugh said as he stepped around the boxes. Apparently the box John saw hadn't been the first Rodney had thrown.

"We'll see how big a deal it is when you can't get a job in any veterinary clinic in Canada!" Rodney shouted to his back.

Kavanaugh turned and glared at Rodney. "You can't do that," he growled.

"I'm very respected in my profession, people listen to me. When I tell them that you have no regard for the safety of fellow employees or the patients, you won't be hired anywhere."

Kavanaugh's eyes went to thin slits and John stepped forward using the intimidation techniques he'd learned in the military and the man turned and hurried out the door.

"Ass hole," Rodney huffed and started scooting the strewn boxes with his feet.

"What happened?" John asked and began picking up the boxes and putting them in the closet.

"Don't put those in there!" Rodney shouted and John turned on him.

"Sorry," Rodney said softly. "I'm allergic to the powder in the gloves," He explained. "I'd told that idiot countless times to order the powder free kind. I can't use these, and we don't get another shipment for two weeks."

John nodded and took the boxes out of the closet and threw them into one of the empty shipping boxes. "We'll just go buy some powder free gloves, it's not that big a deal," John told him.

"I know," Rodney said and scrubbed at his face. He turned away, stalked over to the computer chair and dropped himself into it.

John pushed the boxes out of the middle of the hallway and went over to Rodney.

"Come on," John said as he pulled Rodney out of the chair. He put his arm around Rodney's shoulders and led him through the double doors. "Check on the dogs, make sure they're alright. Call Novak in and you and I are going to have a drink."

Rodney pushed John's arm off his shoulders and stepped away. "I can't do that. I've got a job to do."

"A job that Novak can do, she's your tech. You need a drink, I need a drink, go on."

Rodney sighed and nodded. "Alright," he said and headed over to the kennel area.

John hopped up on the table as Rodney checked the dog that had jumped out of the truck. His eyes were inadvertently drawn to Rodney's ass as he leaned into the cage, and he felt that familiar tingle in the pit of his stomach. He pushed it down as he'd done for so many years and looked away.

"Ready?" Rodney asked and John was pulled back to the present.

"Yep," he said and hopped off the table.

Rodney called Novak, gave her an excuse that she couldn't possibly have believed, but it was probably the offer of time and a half that made her agree, and then he and John left the clinic.


John and Rodney were sitting at a table near the center of a dim bar. Tacky music was playing in the background, but luckily it was coming out of a jukebox that was closer to the front of the bar, and only occasional riffs of the music were actually loud enough for them to hear. There were eight beer bottles on the table, six of which were empty. John was working on his second and Rodney was nursing his sixth.

"She's such a bitch," Rodney said, and really, had Rodney just been speaking? John had been too focused on watching Rodney's mouth to hear anything that might have been coming out of it, but that statement didn't sound like the beginning of a sentence.

"Who?" he asked and hoped that Rodney didn't realize that he hadn't been listening.

"Katie!" Rodney slurred and waved his hand over the table. "My wife, well my ex-wife, well, she will be my ex-wife, and hopefully sooner rather than later. You'd never know, though, until you get to know her. She seems so quiet and sweet, but that's the thing. You have to, John..."

John's attention went back to Rodney's eyes at the mention of his name.

"You have to watch out for the quiet ones, they are, they're hiding something."

"What's she hiding?"

"Uh," Rodney grunted his complaint. "Her bitchiness, haven't you been listening?"

John smiled, the sight of a tipsy Rodney was funny, and although John had only had one and a half beers, he was feeling a little high on Rodney's presence and the fact that his attention was directed solely at him. "Of course I have," John only half lied.

"This has been the longest, most drawn out divorce I've ever had... well, not that I've had, because I'd never been divorced before, but that I've heard of. She's trying to get more out of me than she's entitled to and I'm not having that! Did you know we had a practice together in Washington?"

John shook his head and leaned back in his chair, taking another drink. "She's a vet too?"

"No, she used to be a botanist, messin' with flowers and stuff, but when she met me she had this crazy idea that we should open a practice together, so I put her through school. She could have put herself through school, but she didn't want to work and go to school. She stopped after she became a tech, said she wanted to let it all sink in before she went off and took my job." He huffed out a little laugh and waved his bottle at John again. "Like that would ever happen. Then she... we... all that... you know what!? It doesn't matter what happened, it happened and I am happy to be rid of her!"

"Here, here," John said and lifted his bottle.

Rodney did the same and tapped the neck of his bottle against John's, and then they both took long draws.

"So what about you?" Rodney asked, and that had been the question John had been dreading since Rodney began talking about his wife/ex-wife.

"What about me?" he asked hoping that six beers was enough to make Rodney easily forget what he was talking about.

"Ever been married?" Rodney asked and John sighed and nodded.

"Yeah, once."

"What'd she do? Was she in the military too?"

John shook his head as he drained his bottle and lifted his finger toward the waitress for another.

"No, she worked for the government," he said.

"Same difference, right?" Rodney's hand moved over the table again, this time nearly upsetting the empty bottles.

John chuckled. "Yeah, I guess so, but she never shot anybody."

"That you know of," Rodney added and cocked his head and squinted one eye at John.

John chuckled again. "Right," he said.

John took his beer from the waitress and handed her the empty one. "Here, can you take these?" he asked and started handing her the other empty bottles one by one.

"Yeah, or he's going to knock them over," Rodney said and handed her his bottle. "And I'll have another one too."

"I'm going to knock them over?" John asked.

"See," Rodney said and smiled at the waitress. "He admitted it."

John felt his heart sink just a little at Rodney's flirting.

"What was her name?" Rodney asked after the woman walked away.

"I don't know," John said distractedly. "I didn't ask her."

Rodney straightened his back, sitting up a little from where he was hunched over the table. "You didn't know your wife's name?" Rodney cocked his head to the side.

"Oh," John said and laughed at his mistake. "Nancy."

"Was it a good divorce?"

John shrugged and took another drink of his beer. He really didn't want to be talking about this, but he guessed, with the amount of beer Rodney was drinking, there was a good chance he wouldn't remember it anyway. "Are any divorces good? I didn't have anything for her to take so she didn't get anything. Well, she got Lucy." John lowered his head at the mention of the name, that was the one thing he missed about domestic life.

Rodney's head shot up and his eyes went kind of hard and slightly concerned. "You have a daughter?" Rodney's voice was soft.

John smiled and shook his head. He was kind of surprised he hadn't gotten whiplash over the course of the evening. "No, Lucy was our dog. She was a bull dog."

"What is she now?" Rodney asked and laughed at his lame joke.

John laughed, rolled his eyes and took another drink. "Let's talk about something other than our ex's," John suggested, he was eager to change the subject and would gladly talk about whatever else Rodney wanted to. The time he'd spent with Nancy wasn't the best in his life, and John figured that it said something about how miserable he'd been that the only thing he missed was owning a dog.

"Good idea."

"Or work, let's not talk about work either," John added.

"Another good idea. Man, you're full of good ideas."

"S'what I've been told."

"Tell me about the military." Rodney suggested.

"Let's not talk about that either," John told him. Okay, so maybe he wouldn't gladly talk about anything else, but anything other than exes, work, and the military was okay.

"You're a closed book, John Sheppard," Rodney said and sat back in his chair. "What shall we talk about then?"

"Novak," John said and laughed a little harder than was probably necessary.

"Novak? She's married you know," Rodney told him.

John's eyes got big, he hadn't realized that suggesting they talk about her would seem like he was interested in her. "I'm not interested in her," he corrected. "She just seems... kind of odd."

Rodney chuckled. "That's because she is kind of odd, but she does good work. You know she gets hiccups when she's nervous? She had hiccups almost constantly the first year she worked for me. Guess I made her nervous."

John smirked and laughed lightly. "I can't see how you would," he joked.

"I know," Rodney replied and finished off his beer. "I'm just a big teddy bear."

John chuckled, drank the rest of his beer and sat the bottle down. "Come on, Rodney," He said. "We should probably get you home."

"You're not driving my car," Rodney protested.

"Nope, we're getting you a cab. You can get your car in the morning."

"Hey!" Rodney said as if he'd just gotten a good idea. "Speaking of home, why you come home with me?"

John felt his stomach flip over and his mouth went completely dry. "What?" he asked, knowing that Rodney either didn't know what he'd just said, or he had a completely different idea than John had.

"Yeah, I'd like you to house sit for me while I'm away."

"House sit?" John asked and felt disgusted at the amount of disappointment he heard in his voice.

"Well, not house sit, really. I have cats, and someone'll need to feed them. Novak usually does it, but she'll be busy at the clinic with Radek and Markham, there are a lot of surgeries tomorrow, not to mention, I called her into work tonight. I can't exactly ask her to do that too."

"Cat sit?" Why was John beginning to feel angry?

"Yeah, please? You can come home with me and sleep there so you'll be there in the morning and when I leave, you'll already be there."

John was fighting the urge to get up and leave the bar, but he reminded himself that all he'd asked of Rodney was to have a drink with him. Rodney was straight, John knew that and he didn't have the right to be upset at Rodney over that fact.

"Come on, John," Rodney pleaded.

John swallowed and looked away from Rodney for a moment. When he looked back, Rodney's eyes were lidded and sleepy, and more than likely a little drunk.

"Alright," John sighed. "But you are going to owe me for this; I'm not the biggest fan of cats."

"Okay, I'll owe you."

John got up and went to the bar to pay their tab and when he got back to the table, Rodney was pulling bills out of his wallet.

"Put that away, you can pay next time," he said and shoved Rodney's money back into his wallet.


John had his arm around Rodney's waist as he helped him to the bedroom. He dropped Rodney onto the bed and moved down to his feet and began unlacing his shoes.

"John," Rodney slurred at the head of the bed.

"Yeah, Rodney?" John asked as he pulled Rodney's socks off his warm feet. He couldn't help but gently caress the soft skin on Rodney's ankle before he stood up and looked down at Rodney.

"I'm sorry I barked orders at you this morning," Rodney said. His eyes were closed and his mouth was wet and John was trying to keep the inappropriate thoughts out of his head.

"It's okay, Rodney, you're my boss," John replied.

Rodney's eyes opened and caught John's, holding onto them. "I'm your friend," he said.

John felt his chest heat a little bit and he smiled and nodded at Rodney. "Thanks," he said and left the room.

Rodney's house was nice, one story with hard wood floors throughout. There weren't any pictures on the walls, but there was one sitting on the fireplace mantle, it was of a woman, a man and a little girl. John knew from the resemblance that the woman had to be related to Rodney, and pretty closely related. There was another picture, this one in a small golden frame, sitting on the end table beside the dining room door.

There were a few frames on the walls of the dining room, and closer inspection showed that they were degrees given to Rodney in several different fields, one of which was physics.

The house was neat, and didn't smell at all like cats. John's brother had cats and his house always smelled like litter with a faint scent of urine underneath it, which was the main reason John wasn't too keen on cats. Dogs used the bathroom outside, and as long as you cleaned up after them, the yard didn't stink. But, John supposed, you could say the same thing for a litter box.

After making his way through the entire house, just so he'd know where all the exits were, John was uncomfortable not knowing every possible way into and out of where ever he was staying, he rummaged around in Rodney's closets until he found a pillow and blanket, then he made himself a bed on the couch.

He didn't know how long he stared at the ceiling, but the next thing he knew he was smelling fresh coffee and eggs.

John groaned and rolled over, facing the back of the couch.

"You going to get up any time today?" Rodney asked and John's eyes flew open, remembering where he was.

He wasn't sure how he could have forgotten that he was lying on Rodney's couch, in Rodney's house, with Rodney just a few feet away. He sat up and rubbed at his eyes before running a hand through his hair.

"Morning," he called as he got up and headed toward the bathroom. He relieved himself, looked into the mirror and wished he had a razor and a change of clothes. He washed his hands and ran the excess water through his hair and went out to the dining room.

"What time is it?" John asked as Rodney sat two plates of eggs, bacon and toast on the table.

"Six," Rodney replied and sat down.

John followed his lead and poured himself a cup of coffee and took a sip. Apparently all needed to sleep past four am was to sleep on Rodney's couch. "So, what do I need to do for these cats of yours?" he asked.

Rodney took a bite of his eggs and washed them down with a drink of coffee.

"Just feed them twice a day, big scoop in the morning, small scoop in the evening around seven. The scoops are in the food container. Refill the water fountain in the morning, I already did that, and scoop the litter box in the morning, around noon and before you go to bed. The litter box is in the laundry room, I'll change the litter when I get home on Sunday. You can use the phone, eat the food, whatever, but let the machine answer any calls, that way you don't have to take messages."

"No problem."

"I also put you on the schedule for a few hours today. You don't have to be there at seven, you can go in around ten, do your regular job, anything Radek needs you to do and then head out. The clinic will be closed today and for the weekend, there are a few surgeries but the rest is just post-op care that Novak and Markham will do most of."

"Alright." John took another took the last sip of his coffee and refilled his cup then topped off Rodney's.

"Other than that, enjoy your first weekend in Deep Cove," Rodney said and stuffed an entire piece of bacon into his mouth.

"Cool," John said and took the first bite of his breakfast.

Rodney, on the other hand, had been eating throughout his speech and he was now soaking up the last of the eggs with his toast. He shoved the yolk soaked toast into his mouth and looked at his watch.

Gasping, he stood up and downed the rest of his coffee, hissing at the heat once it was gone, and headed out of the room.

"Oh," Rodney said before he reached the door. He turned around and John caught the single key that Rodney had tossed at him. "For the front door. Make sure the cats don't get out and I'll see you on Sunday. I have to go."

"Drive careful." John called.

Rodney grabbed the small suitcase from beside the door and turned around again. "Thanks, John," he said.

"No problem," John said again and took another bite of his eggs.


John washed the morning dishes then decided to go get some clean clothes and get in his few hours at the clinic.

He was out the door and on the sidewalk before he realized that he had no idea where he was in relation to the clinic. He was back on the porch digging in his pocket before he remembered that he'd left the key sitting on the dining room table.

"Shit!" he cursed as he dialed the number for the clinic on his cell.

"You've reached the Deep Cove veterinary clinic," Novak's voice told him from the recording. "Our normal business hours are 6 am to 6 pm Monday through Friday. If this is a pet emergency, please contact the Vancouver Animal hospital at 604-738-4664. If you would like to make an appointment, please leave your contact information and your pet's species and name, or call back during our business hours. Thank you."

"Novak!" John shouted into the phone. "It's John, pick up."

"John!" She sounded worried. "Is everything alright?"

"Please tell me that you have a spare key to Rodney's house." John said, ignoring her worried tone.

"Rodney's house? Why?" her tone was back to normal.

"He has me cat sitting and I forgot the key on the table."

Novak was laughing and hiccupping now and John wanted to reach through the phone and shake her.

"Yeah, I have one," she said though her laughter. "Come and get it."

"I'll be there soon," John said. "And Novak," he called before she could hang up.


"That message is entirely too damn long," he told her and hung up on her ridiculous laughter.

Fifteen minutes later he was paying a cab driver to have driven him two blocks and wishing he'd thought to just ask Novak how to get from Rodney's house to the clinic.

He rang the bell and Novak opened the door, holding out a single key on a silver ring.

"Shut up," John told her when she started giggling.

"Rodney gets you so flustered you'd forget your arm if it wasn't attached, doesn't he?"

"What?" John asked as he pushed past Novak and into the clinic proper. "What makes you think he gets me flustered?"

She smiled slyly and turned to lock the door again. "I've seen the way you look at him," She didn't turn around when she spoke.

Damn, John had hoped no one had seen the few times he'd slipped and caught himself ogling Rodney's ass. But, he held out hope that maybe she wasn't talking about the same looks.

"And how, exactly, do I look at him?" he asked and knew asking was a mistake the second she arched her eyebrow.

"Like you want to rip his clothes off and screw him into the wall," she said.

Damn, she did mean the same looks.

John looked around quickly hoping that no one else had been around to hear that. "Novak," John whispered shortly once he was satisfied that they were alone. "What kind of language is that for a lady?"

She simply smirked and walked past him. "Don't worry," she said as she sat on the edge of her desk. "I won't tell, and I'm pretty sure he doesn't know." She began picking at a loose thread on her jeans as if nervous that Rodney would somehow be able to hear her. "He's a great vet, but he's not the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to people. And feelings are a foreign language to him. If you want him to know, you're just going to have to flat out tell him. Although, in this case, I can't blame him for not noticing. You don't come off as gay and you're very careful."

John shook his head and walked past her, he was more than a little uncomfortable with this topic of conversation. Although, it wasn't like it mattered anymore that he was gay, he was out of the military and didn't have to hide it anymore. But, just like getting up at four am every morning, some habits were hard to break, and he didn't want Rodney to know that he was attracted to him. He clocked in and then went into the back room to check on the patients. He heard the double doors open and close again and knew that Novak had followed him in.

"Wow, he's looking better," John said as he looked into the truck bed dog's cage, hoping to divert her from going back to the conversation she seemed to be so interested in.

"Yeah, McKay stopped by this morning on his way out of town. He said that the dog should be able to go home "with strict instructions"," she made quotation marks in the air as she did a terrible impression of McKay. "By midweek next week."

"I'm not sure that's a good idea," John told her.

"I know, but what can you do? You can't haul every idiotic pet owner into animal court for their dog jumping out of a truck bed. That's all the cases they'd ever get, and they'd never get a day off," she said jokingly, but John knew she was serious.

John nodded and opened the cage door. "Hey buddy," he said as he opened the door and took out the water bowl.

"Is that his name?" Novak asked.

John shrugged as he filled a clean bowl and put it in the cage. "Doubt it, but it's something other than truck bed dog."

"What?" Novak asked through a confused laugh.

"Truck bed dog, it's what I've been calling him, since he wasn't actually hit by a car; HBC doesn't really make sense to me."

"So you just breeze in off the street and start changing the terminology huh?" she joked as she leaned against the wall beside the door.

"Yep, it's always worked before. If I don't like the name of something, I change it."

"Oh you're so special."

John shook his head and replaced truck beds water dish.

"All joking aside though," Novak said. "As far as naming goes, it's usually best not to..." She was cut off by the instrumental version of Funky Town and pulled out her phone. "It's Rodney," she said and answered the phone. "Hello?" She asked. "Yeah, he's right here. Okay," she handed the phone over to John and John rolled his eyes when she winked at him.

"Hey," John said into the phone.

"Hey," Rodney replied. "I forgot to tell you, the grey cat's name is Icarus and the white one is Atlantis."

"Okay," John said and wondered why it mattered. He wasn't going to be doing anything for the cats besides feeding them.

"And they have fur ball reduction medication in the cabinet above the sink. They each get one pill in the morning. Just crush the pill and mix it into a tablespoon of wet food and stir it into the morning meal."

"Damn, Rodney. You have some high maintenance cats. If I'd have known how much work it'd be to cat sit for you, I'd have expected to be paid."

"I can pay you on Sunday," Rodney said in a matter of fact tone.

"No," John said harshly. "I was only kidding, Rodney."

"Alright, well make sure they don't get out."

"You said that this morning."

"Oh, right. Okay then, see you on Sunday."




"Get my cell number from Novak and call me later so I'll have your number. I can't write it down right now."

"Will do."

"Okay, bye."

"Bye, Rodney."

John hung up the phone and handed it to Novak. "He wants you to give me his cell number."

"Huh, maybe he does like you too," she commented as she stuffed the phone back into her pocket.

"Hah, right," John said before he remembered that he was going to deny being attracted to Rodney.

She just gave him that sly smile again, and when she opened her mouth to speak, John moved quickly to distract her.

"So, Funky Town huh?" John asked as he moved down to the recently vacated kennel. The bull terrier had gone home the night before and John wanted to re-sanitize the kennel since he hadn't been the one to do it. He had always been finicky about the quality of work that he'd get credit or blame for.

She laughed. "Yeah, it drives him crazy knowing that's the song that plays every time he calls me."

"How's that working out for you?"

"Not so good actually, he still calls me more than I'd like. Last night is a perfect example, when you decided to take him out during working hours, he called me."

John sighed and distracted her with another question. "Who cleaned this kennel?" he pointed into the cage the bull terrier had been in. .

"I did. Now, back on topic, why'd you take Rodney out last night?" She smiled and waggled an eyebrow and John rolled his eyes.

"He needed a drink. Kavanaugh made him crazy," John answered even though he saw no need to explain to Novak why she had been called in. Rodney had mentioned that both she and Markham were always on call.

She hissed in a breath through her teeth. "Yeah, I saw the boxes of powdered gloves. Is Kavanaugh still alive? Which hospital should I send the flowers to?"

"He is still alive actually, and fired. I'm thinking I'm getting another task added to the kennel minion to do list."

Novak laughed and nodded. "Yep, that'd be my guess. Just remember, pay attention when he orders me to train you on the resupply order, make sure you never order anything that has any kind of citrus extract. Whether he likes you or not, that's grounds for immediate termination. And always order powder free gloves."

"I'll remember that." John walked toward the door.

"Novak!" John heard Dr. Zelenka's voice shouting, and her name was followed by a string of Czech words that couldn't be anything good.

"Oh crap," Novak said and turned toward the door. "Gotta go," she called over her shoulder.

John was happy to see her go, and with her went that ridiculous conversation. Although, now he knew he'd have to keep a better hold on his wandering eyes, especially around Novak. Considering that Markham was married to a man, he probably knew those looks all too well too, so John just decided it'd be best not to look at any part of Rodney except his eyes.


After the kennels were cleaned and the treats restocked, John was given the task of taking Radek's car to buy as many boxes of powder free gloves as possible, and pick up lunch for the four of them.

John had no idea where he was going, so he wandered for almost an hour before he found a Target store. He cleaned the shelf of powder free gloves, which turned out to be only six boxes, and then headed for the subway across the parking lot.

He found his way back to the clinic with no problems, and he credited that to the impeccable sense of direction flying had given him. You had to know where you were going when your only land marks were clouds.

The four of them sat in the lobby and ate their sandwiches, but John didn't feel much like being sociable after what Novak had been talking about that morning. So he wolfed his meal, restocked what needed restocking, fed the animals that were allowed to eat, changed Matka's litter box and cleaned the OR, then he clocked out, happy to be leaving the day behind.

John stopped by the shack to pick up a couple changes of clothes and his razor. He didn't want to go through another day looking like a wooly mammoth, and his beard grew so fast that if he didn't shave it either tonight or tomorrow, Rodney's house would look like a scene out of Creep Show.

"Enjoy your cat sitting, John," Novak called when John walked out of the shack. "Rodney's cats are the prince's of the animal world."

John had simply nodded at her and walked away.

However, it turned out that she was right. The cats were meowing and circling his ankles before he was even fully in the house.

"Alright, alright, go away," John said as he eased his way over to the couch, being very careful not to step on or kick either of the cats, because he was positive Rodney would know if he did.

He turned on the TV and channel surfed until he felt his belly rumbling, then he ordered a pizza and surfed some more.


Rodney's shower was amazing! It had six different settings, a detachable shower head on a hose and, if John had gotten the urge, he could have laid down on the floor of the shower and been perfectly comfortable. Rodney's house wasn't huge, but he certainly had his priorities straight. John had no trouble seeing himself and Rodney... he cut that train of thought short before it could get started. That was all he needed to do, jerk off in Rodney's shower, yeah, that's not at all freakish.

He spent a full hour in the bathroom, taking a shower, shaving and combing his hair.

After another hour of looking through Rodney's collection of bad DVD's, John remembered that Rodney wanted him to call.

He snagged his wallet off the coffee table, pulled out the little strip of paper Novak had scribbled the number on, and dialed the phone.

"This is not a number I recognize," Rodney barked into the phone.

"Rodney," John cut him off.

"John," Rodney sounded surprised. "Sorry about that."

"S'ok. You wanted me to call, I called."


John listened but he didn't hear the sound of wind rushing past windows or air conditioners running full blast, or car horns of aggravated drivers. "What are you doing?" John asked.

"I've stopped for a much needed meal. How are my babies doing?"

John chuckled. "I assume you mean the cats," John drawled.

"Who else would I mean?"

"I don't know," John admitted.

"So, how are they?"

"Fine, I fed them, scooped the box and all the other stuff you told me to do."

"What are they doing?"

"Well, Ickie has been chasing a ball of tin foil I threw in the floor this morning-"

"Icarus," Rodney interrupted.

"And Attie has been hiding under the couch all day," he said, ignoring Rodney's correction of the cats name.

"Atlantis. John, what are you doing to my boys?"

John had to bite his lip to keep from bursting into laughter at the question.

"Atlantis has never been skittish and Icarus never runs around like a kitten."

"Right, well, when I was getting the hairball medicine this morning, I accidentally knocked over the container of catnip, and quite a bit of it spilled onto the floor. Before I could find the broom to sweep it up, they were both rolling in it like a couple stoners."

"Oh great, you're going to give them an addiction. Please, John, don't give them anymore catnip," Rodney pleaded and John felt bad about pulling his chain.

"I was only kidding, Rodney. Ickie and Attie are both curled up in the corner of the couch keeping my feet warm. I didn't spill anything, but I did follow your orders to the tee."

"Alright, good. But don't do that anymore, those cats are like my kids. That's like joking to a parent that you dropped a bottle of medication and their kid took a bunch before you could pick them up."

"Wow, Rodney. I didn't know you felt that way."

"Well I do, I need to be confident that you're taking care of my cats while I'm away, John."

John straightened and nodded, although Rodney couldn't see it. "Don't worry, Rodney."

"Okay. I've got to go, John. I want to stay on schedule, but I'll call you again later tonight and see how things are."

John didn't think it was necessary, but he wasn't going to tell Rodney that. So he simply agreed, told Rodney he'd talk to him later, and went back to channel surfing.


John was sleeping in Rodney's bed; he was spending a weekend in a house with a normal bed after a few nights of sleeping on a blow up mattress. He fully intended on taking advantage of the king size perfect mattress. He was fully asleep when his phone started ringing.

"What!" John snapped into the phone.

"Were you sleeping?"

John sat up at the sound of Rodney's voice. He hadn't even bothered the check the I.D. before he answered the phone. He wondered if he could sound awake enough to fake that he'd been awake.

"No, I was just relaxing."

"Liar," Rodney said and John could hear the smile in his voice.

"Okay, maybe I'd dozed off, but I wasn't exactly sleeping," John lied again.

Then Rodney made a sound that went straight to John's dick. "What are you doing?" he asked and tried not to sound either too interested or too shocked.

"Oh my god," Rodney said and made another of those sounds. "This hotel has the best chocolate desserts ever! This one is called a fudge mount baker. It's a brownie, ice cream and hot fudge."

"Well don't let me stop you from enjoying it," John said and tried to keep his hand out of his boxers, but it was hard.

"Oh trust me, you're not," Rodney moaned, and John broke, his hand slipped beneath the blanket and palmed his erection.

Rodney stopped speaking then, but the orgasmic sounds kept coming to John's ear.

John bit his lip and pressed a little harder on his dick. Closing his eyes he tried to picture Rodney making those sounds while John was sucking him off, it wasn't hard, the sounds were exact. If John didn't know better, he'd have thought Rodney was having sex in that hotel room rather than eating chocolate.

John rubbed his hand over his aching cock while in his mind, he had one hand wrapped around Rodney's throbbing cock, stroking to the rhythm of his moans, while with the other hand he gently teased Rodney's ass, kneading one soft mound before gently dipping his finger inside.

John bit down harder on his lip when he felt a deep groan of his own trying to bubble up his throat. He could hear himself breathing heavily through his nose, and prayed that Rodney was too wrapped up in his dessert to notice.

Rodney moaned again and John slid down his body and teased the head of Rodney's dick with the tip of his tongue. He could almost taste the pre-come that would be there. Rodney reached down and wound his fingers into John's thick hair and pulled lightly.

"Oh god, John, this is great," Rodney groaned, and that, accompanied by the visions in John's head was all it took. John grunted as he came hard in his boxers.

"You alright?" Rodney asked, the sex sounds stopped and were replaced by a concerned tone.

John opened his eyes and stared at the ceiling. "Yeah," he said, slightly out of breath. He couldn't believe he'd just done that, rubbing himself off in Rodney's bed was even more freaky than jerking off in the shower. "Just, hit my foot on the coffee table."



"Alright, well I'll let you go take care of yourself. Good night, John."

John sighed and threw the covers off his body. "Night, Rodney."

John tossed the phone on the night stand and carefully got out of bed.

"Shit," he cursed as he walked out to the bathroom. He'd brought two clean pairs of boxers, and had just ruined the second pair; the first pair was soaked with sweat from his evening run.

His stomach was twisted in knots as he peeled the gooey material off and tossed the boxers onto his pile of dirty clothes. He'd have to do laundry before he could go back to bed, not that he'd be able to sleep for awhile anyway, there was no way he was sleeping naked in Rodney's bed.

His shower was slightly less than warm, but not exactly cold, and he thought of the last football game he'd watched to drown out the sounds that Rodney was still making in his head. He had a feeling that he was never going to stop hearing those sounds.

The shower was quick and to the point, and when it was done, he had three options, two of which were absolutely out of the question, and the third was only in the question because he didn't like the other two. He could a) walk around naked while he washed his clothes, b) put on his clothes from yesterday, or c) wear Rodney's robe. He took the robe off the hook on the bathroom door and wasn't at all surprised at how soft it was. He tied the belt as tight as possible and gathered up his clothes. He took them into the laundry room, put them into the wash and scooped the litter box although he'd already done it, just to make some kind of amends for what he'd done.

He felt disgusted with himself; in twenty years of being in the Air Force he'd never lost control like that. He'd been attracted to some of his fellow soldiers, and had even shared tents with them, in the case of Captain Holland, they'd even huddled together for warmth, but he'd always had a firm hand on his sexual need. But one phone call with Rodney had him coming in his shorts like he was in high school, and that was unacceptable.

But those noises he was making, his mind tried to defend his actions, but there had been no excuse.

As an afterthought, John stripped the bed and threw the sheet in with his clothes, then he made a note to himself to take the blanket to the laundry tomorrow, just in case.

John was looking for a clean sheet when a picture fluttered down off the top shelf of Rodney's closet. It was covered in dust and John picked it up, wiping the thick layer off the image.

Rodney and a red haired woman were in front of a marbled blue backdrop. She was in front of him and he had his arms wrapped around her waist, the gold band on his finger standing out boldly against her black blouse.

The woman was pretty and didn't look like the bitchy type to John, but then, that was what Rodney had said.

The woman wasn't what had caught John's attention though. It was how bright blue Rodney's eyes were and how happy he looked. Rodney didn't strike John as the type who would be happy to go to a professional photographer, he'd probably complain about how long it was taking, or how bright the lights were, or how the backdrop made his skin look. But he was smiling just the same. It looked like the woman must have said something that made him laugh and the photographer, who had probably been waiting for the right moment, pressed the button, capturing that beautiful crooked smile for all of eternity.

John exhaled and ran his thumb over Rodney's mouth, wishing he felt warm, wet flesh rather than cool, dusty photo paper. He ran his thumb back the other way before putting the picture back on the top shelf of the closet. It was obviously something Rodney had forgotten about, but John probably never would. That gorgeous smile would be burned into his brain for the rest of his life. John was under no illusions that he wasn't ever going to jerk off to Rodney's image again, and it would probably be that smile John would see in his head once he'd come and Rodney had come in his fantasies.

John sighed and pulled the sheet off the shelf; he changed the bed and went out to the couch.

As was normal for late night television, no matter what country you were in, there was nothing on, so John went into the dining room and booted up Rodney's computer. He was surprised that it wasn't password protected; Rodney seemed like the type to protect everything.

He went to the website that had first made him decide that Deep Cove was the place for him, and from there he found some websites run by locals. He found a few good places that weren't too far from Rodney's place, which offered some outdoor recreation. He hadn't planned on getting a job on his first day in town, not that he regretted going into the clinic, he'd thought that he'd do some of the fun things on his list of things to do before settling down and making a living outside of the military.

He spent the better part of an hour surfing the web, then the dryer buzzed and he put on a warm pair of boxers and went to bed.


John woke up at four as usual and went for his morning run. He found a nice wooded area behind Rodney's house with dirt trails winding through it and he decided that he'd found his favorite place. As far back as he could remember he'd always had a favorite place where ever he went. It was the place he'd go to get away from his troubles, to think things through or just spend a little time alone. When he was a kid, it was the loft in the stable; he'd liked the smell of hay and horses. When he was with Nancy, it was the shed behind the house. The previous owner had been a wood worker and the smell of wood and sawdust had permanently marked the place. In the military it had been the cockpit of his fighter jet, regardless of what his mission was, combat or recon, he was always in the zone, his head was always clear. And in Deep Cove, it was the woods behind Rodney's house, the trees closing in on the trails, the pine needles that carpeted the ground and the smell of the forest.

After an hour, he went back inside and took care of the cats, then he left the house. He went kayaking first, the lake was cool and the sun was warm, but he had been mostly alone, there were a few water skiers, and a few swimmers, but John didn't mind. He was doing something besides sitting in Rodney's house or cleaning kennels. After that, he bought a bike and rode it through the foothills of some nearby mountains, then he chained the bike to a tree and hiked for awhile, just taking in nature, something he hadn't done in years.

He thought about going to the clinic just to see how things were. He liked Markham and maybe they could grab lunch, but he decided that going to the clinic wouldn't be the best idea. After last night, he wasn't exactly excited to pick up the conversation Novak had started yesterday, and she seemed like the kind of person that couldn't let things just drop.


By the time he got back to Rodney's house, it was almost midnight. The cats began yowling for their food before he even had the door open all the way. He fed them, from the big scoop since he'd missed their evening meal by six hours, and was on his way to the shower when his phone started ringing. Somehow, he knew it was Rodney, and a quick glance at the I.D. confirmed it.

"Hey, Rodney," he greeted.

"Where have you been?" Rodney demanded. "I've called you seven times! I even called Novak and she said she hadn't seen you."

"The cats are fine, Rodney," John told him. "I didn't know cat sitting meant I had to stay in the house all the time." John said shortly.

"I never said you had to stay in the house," Rodney replied. "But you could have told someone where you were going."

"My parents are dead, Rodney, and I'm almost forty-three years old. I didn't think I had to get clearance to go out."

"Why are you so angry?" Rodney asked.

John sat down on the couch and dropped his head against the back. "I'm not angry," he sighed.

"You sound like you are," Rodney told him.

"I'm just tired." It wasn't a lie, he'd run himself ragged that day.

"What'd you do all day?" Rodney asked conversationally.

Tried to outrun the images I created of you last night, John thought. What he said was, "Kayaking, biking, running, all the things I like to do on my days off."

"No wonder you're tired, people shouldn't do that many physically exerting things in one day." Rodney chuckled but John didn't feel at all amused.

"I'm not one of your patients, Rodney. I can do whatever I want to when I'm not on your dime."

"Go to bed, John," Rodney snapped. "I don't think I like you like this."

The phone went dead and John laid it on the coffee table. He lay back on the couch and threw his arm over his eyes. He hadn't meant to be short with Rodney, he wasn't the one John was mad at. He was going to have to get a handle on himself or he'd push Rodney away. And while being with Rodney wasn't in his future, the picture John had found last night confirmed the man's heterosexuality, he wanted to at least keep Rodney as a friend.

John replayed the phone conversation in his head a few hundred times, each time coming up with something better to have said, but of course, none of that mattered. He'd snapped at Rodney and even though he hadn't meant it, it had still happened.


Gasping, John jerked awake and looked around, confused.

"Sorry, sorry," Rodney said quickly, putting his hands up in a placating gesture. John turned his head and found Rodney sitting on the coffee table.

He swallowed and exhaled hard. "Rodney?" He asked, still a little out of sorts, Rodney hadn't exactly been gentle in waking him, all John knew was that his shoulder was being shaken.

"Yeah. I guess the military really messed you up, huh?"

John swallowed as he flashed back to waking up beside Holland's body, an Afghani insurgent blocking the light and poking his gun into John's shoulder.

"What time is it?" he asked, avoiding the question all together.

Rodney nodded, seeming to understand that John wasn't willing to talk about it. "Almost noon," he said.

John grumbled sleepily as his mind finally began to clear. He rubbed at his face, ran his fingers through his hair and sat up.

"Feeling better than you were last night?" Rodney asked. He was apparently regaining some of his comfort level after John's mini freak out.

"Damn!" John cursed. "I didn't feed the cats."

"It's okay," Rodney said and put a hand on John's shoulder, stopping him from getting up. "I took care of it."

"Sorry, Rodney," John sighed.

"It's okay, John," Rodney said slowly. He moved to the chair that sat to the side of the coffee table. "So, are you?" he asked.

"What?" John furrowed his brow as he lost track of the conversation.

Rodney chuckled and kicked one socked foot up onto the table. "Feeling better than you were last night," he reminded John of the original question.

"Oh, yeah. Sorry about that too," he said and dipped his head a bit. "I wasn't quite feeling myself last night."

But you were on Friday night, his traitorous mind chimed in and John felt his face flush.

"Are you feeling alright? You look a little red in the face. I hope you didn't bring any germs into my house."

"No, Rodney, I'm fine," he told him. "Just not used to sleeping this late."

John contemplated briefly how often he'd lied over the past few days.

"So, how'd it go yesterday?" John asked Rodney.

"Oh!" Rodney exclaimed and sat forward in the chair. "That's why I called last night, I have good news."

"The divorce is final?" John asked, feeling a little disconnected from the entire situation.

"No, not yet, but next weekend is the last trip I have to take."

"That's good," John replied.

"Yeah, and now I know why I'm paying my lawyer so much."

"She's not getting anything?"

Rodney shrugged and finally sat back in the chair again. "Some things but not everything, and I have to pay alimony, but it's worth it to be 100% free of her."

"That's excellent, Rodney," John said, but all he could really think about was getting back to his dreary little shack with the blow up bed.

"I'd like you to come with me," Rodney said and the sentence pulled John back to the present.

"What?" he asked.

"Next Friday, I'd like you to come with me. The lawyers want witnesses and you're the only person I don't mind being around for that long."

"You've only known me a few days," John told him matter of factly.

"Which may very well be why I don't mind you being around. Either way, I'd like you to come."

"Alright," John said with a shrug.


John couldn't help but smile at how excited that made Rodney. "Yeah, I'll go with you. It's not like I have a billion other things vying for my time."

"Great!" Rodney said and stood up. "Now go take a shower because you stink like day old sweat."

"Aw, Rodney. You're so sweet," John mocked, but he got off the couch anyway and headed toward the bathroom.

"I'll cook lunch while you're in there, so don't take too long."

"Just don't turn on the hot water."

"No promises," Rodney teased.

John felt a good deal better this morning than he had the day before, but he wasn't quite ready to accept that it might be because Rodney was back. Instead, he settled for his better mood being attributed to Rodney not being pissed at his miniature blow up last night.

Rodney cooked the best steak John had ever eaten, and as much as he hated to admit it, he had made a few sounds that closely resembled Rodney's chocolate sounds. He pretended he didn't see Rodney looking at him when he'd moaned and sucked the juice out of a piece of steak.

"I..." Rodney began, then cleared his throat and started over. "I wanted to go to the clinic today and check on the surgeries."

"Sounds good, I'll go with you," John said as he took Rodney's empty plate off the table.


John had sat in the lobby watching a MacGyver episode while Rodney got the update from Radek. And now John was sitting in front of the computer with Rodney looking over his shoulder. They'd been going over the computerized order form for over an hour now and John thought his eyes were about to explode. He thought he'd see the forms in his sleep tonight.

"Got it?" Rodney asked.

"Yes, Rodney. For the seventeenth time, I got it. Powder free gloves."

"Not just that-"

"Trust me, Rodney," John cut him off by raising a hand."I got it, I'm not going to fuck it up."

"I trust you; it's just that I'm not always around when the supplies are put away. I could have had a seriously bad reaction to those gloves Kavanaugh ordered if I hadn't seen that they weren't the powder free ones."

"I know, Rodney, I won't let any big bad allergens get you," John teased.

"Good," Rodney said and moved away from John.

John got out of Novak's chair and walked around the desk.

"Hey," Rodney said and turned so quickly that John nearly ran right into him. "You want to go out tonight?"

John felt the color drain from his face and he took a step back, unable to take his eyes off of Rodney's.

"No... well... I mean..." Rodney stammered. "You know, to celebrate. The finalization of my divorce is finally in sight. And like I said earlier, you're the only person I know that I don't mind being around for more than five minutes."

John smiled and hoped it didn't look as goofy as it felt. He was getting a little warm at the prospect of spending another evening with Rodney. It was nice that it had been Rodney to ask him this time, and not because John was upset, but because he wanted to spend time with him.

"Sure, Rodney," he answered, not wanting to let too much time lapse, of course, he didn't want to come across as too eager either. These things took precise measurement, and until he met Rodney, John had known exactly how long to wait before answering the question. But Rodney, with his brilliant eyes and his crooked mouth and his snarkiness, had thrown John's world off kilter.

"Good, I can pick you up at around seven."

John smiled and nodded. This was sounding more and more like a date, although John knew that it wasn't. He knew Rodney was being polite by not making John meet him somewhere, not only because John didn't have a car, but because he was new in town. "Sounds good," he replied.


John spent an hour going through his few clothes before he realized he was treating this like a date. He didn't want Rodney to know that he was attracted to him, and if he showed up for a friendly celebratory dinner dressed to the nines, Rodney would be suspicious. After another fifteen minutes, he chose his nicest black jeans and a button down black shirt with his black work boots. He knew he looked good in that outfit, and it still looked casual enough to be 'just going out with a friend' and not like he was on a date. Ten minutes after he was dressed Rodney's horn was blaring in front of the house.

"Hey," Rodney greeted when John slid into the passenger seat.

"Hey," John replied.

He was glad to see that going with the button down rather than a tee shirt was the right decision, Rodney was wearing blue jeans and a tan button down. The jeans looked tight, but John guessed that was just because Rodney was sitting.

"What's wrong?" Rodney asked and John realized that he was staring at Rodney's thigh.

He pulled his eyes away and shook his head. "Nothing, it's just that I've never seen you in jeans before. You always wear khakis to work," he covered.

"Well we're not going to work," Rodney said lightly. "We're going to dinner, and if all goes well, we'll be a little more than buzzed when we leave."

John chuckled and turned to look out the windshield as Rodney pulled away from the curb.

"So, how long has this divorce been going on?" John asked after a few moments of complete silence. He had to say something to give him a reason to be looking at Rodney since he was doing it anyway.

Rodney hummed and shrugged. "We've been apart for almost three years now. The actual divorce has lasted about half of that. It should have been over by now, but she wouldn't agree to anything I said, and I sure as hell wasn't going to agree to any of her suggestions. If she got her way, it'd be my responsibility to pay her bills and put her through school for yet another degree. The woman is so indecisive; she has no idea what she wants to do with her life."

"I noticed that you have a few degrees too," John said then winced at how much it sounded like he was taking Katie's side. Which he wasn't, he was trying to get the conversation off of Katie, bringing her up in the first place had been a result of just not thinking before speaking.

"Uh no," Rodney said shortly. "I have a few doctorates. Do you know how much stamina it takes to stay in school that long? I mean, obviously it didn't take that long for me because, well I'm a genius. But a lot of people go for doctorates and run out of juice halfway there. Not to mention, most of my doctorates are in the same general field. Katie bounces all over the place."

"I saw that," John said and raised his eyebrow to show Rodney how impressed he was. "Physics, wow."

"Physics, astrophysics, theoretical astrophysics. Notice a pattern there?" Rodney smiled and his tone had gone from slightly agitated back to normal, and maybe even slightly playful.

"I guess you are a genius," John told him.

"Yep, I certainly am. But," Rodney turned and looked at John and the look on his face made John's heart skip. "You're apparently no dim bulb yourself. Applied mathematics, that's impressive."

"Well, I've always liked numbers," John told him smiling at the fact that Rodney remembered his major. "They're the one thing in this world that isn't going to lie to you, and if they do, it's your fault."

"Truer words have never been spoken. Well, except the 'I'm a genius' thing I just said."

John laughed and shook his head. Rodney was certainly one of a kind, and he didn't understand how Novak and Markham could think he was gruff and hard to work for. He turned his head back to look at Rodney and saw Rodney's head quickly turn away. He wondered if it was just his imagination, or had that not been the first time he'd noticed Rodney stealing a look at him from the corner of his eye.


Rodney pulled into a spot near the door and the two men stepped up on the curb.

In the car, Rodney had told John that they were going to Rodney's favorite place. It looked like a nice place and the music coming out of the speakers mounted to the wall had a nice beat to it, and if the music was any part of the reason Rodney liked this place, then John respected his taste.

Business was booming and once they got inside, they were given a pager and told to have a seat until the next table was available. After fifteen minutes of waiting and casual conversation John and Rodney were sitting at a table at the back of the restaurant.

"This is my treat, John, so order up," Rodney said as their server handed them some menus.

"Can I get you gentlemen started with something to drink?" the woman asked.

"Yeah," Rodney said, glancing up at her quickly before returning his eyes to the menu in front of him. "I'll have a beer."

John felt a slight twinge in his chest at the fact that Rodney wasn't blatantly flirting with the woman as he had with their server at the bar.

"And you, sir?" she asked John.

"The same," John said without looking up at her.

John ordered the fish dinner, without lemon because he knew Rodney would throw a fit at having any form of citrus at the table, and Rodney ordered barbequed rib tips on rice. By the time their meals were delivered to their table, they'd each drank another beer and were halfway through their third.

"This place may have good food," John said to Rodney as the server sat their plates on the table. "But the wait time sucks."

"I'm sorry about the wait gentlemen," The woman said through an obviously forced smile, and walked away.

Rodney chuckled. "It wasn't her fault," he said, but John could tell from his tone that he'd been just as aggravated by the half hour it took to get their food as he had been.

"I know, but I figure if we complain enough we might get a free dessert," John joked before he realized what dessert might mean.

"Oh yeah," Rodney said happily. "Let's find something else to complain about."

John smiled and looked down at his plate. "How about this wedge of lemon that's sitting on top of my fish?" he asked.

"What?" Rodney squeaked and pushed back from the table as if the lemon were going to jump off John's plate and into his mouth.

John laughed, possibly harder than the situation called for, but Rodney's reaction had been funny.

"Hey!" Rodney called out and a moment later their server was standing at their table.

"Is everything alright gentlemen?" she asked.

"No," Rodney said harshly. "It's not. I distinctly remember him saying without lemon. That looks curiously like a lemon," he pointed to John's plate but made sure not to get to close. "What do you think, John?"

"It looks like a lemon to me," John said and looked up at the server. "What do you think?"

The woman looked flustered and maybe a little afraid and John thought maybe they went a little too far, like Rodney had said, it wasn't her fault.

"I'm sorry ma'am," John said, lightening his tone. "But my friend is deathly allergic to citrus."

She looked like she might say something to the effect of 'since it's on your plate he shouldn't worry about it', but then her eyes got huge and she inhaled sharply and picked the plate up. "I'm so sorry about that," she said and John thought it sounded genuine and heartfelt. "I'll have the cook make you another one, without lemon." She started to turn away and John stopped her.

"You know," he said. "The fish didn't look as good as it sounded; I think I'll change my order if that's okay." He flashed his best smile and, although he couldn't be sure, he thought he may have heard a soft hum from Rodney's side of the table.

"Absolutely sir," she said. She put the plate on a nearby table and took out her order pad. "It was our fault, what would you like?"

"I'm thinking about a burger," John said. "A big one, with lettuce and tomato, no onions."

"No onion," she repeated and underlined it about six times. "I'll be back shortly."

Rodney was giggling when John turned back to him.

"What?" John asked.

"You're mean," Rodney told him.

"No I'm not, I apologized didn't I?"

"Yeah, and then ordered a whole different meal."

"I didn't lie though, that fish looked like it should still be flopping around. I'm surprised it didn't still have its eyes."

"That's disgusting," Rodney told him, but stuck one of the rib tips in his mouth anyway.

The wait time had been cut in half, this time John only had to wait fifteen minutes for his meal. Although Rodney had been eating slower than John had ever seen him eat, he was still half done by the time John's burger was sitting in front of him.

"I'm sorry about the wait," the server said again and this time it sounded like she meant it. "It's the cooks first day. But, big burger with lettuce, tomato and no onion, I checked myself, there are no onions on there."

John thanked her, but checked for onions himself despite her assurances.

"Good?" Rodney asked.

"Yep," John replied. "No onions." He turned and nodded at the woman who smiled slightly in return before walking away.

"I think that poor woman is going to have nightmares tonight," John commented before taking a big bite.

"Wow," Rodney spoke as he watched John chew. "You have a big mouth, how much can you fit in there?"

John involuntarily swallowed his half chewed bite and nearly choked on it. He took a long drink of his beer and coughed. That wasn't something he'd been expecting to hear out of Rodney's mouth, no matter what the context was.

"You alright?" Rodney asked and looked 100% ready to give John the Heimlich maneuver.

"Yeah," John coughed out. "Just took too big a bite."

"You think?"

"Yeah," John nodded and took another drink. "I can fit a lot in my mouth, but I think that might have been too much... bread anyway."

"But not too much meat?" Rodney asked innocently.

"Nope," John replied with confidence and took another bite that rivaled the last.


Rodney was studying the dessert menu and John was trying not to listen to the yummy noises he was making at every item he looked at. He tried to concentrate on the menu in front of him, but his eyes kept lifting and looking at Rodney. His attention was inevitably drawn to his lips as they made wet smacking sounds, apparently imagining what each thing might taste like.

"Oh god, Rodney, please, just choose something," John said when he'd finally had enough. He hoped it sounded annoyed like he wanted it to, and not sexual, which was how it sounded to his own ears.

"It's so hard, it all looks good," Rodney moaned brokenly and John felt his stomach go tight at the sound.

"Well, I'm going with the cherry chocolate cheese cake," John told him matter of factly.

"What? Where'd you see that?"

"On the second page, Rodney. You do realize there are three pages, right?"

Rodney glared at him, but turned the page. He gasped immediately and poked a finger onto the menu hard.

"Rodney?" John asked.

"Black forest dark chocolate mousse," Rodney said by way of explanation.

"So you've decided?"

"Oh yeah, all the times I've been here, I've never seen this dessert."

"Good, get it!"

"Are you ready to order?" Their server asked when she walked up to the table.

"Absolutely," Rodney said and folded his menu and smiled at John before he looked up at the woman.

John couldn't keep the silly smile off his face at the way Rodney was acting over his new discovery; it was obvious that he was getting a little tipsy. John was beginning to feel the effects of the beer himself.

The woman took their order, and five minutes later, Rodney took the first bite of his dessert and John remembered why dessert was going to be a bad idea.

Rodney let out a long low moan, his eyes were closed and his lips were pursed and moving as he tasted the dessert.

John's own dessert went forgotten as Rodney's dessert sounds caused a stirring in John's pants.

Suddenly, John wished he'd chosen a looser pair of pants. His cock was hardening quickly and he began squirming in an effort to ease some of the discomfort.

"Uh... mmm... oh god... this is amazing," was what was coming across the table and John was being tortured.

Then John's mind started playing the images he'd created that night on the phone, and oh shit, now he had facial expressions to go along with the noises.

He tried to look away; he wanted to focus on anything except what was going on across the table. He was finally able to take a bite of his cheese cake, but there was no taste, even with the chocolate and cherries rolling around on his tongue as he chewed, all his senses were focused on Rodney.

"Jesus, Rodney," He managed to say, although it was little more than a croak at that point. "You want to tone it down a little?"

"Hmm?" Rodney asked and shoved another bit into his mouth. "Oh god, John, you have to try this." Rodney reached across the table and took John's spoon off his table and John was completely powerless to stop him. He scooped up a spoonful of the mousse, and reached back across the table.

John's mind went totally blank except for one thought; oh shit, Rodney's trying to feed me a bite of his dessert.

"Open up, John," Rodney said and John's mind clicked back into motion. He opened his mouth and leaned in, slowly and not thinking about or looking at the spoon, his eyes were on Rodney's mouth, his thin crooked lips, the lips he'd thought about kissing since he first saw Rodney the day he'd arrived in Deep Cove. Then he was brought back to reality with crushing force as the cool mousse touched his lips, and the taste of chocolate and black forest cherries accosted his taste buds.

It wasn't a kiss, and it reminded John that kissing Rodney was something he couldn't do, and that playing it out in his mind was nothing more than torture. That realization did wonders for the comfort of his jeans as his erection withered.

John swallowed the food and chased it with the last of his beer, and ordered another.

"Good, huh?" Rodney asked and John nodded, unable to find his voice.

The cheesecake that had looked so good on the menu didn't look so appetizing anymore, and John pushed it to the edge of the table.

"You're not going to eat that?" Rodney asked.

"No, just don't have the taste for it tonight." It wasn't a lie.

"Yeah, after this little slice of semi-solid heaven I can't see anything being quite good enough," Rodney said as he slid his now empty bowl to the edge of the table and John was more than happy to see it go.


John and Rodney were still sitting at their table long after their plates had been cleared. The back quarter of the table was a sea of empty bottles and the waitress had finally asked them if they wouldn't mind moving to the bar. Once they were closer to the source of the alcohol, both men graduated from beer to stiffer shots of whisky.

People had come and gone throughout the rush of the evening, but the crowd was thinning out now and John and Rodney were two in only a handful of people in the restaurant, and the only two people sitting in the bar area.

"It's so nice," Rodney said, his speech slightly slurred.

"What is?" John asked.

"Knowing that in a few days, I'm going to be a free man again!" Rodney waved his shot glass over the table then lifted it toward John.

John took the cue and lifted his own glass. "To freedom," he said and tapped the lip of his glass against Rodney's.

"You never did tell me what happened between the two of you," John told him and tapped his glass on the bar for a refill.

Rodney followed suit and the bartender came and served them each another shot.

"Oh yeah it was just this whole big... thing. She wanted me to be someone I wasn't and I tried to be for awhile, but that never works."

"What'd she want you to be?" John asked, knowing it wasn't any of his business and not caring in the least.

"She... she found out... I was... I'm not the man she thought I was."

"Did you cheat on her?" John had no idea where that question came from or why he'd asked it.

Rodney's head shot up so fast John thought the man was bound to have gotten a head rush, and if the way his eyes wavered for a second was any indication, he did.

John shrugged, what could he say? The question had caught him by surprise too.

"What about your marriage?" Rodney asked, and John supposed he deserved the tables to be turned after the question he'd just asked.

John tapped his glass on the bar and the bartender filled it. He downed the shot and asked for another.

"So," Rodney asked after John's third shot in a row. "Why'd you get divorced?"

John tipped the glass back and drank another shot. He couldn't exactly tell Rodney that he and Nancy got divorced because John was gay, or that he had trouble getting hard for her. After another shot, John decided to tell Rodney another version of the truth, it was still truth, just without the details of why.

"She wanted a baby and I couldn't give her one," he said.

"What?" Rodney asked and raised an eyebrow. "You shootin' blanks?"

"No!" John protested, maybe a little louder than was necessary given that Rodney was beside him and there was no one else in the bar, and the rest of the restaurant had emptied by then. "I was in the military, why would I have a kid I'd never get to see?" John fell back onto the military crutch again. He'd used it so often over the years, whether to get out of a one night stand with a woman or an unwanted would be relationship with a guy.

"Oh, right," Rodney said and ordered another shot.

"Alright guys, last call, we're closing up," the bartender said.

"Then give me a double," John told him and Rodney doubled the order.

Four shot glasses were put on the bar and John and Rodney threw them back quickly.

"You boys aren't planning on driving are you?" their server from earlier in the evening asked.

"Are you kidding?" Rodney asked, "I'm not even sure I'd be able to find my car."

"We're getting a taxi," John told her and pulled out his cell phone. He dialed the cab company gave the phone to Rodney and Rodney told the dispatcher the address.


John and Rodney were both leaning on the wall outside the restaurant, not so much to look cool as they both needed the support.

"This was fun," Rodney said, suddenly startling John out of his half doze. "We should do this more often."

"Right," John replied. "If we do this more often we'll both be hard core alcoholics inside of a month."

"Well, we wouldn't have to drink all the time," Rodney returned.

"I guess, but the next time we go to dinner, you're not ordering anything chocolate for dessert, I swear, those noises you were making almost made me come under the table."

Out of the corner of his eye, John saw Rodney move, and when he looked over Rodney was completely facing him. His mouth was open, his lips were wet and his eyes were almost black with how wide his pupils were.

"Rodney," John began, but before anything more could be said, Rodney was on him and John was being pressed into the wall.

"Mmm," John moaned into Rodney's mouth as he accepted the kiss, not that he'd have much choice in the matter. Rodney was kissing him with intent, his tongue was inside John's mouth searching and tasting and John was kissing back. He wrapped his arms around Rodney and used him as leverage to pull himself off the wall.

The pair stumbled awkwardly, but thankfully they stayed on their feet. Then Rodney's hands were on John's ass, squeezing and pulling John's hips close and John felt the unmistakable ridge that could only be an erection digging into his hip.

John ran his hands up Rodney's back and into his hair, the position was awkward and slightly uncomfortable, but that didn't matter. All John could think about was how Rodney smelled, how he tasted, how his tongue felt as it rolled and twisted in his mouth and the beautiful slight pain that Rodney's persistent nudging cock was causing as Rodney ground into him, pressing his dick into John's pelvic bone.

John took fistfuls of Rodney's hair and gently pulled his head back, breaking the kiss. Then he dove toward Rodney's neck, he nipped, licked and sucked the soft skin and Rodney moaned John's name into the air.

"Mmm, John," Rodney hissed and then John felt Rodney's hips move away.

He leaned forward in an attempt the regain the pressure when he felt something else. John tore his lips away from Rodney's neck when he felt Rodney squeezing his cock through the material of his jeans.

"Oh god, Rodney," John said hungrily and devoured Rodney's mouth again. He gently led him toward the wall and pressed Rodney into it.

John pulled his head away just enough to look into Rodney's eyes. "I want you," he whispered, and his hands went to the button of Rodney's pants and began working them open. He lifted the hem of Rodney's shirt with one hand and the other ran down along the line of hair, his fingers dipping into the waistband of Rodney's boxers.

"Oh, yes, John... right now," Rodney demanded as John's fingers brushed the soft curls of hair.

John heard a voice, but it could have been coming from across the street for as much as he could make out what it was saying.

And then "Hey!" Shouted the cab driver.

There was a loud wet smacking sound as John pulled away from Rodney and turned around.

Rodney groaned at the loss and tried to pull John back in.

"You guys call a cab?"

John turned back toward Rodney and nodded toward the cab. "Your place?" he asked.

"Oh yeah," Rodney said and hurried toward the waiting car.

John gave Rodney enough time to give the driver his address, before he attacked his mouth again, pressing Rodney into the back of the seat. The angle was funny since John was sitting beside Rodney, but things like angle and comfort couldn't bother John right now, he was kissing Rodney and Rodney was kissing back, and that was all that mattered in the world.

"Mmm," Rodney moaned and pulled John's hand over; placing it on his stomach where the pants were gaping open.

"Oh god," John said into Rodney mouth and pushed his hand into Rodney's boxers again. His stomach fluttered when the wet head of Rodney's cock brushed against his fingers.

Rodney moaned and scooted his hips down to the edge of the seat, giving John better access, not that Rodney's jeans made for any kind of good access. John had been right in his original thought that the jeans looked tight, and that had been all well and good when John was only planning on ogling Rodney's ass, but now Rodney wanted John's hand on his dick, and his fucking pants were too tight.

John turned and sat mostly on his hip, leaning into Rodney and straightening out as much as possible and shoving his hand down, and was finally able to wrap his hand around Rodney's cock, which was hard and straining to be set free.

"Oh fuck, jeez, John," Rodney grated out and thrust his hips off the seat.

The movement gave John the room he needed to get a good grip on Rodney and he stroked twice before Rodney pulled him down into a fierce kiss.

Now, the position of his body gave his arm no possibility of movement, so it took his entire body thrusting forward and back to give Rodney's dick even the slightest rub. He threw one leg over Rodney's knees and used that foot to press against the driver's seat so his body would move a little harder.

Rodney was making the chocolate noises again, only it wasn't any form of food that was pulling them out of him.

"Rodney," John grunted as his mouth engulfed Rodney's ear, his tongue dipping deep inside it.

The man in the front of the cab was saying something now, but John didn't care what it was. Then there was a sharp sting as the man slapped John's thigh. Another of those wet slurping sounds as John pulled away from Rodney without releasing him first.

"Really, really very sorry to break this up fellas," the driver said. "But you better move this inside because, from the sound of it, one of you is pretty close and I don't want to have to clean up a mess."

John swallowed and it sounded loud in his ears. He detangled himself from Rodney and lifted his hips to get his wallet out of his back pocket but Rodney stopped him with a hand high on his thigh and John shifted his hips in hopes of moving the hand a little to the right.

Rodney threw some money in the front seat and ordered John to get out of the car. John didn't know or care how much Rodney had given the man, and judging by the way Rodney was pushing him out of the car, he couldn't have cared less either.

John managed to get completely out of the car without falling on his ass, which was the part that would have hit the ground since he got out of the car ass first, because that was the end that was pointing toward the door. He had barely stood up before Rodney was on him again, jamming his tongue into John's mouth. John pulled him close and Rodney's hands pressed down into the back of John's jeans, which were just as tight as Rodney's, and squeezed handfuls of muscle.

"Ohhh," John moaned and then he was being ungracefully shoved toward the porch.

The three stairs leading to the porch had almost taken them out, as they stumbled over each and every one, but neither cared enough to stop kissing and groping one another.

One of Rodney hands left John's ass and John felt it between them as Rodney dug in his pocket for the keys. It took all of two full minutes for Rodney to get the right key in the lock since he refused to stop kissing John or nibbling his neck to see which key went with this particular door.

Finally, the door was swung wide, and Rodney was ushering John inside. John was vaguely aware of the sound of the taxi pulling away.

The cats were there in seconds, twirling around their legs and making it even harder to walk than the alcohol was. Rodney pulled away from John's mouth long enough to make a truly animal sounding noise, and suddenly the cats were gone, and John was being pushed backwards again.

John grunted softly as his back hit a hard surface, but as long as that surface wasn't the floor, he didn't care.

Oh god, Rodney was unbuttoning John's pants, the zipper sounded like a jet to John's ears, then the confining pants and boxers were out of the way and then...

John threw his head back and grunted loudly as Rodney's warm hand surrounded his cock. This couldn't possibly have been Rodney's first time, John was in heaven and all Rodney had done so far was touch him. But then, the man did have several doctorates, and jerking someone off wasn't exactly rocket science, and John needed it, no, he wanted it, he wanted Rodney's hand on his dick and...

Oh fuck, it was moving, Rodney's hand was moving. John nearly bucked Rodney to the floor when Rodney's thumb brushed over the head of his dick.

Then Rodney's wet lips were on John's neck and his free hand had sneaked up under John's shirt and was now idly playing with a nipple.

"Oh shit, Rodney," John said and laced his fingers into Rodney's hair. "I'm so close... I need you to... make me... oh god, make me come, Rodney."

Then it was gone, all of it. The mouth on his neck, the fingers on his nipple, and, most disappointing of all, the hand on his dick, were all gone.

John opened his eyes and lowered his head to find Rodney still in front of him, but he had both hands on the wall and was leaning as far off of John as was possible.

"Rodney," John said softly.

"No, John. We can't do this," Rodney sighed.

"What?" John asked, knowing that the disappointment and confusion was dripping from his voice.

"I'm your boss," Rodney said and backed away from John, buttoning his pants as he went.

"What happened to 'I'm your friend'?" John hissed.

"I am your friend," Rodney told him. "But we can't do this, I'm sorry."

John shook his head, pulled up his pants and headed toward the door.

"Where are you going?" Rodney asked.

"Home," John replied without turning around.

"You can't leave, you're drunk."

Now John did turn, slowly, and looked Rodney square in the eye. "Not anymore," he said and left.


When John walked into the clinic the next morning, it was exactly seven and Radek was standing in the lobby feeding the fish while Rodney was standing at the desk, looking at a file. They both turned and looked at him, Rodney promptly lowered his head back to the file and Radek looked from John to Rodney.

"What have you done?" he asked, somewhat accusingly.

Rodney jerked his head up. "Nothing!" He defended loudly.

"Yeah, that's the problem," John said, hating that he felt so bitter. He'd never expected anything from Rodney, but they had come so close last night. John had taken a long cold shower once he'd gotten home, even though his erection had wilted the moment Rodney denied him.

"You did not..." Radek said and looked toward Rodney.

"What?" Rodney interrupted him. "He's my employee, I'm pretty sure there's a law somewhere about bosses fucking their employees."

John wasn't exactly sure how Radek had immediately jumped to the correct conclusion, but he supposed it was because he had known Rodney for so long.

"Really?" Radek asked and put his hands on his hips. "That did not stop you before."

"Yeah, and look how that ended, you went back to Europe."

"Wait," John said, pieces of a puzzle he hadn't even known were in front of him started fitting together. "What? You two... seriously?" he stammered.

Radek turned toward him. "That was many years ago, John. We were both young." Then he turned back to Rodney. "I went to Europe, you went to Washington, leaving the clinic unattended for years. You got married, Rodney."

"Yeah, and you hooked up with a medical doctor, I fail to see how any of that is relevant."

John couldn't do anything but stand there and look between them like he was watching a tennis match. He was confused, he'd had no idea Rodney liked guys, he'd married a woman for crying out loud.

"You married a woman, Rodney," Radek voiced John's thought.

"That's because you left, you were my first, Radek. I was having trouble dealing with the fact that I was more than likely gay."

"Yes, marrying a woman is the way most men deal with the fact that they may be gay," Radek said sarcastically.

John stood there and watched the exchange for another minute, then he sighed, shook his head and walked past Rodney and into the back room.

John wasn't exactly sure what to make of all the things he'd learned that morning, about himself as well as Rodney. Although, after last night, the news about Rodney's sexual preference was less of a shock to him than the fact that he could be so bitter about a denied sexual encounter.

He'd been turned down a few times in his life, and it had always been a forgive and forget kind of thing with him. He knew that not all people were going to be attracted to him, and he knew that alcohol made some people get so far in a situation they wouldn't normally find themselves in before they caught up to what they were doing. He'd never let it bother him before, but there was also the fact that he really liked Rodney, more than he'd liked anyone he'd been with, or even wanted to be with. He really had no right to be mad at Rodney; he did have a point after all, Rodney was his boss. Bosses sleeping with employees was generally frowned upon, but with Rodney going through a divorce, anything he did with John could be potential ammunition against him.


John turned and found Radek standing in the doorway to the yard.

"Hey, doc," he said, trying to make it sound like nothing had happened that morning, or, more importantly, like nothing had happened the night before.

"I clocked you in, you forgot to do it," Radek said.

"Oh, thanks," John said and turned away from Radek, focusing his attention on the dog he was walking.

John's shoulders stiffened a bit when he heard Radek sigh, he had a feeling he knew what was coming next. Radek and Rodney had been lovers and friends, of course Radek would defend Rodney.

"You must forgive Rodney, he-"

"No," John cut him off. "There's no need to defend him, it's alright. And I don't want you to feel like you need to stand up for me in any way. I'm a big boy and I can take care of myself. Don't take my side over his, you've been friends for a long time, it's not worth it."

"Actually," Radek said, stepping out into the yard and closing the door. "It is. Since you have been working here, Rodney has been less aggressive, less harsh and he has actually begun asking for things rather than demanding them. He likes you, John, which is how I knew that something had happened between the two of you last night."

John scoffed and walked the dog a little more when it pulled gently on the leash.

Radek took a few more steps toward him. "I was unaware if whatever happened was his doing or yours. He was uncharacteristically quiet when he came in this morning, and I only made the assumption when you walked in and... well, I must say you look rather disheveled. I have been with Rodney, I know how sharp his tongue can be."

John laughed lightly and walked the dog back toward the door. "It wasn't his tongue," John said softly. "Well, not only his tongue," he amended.

"Ah, I see," Radek said as he followed John back into the building.

John put the dog back in his cage and took the kennel log off the wall and wrote down what he'd done and at what time.

"How far had you gotten?" Radek asked.

John turned toward him. "Look doc, don't worry about it. I'm not going to quit, I'm not that petty. I'll still be Rodney's friend; I'll still do what he asks me to do. I'm not a teenager, I know how to handle reject."

"Trust me, John. If you had been rejected, you would not be here right now. Rodney did not reject you, he just-"

"Feels that way to me. Now, please excuse me, I've got exam rooms to clean."


By the time lunch finally rolled around, John was exhausted. He hadn't slept much the night before, and while his erection hadn't even threatened to come back during or after his shower, his dreams were apparently of something that merited its rejuvenation.

He decided to spend his lunch lounging in one of the plastic lawn chairs that were stored in the back room. He pulled one over to the farthest corner, propped his feet up on one of the smaller dog cages and rested his chin on his chest.

It hadn't taken him long to fall into a light doze, despite the yapping of the dogs. He didn't know how long it had been since he nodded off, but he woke up with a raging hard on pressing against his zipper.

"Fuck," he said and sat up. But the moment he realized where he was and that Rodney was not far away, it began to fade, and he was more than thankful for that.

John looked at his watch and jumped out of the chair when he saw that more than an hour and a half had passed since he clocked out. He rushed out to the computer only to find Rodney sitting in the chair.

"It's okay," Rodney said without turning around. "I thought you deserved a longer lunch, you know, after-"

"Don't treat me like a girl, Rodney," John snapped, he hadn't meant to, but that was one thing he couldn't stomach. He hated when people treated gay men like they were fragile creatures that needed padding and protection.

"I'm not trying to, John. I think... I think we should talk."

"Talk, yeah, that's what we're good at." Again with the bitterness, and John mentally kicked himself. He rubbed his hands over his face and sighed. "I'm sorry, Rodney," he said. "Yeah, let's talk."

"In my office," Rodney said and got out of the chair.

John wasn't sure if he should be nervous or not. Was this going to be the 'we almost had sex and now I don't think you should work here anymore' speech? He hoped not, he liked the job and the people.

Rodney closed the door behind John, but instead of going behind the desk like he probably would if this was the aforementioned speech, he just stood there, leaning against the closed door.

John tried not to let himself think what this might mean, but it wasn't working. Rodney was looking almost as broken as John felt, but the question was, was that a good thing or a bad thing?

"This is awkward," Rodney said finally and pushed off the door. He walked slowly around John and leaned his butt on the edge of the desk.

"Yeah," John agreed."

"John," Rodney began. "About last night, I'm really sorry."

John thought about stopping him right there, about covering for himself by saying something like it's nothing, it was only going to be a quick fuck, a onetime thing, it was the alcohol... something. But he didn't, and he wasn't sure if that was because he wanted to hear what Rodney was going to say, or if he wanted Rodney to suffer by being made to say it.

"I never meant to let it get that far, I shouldn't have let it get that far. It's not that I didn't want it, I did, I do, but..." Rodney closed his eyes and lowered his head.

Again, John chose not to say anything.

"I'm really sorry, John, but I just can't let that happen. I know it was bad, leaving you hanging like that, especially after how far it had gotten, but... I just... the alcohol, and the friendship and then you telling me you almost came under the table. Jesus, John, I didn't know until that point that you liked guys, I wasn't even sure then, but then you kissed me back and... well, I just couldn't stop it. I didn't want to stop it, then it got out of hand, and you said... what you said, before I stopped." Rodney shook his head and leaned off the table. "I don't want this to affect our friendship, I know it'll be hard, but I still want to be your friend, John. I'd still like you to come with me to Washington next weekend. Is that something you think you can do?"

John felt the ice around his heart start to melt when Rodney looked up at him. He looked horrible, tortured, lost and alone; he looked exactly the way John felt. John walked over to one of the overstuffed chairs and sat down. He wasn't sure exactly how to respond to what Rodney had said, but before he really had time to think about it, he was speaking.

"It doesn't feel very good, Rodney. Being brought that close to orgasm and then being denied. I'm not really into the whole BDSM scene, so I don't get off on the denial. But, I guess you were left unsatisfied too, if the stiffness of the cock I had in my hand had anything to say about it anyway." John shook his head and hoped Rodney didn't see the blush he could feel rising in his face. He hadn't exactly meant to say that. After a moment, he sighed and turned back to Rodney. "I suppose the fact that I've thought about you, in that way, since we first met makes it harder to deal with. But yeah, I'd like to stay friends. We'll have to not drink together, and we'll have to limit our alone time, at least for awhile, but, I've only known you for a week, and I already feel like you're a better friend than the people I've known for decades. I said I'd go with you to Washington, and I will."

Rodney's eyes brightened a little, but they still looked sad.

"Good," Rodney nodded. "I uh... I'll um... good."

"Good," John repeated and left the office.


That night wasn't really any better than the previous, every time he relaxed, each and every time he closed his eyes, he heard Rodney's sex sounds, felt the hard cock in his hand, remembered the way Rodney had pressed him into the wall and pushed his pants and boxers down so expertly. God he'd been so close, orgasm was just a breath away when Rodney had stopped. John wasn't sure if that had been because of the alcohol or because it was Rodney's hand on his dick, or a combination of the two.

"Shit," John groaned, his dick was getting hard again. Correction, his dick was hard again, and it hadn't taken long to get that way. John had no idea how he was going to survive an entire weekend with Rodney, but he'd promised him that he'd go, and if he was honest with himself, he actually wanted to spend some time alone with Rodney. Time alone, away from everything else. Away from being employer and employee, away from the restaurant and the bar and the cab company and Rodney's house. He just wanted to be John Sheppard, with Rodney McKay, what was so difficult about that?

John decided that he'd go ahead and make what could turn out to be the biggest mistake of his life, but god he needed it. What was a little sex between a man and his hand anyway? The only problem was that the image in his head was one he'd been trying not to think about. Oh well, it wasn't like Rodney would know, John certainly wasn't going to tell him. He threw the cover off his body, lifted his hips and pushed his boxers down to his knees. He lay back on the bed and took his cock in his hand and closed his eyes. In his mind, he was back in Rodney's house, pressed against the wall, Rodney's mouth sucking the deep purple spot on his neck, the one he'd been trying to hide all day. The last thing he'd said before it all broke was "oh god, make me come, Rodney."

John's entire body hummed with pleasure as he imagined Rodney's hand moving faster, his thumb moving over the head of his cock and smearing the pre-come over it. The feel of flesh on flesh as his hand moved up and down the shaft with just enough pressure to keep it just on this side of painful without any lubricant.

"Oh fuck," John said into the darkness as his own hand moved the way Rodney's was in his mind. He wanted more than his own hand. He wanted Rodney, his hand, his mouth, his ass.

John grunted Rodney's name as he came, then he opened his eyes and groaned. "Oh shit." He was right, it had been a mistake. Of course it felt good, and it had been what he wanted, but now he had that sick feeling in the pit of his stomach, the one that told him he was never going to get what he wanted.


The next two days were just like Monday had been, John was tired from lack of sleep, Rodney wasn't avoiding him but he wasn't going out of his way to speak to him either. It was mostly Radek that told him the things that needed to be done, and John wondered how in the hell he and Rodney were going to last in a car for however long it took to drive from Deep Cove to Washington if they couldn't even speak to one another.

By Thursday morning, John had had enough of the not sleeping thing, he was exhausted, more tired than he had been for as long as he could remember. He laid in bed for no less than an hour, trying to decide if he should call in and spend the day in bed, hoping to get a little sleep every now and then. He could, and if Rodney tried to give him any grief about it, he could just tell him that it was his fault that he wasn't sleeping. He could tell Rodney that if he hadn't had his hand around John's dick three nights ago, he wouldn't be having any trouble sleeping at all.

He thought about it, even though he knew he wouldn't do it, and he certainly wouldn't say those things to Rodney. Rodney felt bad enough as it was, not that John felt any better, he was the first one to start unbuttoning pants after all.

John eventually got out of bed, showered, shaved, and walked into the clinic at ten minutes past seven. He lived right next door, and he was ten minutes late. No one said anything about it though.

John clocked in and went about his morning duties.

When he went into the back room, he found Rodney with a small black pup on the metal exam table.

"Hey," John said, immediately falling in love.

Rodney looked up and nodded. "Hey," he returned.

"Who is this?" John asked and started rubbing the puppy behind the ears.

"No name given. He was abandoned here last night. Radek says the poor things eaten up with heart worms and that the owners couldn't afford the surgery."

"Can't you treat heartworms with medication?" John asked, he hadn't taken his scratching fingers off the pup's ear since he'd walked over to the table.

"The medication is a preventative measure, and it can treat them in the beginning. I've seen the x-rays, John, there's only one thing I can do for this dog."

John's heart seized up and he picked the little dog up off the table and cradled him in his arms like an infant. "No," he whined. "Rodney don't."

Rodney shook his head. "I'm sorry, John, there isn't anything else to do. He'd need bi-pass surgery to get all those heartworms out. That's a very expensive surgery, and since he's so young and has so many, there's no guarantee he'd even survive. Besides, the owners abandoned him, there's no one to pay for it."

"I'll pay for it," John said without even a moment's hesitation.

"What?" Rodney asked skeptically.

"I said I'll pay for it. You do the surgery and I'll pay for it."

Rodney walked over to the sink and washed his hands. "John," he said, turning around and drying his hands on a paper towel. "The surgery is extremely expensive. Bi-pass, you know what that is, right?"

"Not enough to explain it, but I know it has something to do with the heart. And it doesn't matter how much it cost, just do it and I'll pay for it."

"I'd have to go in through his jugular vein and extract the worms. He's only about five months old, John; I can't swear that he'll make it through that kind of surgery. Not to mention, he's weak from having had them for so long."

"You've done it before, right?"

"A bi-pass? Yeah, but it's not something that gets less risky with practice."

"Then do it, Rodney. Please?" John was still scratching the pup and hugging him to his chest. He wasn't sure why he'd fallen so hard for the dog, he'd never been the biggest fan of labs, bull dogs were his dog of choice, but there was something about this one that just reached out and grabbed his heart. "Don't put him to sleep," he pleaded.

Rodney sighed and shook his head. "Alright, John."

"Thank you!" John cut him off.

"You need to realize that the surgery needs to be paid for even if the dog doesn't survive," Rodney told him. "And, if it turns out that you can't pay for it, I'll take it out of your check. This kind of surgery costs a lot of money and I can't afford to do it pro-bono."

"I understand," John told him and carried the pup toward one of the empty kennels. He opened the door and placed the puppy inside, then went right back to scratching his ear. "Hey buddy," he said. "You'll be alright, Rodney's a good vet. He'll take care of you and you'll be better in no time."

"John," Rodney said from behind him.

"Yeah?" John answered as he pulled the water bowl off the door.

"I won't be doing the surgery."

"What?" John asked in a worried tone as he turned around.

"He's dehydrated, he'll need to be on IV fluids all day today. And nothing by mouth," he said and plucked the bowl out of John's hand. "Radek will do the surgery tomorrow."


"Its fine, John. Radek is an excellent veterinarian. He's actually performed bi-pass surgeries more than I have."

"Yeah but..."

"What's the matter, John? Did you used to have a dog like him when you were little or something?"

"No, I've never had a Lab before."

"Then why are you so suddenly attached?"

"I don't know, it just happened. I saw him and I fell for him," he didn't add what he was thinking which was, like I did with you.

"He doesn't have any less chance of survival with Radek than he would with me. In fact, I'd say with Radek doing the surgery his chance of survival went up. Like I said, Radek's done this kind of surgery more than I have. He's really good and has a steady hand, which is very important when you're poking around in a heart."

"But wouldn't his chance of survival be even higher with two vets in the OR?" John asked, finally closing the kennel door and washing his hands.

"Yes, but I can't miss this appointment, John. This is the finalization of my divorce, it's not the dentist."

"I know that, I'm not suggesting we don't go. Can't it wait until we get back, then you and Radek could do the surgery together."

"No, John, it can't. This pup is so filled with heartworms that if we don't get them out soon, he'll die. He can't afford to wait another weekend before getting the surgery. But he'll be fine. Radek will have both Novak and Markham here with him, and he may even be able to call in Carson."

"Who's Carson?" John asked.

"His fiancée. Carson's a medical doctor, a surgeon."

"Yeah, and this is a dog, not a person."

"John," Rodney sighed. "It's either Radek does the surgery tomorrow while we're gone, or I put him down now. Those are really the only two choices you have, because I refuse to allow him to suffer through the weekend and hope that he'll still be alive when we get back on Sunday. I'm sorry to be so blunt, but that's it."

John sighed and walked back to the kennel. He looked in at the little dog, Rodney was right, he was weak, he hadn't even moved since John had laid him down. "Alright, Radek can do it."

"Good, now I need to get an IV started on him," Rodney said as he began writing in the pup's new chart.

"Get me those clippers?" Rodney asked and pointed to the shelf behind the door.

John got the clippers and when he turned back, Rodney had the pup back on the table.

"And the white medical tape from the cabinet," Rodney said and handed John the key ring.

It took three tries before John found the right key, and then he looked at the three different sizes of tape. "Which one?" he asked.

"The smaller one," Rodney said, and his tone indicated that John should have known that, and when John thought about it, he realized that he should have.

Rodney took the roll of tape when John handed it to him. "In the cabinet above the sink," Rodney told him and pointed to the cabinet he was referring to. "There are rolls of vet wrap to hold the IV in place. Pick a color."

John went over to the cabinet and looked at the different colors of the wrap. He wanted to choose black, but since the dog was black, he chose blue instead.

He watched as Rodney shaved a small square on the pup's front leg and inserted the IV. Then he taped the catheter in place and covered it with the blue wrap John had chosen.

"There we go," Rodney said as he lifted the dog off the table. "You'll start felling a little better soon."

John followed Rodney back to the pup's cage and once he was inside, John reached in and started petting his ear again.

"Now," Rodney said as he moved John's arm and closed the kennel door. "Maybe you should get to work, we're going to be gone for two days and you need to have everything done, which includes the new order."

"Alright," John said and stuck his finger through the cage and gently touched the pup's foot. "Hey buddy," he said softly. "I'll see you in a little while, okay."

He nodded at Rodney as he went to wash his hands, then he went to restock the gloves and treats.


The day went by pretty slowly. Rodney only had one scheduled surgery, which was a same day patient, and there were less walk ins than John had ever seen. He'd gotten everything he had to do done within the first hour, and had gone back to check on the pup several times since Rodney had put the IV in. Each time he walked over to the cage, he'd open the door, say "hey buddy," and scratch him behind the ear.

When John clocked out for lunch, Rodney told him to just go ahead and take the rest of the day off, but to keep his phone handy because if he needed him, he'd call. John visited the pup once more, then left the clinic.

It was a pretty good day in all, John supposed. He'd gotten a dog, something he hadn't owned since Lucy, and he and Rodney had spoken more words to each other than they had since dinner on Sunday. They certainly hadn't been using their tongues for speaking on Sunday night, and after that, they hadn't said much to one another.

John didn't go home after leaving the clinic, not that the little shack felt like a home, he hated it. The dust, the dreariness, the stupid air mattress that apparently had a leak in it somewhere, the damn thing was almost flat when he woke up that morning, and of course the black and white TV with terrible reception, it was awful. He decided to explore the town, which he hadn't done since last Saturday, and even that wasn't exploring, he'd had a set list of places to go and he'd gone there. He got the bike from the shack and started riding, not thinking about where he was going or what he'd do when he got there, he just rode for the sake of being in the fresh air.

He half hoped his phone would ring, but he knew it wouldn't.

After about an hour of riding slowly through the town, John found himself smack in the middle of what seemed like a flea market crossed with a yard sale and a farmers market. He chained the bike to a lamp post and began looking around. Some of the tables had stuff that people probably found while they were cleaning out their basements or attics, just a bunch of junk. There were a couple tables that were selling handmade jewelry, and John thought for a split second about getting something for Nancy's upcoming birthday, then he decided against it.

He found a total of three slightly used black tee shirts to add to his collection, and a nice dark grey button down. Grey wasn't usually a color he wore, but he already had two black button downs, and he thought maybe he should add a splash of color to his wardrobe. He also found an insanely soft white cotton button down and added it to his small pile of purchases upon feeling it.

By the time he walked back toward his bike, he'd added a black leather jacket to the shirts, and a brand new, never been opened collection of Johnny Cash CDs. He already had all the songs, but he had to buy it because walking past something Johnny Cash felt a little like a sin. The vendor with the Cash CDs had given John a poster that had come with them and John opened it to find the exact poster that Nancy had kept. Now he remembered exactly why his mind made him forgo buying her a gift. That poster had been his most prized possession, besides Lucy of course, and it had been autographed to him by the Man in Black himself.

He also bought a large black backpack so he could get all that stuff home on the bike.


John had just started to unwrap the Johnny Cash CDs when someone knocked on the door. There were only four people that could be, Rodney, Radek, Novak or Markham. He opened to door and found Rodney standing there.

"Come on in," John said without any sort of greeting.

Rodney walked in and John saw him look around for approximately ten seconds before he sneezed. "God," he hissed. "This place is dusty."

"Yep," John replied and went back to his CDs.

"Alright, I'm getting ready to head home," Rodney said. "But I wanted to stop by and ask if you wanted to spend the night at my place?"

John looked up from his task. "I'm not so sure that's a good idea, Rodney," he told him.

"Why? It's not like we're a couple high school girls that can't keep our pants on. We're two highly educated adult men. There's no reason we can't both spend the night in the same house. It's not even a small house."

John huffed out a slight laugh and shook his head. Rodney was right though, they were adults, and as long as they didn't drink, it should be fine for them to sleep in the same house. Not to mention, John refused to let what happened between them get in the way of their friendship. John had only known Rodney for two weeks, and already he was the best friend John had ever had.

"It'll be easier this way," Rodney said as he started looking through the clothes in John's small closet, not waiting for John's answer. "I won't have to come by here and pick you up in the morning. We can just head out from my place. God, John, you really need more clothes."

"Why? I've got clothes."

"You've got a bunch of black things and I think I've seen this shirt," he held up the shirt in question, it was John's favorite black tee shirt which was pretty much form fitting. John had good abs and he was proud of them. "More times than I've seen some of my clothes, and they're in my closet," Rodney continued.

"All that means is that you have too many clothes," John said, getting off the bed and moving over to the closet. "I'll pack, go sit down and stop riffling through my things."

"No, I'll help, I'd like to get home some time tonight," Rodney said as he pulled open a drawer in the small dresser.

"You're the one who said I didn't have many clothes," John replied.

"Well that didn't stop you from taking forever to get dressed the other night before dinner."

"What? I was fully dressed and walked out the door when you honked the horn."

"Yeah, but I was sitting out there for a good fifteen minutes watching your shadow move back and forth in front of the window, and judging by the layout of the place now that I see it, it looks like you were going from the closet to the mirror over and over."

John wasn't completely sure how he felt about the fact that Rodney had been watching him for that long, or what it said about what happened later in the evening, and he had absolutely no idea what to say to it. Instead of saying anything, he turned back to the closet and began pulling out jeans and tee shirts.

"Whoa," Rodney said from the dresser and John turned toward him to find the one pair of bikini briefs he owned.

"Hey," John spat and snatched the underwear out of Rodney's hands. He knew he should have thrown those away when he pulled them out of the duffel bag, he didn't even know how they'd found their way into the bag to begin with.

"Tiger print?" Rodney asked with a raised eyebrow.

"Oh shut up," was all John could think to say.

"No, I like tigers."

"They were a gift," John told him, although he really didn't want to tell him that they were a gift from Nancy. She'd given him an entire pack of them and he'd managed to get rid of all but that pair.

"From who?" Rodney asked.

"A friend."

"Must be some friend."

"Rodney," John's tone had more of a warning in it than he'd intended.

"Right, sorry. Maybe spending the night isn't the best idea."

"Too bad, you invited me and I'm coming. But I'm sleeping on the couch."

"Okay. I wasn't expecting you to sleep in my bed anyway, but I do have a spare bedroom."

John sighed, wouldn't that little piece of information have been good to know last weekend.


Before long, John had almost every piece of clothing, except for the god awful bikini briefs, in his duffel and he was tossing the bag into the back seat of Rodney's car.

"We're only going to be gone for three days, John. You didn't need to pack everything you own."

"Again, you're the one that pointed out how few clothes I have. Besides, I'm indecisive. I never know what I'm going to want to wear."

"I don't even understand that," Rodney said.

"What?" John asked suspiciously.

"All of your clothes are almost identical, black and more black. Black black, slightly faded from the wash black and deep charcoal grey which is just another word for black. How can you possibly not be sure what to wear? Whatever you pull out of the closet will be... oh what's the word I'm looking for? Oh yeah, black."

"I have a very comfortable white button down and a pair of blue jeans," John defended, not adding that the white button down had only been added to his wardrobe that evening.

"I've never seen them."

"That's because you've only known me for two weeks."

"You have to know a person for several months before you show them that you're not living in a black and white movie?"

"No, it's just that those are my special occasion clothes, for occasions where black wouldn't be the best option."

"Well, on the up side, you'll be ready for a funeral in a moment's notice."

"How is that an up side?"

"I have no idea, just shut up and get in the car already."

"Tell me to shut up when you're the one who started the whole conversation," John said as he slid into the passenger seat.

The drive to Rodney's house seemed a lot longer than it should have, but that was probably because John had to force himself to look out the window rather than at the khaki pants that were so nicely stretched over Rodney's thigh. It was a battle to keep his head facing forward, a battle he was losing. His head was doing a fair job of keeping where it should be, his eyes on the other hand, were a lot harder to control. They kept sliding to the left and getting lost in the wrinkle in the pants that was pointing to Rodney's crotch like an arrow.

It became too much when his mind decided to remind him in vivid memory form that he'd had the cock that was now hiding under those khaki pants in his hand. That it had been hard and throbbing and begging to be sucked and stroked.

John groaned, internally of course, he didn't want Rodney to know that he was having flashbacks of that night, and leaned the seat back. He threw his arm over his eyes and took a deep calming breath.

"Tired?" Rodney asked.

"A little," it wasn't a lie. He'd ridden his bike all over town so he was tired. "Getting a headache too." That part was a lie, but what was it that people always said when they wanted to forgo any and all sexual encounters? 'I have a headache.' John decided to say it now because he knew he wouldn't have the strength to if it came to that later.

"I've got some aspirin at home, I'll give you a couple when we get there," Rodney said.


John lifted his arm just enough to find Rodney staring at his leg, or maybe it wasn't his leg, in a way that could only be termed wantonly.

He laid his arm back over his eyes and let out a long breath, this was going to be a very long night.


They started out with dinner, a pot roast that Rodney had been slow cooking all day. It was perfection, the meat was so tender that it practically melted in John's mouth and the potatoes were so soft they fell apart when he tried to stick them with his fork, and there we no words in the English language that would come close to describing the carrots.

After dinner, they played Scrabble, a game that John had little experience with and Rodney had to keep reminding him of the rules. John contested a few of Rodney's words to which Rodney pulled a ridiculously huge dictionary off the book shelf. In the end, Rodney won the game, but John wasn't sure if that was because he decided that it wasn't worth wracking his brain for huge words that would get him triple word scores when his mind had digressed to that of a fifth grader pulling out words like cat, friend and sex. He'd known the last word was a mistake as soon as the tiles were on the board. He was also pretty sure that Rodney had set up the bag to have all the good letters on one side and all the crappy ones on the other, John had a total of three vowels for the entire game, two of which were o.

After Scrabble, John mentioned that chess was a game that he knew plenty about, and Rodney had pulled out a beautiful hand carved marble chess set; telling John that he'd picked it up in Tijuana for all of fifteen bucks. They'd set the board, which was actually a thick marble slab that had been polished to perfection, on the coffee table and Rodney had pulled the chair around so that it was between the coffee table and the TV.

It was two in the morning before they decided to call it a draw and save the rest of the game for another time.

John was exhausted by the time he dragged himself through the door to the spare room. He really had no idea how he'd missed that door the last time he stayed at Rodney's house. It was as plain as day and directly between Rodney's room and the bathroom. He supposed he could have simply thought it was a linen closet before, but that theory didn't hold up very well when the bathroom had a linen closet in it.

He stripped to his boxers, deciding to forget his reasons for not seeing the door, and crawled into the bed which was only slightly less comfortable than Rodney's bed.

He thought that, with as tired as he was, sleeping wouldn't be that big a problem, but he'd been wrong. The second the light was clicked off his brain clicked on, letting him know that the room was laid out so that Rodney was, quite literally, a wall away. Aside from the headboards of both beds, all that was between them was wood and plaster. If the wall suddenly disappeared, the headboard of John's bed would be directly against the headboard of Rodney's bed.

Rodney was that close, doing god knew what in his dark room on his comfortable bed, under the blanket that John had thrown back over the bed after having jerked off underneath it.

Oh god, that was the wrong thought to be having. There went John's brain again, it seemed that an image of Rodney doing dirty things to himself had taken up residence in John's mind. Of course that image only decided to make its presence known at the most inopportune of moments. Like now, when there was only a wall between them and John's dick was rock hard and begging to be jerked off. It didn't help that in most of the fantasies, John was there too, although most of the time, Rodney was touching himself rather than John.

"Oh god," he whispered and threw the blanket onto the floor.

Rodney was on the bed, straddling John who was flat on his back, John's hands were pinned under Rodney's knees. Rodney had one of his hands wrapped around his own dick while the other was behind him, his fingers in his own ass. Rodney was moaning and grinding down onto John.

"I want to touch myself, Rodney," John whined.

"No!" Rodney said commandingly. "It's mine."

John's body, both his physical one and the mental one, shuddered at the force Rodney had used to deliver the words. John refused to touch himself until the good stuff started happening in his mind, and it would, he'd decided not to fight it, it was useless anyway. So barring Rodney knocking on the door and interrupting him... oh shit, he shouldn't have even thought that, now it was going to happen. Rodney would knock on the door and John would have to answer the door with a raging hard-on that he hadn't even touched yet.

Stop thinking! John chided himself and turned inward back to the scene in his mind.

He was fucking Rodney! Holy shit, the him in his head hadn't waited for him and when he mentally got back there, he was actively fucking Rodney! He was buried to the hilt in Rodney's ass and he wasn't pulling any punches either.

Rodney was on his elbows and knees with his ass in the air. John was behind Rodney on his knees and his hips were pistoning forward and back. John had his hands on Rodney's hips and there were indentions on Rodney's skin where John's fingers were digging in. He was pulling Rodney back onto him with each of his forward thrusts and, oh god, Rodney was loving it.

Rodney's head was up, his eyes were closed and his mouth was open. He was moaning and groaning and making all sorts of erotic noises that John had only heard him use in this sense once before.

John hand moved faster on his dick as he thrust into Rodney again and again. He almost lost the rhythm when Rodney started moaning his name; 'John... John... fuck me John...'

John grabbed the box of Kleenex off the nightstand when he felt himself getting close. He bit his lip hard and caught most of his mess in the tissues when he came.

Oh shit, the Rodney in his mind could say some dirty things when he was coming and John wondered in the three and a half seconds before he passed out from utter exhaustion, if the real Rodney had a dirty mouth.


John woke up and found Rodney standing beside the bed. He sat up on his elbows, the ingrained tension from his military years coming back fully, it was never good when you woke up to someone standing by your bed.

"What's wrong?" John asked.

"Nothing," Rodney said, taking a step back. His eyes slid away from John's eyes for a moment before shooting back up and taking in a deep breath through his nose. "It's uh- it's seven thirty, I thought you might want to take a shower and grab some breakfast before we head out.

"Sure," John said and laid back down.

Rodney nodded and left the room.

Once he was alone, John remembered throwing the blanket to the floor and not picking it up before he fell asleep. His head shot off the bed in a heartbeat and he was relieved to see that he'd picked up the blanket at some point during the night, it was low on his hips, but the only thing Rodney had seen was a little hair.

John sat up and... oh shit; there was that wad of crispy Kleenex lying accusingly on the blanket beside him. Apparently John had missed the trash can when he threw the tissues off the bed and they'd landed on the blanket. As luck would have it, they had time to dry and get stuck before John's naked body got cold enough to cover itself with no help from his brain.

John scrubbed at his face and blew out a breath. That was what Rodney had looked at then. There was only one thing a wad of tissues on a man's bed meant, so Rodney knew that John had jerked off in his guest bedroom, on his guest bed.

John was two for two now, and he felt terrible, although, not quite as bad as he had before. He attributed that to two things, one, he wasn't in Rodney's bed when he did it and two, a few days ago, he'd actually had his hand on Rodney's cock and Rodney had all but made John come, so jerking off wasn't completely wrong.

John groaned, threw the tissues in the trash can, pulled on the robe Rodney had in the spare room, and headed toward the bathroom.

What a wonderful way to start a weekend with Rodney.


"I feel pretty, oh so pretty..." Rodney was singing and it wasn't his first song. It was only nine thirty and they'd only been on the road for half an hour, but John was going slowly insane. He hadn't said anything though because he was technically the guest, but he'd had enough.

"God, Rodney," John howled. "Enough with the musicals, seriously!"

Rodney looked over at John and the expression on his face said 'you hurt me, John, deeply' and John just rolled his eyes. "I happen to like The Sound of Music, thank you," Rodney told him curtly. "And I'll allow you to choose the music when it's your turn to drive."

"Okay, but can you at least cut the singing? I'd like to get a little sleep before it's my turn to drive."

"We're not even outside Surrey yet. Didn't you sleep last night?" Rodney asked and John could swear that the man turned pink just before he turned away.

"Yes, I did actually," John said as he leaned his seat back a little further. "But not well, so I'd like to get caught up before I drive so I don't drive us off the road."

"You flew fighter planes, and you can't drive a car?" Rodney asked, not turning back toward John.

"I can drive, but not when I'm tired. I had a forced eight hour sleep cycle before I had to fly, last night, not so much. So please, if you'd like to actually finalize your divorce so she doesn't get your life insurance money, stop singing and let me sleep."

"Good point," Rodney conceded. "Shutting up now, sweet dreams."

Again, John would put money on the fact that the color of Rodney's face changed slightly. He smiled and put his arm back over his eyes. The volume of the crooning, which was exactly what The Sound of Music was, went down a little and Rodney was no longer singing. John was asleep within minutes.


John slowly woke to the sound of Rodney's voice, but at least this time he wasn't singing, he was speaking. John didn't move his arm, didn't move at all actually. He just stayed where he was and listened to Rodney's soothing voice.

"...and how's the pup?" Rodney asked.

"He is doing fine," Radek's voice said through the speakers on Rodney's phone. "I have not performed surgery yet, I will do that in a few hours. I want him to get a bit more hydrated."

"Good call," Rodney told him. "And Icarus and Atlantis?"

"I stopped by your house this morning and fed them. Yes I gave them their fur ball medication and changed the water in the fountain."

"Did you..."

"Yes, Rodney, I scooped the litter box and refilled the catnip in their mice. They are fine."

"Did you..."

"Yes, Rodney," Radek sounded slightly agitated now. "I lived with you for two and a half years. I know how to care for your prima donna cats."

"They aren't prima donnas, for starters, they're both male."

"Do not speak to me of semantics, you know what I mean."

"Yeah, and you just don't want to get into semantics because I can talk you under the table."

"As I recall, it was you who was under the table most of the time," Radek replied and John could hear the smirk in his voice.

"Radek," Rodney hissed incredulously, and the last half of the name seemed closer to than the front half, which meant that Rodney had turned to make sure John was still asleep.

"John already knows we were together," Radek said.

"Yeah, because of you and your big mouth," Rodney replied smartly.

"He deserved to know that his wasn't the first pair of pants your hand had been in."

"Radek Zelenka, you and I are no longer together and you have no right to decide who in my life deserves to know what."

"Rodney, open your eyes," Radek spat.

John was listening intently now. He had a feeling he was going to learn more from this conversation, from Radek, than he'd ever learn from Rodney himself.

"Radek, we're not talking about this, it can't happen."

"It can, Rodney. How can you not see that the man is as crazy for you as you are for him."

"Crazy for him?"

"Yes, Rodney. I have seen the way you look at him, the way you are nicer to him than to any employee you have ever hired. You are head over heels for him."


"No, Rodney, you need to listen to me. You are finishing your divorce in a couple of days, nothing you do with John after that can affect you or the divorce, not that it could anyway. You need to allow yourself this, you deserve to be happy."

"I am happy."

"You have settled in your life, Rodney, that is not happiness."

"Thanks mom, but I think I know how to handle myself."

"I am sorry, but you do not. If you did, you would be wallowing in the beauty that is John Sheppard. Honestly, Rodney, the man is a god."

"Damn, Radek, good thing he's asleep."

"Look at him," Radek said.

"I'm driving."

"Then pull over."

"No, he might wake up."

"That would not be a bad thing."

"Given the conversation you are insisting we have, yes, it would be bad."

"Pull over, Rodney."

Radek's tone was demanding, and John felt the car easing to the side of the road.

"Okay, Your Majesty, I've pulled over. What's your next order?"

"Do not be an ass, Rodney!"

"Yes sir!"

"Continue speaking like military and you will wake him."

"Oh shit, you're right."

"Now, look at him."

"Looking," Rodney sang sarcastically.

"Tell me what you see."


"Yes, Rodney. Tell me what you see."

Rodney sighed. "Fine. He's in the passenger seat leaned back with his arm over his face. His other hand is resting on his stomach," Rodney portrayed.

"Describe his stomach."

"It's covered with a black shirt, big surprise, but it's pulled up just enough to show a little skin between his shirt and his pants."

"Tell me about the skin?"

"It's dark, smooth," John could hear Rodney's voice slowing down, becoming thicker. "A thin line of hair leading down into his jeans."

"His legs?"

"Stretched out, crossed at the ankles. He's wearing his ratty work boots."

"You like those boots?"

"Yes, I do actually."

"His hair?"

"You want me to describe his hair?" His voice had gone back to its normal irascible tone. "Are you serious? It's got a life of its own, there are no words."


"Black, stickey uppy, messy looking."

"His mouth?"

"His mouth?"

"His mouth."

Another sigh. "Nice, he's got kind of full lips, perfect." His voice was changing again. "His lips are parted slightly and I can see his teeth. He has nice teeth. Unh," Rodney grunted.


"He just licked his lips."

"Are they wet?"

"I just said he licked them so yeah, they're wet."

"His crotch?"

John had to fight to keep still because at the mere mention of his cock, the little traitor decided to start moving around and let Rodney know that he was still there and missed his warm touch.

"No, Radek, I refuse to do that! I'm not going to describe John's crotch to you so you can jerk off over the phone. You have a surgery to do. John'll be pissed if he comes home to a dead dog."

"You are looking are you not?"

"Holy shit, I am," he whispered, and got louder as he added. "Screw this, Radek, I'm driving now."

John wasn't sure what to think about the fact that Rodney had seen the bulge in the front of John's pants get bigger, but the thing that made him realize he was looking, was Radek's question.

"You have feelings for him, Rodney. Admit that point and act on it. It is apparent that he likes you as well, so there is no chance of denial, unless you have completely screwed it up by bringing him that close to orgasm and then backing away."

"How do you even know about that, and how do you know he was that close?"

"You are not the only one who confides in me, Rodney."

"He told you!?"

"He did, and you are a complete shit for doing that to him."

"I know. Jesus, Radek, I know. What do you want me to say?"

"I want you to admit the truth, to yourself and to me, right now and then to John this evening."

"Fine," Rodney said sharply and John considered waking up to save Rodney the embarrassment, but he didn't. "You want me to tell you that I want it? That I want him? I do, more than I can put into words. You're right, he's beautiful, he's a fallen fucking angel and I want to fuck him until my come is shooting out of his mouth! But that doesn't matter, it can't happen, I'm his boss, he's my employee and I'm hanging up now."

John's chest was tight, Rodney's admission had made it hard to breathe. He wanted to sit up and grab Rodney before he started driving again. He wanted to pull him into his arms and kiss him senseless, but he knew it wasn't the right time. If John let Rodney know that he'd only been faking sleep, he'd close up even tighter, and closed wasn't how John wanted Rodney.

John car went quiet, then John felt it moving again, and a few minutes later the music came back on.

John gave it another fifteen minutes then he moaned and shifted, he moved his arm, moaned again and sat the seat up.

"What time is it?" he asked.

"Eleven," Rodney told him. "It's time for you to wake up. I think I'm ready for a nap so it's your turn to drive."

John stretched and yawned. "Okay," he said through the yawn. "Pull over at the next rest stop cause I have to use the bathroom, then I'll take the wheel."

Ten minutes and a Rodney rant about the quality of rest stop coffee later, John pulled back onto the highway. Another thirty minutes after that, Rodney's slow, even breathing was filling the quiet car and John yawned as the rhythmic sound of it washed soothingly over him.

John reached between the center console and the passenger seat and pulled out his book of CDs. He flipped open the front cover without taking his eyes off the road, and pulled out the third CD in the book. Again, without taking his eyes away from the road, he ejected Rodney's musical and, because he didn't know where else to put it, filled spot that his CD had just vacated.

John slipped the Johnny Cash CD into the CD player and turned the volume up, thinking how turn about was fair play. Rodney's singing had woke him up once and then kept him from getting to sleep.

He smiled as he counted the seconds until the music started and then he almost burst into hysterical laughter when the trumpet blared out of the speakers and Rodney shot straight up in his seat.

"What the..."

"Oh, sorry, Rodney, I must have forgotten to turn the volume down before I put the CD in."

"What in God's name are you listening to?" Rodney asked, his face scrunched as the trumpet continued.

John reached out and turned the volume down and smiled at Rodney.

"Johnny Cash, what else? It's Ring of Fire."

"More like torture," Rodney said as he relaxed back into the seat.

John smirked and took a breath, if Rodney wanted torture, John was only too happy to return the favor.

He turned toward Rodney and smiled broadly.

"Love, is a burning thing... and it makes a fiery ring. Bound, by wild desire... I fell into a ring of fire."

"Okay, thank you, that's enough," Rodney said and John's smile just got bigger.

"I fell into a burning ring of fire, I went down, down, down and the flames went higher, and it burns, burns, burns, the ring of fire. The ring of fire."

"John, please. I have very sensitive ears."

"How do you think I felt?" John asked as the trumpet blared. Then he smiled and launched into the next line of the song. He blushed slightly and turned the volume down. How could he have forgotten that line was in there. At least in Rodney's musicals there hadn't been any mention of love tasting sweet or anything about hearts like ours meeting.

He turned back to the road and shook his head. He couldn't believe he'd actually blushed, and he thanked the stars that he was tan enough for it to not have been as noticeable as Rodney's blushes were.

"I really am sorry I woke you," John said. He'd actually done it on purpose, but he needed something to say there.

Out of the corner of his eye he saw Rodney shrug. "Doesn't matter, I guess I did kind of do the same to you."

John huffed out a small laugh. "Yeah, kind of."

"So, maybe when we stop for lunch, we can go through our music and see if there's something we can both agree on."

"That sounds like a plan," John told him. "Now lean back and go to sleep, I'll keep the music down."

Rodney nodded and John turned away from him and looked back out the front window.

An hour later, John pulled into the drive through at McDonald's telling Rodney that he really didn't want to stop driving since they only had an hour and a half left anyway. The truth of the matter was that he wanted to get out of the car as soon as possible. It wasn't going to be his lack of sleep that wrecked the car, it was more apt to be how hard he kept looking at Rodney. Really, he was going to have to get a handle on this and fast.


Stopping for dinner was actually stopping for the night. Rodney had instructed John where to go and John followed the directions to the letter. He pulled into a spot nearest the check in office of a small out of the way hotel.

"This place is small, but it's nice and cheap and the restaurant next door does the room service," Rodney told him. "I stop here every time I make this drive; I need a night to get my shit together before I face the mega bitch."

"Is this the place with the orgasmic chocolate?" John asked and smiled as he watched Rodney's ears turn pink.

"Um- yeah," Rodney replied and dipped his head. "You stay here, I'll go check in, then we can take our stuff in and then go get dinner next door."

"Okay," John said and watched as Rodney got out of the car and went into the office. His back was to John the entire time, but John could tell by Rodney's posture and waving hands that he wasn't exactly happy about something. When Rodney turned away from the desk John's suspicion was confirmed by the scowl on the man's face.

"What's up?" John asked when Rodney opened the door.

"They only have one vacancy," Rodney told him.


"Each room only has one bed."

"Oh. No couches?"

"Yeah, but terribly uncomfortable for sleeping."

"Oh well, I slept on military cots for twenty years, a couch is bound to be more comfortable. Go back in and get the room, I'm not going to make you change your usual routine because you brought me along."

"You sure?"

"Absolutely. Like you said the other day, we're both highly educated adults."

"Okay," Rodney said and went back into the office.

John got out of the car and pulled out his bag and Rodney's, then he waited by the office door for Rodney to come out.

"Room twelve," Rodney said and started walking toward the room.

John followed and once the door was open, John took the bags inside and laid them on the bed.

"Wow," He said. From the outside of the hotel he'd have expected a crappy little room with stains on the carpet and cigarette holes burned into the blanket. But it was a really nice room, big and open with a refrigerator and a dresser. The bathroom door was open and he had a view of a shower that came a close second to Rodney's in size. The carpet was tan and hardly stained at all, and the couch was a dark blue and ridiculously long.

"Ready?" Rodney asked, he was still standing in the doorway.

"Yep," John replied and stepped out of the room, making sore Rodney had the key before closing the door.


The restaurant was dinky but the smells wafting through the kitchen door were making John's mouth water like crazy. He'd learned his fish lesson the last time he and Rodney had dinner, and decided to go straight for the burger this time.

"As I recall," John said and swallowed his mouthful of french-fries. "It's my turn to pay."

Rodney nodded as he chewed. He'd ordered the burger too and for some reason, Rodney's burger looked a lot better than John's. "Yeah, but after last time, I think I probably owe you another dinner," Rodney said apologetically.

"You're probably right," John told him. He took a big bite of his burger and spoke around it. "But I'll save that as an IOU, this is my treat."

"You sure?"

"Yep." He waved at the server as she walked by. "Can I get a beer please?"

"John," Rodney protested.

"Absolutely sir," the girl said and walked toward the bar.

"It's okay, Rodney, neither of us are alcoholics, we can stop at a few."

Rodney nodded and swallowed hard, John could almost hear it from across the table, and when the server came back, he ordered a beer as well.

They finished dinner with only three beers a piece, a personal best for both of them as far as dinner out together went. Rodney decided that dessert wasn't the best idea after what John said last time, and John agreed with him on that.

John paid the bill, left the tip and they went back to the hotel while the sun was still up.

"This really is a nice place," John said as he moved the bags off the bed and onto the couch.

"I like it, the beds are pretty comfortable," Rodney replied.

John sat on the bed, bounced a little and then lay back.

"Hey, I thought..."

"I'm not stealing the bed, Rodney," John told him, rolling over onto one side and propping himself on one elbow. "But if the couch is as uncomfortable as you say it is, I'd rather not subject my spine to it any sooner than I have to."

"Oh, right," Rodney said and moved around to the other side of the bed. He sat down and scooted back to lean against the headboard.

John rolled back over onto his back and his arm brushed against Rodney's leg.

Oh no, John thought as his mind replayed the conversation Rodney had with Radek in the car.

'I want it... I want him...' Rodney said in John's mind, and suddenly, John didn't have the strength or the will to stop his next move. He turned his head and nuzzled against Rodney's thigh as one hand slid under Rodney's knee. His nose brushed against the rough material of Rodney's jeans and his hand rubbed the back of his knee.

"John," Rodney whispered and it was a broken sound.

John's stomach was fluttering like mad, he knew Rodney wanted this, but the man had reasons for not doing it, and he'd said no, which made John wonder what exactly he was doing right now. But the answer didn't come to him, and the wondering wasn't strong enough to make him stop.

John rolled onto his side and draped his other arm over Rodney's thighs and pulled him closer to his face. He barred his teeth and gently nipped Rodney's hip, feeling the skin catch between his teeth and the material of his jeans.

"John," Rodney whispered again and John lifted himself to his hands and knees.

"Rodney," he said, his own voice was as broken and shaky as Rodney's was. "I'm not drunk, this is me. I want you, Rodney. Please," he licked his lips and moved a little closer to Rodney's face. "Please," he repeated, he knew he was begging but he couldn't bring himself to care.

John shifted his weight to his legs and put both hands on the sides of Rodney's face. He looked down at Rodney's lips, but before he could move toward them, they were on his.

Rodney's arms were wrapped around John's shoulders and he was being pulled in, Rodney's tongue pressing against John's lips seeking entrance, and John allowed it. He opened his mouth and his tongue spilled into Rodney's mouth and mingled with Rodney's tongue, tasting him rather than alcohol for the first time.

He moaned, unable to stop it and pulled Rodney down to the bed. The position was awkward but it didn't matter. He had Rodney in his arms, he was kissing him and... "Uhn," John grunted as Rodney pressed his erection into John's hip. "Oh god, Rodney," John said when he pulled away from Rodney's mouth. "I want you so bad."

Rodney let go of a long quivering breath that made John's skin break out in goose flesh. "Fuck, John," he said and John closed their mouths together in another searing kiss before Rodney could say anything else.

"No thinking, Rodney. This isn't about anything but you and me, John and Rodney. That's all it is... tell me you want me too. Please, Rodney, tell me." John was breathing fast and shallow now, afraid that Rodney would cut him off. Of course, if Rodney said no, John would back off, but that wasn't what he wanted, it wasn't what either of them wanted.

"Oh fuck, John. I want you... I need you," Rodney replied quickly.

Then John found himself on his back with Rodney on top of him and they were kissing again. John ran his hands down Rodney's back and pressed his fingers into the waist of Rodney's pants. When John's hands slid around Rodney's sides, Rodney lifted his hips and John began working his pants open.

Rodney grunted in frustration and sat up. He tore his own pants open before doing the same to John's. Rodney became a blur of motion and then they were both naked.

John's stomach went tight as he looked at Rodney where he was standing beside the bed, completely naked. The cock he'd only felt before was standing in front of his eyes in all its glory and John wanted nothing more in the world than to taste it. He sat up and scooted to the edge of the bed, keeping his eyes on Rodney's, and put his hands on Rodney's hips.

Rodney bit his lower lip and John knew the look on his face, he'd seen it before on other men, but this was Rodney, so it was so much better, Rodney wanted him. He wanted John to suck him. John felt his stomach flutter as he leaned forward and ran his tongue lightly over the head. He moaned at the taste and dove in for more, taking Rodney in deep.

Rodney grunted and jerked his hips, running his fingers through John's hair. "Oh fuck," he breathed.

John sucked hard before moving his head back and forth, tasting the head of Rodney's dick each time he pulled back. Rodney's hands were gripping John's hair tight, and his hips were gently moving back and forth. His breathing was shallow and shaking as he exhaled it. "Oh god, John... you're amazing, don't stop. Please, I... I want to come in your mouth."

John sucked in a harsh breath through his nose at the admission and applied more pressure. He felt Rodney jerk a little as his knees weakened and John turned them without taking his mouth off Rodney's cock and eased him down onto the bed. Tiny broken moans were riding Rodney's exhales now and John felt his belly begin to tingle with the sound.

"Yes, John... suck me hard... make me come..." Rodney was moaning and John wanted to do just that. He wanted to taste Rodney's come, he wanted to swallow it down and leave him sated and quivering.

Rodney continued encouraging John, and John moaned over Rodney erection, making the man under him gasp in a breath and beg for more. John gave more, he moaned again as he pulled Rodney closer to the edge of the mattress. John teased Rodney's hole once Rodney's ass was hanging over the bed just enough to allow him access.

"Oh fuck!" Rodney groaned loudly as John slipped one finger inside and wound it around the tight ring of muscle. "Oh Jesus, I want you to fuck me, John... please..."

John pulled off of Rodney and began running his tongue up and down the shaft before moving even lower and laving his tongue over Rodney's balls, feeling the velvety flesh as he took them into his mouth and sucked, moving his free hand to stroke Rodney's cock.

Rodney made a sound that made John's dick jump with anticipation. He stroked harder, running his thumb over the head again and again.

"Oh jeez... oh fuck... god John... I'm going to... shit, I'm going to come!" Rodney shouted and John released Rodney's balls and moved his mouth back to Rodney's dick so he wouldn't miss the taste. He sucked hard while he massaged the balls with his hand, then he was swallowing as Rodney clutched the edge of the mattress and came hard into John's mouth, letting out a long growl as the come streamed out of his body.

When Rodney was done and his body had gone limp, John released his cock and began licking it softly, gathering every bit of come he may have missed. Then he helped Rodney onto the bed and went to his bag.

Nothing killed the mood faster than not being prepared, but if John had planned on this, he'd have had the lube on the night table, but then, if he hadn't been planning on it, at least subconsciously, he wouldn't have brought it.

His leaving the bed didn't seem to bother Rodney any, when John turned back, Rodney was on his side propped on one elbow and watching John with a smirk on his face.

"What?" John asked.

"You brought lube," Rodney said.

John felt his ears heat up. "Not for this, but this is better," he said and went back over to the bed.

Part of him wanted to ask Rodney if he really meant it when he said he wanted John to fuck him, but the bigger part just wanted to get started. The answer to a question could be no, so John decided not to ask. He crawled back up onto the bed and straddled Rodney's hips, then he leaned down and kissed him. The feel of Rodney's hands on his naked hips was like fire, John wanted him so bad, and there wasn't time to take things slow.

He got off Rodney and moved Rodney's legs apart with his knees and settled between them. He watched Rodney as he squeezed a good amount lube onto his fingers.

Rodney had that look again, the 'I want you' look, and John pushed one finger into Rodney's ass. Rodney groaned softly and pressed down.

"Rodney," John breathed and pressed the finger in deeper.

"More, John, don't stop," Rodney pleaded and John added a second finger, scissoring them to loosen the muscle.

He pressed in deeper and brushed Rodney's prostate and Rodney's hips jumped and he gasped and grunted John's name. John added the third finger, he couldn't wait any longer. He needed to be inside Rodney, needed to feel Rodney squeezing him.

"I need you now, Rodney," John said as he pulled his fingers out. He reached for his discarded jeans and fished out his wallet. He pulled out the small square package and then he ripped it open with his teeth. He managed to roll the condom on before lubing his cock with a shaking hand.

Rodney lifted his legs and locked them around John's waist and John pressed the head of his dick against Rodney's hole and pushed in.

John grunted as the muscle squeezed and pulled him in further. "Oh god, Rodney, you're so tight," John whispered hoarsely.

"Fuck me, John, please..." Rodney pleaded. "Fuck me."

John couldn't deny him and he didn't want to, at this point, he wouldn't have been able to stop if he had wanted to.

John sighed deeply as he pushed in all the way, then he leaned back and rested his ass on his feet and pulled Rodney with him so Rodney was on top of his dick. He had to pause, he was close, closer than he wanted to be. He wanted this to last.

"John," Rodney whispered and John shushed him. He closed his eyes and took a few deep calming breaths before digging his fingers into Rodney's hips and thrusting up. He'd given Rodney no warning that he was ready, and the movement caused Rodney to grunt in surprise as John's dick smashed into his prostate.

"Mmm, Rodney," John moaned as he slowed his movements and glided in and out of his body.

He shifted his weight again, going back up on his knees and he leaned over Rodney and rested his hands on the mattress on either side of Rodney's chest. Rodney's hands went up and began kneading John's biceps and John leaned down and captured Rodney's mouth in a kiss.

He was shaking, his entire body was quivering with pleasure and an approaching orgasm and he pulled away from the kiss and lifted himself back to his knees.

"Oh god, Rodney..." John whispered and his voice was trembling. "You're wonderful, I don't want to come. I want to fuck you forever. I want to live inside your body, you fit me so perfectly, you feel so good." He didn't want it to end, but his stomach was burning with his orgasm now and he had to thrust harder and deeper into Rodney or go insane.

They were both grunting now, each time John thrust in to Rodney. "Do it, John, let go... come for me," Rodney spoke quickly and John had no choice. The words had broken him, and he pulled Rodney down onto his dick as he thrust up into Rodney and stiffened as he came hard, grunting Rodney's name at his release.

John sighed once he finally stopped coming and he collapsed onto Rodney and began licking and kissing his chest. "Damn, John," Rodney said as he ran his hands up and down John's back. "You're shaking."

"I know... I've wanted that since the moment I saw you," John admitted. He pulled out of Rodney's body and laid down beside him, pulling Rodney into his arms.

"John," Rodney said.

"Shh," John said and kissed him. "Big day tomorrow, time to sleep."

John had no idea what Rodney was going to say, but it was best left unsaid for now. Rodney rolled over onto his side and John spooned up behind him and draped his arm over him, resting his hand on Rodney's stomach. John was still awake long after Rodney's breathing had gone slow and shallow. The sky was turning pink before John followed Rodney into slumber.


Even though John had gone to bed late, his body decided that this would be the morning that he got back on the military schedule. John was awake and looking over at Rodney when he finally cracked his eyes open.

"Morning," John said and Rodney's head twisted toward him so fast that John jumped back a little. Rodney's face was slack, his mouth was open and his eyes were wide.

"Rodney," John spoke softly. He could see what would come next, Rodney's eyes were shocked and a little dark.

"Oh shit, John," Rodney said as he sat up on the edge of the bed.

"What's wrong?" John asked even though he had a good idea that Rodney was freaking about last night.

"It was a mistake, John."

"Rodney," John sat up and reached for Rodney's shoulder.

Rodney pulled away from John's hand and stood up, covering himself with his discarded tee shirt. "No, John. Last night shouldn't have happened. God, I knew we shouldn't have drunk that beer."

"Rodney, we only had three beers, neither of us was drunk, you can't blame last night on the beer, it was us."

"No, John, this can't happen."

"It can, and it has. I want you, Rodney and you want me, there's no denying it now." John got off the bed and moved over toward Rodney.

"I'm your boss, John!"

John wondered if Rodney had gotten in trouble for something like this in the past. "Fine then," he said and raised his hands. "I quit."

Rodney's face fell. "You can't," he said. His arms went slack and fell to his sides and Rodney just stood there naked and exposed, the shirt dangling from loose fingers.

John didn't look down at the part of Rodney that had just been uncovered. "I can, and I just did. I quit, Rodney."

"Why would you do that?" Rodney asked sounding a little hurt.

"Because, Rodney, if it comes down to a job or you, you win hands down."


"No, Rodney. This is real and we both want it, need it. I quit my fucking job because I want you. If that's what it takes for me to be with you, then I'll do it."

Rodney moved over to the bed and sat down hard, his face downcast as he stared at the pile of clothes.

John sighed and shook his head. "I'm taking a shower," he said and stepped into the bathroom and closed the door.

He leaned against the closed door and leaned his head back. His stomach hurt, it felt like he'd been hit with a baseball bat. Last night was the best night of his life, he'd finally gotten what he wanted, and now Rodney was freaking out about it. Life sucked for John whether he was in the military or not.

He pushed off the door and started the shower and waited for the water to warm. He unwrapped the free soap sample and put that and the small bottles of shampoo and conditioner in the shower stall and stepped under the water.

He ran his fingers through his hair and turned his face up into the water. He stood there letting the water beat down on his face and held his breath until his lungs began burning. Then he stepped back and washed his body.

He was rinsing the shampoo out of his hair when he heard the door squeak. Then the shower curtain pulled to the side and John felt warm hands on his hips and a chest pressed against his back.

"I'm sorry, John," Rodney said into his ear and John shivered. "You're right, I do want you."

John turned around and faced Rodney, and put his hands on Rodney's hips, but he didn't say anything or move his head toward Rodney's, the ball was in Rodney's court now.

Rodney's hands moved from John's hips. He cupped John's face, and then he pulled John's head toward his, he laid the gentlest kiss on John's lips that John had ever experienced.

The kiss was just the barest brush of lips before Rodney's mouth moved from John's mouth around to his jaw and sucked hard on the bone before moving up to John's ear, making him shudder when he sucked the lobe in. Rodney's tongue slipped into John's ear before leaving a warm trail down John's jaw and neck to his shoulder.

"Rodney," John whispered.

"Hush, John. I want you, I want you now."

John shuddered again and pulled Rodney's hips forward, pressing their erections together making them both moan. Rodney's hand moved around John's body and then John felt himself being opened by one slightly pointed finger. He closed his eyes and huffed out an excited breath.

"Can I?" Rodney whispered and John couldn't find his voice, all he could do was nod, so he did, frantically.

"Please," he managed to croak after a moment.

Rodney moaned hungrily and turned John to face away from him. He reached around John and laid his hands on the firm stomach as he kissed the back of John's neck. John rolled his head forward to give Rodney better access, and put his hands over Rodney's, lacing their fingers together. John was trying to keep his breathing under control, but the fact that Rodney had initiated this was making it hard. He felt Rodney's erection pressing against his ass and he wanted to push back against it. He wanted to tell Rodney that he wanted to feel him, that he wanted Rodney inside him. He opened his mouth to speak, but then Rodney pulled his hands away and pushed John forward a little. "I want you, John," Rodney said again, and John believed him.

John braced his hands against the wall behind the shower stream and felt a slick finger press into him. "Ooh, Rodney," he grumbled and wouldn't allow himself to think about what Rodney was using for lube, it didn't matter. Rodney was going to fuck him, that was what mattered.

John grunted when a second finger slid into him and Rodney's other hand rubbed up and down John's back. The water was cascading down John's back and it was making Rodney's rubbing smooth and fluid. John moaned and pressed back onto Rodney's fingers, he wanted Rodney in him.

"Unh," John growled and canted his hips forward. "Fuck me, Rodney," he pleaded

Then he felt the head of Rodney's dick pressing against his asshole, but it didn't move, didn't press in. John groaned and pressed back, hissing as Rodney pushed forward quickly.

"Oh god," John growled and pushed back further.

Rodney's hands were on John's hips now and he was pushing and pulling John in counter point to his thrusting. Rodney was taking John fast and hard and John loved it, grunting out his pleasure each time Rodney's balls smacked into his ass.

"Fuck, John..." Rodney moaned and dug his fingers deeper into John's hips. "You're beautiful, your mind, your body... god I want you so bad... I need you." His hand moved around and took John's erection and stroked it in time with his hips. "Come for me, John. I want to feel your body squeeze me, I want to come inside you while you come."

John groaned and his cock jerked hard in Rodney's hand. "Oh fuck," John grunted and his breathing sped up. He thrust his hips back onto Rodney and howled when Rodney's cock hit his prostate.

Rodney's free hand moved around and rested on John's stomach again, his hips were pistoning forward now and his dick was hammering into John's ass, hitting his prostate with every thrust.

John bared his teeth and bit hard on his lower lip. Never before had sex felt as good as this. Rodney filled him perfectly, their bodies curving against one another and fitting together like they were made for each other. John refused the ruin the moment by wondering what the hell was running down his legs, but whatever it was it was tickling and making goose pimples pop up all over him. Everything in his mind was forgotten when Rodney's dick grazed his prostate again nearly making him scream in pleasure.

John's grunts were fairly high pitched and forced out of him every time he and Rodney were smashed together. "Oh fuck, Rodney," John shouted. "Oh damn... fuck... shit, Rodney." He was coming now, spraying the shower wall with spurt after spurt of come as Rodney milked him with his hand.

He was trembling again and Rodney was filling him. He felt Rodney come inside him and it was fantastic. Then Rodney was resting against John's back, heaving heavy breaths. His hands had left John and were now resting against the wall beside John's.

John pressed back against him and Rodney pulled out with a grunt and lifted himself off of John's back.

John turned around and wrapped Rodney in his arms pulling him into a deep kiss. "Glad you finally came to your senses," John told him softly when the kiss broke.

Rodney shook his head and rested his forehead against John's shoulder. "I don't think I had a choice," he told John. His voice was low and sounded a little guilty.

"Hey," John said and pushed Rodney away a little. "Nothing to worry about, I quit, remember."

"I don't want you to quit, John," Rodney huffed out a little laugh, but John had a feeling he didn't feel like laughing. "I just trained you to order inventory."

John chuckled and shook his head. "I can still do that."

Rodney sighed and pulled away. "I like your work, John. You're the best kennel minion I've ever had, I don't want you to quit."

John sighed and nodded. "Well, if we can continue things like this while I'm your employee, I'll stay. But if I have to choose between fucking you or the job, I choose you. Fuck the job, or rather, I can't fuck the job." John cocked his head and raised a brow. Rodney had just made a decision, John didn't know what had made him change his mind but he could tell that Rodney was still feeling a little conflicted. John wanted to ease that conflict. He felt like the mood needed to be lightened, but he didn't want Rodney to think that John only wanted him for sex.

"We should get ready to head out," Rodney said and John turned to shut the water off and finally caught sight of all the bubbles on the bottom of the tub.

"Um- Rodney," John asked.

"Yeah?" Rodney asked as he stepped out of the tub and toweled off.

"What did you use?"

Rodney shrugged. "Shampoo, it's all I had readily available."

John's eyes went wide and he reached around and tentatively touched his ass and his fingers came away slick with bubbles.

"Rodney," he said disbelievingly, who had ever used shampoo for lube? Friction was what made the bubbles after all.

"I'll bet your ass has never been so clean," Rodney joked.

"Oh my god, Rodney, this is ridiculous," John said as he turned the shower back on and turned to let the water stream down on his ass.

"Are you complaining?" Rodney asked lightly.

John shook his head, he so wasn't complaining. "No, but next time, bring the lube with you."

Rodney chuckled and left the bathroom. John rubbed at his ass crack for awhile longer before being satisfied that at least most of the shampoo had been washed out.


It was strange how smoothly things moved after Rodney's freak out that morning. There was only a thirty minute drive from their hotel to the lawyer's office and it was spent with wanting glances that weren't kept secret, touching fingers and rubbing hands. John's third favorite thing that had happened so far that weekend was that he was finally able to reach over and squeeze the thigh that had been taunting him since the first time he'd ridden in Rodney's car.

Rodney pulled into the parking lot of a building that looked nothing like a lawyer's office. John sat in the passenger seat and waited to see what Rodney would do. When Rodney stepped out of the car and grabbed his bag out of the back seat, John did the same.

"What's going on?" John asked.

"I want to check in here," Rodney told him as he got out of the car.

"What?" John asked as he followed Rodney's lead.

"Yeah, there's still a couple hours before the meeting and I'd like to get some breakfast."

"Why didn't we just stay at the other place? I liked that room," John said coyly and waggled his eyebrows.

Rodney chuckled and started walking toward the building. "So did I, but this is the second part of my usual routine. The lawyer's office is right across the street. I stay the night at the other place, drive here on Saturday morning and check in at this hotel, have the meeting, come back to the hotel and have lunch or dinner, depending on how long the meeting lasts, sleep and head out early Sunday morning."

"Right," John drawled as he followed Rodney up to the check in desk. "You spend a lot of money on hotels."

"Eh," Rodney said and shrugged one shoulder. "It gets me flyer miles and I'm planning on taking a vacation someday."


"Yep, someday."

"Any idea when that day might be?"

"None whatsoever, but when it comes, I won't even have to pay for my plane ticket," Rodney joked and handed the clerk his credit card.

"217 sir," the man said and handed Rodney his card and two key cards.

"Oohhh, freaky," John said with a huge grin on his face.

"What?" Rodney asked as he made his way toward the elevators without even looking where he was going.

"217," John said.

"Yeah, why is that freaky?"

"That was the dead lawyer in the bathtub room in The Shining."

Rodney looked at him blankly.

"Please tell me you've seen The Shining, it's a classic Stephen King movie."

"Nope, I don't really do horror, there's enough death in my job," Rodney told him.

"Jack Nicholson, Shelly Duvall, Scatman Crothers. Little boy can see the future, alcoholic dad takes the family to a haunted hotel for the winter and goes crazy. Little girls lurking the hall ways. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy?"

"You may as well be speaking Japanese for all the sense that made," Rodney said as he slid his key card into the door and pushed it open.

"Jeez, Rodney. You are suffering from severe culture lag. My goal tonight is to get you at least partially caught up on some good movies."

"Is that a fact?" Rodney asked. He dropped his bag and slid closer to John, wrapping his arms around his waist.

"It is," John told him, standing his ground, although he could feel himself faltering ever so slightly.

"There's something else I'd much rather get caught up on and we've wasted far too much time already." He squeezed John's ass and pulled his hips close.

John smirked and leaned in for a quick kiss. "No reason we can't do both. It's not a rule that we have to be home by noon on Sunday, we could hang out here all day tomorrow. If we leave here at six we'd be home by ten thirty, plenty of time to sleep before work."

"Speaking of work-"

"No," John said cutting Rodney off. "Let's not talk about that, we're supposed to be getting breakfast, remember?"

Rodney smiled and pulled himself away from John. "Right," he said and handed John a room service menu.

"This doesn't count, by the way," John said.

"What are you talking about?"

"You're paying for breakfast, right?"

"Yeah," Rodney told him.

"This isn't the one you owe me."

"Oh," Rodney chuckled and opened his menu. "The Denny's next door does the room service, hope that's good enough."

"Oh yeah, I love their biscuits and gravy," he made a yummy noise and put the menu down. "I know what I want."


John set the rest of his breakfast, which consisted of half a biscuit and a cup of gravy, on the nightstand and leaned back on the bed, unbuttoning his pants as he went.

"Shit that was a lot of food," he said, pulling his shirt up to rub his stomach.

Rodney's Styrofoam container joined John's and then his hands were on John's hips, pulling his pants down.

John made a surprised grunt but lifted his hips to allow Rodney to remove the clothes.

"Whoa, Rodney," He breathed lightly as his cock was uncovered. Only a moment ago it was flaccid, but Rodney's actions had brought it to life in mere moments.

"Shut up," Rodney told him and dove down onto his cock, taking it deep into his mouth. John sucked in a breath and gripped the back of Rodney's neck.

"Oh god, fuck... yes, Rodney. Oh god yes, that's... shit that's good," he panted as Rodney assaulted his dick with teeth and tongue.

Rodney wasn't taking his entire length in, only about half, but the half that wasn't being sucked was being stroked with Rodney's big warm firm hand. The pressure was amazing, the suction of Rodney's mouth combined with the tightness of Rodney's hand had taken John from normalcy to pure ecstasy in a second flat.

He wanted this, this had been in his fantasies, one of his favorite fantasies actually, for two weeks now and the real thing was so much better than John had imagined.

"Oh fuck, Rodney," he breathed and hissed in a breath through clenched teeth as Rodney lightly grazed his teeth under the rim of his head. Then the smooth warmth of his tongue smoothed over it, pressing against the slit for only a moment before Rodney's lips were moving back down the shaft, sucking John in again.

John was beginning to think he couldn't possibly feel anything better, then Rodney's hand slid between his thighs and pressed firmly on his perineum and he forgot how to inhale. His breath left his body in a long breathy sigh until his lungs screamed for oxygen. It was Rodney's teeth again that forced John to suck in another lungful of air and he cried out as he came. Rodney did take more of him in now, and John's come was splashing against the back of Rodney's throat, he could feel Rodney's tonsils constricting on the head of his dick as he swallowed, coaxing out every drop of come John had in his nuts.

"Oh damn, Rodney," John sighed and ran his hand up to the back of Rodney's head. He was loose, completely limp and paralyzed with pleasure. "I've never had a blow job like that," he admitted, and it was true. It felt like Rodney had sucked John's life energy out through his dick and he was utterly exhausted now. "Your mouth... it's... you... you, Rodney. All of you... you're amazing."

John smiled at Rodney when he stood up, he knew he looked dopey, he could hardly see his eyes were so heavily lidded, but he didn't care. He reached out toward Rodney and took his hand, he tried to pull Rodney onto the bed but Rodney wasn't budging.

"Ah ah," Rodney said. He leaned over and kissed John's mouth, bracing his hands on the bed. "I have a meeting I have to get ready for."

John reached out a hand and cupped it over the bulge in the front of Rodney's pants. "What about this?" he asked seductively.

Rodney gasped and turned away from John's gently pressing palm. "I'll save it for you," Rodney said over his shoulder as he walked toward the bathroom.


"Who else would I give it to?"

John smirked. "Radek?" He asked jokingly.

Rodney turned around, his face was soft and he had a warm smile on his lips. He shook his head, "Once upon a time," Rodney replied and turned back toward the bathroom. "I'm going to take a shower, you rest."

"No problem," John said and rolled over onto his side, not even bothering to pull his pants up from where they were pooled around his knees. The last thing he was aware of was the bathroom door closing.


"Hey... hey!"

John cracked his eyes open and found Rodney standing beside the bed dressed in a rather nice black suit and tie.

"You look utterly wanton," Rodney told him and John turned over onto his back and stretched, feeling the pants pull tight at his knees. He smiled and shrugged.

"What can I say?" John asked and chuckled.

"You want to just hang out here while I go do this thing?" Rodney asked him as he sat beside John's hip.

John sat up a little and rested back on his elbows. "I thought I had to be there to witness something."

"Yeah," Rodney replied softly. "I kind of lied about that. I just wanted you to come, I thought it'd be better to celebrate my new found freedom with a friend rather than alone."

"You could have just said that," John told him.

"Well when I asked you to come I'd only known you for about a week, it would have sounded weird."

"I still would have agreed."

Rodney shrugged and lightly slapped John's naked hip. "You gonna just hang out then? Probably be better than sitting in the waiting room of a lawyer's office."

John yawned and nodded. "Yeah, I'll be around."

"Okay, I'll see you one of these days then," Rodney said as he stood up and walked toward the door.

"Good luck," John called before the door closed.

He considered going back to sleep, but he was in a new place and with Rodney gone, he had no reason to hang out in a hotel room so he took a quick shower, dressed and left.


An hour and a half later, John walked back into the hotel room with a bag from Blockbuster, a menu from the China King delivery restaurant, a bag from the drug store and a box of chocolate. He fully intended to make Rodney moan for chocolate tonight, and then make him moan for him.

He put the bags on the second, as of yet unused, bed and dug his cell out of his pocket and dialed the number for the clinic.

"Deep Cove Veterinary clinic," a man with a Scottish accent answered the phone. It was a voice John hadn't heard before.

"Hi," he said uncertainly. "Is Dr. Zelenka available?"

"Who may I ask is calling?"

"John Sheppard."

"One moment," The man said and John heard a muffled rendition of his name as the man told Radek who was on the line.

"John," Radek said a moment later. "How was your night?"

John chuckled, knowing exactly what Radek was referring to. "It was good," he said through a grin he couldn't stop. "This morning was good too, and about two and a half hours ago."

Radek laughed and said, "That is excellent news, John."

"Yeah, I'm not sure if I've quit my job or not though, I'm still a little confused on that point."

"You quit?"

"I tried, but I don't think he's going to let me."

"I certainly hope not, the clinic has never been so clean and organized. Your military background seems to be just what we needed."

"Right, so, how's the pup? You did his surgery yesterday, right?"

"I did, and he is recovering well. I retrieved almost eighty heartworms; your little buddy was crawling with them. He would not have survived much longer."

"But he's doing well?" John wondered again what it had been about the little black puppy that he'd fallen in love with. The last dog he'd loved at first sight had been Lucy, and he was still bitter about that whole thing! Lucy had been his dog, bought without Nancy's permission, not that he'd needed permission. He had been the one to care for her, Nancy hadn't even liked Lucy for a long time and yet she had been awarded custody during their divorce and yes, they had fought for Lucy the way they would have fought for a child. The lab pup was all his though, he'd felt the same connection with him that he had with Lucy, and he wanted the little guy to survive. He didn't think he could take losing another dog he felt that connected to, even if he had only owned the dog for a day and it had been sick the entire time.

"Perfectly," Radek confirmed. "He is still sedated because we do not want him moving around too much while the medication kills the worms I could not get in the surgery, but we are monitoring him and he is showing no signs of trouble."

"Excellent." John felt his stomach unknot a little.

"Tell me, John, about last night."

John smiled and shook his head. "A man doesn't kiss and tell."

"Point taken," Radek said and John looked up as the door opened.

"Right, well I'll talk to you later, Radek, thanks for the update."

"Not a problem, I will see you tomorrow."

John hung up the phone and smiled at the look on Rodney's face.

"What? Were you comparing notes?" he asked.

"Yep," John joked. "Seems you never used shampoo as lube on Radek."

"We never did it in the shower," Rodney replied.



"Well, speaking of shampoo, you're never using that again. I used the bathroom today, and the toilet had bubbles in it."

"Uh, John, I didn't really need to know that," Rodney protested.

"Actually, seeing as you put them there, yeah, you did. If I had to be grossed out you do too."

Rodney shook his head and took off his jacket and draped it over the desk chair. He removed the rest of his clothes, except his boxers and sat on the second bed. "What's all this stuff?" he asked and poked at the bags.

"Ooh," John said as if he'd forgotten. "I found a video store," he said and pulled the Blockbuster bag off the pile and began pulling out the DVD cases.

"You didn't," Rodney chuckled.

"I did," John replied and shuffled the cases into the preferred order. "I got The Shining, the original, I like the remake, but Steven Webber is no Jack Nicholson... although Rebecca Demorney makes a much better Wendy Torrence if you ask me. I also got the Exorcist, the one with all the good bits stuck back in and The Evil Dead. It's hilarious, but it's good."

"And the rest of this stuff?"

"Ah," John said and moved over to the other bed. "No more shampoo," John said and pulled three packages of lube out of the drug store bag.

"Damn," Rodney said. "How are you planning on using all this?"

"How do you think?" he asked.

"Not all in one night I hope."

"Please, Rodney, I'm over forty years old. Besides, I got this so you can keep one in the bathroom because you are never putting shampoo in my ass again. Not to mention, it's three different kinds, this one gets warm," he said and held up the blue box and waggled his eyebrows.

"You're incorrigible," Rodney said lightly.

John laughed and handed Rodney the DVDs. "Which one are we watching first?" he asked.

"Well, I guess since the room reminds you of The Shining, we'll watch that one first. I hate not being in on a joke."

John hooked Rodney's laptop up and sat it on the dresser and put the movie in. He joined Rodney in his near nakedness and lay down beside him on the bed.

"You're gonna like this," John said as the movie started.


John made sporadic comments about the movie, more than likely getting on Rodney's nerves as he gave away the slightest details that lead into the larger story, but Rodney didn't say anything... at all. Not 'oohhh, creepy,' or 'wow,' or 'that'd never happen,' or 'what the hell's wrong with that kid who thinks he has a little boy in his mouth and what's wrong with his parents for not sticking him in the loony bin until the little fucker that hides in his stomach is purged?'.

Jack Torrence was throwing a ball against the wall in the room he'd designated his writing room, when John felt Rodney's eyes on him.

"John," Rodney said a moment later.

"Yeah?" John asked and pointed to the screen. "Don't worry, this is the beginning of where it gets really good."

"Fuck the movie," Rodney said and rolled on top of him.

John returned Rodney's kiss hungrily for a long moment before putting his hands on Rodney's shoulders and pushing him away just the slightest bit.

"What?" Rodney asked and searched John's face with his eyes.

"At this rate, I'm going to wonder if our relationship is based on anything more than sex." John mentally kicked himself the second the sentence was out. He hadn't meant to imply a relationship as in, they were now dating. Although, if you counted all the dinners they'd gone to and all the times Rodney had cooked for him, they'd been on several dates.

Rodney either didn't pick up on that, or he decided to ignore it because he didn't comment on it, he simply said. "We're just making up for lost time."

John smiled. "I'm not complaining, Rodney, believe me, but we've only known each other for two weeks."

Rodney tipped his head to the side in a halfhearted kind of shrug. "People can have a lot of sex in two weeks and we just got started."

John furrowed his brow and nodded. "Point taken," he said and flipped Rodney over, trading their positions. The movie played, completely forgotten, in the background.


John pushed his boxers down and did the same to Rodney's, then he rested his body on top of him, pressing their erections together. John had to stifle a giggle when the words first contact came to mind, he was a sci-fi geek if ever there was one. He dug his toes into the mattress and thrust forward, capturing Rodney's mouth and swallowing the moan the friction had caused.

John slid his mouth away from Rodney's and began sucking and kissing the soft flesh behind Rodney's left ear. Rodney moaned and arched his back, thrusting into John's erection with his own.

"John, move something, you're torturing me," Rodney panted as he gripped handfuls of John's ass and pulled their hips tighter together.

John moaned and ran his tongue over what he hoped would be a nice purple mark before moving his mouth down to Rodney's collar bone and sucking there too. John paused and pushed up onto his arms and looked down at Rodney, wanting him in every sense of the word.

"Don't stop," Rodney pleaded and John smiled at him.

"I want to taste you, Rodney, every inch of you," John replied and lowered himself back down. He moved to the other side of Rodney's neck and ran his tongue up behind Rodney's ear, making him gasp and twitch. He kissed the shell of his ear before running his tongue along the edge. He lapped at the jaw bone as he made his way down and under Rodney's chin to the other side and back to Rodney's ear, the one with the mark behind it. He ran his tongue down along Rodney's jugular vein, feeling the blood beating under the touch.

Rodney's breathing was jagged and he was writhing beneath John as John sucked on his Adam's apple. "Oh yeah, John, that's... shit that's hot. Keep doing that," Rodney sighed between broken breaths.

John continued his exploration of Rodney's upper half by trailing tiny kisses along his collar bone and nipping the curve of his shoulder. Rodney tasted exquisite, better than any high priced meal he'd had in any country he'd been to. He thought he could survive the rest of his life with only the taste of Rodney as sustenance. He pushed Rodney's arm up and kissed the tender flesh on the inside. He moaned as he sucked hard on Rodney's tricep, never in his life had an arm been so fucking hot, so worth sucking. His tongue moved across the flesh and over to Rodney's chest.

Rodney moaned and dug his fingers into John's back hard enough to make John grunt when John flicked his tongue over a nipple. He circled the areola before taking the entire thing into his mouth and sucking, his cheeks hollowed with the pressure and his teeth came down on the tender flesh.

Rodney grunted and pushed up against John. "Oh yeah, do that again," he begged as John kissed his way across to the other nipple. He repeated his treatment flicking the flesh into a hard nub before biting down.

"Ahh," Rodney moaned loudly and John moved his mouth to Rodney's left side. He kissed each ridge in Rodney's rib cage as he moved further down Rodney's body and back to the front of him. John's tongue slid over the heated flesh of Rodney's stomach, leaving a set trail in its wake. He left a ring of saliva around Rodney's belly button before pressing his tongue deep into the hole and tasting the sweat that had collected there. Rodney's stomach dipped and he jerked, inhaling sharply. John smiled and made a note to remember every other ticklish spit he found on Rodney's body tonight.

"Jesus, John, you're so fucking hot," Rodney breathed.

He kissed the crease in Rodney's hip before moving down to his thigh and Rodney twisted slightly as if trying to get away. "Ticklish?" John asked.

"Insanely," Rodney confirmed and John smirked before diving back in for more taste testing. Rodney quivered as John's lips ghosted over his balls before moving to his thigh. John smiled at the satisfaction of Rodney's disappointed groan as he failed to lavish the same attention to his balls as he'd been giving the rest of Rodney's body parts.

John's name was exhaled out of Rodney's mouth again and again as he moved further down Rodney's leg, kissing the knee cap and licking through the hair on Rodney's shins. He kissed the inside of Rodney's ankles before kissing the pad of each toe in turn. He ran his tongue over the arch of Rodney's foot and snorted at the giggling he heard as Rodney tried to pull his foot away.

"Flip," John demanded hoarsely. Apparently all the licking was stealing his voice but that was a sacrifice he'd gladly make. He gave a cracked moan as Rodney turned onto his front, baring his ass for John's pleasure.

John licked up Rodney's right calf, then moved over and sucked hard on the back of Rodney's left knee. He kissed a trail up Rodney's right thigh and nipped Rodney's left buttock. His hands kneaded the muscles of Rodney's back, loosening them before his tongue ran up Rodney's spine to his neck. He kissed the nape and nuzzled his nose into Rodney's hair.

"Don't move," John whispered into Rodney's ear, making the man shudder uncontrollably. "The moment I feel you grind into the mattress, I'll stop. I don't want you wasting your erection on the bed."

Rodney moaned and nodded against the pillow. "John, you're killing me," Rodney whimpered.

John paid him no attention as he kissed each vertebra in Rodney's spine as he made his way back down.

Rodney squeaked and arched into the bed when John spread his ass apart and ran his tongue down the crevice.

"Uh-uh," John warned and smacked Rodney's ass. "I don't want you to come into the mattress. I want you in my mouth when you come."

Rodney moaned deep and rumbling and relaxed his hips.

John lowered his head and lapped at the tight ring of muscle, wetting the entire area before pressing his tongue inside.

"Oh fuck!" Rodney growled. "Oh god, Jesus, fuck, John."

John wound his tongue around inside the hole and pressed his face closer, stiffening his tongue and forcing it as deep as he could.

"Ahhhhhhhhhhhh," Rodney whimpered as John began flexing the tip of his tongue against the walls of Rodney's anus.

Rodney's muscles were trembling beneath the skin and John knew it was a battle for Rodney to keep still. He wanted to pull his tongue out and fuck him senseless right then, his dick was so hard it was aching. But this wasn't about him getting off, this was about pleasing Rodney, showing him that there was pleasure to be had and that John was more than willing to give it.

"Oh yes, John... damn, shit don't stop. Oh fuck, I could come right now... just from what you're doing," Rodney was grumbling as his feet rubbed against John's hips.

John pulled his tongue out and licked the hole again before running his tongue down the crack and tickling Rodney's perineum with the tip of his tongue.

Rodney squeaked and his legs bent as he lifted his hips off the bed. "Yes, John. More... oh god please, more..."

Rodney's breathing was fast and shallow now and John knew he didn't have much longer to play. He moved lower on the bed and instructed Rodney to turn back over, which he did in record time.

John spread Rodney's legs wide and lay on his stomach between them. He wet Rodney's balls with his tongue, tasting every inch of the soft skin before moving higher.

He ran his tongue up the shaft of Rodney's dick from the base to the head in long swipes before lapping at it with tiny touches with the tip of his tongue. He left no part of Rodney's dick dry, he wanted to taste every inch of the man's perfect dick. The flesh was salty with sweat and John moaned at the taste before moving up to the head and running the flat of his tongue over it.

"I'm going to come, John," Rodney panted and gripped handfuls of the sheet at his sides. "Oh god, John... I'm going to..."

John took the head of Rodney's dick into his mouth and closed his lips around it. One hand moved to Rodney's balls and massaged them, encouraging Rodney's orgasm. He felt Rodney's balls tighten in his hand and then he tasted the hot semen as it rushed into his mouth. He wanted to save his erection for whatever Rodney may want to do with it, but the sounds Rodney was making and the taste of his come coupled with how worked up John had gotten over the licking made it impossible for him to hold out. He shuddered and moaned over Rodney's dick as he came against the blanket.

Finally, Rodney stopped coming and he was left a quivering heap on the bed. John pulled off of Rodney's now flaccid cock and licked the head like a lollipop, making sure to clean him completely. Then he moved up the bed and resumed sucking behind Rodney's ear.

"Good?" John breathed into Rodney's ear.

"Mmm," Rodney moaned his response. "Fuck, John. No one's ever done that to me before."

"Their loss," John replied and lifted up onto one elbow.

"You amaze me, John. The things you're willing to do for me... to me. It's mind boggling."

"It shouldn't be, you're beautiful, Rodney. I can't imagine anyone not wanting to spend the rest of their life with you."

Rodney smiled slightly and turned his head. John could swear he saw Rodney's eyes well just before he lost sight of them. "We've only known one another for a couple of weeks," Rodney said without turning back toward him. "But it feels like I've known you forever. I'm so comfortable with you, and I keep thinking, I could have missed this, I could have watched you walk right out of my life."

John put his hand on Rodney's chin and turned his head back toward him. "What changed your mind?" he asked.

Rodney sighed. "This morning, when I woke up and you were there beside me, we were both naked and the night before swam back into my head so fast I got dizzy. I wanted it, I wanted you... but I've never been very good at giving that much of myself. It's been a long time since I felt anything for anyone, but when I do, it always backfires and I get burned. But I feel for you, John, something that burns inside my stomach and twists my chest into a knot."

"I know that feeling," John said softly.

"I thought about some things while you were in the shower. You know, Radek and I were together for two years and... on the day he left he said something to me that I just brushed off. I don't think I really understood what he meant until this morning."

"What'd he say?"

"He said 'Do not deny yourself happiness, Rodney.' I thought, 'I've got a successful veterinary practice, double doctorates in physics, plenty of money, a nice house, I am happy.' And I truly thought I was, but then this morning... you were willing to quit your job to be with me, John. No one's ever been willing to make any kind of sacrifice for me, but you were."

"I am," John corrected.

"Then, Radek's words finally made sense, after three years, it finally got through my thick skull. I wasn't happy; I had things, but no one to share myself with. I came home at the end of the day to a couple of cats, no warm bodies to hold me, no one to ask how my day was."

John furrowed his brow at Rodney's last statement. Rodney had said that he and Katie had been separated for three years, and now he said that Radek left three years ago. Rodney had been hesitant to tell John why he and Katie had split up, but that was before John knew that Rodney and Radek had been together. He wondered now though, if Rodney and Radek had gotten together three years ago. Radek must have come back to visit and the reason Katie left could have been because she had seen the two of them together. John remembered Rodney telling him that Katie wanted him to be something he wasn't, which was the same thing John wasn't... straight. It seemed that both Rodney and John's marriages had failed for the same reasons.

Rodney was breaking John's heart. To think that anyone as remarkable as Rodney McKay could be anything other than coveted by every living thing on the planet was impossible.

Rodney sighed and shook his head. "I'd never given anything back to Radek, he loved me, he said it almost every day, but I couldn't give it back to him, I was too afraid to, and then he left." He gave a heartless chuckle. "I don't blame him, I wouldn't want to hang around and wait for an idiot like me to realize what he's missing. But then he came back a few years later. I was with Katie by then, and he was with Carson but... well, everything fell right back into place, all the feelings I was terrified of were still there. I was still terrified of them too, so I still couldn't tell him what he wanted to hear and he left again. It suddenly hit me though, as I sat there on the bed this morning feeling my guts churning inside me. By not allowing myself to be with you, I was denying myself happiness. That whole 'I'm your boss' thing... that was just the most plausible explanation for why it couldn't happen. I was still afraid... I am still afraid but..." Rodney turned onto his side and faced John completely. "I want to be happy, John, in every possible way. I want to be happy with you, from here out, I want to have you in my life and I want to be in yours. You're willing to sacrifice something of yourself for me. The least I can do is swallow my fear and give you what I'm feeling."

John cupped Rodney's face in his hands pulled him close and rested his forehead against Rodney's. "It's okay, Rodney," John whispered. A whisper was all he could manage; he had a lump in his throat the size of a watermelon. "I'm afraid too, I've never felt this before, but I know that as long as I'm with you, I can handle it. As long as you accept me, warts and all, I'll be okay."

Rodney nodded and planted a soft kiss on John's lips. "'You can't experience love if you keep it at arm's length,'" he said. "That's something my sister told me once and I understand it now. I won't be pushing you away anymore, John. I want to embrace you, embrace this, what we have, for as long as it lasts."

John chuckled and wrapped Rodney in his arms and pulled him in close. "I have a feeling it'll be lasting for a very long time," he said.

Rodney smiled and pressed their mouths together in a firm but gentle kiss. "God I hope so. After what you just did to me, I'm not sure I could survive without you."

John got off the bed just long enough to get a towel from the bathroom to cover the wet spot he'd made and pull the blanket off the other bed. He settled behind Rodney again and they fell into a comfortable silence. John's thumb rubbed circles on Rodney's stomach until his breathing evened out. He kissed Rodney behind the ear and whispered the words he couldn't say aloud while Rodney was awake.

"Mmm," Rodney mumbled and John's stomach tightened. "Love you too," he said thickly.

John's chest fluttered at the words, and before long, the world went dark as sleep pulled him under.


John woke to feather light kisses on his chest and fingers trailing gently over his stomach.

"Mmm," He moaned. "Morning."

"Morning," Rodney returned and leaned up and kissed John's stubbly chin. "I was thinking about breakfast."

John chuckled and nodded. "Sounds good."

"Then we should head home. It'd be nice to lounge around here all day, but I want to check on your puppy."

"Radek said he's fine," John told him.

"And I'm sure he is, but there's something else I wanted to do once we got there."


"You'll see when we get home. Now get up and let's go take a shower, I'll make sure to bring the lube in with me this time."

John's eyes finally opened at the prospect of another round of morning shower sex. He got off the bed and gathered fresh clothes for the day and the regular KY out of his bag.

Rodney laughed as he got up and did the same. "At least now I know how to wake you up without throwing your mind back to whatever tragic wartime memory you always seem to wake up to," he said.

John sighed and shook his head, "there are so many, but I'd gladly wake up to your lips and fingers any day, even if I wasn't having a nightmare."

Rodney nodded and picked up the phone and dialed room service. "217," he said. "Two orders of biscuits and gravy and two large coffees with cream and sugar on the side, delivered in half an hour. If it's early, your tip will be greatly depleted." He hung up the phone and looked up at John who was standing stark naked in the bathroom doorway. "Now we have a time limit. I have a feeling sex between the two of us could go on for hours."

"Half an hour huh? You better get your ass in here then," John said and stepped back into the bathroom.


John had fucked Rodney in the shower. Rodney put on a robe to answer the door and he gave the man a twenty five dollar tip for bringing their food exactly thirty minutes after he'd made the order. They ate in the nude and then Rodney penetrated John, slow and sweet and touching him everywhere his hands could reach.

Rodney had gasped and spluttered words John couldn't understand when he stepped out of the bathroom in his blue jeans and white button down. It was all they could do to not strip each other naked and go for round three of morning sex, but after both having come already, their dicks weren't having any part in the idea of getting hard again just yet.

It was eleven thirty before they actually got around to leaving the hotel.

"Hey," John said as they pulled out of the parking lot.

"Yeah?" Rodney asked.

"Do you really like my ratty work boots?" John asked coyly.

"What?" Rodney sounded genuinely confused and John laughed.

"You told Radek you liked my boots."

Rodney looked at him with his brow furrowed and John watched his expression change as everything became clear. "You were faking!" Rodney said firmly. "You ass."

"Hey," John said, doing his best to sound hurt. "I thought I was a fallen fucking angel."

Rodney grumbled as he turned back to look out the front window. "Yes, John," he said softly and smacked John's leg harder than his voice would have implied. "You are."

John laughed and reached over and began stroking Rodney's thigh. "You're not so bad yourself," he said.


Once again, John found himself swimming back to wakefulness to hear Rodney's voice.

"Yes, Radek, we got a bit of a late start, but we're headed back now."

"Good," Radek said. "I'm sure John will be happy to see his puppy. He is doing rather well, we took him off sedation last night and he is sitting up in his cage and walking outside."

"Great, he will be glad to hear that."

"So, is the divorce finished?"

"It is. I am a free man once again."

"Fantastic news. Congratulations."

"Thank you."

"How did you and John celebrate your freedom?"

"Radek, I've made a decision." Rodney said in a matter of fact tone.

"And what is that?"

"I've decided that I'm never talking to you in the car again, especially when John's in it with me."

John couldn't help but chuckle at that.

"You're faking again! You little shit!" Rodney shouted.

Radek's hysterical laughter filled the car and then they both heard the click as the Czech hung up.

"You know," John said and nodded toward the phone. "We really do have a lot to thank him for."

"Yes," Rodney agreed, then looked over at John. "But we're not going to tell him that."

John sighed. "I hate to break it to you buddy, but I think he already knows."


"Radek," Rodney called as they walked through the door of the clinic.

Radek came through the double doors with a dark haired man following him. John could see the new man's blue eyes from his place by the door, they were striking and piercing and all those other words people use to describe eyes that jump off a person's face. His hair was what John noticed next, it came a close second to John's in terms of looking slept in.

Radek stepped around the desk, stopped short and stared at them. "Well, I must say that both of you look worlds better than you did when you left the clinic on Thursday evening," he said through a grin.

John looked at Rodney who was looking back at him and they both silently decided to ignore the comment. "How are the cats?" Rodney asked as John walked toward the back room.

"They are fine, Rodney," John heard Radek say before the double doors closed behind him.

He went over to the only occupied cage and found his little black pup sitting up inside.

"Hey buddy," John said as he opened the door to the cage and took the pup out. He cradled him in his arms and scratched his ear. "Glad to see you made it."

"Of course he did, Radek is an amazing veterinarian," the Scottish accent that had answered the phone the other day spoke. "He could have been a doctor if he liked people more."

John looked up and found the dark haired man standing in the doorway; he chuckled and walked toward the man. "One could say the same thing about Rodney," John said and introduced himself.

"Carson Beckett," the man replied and extended his hand.

John shook his hand and nodded. "Radek's fiancé, right?"

"Aye, that's right."

"I've heard a lot about you, mostly from Rodney. Radek doesn't seem to like to mix his personal life with his professional one."

"He doesn't, and I don't blame him. From all I've heard, it hasn't turned out well in the past."

John nodded, wondering if Carson was referring to Radek and Rodney's relationship, but deciding that he'd rather not know.

Silence descended on the room and John was about to take the pup outside for no other reason than to get away from it, but before he could, the double doors opened and Rodney and Radek came into the room.

Radek looked between Carson and John and smiled. "Now, there will be no sharing of deep dark bedroom secrets in the back room of the clinic," he said jokingly.

"Hey," Rodney said. "Assuming that John and I have deep dark bedroom secrets." Rodney had apparently let on to the fact that he and John had given in to one another over the weekend. It wasn't news to Radek anyway.

"Why not?" Carson asked Radek in an equally joking tone. "You already have carnal knowledge of both Rodney and I. It seems only fair to let me and John in on some of your secrets. John could tell me about Rodney and I could tell John about you, that way we're all on the same page." He moved over and slid comfortably into Radek's embrace.

John chuckled and looked over at Rodney. "Trust me, Rodney, we have at least one deep dark bedroom secret... well, more of a bathroom secret and I swear on everything hard and purple, if that ever gets out, you will know a new meaning for the word pain." He smiled and carried the pup over to Rodney.

"Ohh, interesting," Radek said and wiggled his eyebrows at Rodney.

"Dream on, pal," Rodney laughed and plucked the puppy from John's arms. He went straight back into vet mode and carried the pup to the exam table and began checking him over.

"He is fine, Rodney," Radek said. "The surgery went perfectly well."

Rodney ignored Radek and pulled a measuring tape from the drawer and wrapped it around the pup's neck. He checked the eyes and the gums before handing the pup back to John. "Alright, put him away and let's get out of here."

"Aww," John whined sadly, but he put the pup back in his cage. "See you later, buddy." He said and joined Rodney at the sink.


"Um... what are we doing here, Rodney?" John asked as he followed Rodney into one of the large chain pet stores.

"If you're going to have a pet, you're going to need supplies," Rodney replied and pulled a cart out of the corral.

"We work in a clinic, Rodney. We could have just got the stuff there."

"We work in a small clinic," Rodney said as John followed him down the aisle. "We sell selected foods, a few collars and leashes and training books. You're going to need more than that."

"Okay," John said and threw a box of dog treats into the cart.

Rodney stopped the cart so fast John thought he may have heard the wheels screech, and grabbed the box out of the cart. "Are you crazy?" Rodney asked and shook the box in John's direction. "Did you even look on the back of this box?"

"No," John said truthfully. "We used to give those to Lucy all the time."

Rodney closed his eyes and sighed. "I'm going to assume that Nancy did the shopping, yes?" he asked.

"Yes," John confirmed. "Because I wasn't ever really around. Military and what not."

"Good, at least I don't have to blame you for that. Poor Lucy though. John, giving the pup these treats would be like you eating a piece of broccoli off the bottom of someone's shoe."

"Eww," John groaned.

"Exactly," Rodney said and pulled a different box of treats off the shelf and held them out to John.

John took the box and looked down at the picture on the front.

"Those are healthy for his digestive system, designed to clean his teeth and they're yummy for his tummy," Rodney said and took the box from John and put it in the cart. "You have to treat him like your child, John. Think of what's best for him."

"Okay, so let's go get what's best for him."

John watched as Rodney looked at everything he pulled off the shelf. He'd started out trying to keep track of the number of things Rodney put back or complained about, but he lost count and decided to give up and just enjoy his time with Rodney.

Shopping for pet supplies with a vet was like what John thought it must be like to go grocery shopping with a nutritionist. The only thing John really got to choose was the leash and collar, everything that went into his mouth for either eating or playing with, Rodney chose, which was perfectly fine with John, he hated shopping anyway.

The collar John chose was black and had little white bones all over it, the leash was solid black.

"Why am I not surprised?" Rodney had asked.

"Hey, at least I didn't choose something leather with spikes. I heard that dogs want to eat leather and spiky leather is a bad idea."

"Very good, John," Rodney said and wrapped an arm around John's waist and pulled him against him. "Now, toys," Rodney said once he let John go and they moved to yet another aisle.

By the time they made their way to the check out, the shopping cart was full and they'd gotten another. John had dog bowels on a stand so the pup wouldn't have to bend over to eat, toys that wouldn't come apart when chewed, a ridiculously huge bag of puppy food, dog shampoo that was supposed to make his coat shine, treats, nail clippers, grooming brushes, a bed, a house for in case John let the dog outside which Rodney highly protested to, the leash and collar and even though Rodney made a face and grumbled profusely, John had picked up a bandana that said born to be wild. Of course he never intended to put it on the pup, but he couldn't pass on the opportunity to cause Rodney grief.

John grumbled as Rodney walked away once they had gotten up to the check out. He had chosen most of the stuff in the cart and yet John was left to put it all on the counter. He shook his head and started pulling things out of the cart.

Rodney came sauntering back to the checkout counter as John was putting his credit card away.

"Here," Rodney said and held out his fist. "I got this for you."

John put his wallet back into his pocket and put his hand under Rodney's closed fist. Rodney opened his hand and a small golden bone shaped tag fell into John's palm.

He wasn't sure why the dog tag touched him as much as it did. He held it up by the small ring attached to the top and saw the word BUDDY in bold capitol letters. Under the name was Rodney's address, and John realized that the shack he'd been living in didn't even have an address. Under Rodney's address, both his and Rodney's cell numbers were engraved into the gold bone.

John smiled and cupped Rodney's face in his hands. "Thank you," he said and kissed him firmly on the lips.

He guessed the dog had a name then, Buddy.


John looked into the back seat of Rodney's car and sighed as he turned and looked back at his shack. "Where the hell am I going to put all this shit?" he asked.

Rodney shook his head and steered John toward the clinic. "I'm sure you'll figure it out," he said.

Radek was bringing the pup in from his bathroom break when John walked into the back room.

"You're back," Radek said and picked the puppy up.

"I brought him a collar. You want to put it on him?" John asked.

Radek put the pup on the table and reached out for the collar and John handed it along with the bone shaped tag to him. Radek clipped the tag onto the loop in the collar, and then he looked up at John with his eyebrows raised.

"What?" John asked.

"You are moving in?"

John slid his eyes away from Radek then back again. "Where?" he asked confused.

"With Rodney."

"Um- no?"

"He thinks you are," Radek said and handed the collar back to John. "His address is on the tag."

John looked down at the golden bone and furrowed his brow. "That's just because the shack doesn't have an address." He looked up at Radek and cocked his head gently. "Isn't it?"

Radek chuckled and clapped John on the shoulder. "John, Rodney is not very good with speaking when it comes to matters such as these. You have to look for his clues."

"And this is a clue?" John motioned toward the dog tag.

"He has opened up to you, John, you should cherish that, it is more than I ever got."

John looked back down to the tag and cocked his head again. It wasn't that he didn't want to live with Rodney, he wanted to spend every waking moment in the man's arms, but it seemed like too big a move for Rodney to have made so soon after accepting that he had feelings for John. It was much easier to believe that there was a simple reason behind the address, at least then he wouldn't be disappointed when Rodney told him that there really was a simple reason. Then again, after that conversation he and Rodney had last night, and the fact that Radek knew Rodney better than John did, was it too much to hope that Rodney really did want him to move in?

"You are being moron, John," Radek told him and took the collar out of his hand. "I will tell you the same thing I have told Rodney on countless occasions. Stop thinking so much. You will not be able to explain everything in life. Sometimes, things are beyond explanation, the feelings one person has for another is one of those things."

John fully intended to reply to that, although he had no idea what he would have said, but before he got the chance to find out, Rodney walked through the double doors and John lowered his head, a slight flush creeping into his cheeks. He smiled at the thought of him and Rodney living a blissfully domestic life with two cats and a dog. His mind was snapped back to the present by the sharp sound of Radek clearing his throat.

"John," Radek said. "I trust you can put Buddy back in his kennel, yes?"

"Yes," John replied.

Radek nodded and left the room, leaving John and Rodney alone.

John put Buddy back into his kennel and then he turned toward Rodney and smiled his lopsided smile.

"What?" Rodney asked.

John smiled and pulled Rodney close to him. "You put your address on the dog tag," John said softly.

Rodney lowered his eyes and nodded slowly. "I did."

John leaned forward and kissed Rodney's head. "So, should I move my stuff now, or wait until Buddy's well enough to leave the clinic?" he asked.

Rodney shrugged one shoulder and looked back up at John. "May as well get yourself settled in," he replied.

"Good idea," John told him and kissed him on the lips and grunted when Rodney squeezed his ass and pulled their hips together. "Rodney," he said coyly. "Not in front of the baby." He chuckled, turned toward the kennel. "I take it I won't be sleeping on the couch or in the guest room."

"Oh no, you'll be in my bed," Rodney told him. "You also won't need any more Kleenex's."

John smiled and felt his face warm; he knew Rodney had seen those.


John took great pride in deflating the air mattress and putting it back in the box, although not as perfectly as it had been. It was a scientific fact that you can't put anything in a box the way it was before.

"I wish you would have told me you were sleeping on an air mattress," Rodney said as he folded John's blanket.

John shrugged. "At least it was more comfortable than the cot."

"Yeah, but at the very least I could have... I don't know, let you use my guest bed."

"Right, like you'd want to take that giant bed apart and put it back together here. Not to mention, it wouldn't fit in this place."

Rodney looked around and sighed. "This really is a shitty place."

"No arguments there."

"Oh well, you're out of here now."

"Yeah, and I have a nice warm bed to go home to every night."

"Not to mention a pair of nice warm arms to snuggle into at the end of it all."

John went to Rodney and wrapped him in his arms and held him tight to him. "Yeah," he whispered, "that too."


Besides marrying Nancy, which had turned out to be the biggest mistake he'd made in his life, this was the biggest thing John had done. He'd spent time with other guys in barracks and tents and things like that, but this was the first time John was volunteering to actually live with a man he was seeing.

As he stood on the porch and looked into the living room, John wondered if maybe it was too soon to make this kind of decision. He had feelings for Rodney, more so than for anyone he'd ever dated, but his track record in relationships wasn't perfect. He tended to get tired of people really quickly, even faster when he spent a lot of time with them. He couldn't imagine ever getting tired of Rodney, but they'd only known one another for two weeks and they were already moving in together.

John wanted this, he wanted to live with Rodney, wanted to wake up to him every day, wanted to have sex in the shower every morning, but considering how much John felt for Rodney, he knew it would tear him apart if Rodney decided he didn't like being around him so much.

John jumped when his cell phone rang. He dug it out of his pocket and answered it.

"You are thinking again, aren't you?" Radek asked from the other line.

John huffed out an exasperated laugh, how did Radek know him so well already? "These things need to be thought about," he replied.

"Some things are for the brain to decide, and other things are for the heart. Does moving in with Rodney feel right?"

John nodded even though Radek couldn't see him. "More right than anything I've ever done," John told him softly.

"Then it is. Surrender to your heart, John, sometimes it knows better than the brain."

"But what if..."

"John," Radek interrupted. "We as humans are conditioned from birth to allow our brain to make the big decisions for us. Sometimes this is best, but not in matters of love... John, your worry is coming from the fact that you want this without having thought about it. Just do it, John. I know this is cliché, but, follow your heart."

John huffed out a laugh. "Yeah," he said. "That is cliché, but thanks for the advice." John hung up the phone and walked into the house. He dropped his bag onto the couch and sat down beside it.

"Hey," Rodney said and flopped down on the couch beside John.

"Hey," John replied and put his arm around Rodney's shoulders.

"How about lunch?" Rodney asked.

"Yes!" John said excitedly and got off the couch. "Let me borrow the car, I'm cooking for you this time."

Rodney cocked his head to the side and smiled. "I had no idea you could cook."

"That's because you never let me do it, but I insist this time. So can I borrow the car?"

Rodney handed the keys to John. "Let's get the stuff out of the car first," he said and stood up.

John followed Rodney out to the car and he unlocked the doors. Rodney carried the bags while John pulled out the dog house and dog food they'd stuffed into the trunk.

"Don't be gone too long," Rodney said as he laid the bags on the floor by the coffee table.

John put the wooden dog house kit behind the couch and nodded. "Okay," he said and smirked at how easily they'd slid into domestic life. John hadn't even gotten his stuff unpacked yet and already Rodney was setting limits on his time out.

Rodney apparently thought the same thing, because his eyes got big and he began stammering. "Well, you know... not that you can't stay out as long as you like, but we... that is, you and I... I mean this stuff..." Rodney sighed and shook his head. "I'll see you when you get back," he settled.

John laughed and kissed Rodney hard on the lips. He loved it when Rodney got flustered, even though that was the first time he'd actually seen him flustered. John liked having someone to not want him gone long. It meant that Rodney wanted him there, in his house... their house, in his arms. "I'll be back soon," John said and smiled at Rodney. He backed out through the door, not taking his eyes off Rodney until he was on the porch.

John slid behind the wheel of the car feeling like a lovesick teenager. He was torn between wanting to go to the store to buy the food to cook Rodney lunch, and running back into the house and taking Rodney into his arms and kissing him senseless. In the end, the need to eat won and he started the car and pulled out of the drive. In the two weeks he'd known Rodney, he'd seen him full and he'd seen him hungry and he had to say that a Rodney with a full stomach was much more agreeable.

John felt his stomach jump at the thought that he'd only stepped into town two weeks ago. There were things he'd set out to do when he retired from the military and settling down was definitely one of them, but he hadn't thought it would happen so soon, or so fast.

He pulled into a spot in the parking lot of the grocery store and thought about the list of things he'd mentally made while he was staying with Dave.

1. Bungee jumping

2. Sky surfing

3. Mountain climbing

4. Deep sea diving...

Way down at the bottom of the list, after all the risky things he wanted to do, was finding the right guy and settling down, that wasn't even really a requirement on that list, just something he wouldn't shrug off if it happened. But as usual for him, he didn't follow any sort of order, and he went off and fell in love before doing any of the risky things on his list, and he didn't care in the slightest. He would gladly shred that list into tiny microscopic pieces if it meant he could spend the rest of his life with Rodney.

As he pushed the grocery cart with the squeaky wheel through the store, he wondered if he could pinpoint the exact moment he turned into a sap. As he put the package of hamburger into the cart, he realized that it didn't matter. He loved the warm feeling in his chest every time he thought about Rodney, loved the stirring in his pants when he remembered the things they'd done in bed.

John added a package of onion soup mix to the cart and smiled when he remembered the way Rodney's lips felt the first time they kissed. He knew the odd looks he was getting from the shoppers as they walked past him was due to the grin on his face, but if they had what he had, they'd be grinning too.

Then it hit him, he'd smiled more in the last couple weeks than he had in his entire life, he'd laughed genuinely, and bounced when he walked. He hadn't cared who saw him or what they thought. He suddenly had the urge to stand in the center of the store and tell everyone that he was happy! For the first time in his life, he was really truly utterly happy, and it was Rodney that made him happy.

John knew that accosting unsuspecting shoppers with his revelation wasn't a very good idea, so he finished his shopping, paid and hurried back to the house to share the news with Rodney.

John tossed the hamburger into the refrigerator and then found Rodney in the backyard with a toolbox and the doghouse.

"Hey," Rodney called when John came through the backdoor. "You're back. I've almost got this thing put together. Two doctorates in physics and a damn doghouse is beating me."

John ignored Rodney's words as he walked across the yard. He stood directly beside Rodney and looked down at him.

After a moment, Rodney looked up. "What?" he asked. When John didn't say anything, Rodney's eyes went wide and he stood up. "Oh no, what happened?" he asked and searched John's face.

John cupped Rodney's face in his hands and kissed his lips gently. "I love you, Rodney," he whispered.

Rodney put his arms around John and pulled John close to him. "I love you too," he said.

John leaned into Rodney, kissing him again, and this time he poured every ounce of himself into the deep, slow, sensuous kiss. He tasted Rodney's mouth and massaged his scalp with his fingers. Neither of them rocked their hips, or rutted against one another or pulled their erections together. This wasn't about sex, it was about love. Love was something John had always thought about, wondered if he'd ever find it, and now he was standing in the backyard, kissing the love of his life, and he'd only known the man for two weeks.

Rodney stared into John's eyes when the kiss broke and in those eyes, John saw that everything he was feeling was returned in full. Then Rodney's hand was in his, and he was being gently pulled toward the back door. He went willingly.

Rodney closed the bedroom door behind them and kissed John again, still slow and languid, and John knew that this was about much more than physical pleasure for Rodney too.

Rodney's hands were running over John's body in a series of light caresses. Rodney rubbed the back of John's neck, and then ran his fingers slowly down John's arms. He moved his hands to John's stomach, where they worked John's shirt open from the bottom until John's nipples were exposed.

Rodney pulled away from John just enough to be able to look at his chest, and he ran his hands lightly over John's chest, letting his fingers and palms make several passes over John's nipples, but never stopping to tweak or flick or pull them. When Rodney leaned down and ran the flat of his tongue over one of John's nipples, John staggered back and leaned against the door. Then the nipple was being circled with Rodney's tongue and the nub was so hard it hurt. John grunted when Rodney bit down and gently pulled at his nipple with his teeth.

John took long deep breaths as Rodney kissed his way back up to John's mouth, but the breaths were quivering with need. He leaned off the door and Rodney pushed the shirt off his shoulders, then moved down to his jeans.

John wrapped his arms around Rodney and pulled him close, trapping his hands between their bodies, and kissed Rodney's neck, his jaw line, his ear. Then John rested his lips directly on Rodney's ear. "Make love to me, Rodney," he said huskily.

Rodney hummed deep in his throat and John felt his hands begin moving again. He pulled back and Rodney had to stop his task as John pulled Rodney's tee shirt over his head.

"I love your body," John whispered as he ran his hands over Rodney's nipples down to the waist of his jeans. "You're the most beautiful thing I've ever seen, Rodney, and I want you. Now and forever, I want to be yours."

Rodney opened John's pants. "You have me, John," he said and kissed him softly. "Always."

They separated, and they both began kicking off their shoes and pushing their pants down as they made their way toward the bed. John lay down and held his arms open to Rodney, who curled into John the moment he hit the mattress.

They were facing one another, their feet tangled together. Rodney's arm was a comforting weight where it draped over John's hip, his fingers lightly rubbing John's ass. John smiled and reached toward Rodney. He rested his hand on Rodney's neck and ran his thumb over the jaw line. He loved touching Rodney, loved the way his skin felt under John's caresses. Rodney was so responsive, he always hummed or moaned or groaned when John touched him, and John loved hearing those sounds.

John ran his thumb across Rodney's cheek and over his lips.

Rodney growled and kissed John's thumb, he opened his mouth to take the thumb inside, but John moved his hand to the back to Rodney's head and pulled him in for another kiss. John sighed when Rodney turned away from him. He heard the nightstand drawer open and a moment later Rodney was facing him again.

John watched as Rodney popped the top off the lube and squeezed some onto his fingers. Rodney reached around John and John whimpered when he felt a slick finger pressing into him. He closed his eyes and opened himself to it. He licked and kissed Rodney's shoulder as the finger pressed deeper into him. He could feel Rodney's heat on his lips, against his chest and moving slowly inside him.

"Ooh yeah," John drawled breathily as a second finger slid inside him. He grunted and bucked his hips forward when Rodney bit down on his shoulder then licked the mark, soothing the spot that would likely be purple tomorrow. It hurt, and John didn't usually like pain during sex, but Rodney had done it and that made it good. The spot on his shoulder was stinging sharply, but Rodney's tongue was quickly washing the pain away.

The third finger was added and John felt like he was about to come apart at the seams. He rolled his head back and panted. He pressed his hips back, making Rodney's fingers push deeper into him. He needed the contact, the friction.

Rodney's breathing was jagged as well, and John could feel the head of Rodney's dick poking at him ever so slightly each time Rodney slowly pressed his hips forward. "John," Rodney panted. "I want to be inside you."

John opened his eyes and looked at Rodney. He saw the emotion in Rodney's face, the want and the need. "Make love to me, Rodney," he whispered.

John rolled onto his back and Rodney leaned in and put their mouths together in a deep kiss. Rodney was kissing John like he was trying to taste his soul, and John spread his legs, letting Rodney slip between them. When the kiss broke, John groaned in protest and tried to pull Rodney back down on top of him when Rodney sat up.

Rodney put a hand on John's chest and pushed away, leaning up onto his knees, John watched as Rodney slicked lube over his erection. John put his legs around Rodney's waist and pulled him, making Rodney lose his balance and come tumbling back down onto him. They both grunted when their cocks bumped one another.

He bit his lip when Rodney pushed up onto one hand and lined himself up with John's entrance. John closed his eyes and inhaled deeply, rolling his head back when Rodney pushed into him.

"Damn, John," Rodney said softly when he began moving slowly into and out of John's body. "You fit me so perfectly." He sighed out a shaky breath and began moving a little faster.

John arched his back, pressing his ass harder onto Rodney's dick, and moaned Rodney's name when his prostate was stroked. Rodney had his hands on John's hips, digging his fingers into the flesh, he was up on his knees and the only part of John's body that was touching the mattress was his head and shoulders. Rodney was rocking slowly, easing John down toward the bed before taking him back up again with each push.

John's ankles were locked behind Rodney's back and he was trying to urge Rodney to move faster, but Rodney was ignoring the way John's legs were flexing, pressing his heels into Rodney's ass. Rodney's hands slid from John's hips, down his thighs and back up to his sides, they moved around and kneaded at the tight cheeks of John's ass before moving back to his hips again.

"You're beautiful, John," Rodney said. "I love you so much."

John felt warmth wash over him as Rodney said those words. He could feel it; Rodney's love for John was coming off of him like heat and engulfing John. It wrapped around him and lifted him off the bed, John was floating on the euphoria of the knowledge that Rodney really did love him.

"Oh god, Rodney," John moaned brokenly. "I love you too." He meant it. John had never felt for anyone, in his entire life, the things he felt for Rodney, and that was a little scary.

John's stomach was suddenly fluttering with the wings of a million butterflies and he wrapped his legs tighter around Rodney and pressed himself down onto him. Rodney grunted and thrust harder when John's squeezed him with his ass.

John reached up and gripped Rodney's arms, pulling him down and he howled with pleasure as the new position forced Rodney's dick to rub his prostate with each thrust. John wrapped his arms around Rodney's shoulders and held him tight, kissing him deeply.

Rodney groaned and rested his hands on the mattress on either side of John and continued rocking his hips.

John broke the kiss and rolled his head against the pillow, arching his back as the force of Rodney's thrusting made his dick rub blissfully against Rodney's stomach.

Rodney was panting John's name now, between the feather light kisses that he was planting on John's chin.

"Ah... ah... ah..." John chanted as his balls drew up tight. He hissed in a breath through clenched teeth. "Oh god, Rodney," he sighed as he came.

Rodney groaned out a long breath and stiffened, his hips jerking twice, and John felt him coming.

John wrapped his arms around Rodney when he collapsed on top of him. He rubbed his hand over Rodney's sweaty back and kissed his head. Rodney's arms were against John's sides and it tickled as Rodney rubbed his fingers lightly over the tender flesh over John's ribcage.

"Damn, Rodney," John said softly. "I've never..." he blew out a heavy breath. "That was intense. I've never felt anything like it."

Rodney hummed his agreement and pulled out of John with a soft wet pop. He got off the bed, left the room and John could hear the water in the bathroom. Rodney came back a moment later with a wet cloth that he used to clean John's stomach, then he got back on the bed and curled up against John.

John was beginning to drift when he heard the loud gurgling of Rodney's stomach. "Oh, right," he said and peeled Rodney's arm from around his chest. "I was going to cook you lunch."

Rodney grumbled, rolled over, and looked at the clock on the nightstand. "Well, you can make it dinner now," he said and laughed softly.

John got off the bed and pulled his pants on. He went out to the backyard with the package of matches and the bag of charcoal he'd bought. He took the lid off the grill, took the rack out and dumped the charcoal into the grill that, by the way it looked, had never been used before. Once the fire was burning nicely, John closed the lid and went back inside, he sliced tomatoes first, then peeled leaves of lettuce off the head, finally he mixed the hamburger and onion soup mix.

John was laying the patties on the grill when Rodney came out the backdoor in nothing but a towel and wet hair.

"Mmm," John groaned. "You took a shower without me."

Rodney moved up behind John and wrapped his arms around his waist. John placed one hand on Rodney's where they rested on his stomach. "Some showers are actually for the purposes of getting clean," Rodney said sarcastically.

"Yeah, yeah," John replied and scooted one of the patties with the spatula.

"Why are you grilling anyway?" Rodney asked. "I thought you were going to cook."

"This is cooking, Rodney. The best way to cook, and why have a grill if you're not going to use it?"

"Eh," Rodney grunted. "Markham and Stackhouse got it for my birthday last year. Markham said I'd have a reason to invite everyone over to my house more often."

John cocked his head to the side and flipped a burger. "That's not really a bad idea you know."


"We could have a barbeque, I could cook. I can cook anything on the grill. Then we could all sit around and eat good food and get drunk."

"No, John. The last thing I want is a bunch of people traipsing all over the house. The more times a door is opened, the more likely it is that either Icarus or Atlantis will get out of the house."

John flipped the rest of the burgers and then turned toward Rodney.

"You're right," he said as he gripped the top of Rodney's towel. He pulled the towel open and looked down at Rodney's cock, keeping himself between Rodney's nakedness and the rest of the world. "I think I like being able to take you apart any time I feel like it." John smirked and raised his eyebrows.

"Ha ha," Rodney snarked and pulled the towel from John's hands and re-secured it tightly around his waist. "Any time you're ready, bud. Except right now because you're cooking and I have things to do inside."

John growled deep in his throat as he watched Rodney walked back toward the door.

John carried the plate of burgers inside and sat them on the dining room table with the tomatoes, lettuce and buns. He got the ketchup and mustard out of the refrigerator and sat them on the table as well.

"Rodney?" he called when he didn't see Rodney sitting on the couch.

"In here," Rodney's muffled voice came back.

"In where?" John asked as he walked into the living room.

"Guest bedroom," Rodney called and John opened the door.

"Ooh," John said when he found Buddy's bed and toys in one corner of the room.

"Yeah," Rodney said excitedly as he bounced his way toward John. "Here's what I'm thinking." He turned back into the room and held his hands out as if he were the director of a movie. "I want to get rid of that bed, we never have sleep over guests anyway, and you're in my bed now so we don't need it. And we could turn this room into pet haven! We could either take the door off, or have a pet door installed. We could get one of those huge cat scratching post play lands for Icarus and Atlantis. We could get Buddy a bunch of toys and anything else you want him to have... as long as it's safe of course. It could be like the nursery."

John raised his eyebrows and his mouth fell open as he huffed out a quick laugh. "Damn, Rodney, in two weeks time, we've met, had sex several times, moved in together, and now we've graduated to talking about nurseries," he joked and wrapped his arm around Rodney's shoulder. "I wonder if we're moving too fast?"

Rodney turned to face John and scowled at him. "There's no such thing as too fast, when the time is right, you'll feel it, and I certainly feel it."

"I feel it too, Rodney," John said and pulled Rodney out of the "nursery". "Come on daddy, dinner's ready."

"Hmm," Rodney hummed. "Could you maybe not do that? It's kind of freaky."

"What? Call you daddy?"

"Yeah, that."

John laughed. "You're the one talking about nurseries."

"I meant for the animals," Rodney protested.

"I know," John said and put his arm around Rodney's shoulder again. "I'm just pulling your chain, buddy. But, you know. We may decide to adopt a kid someday. It's not impossible."

Rodney laughed sarcastically. "Yeah, actually it is impossible, I don't like people, remember?"

"I remember," John said lightly.

"And kids are little people, why would I want to bring something into my life that I'm not going to like?"

"Well, if we get one young enough, we can train it like a dog to be just as sarcastic and antisocial as you are. Maybe we could even train it to bite the mailman."

"Hmm," Rodney hummed and cocked his head to the side. "Good point, we could teach it to chase the damn paper boy too, that little shit always throws the paper in the yard. This is Vancouver; it rains a lot, what good is a soaking wet paper?"

"Yeah, and it could get our slippers," John added.

"And we could teach it to dance as it brings us beer from the fridge."

"There you go, see, not such a bad idea after all, is it?"

"No, but we're not going to talk about that again for at least another ten years. Okay?"

"Hmm, ten years?"

"At least."

"Okay, I can agree to not bring it up for a very long time," John told him.

"Okay." Rodney nodded and finally sat down at the dining room table.

John went into the kitchen and got two beers out of the refrigerator. "We don't have to worry about what's going to happen if we drink too much," John said and sat the bottle in front of Rodney.

"Not unless we're in public. We gave that cab driver a pretty good show."

John laughed, that night seemed like a million years in the past. He took a moment to reflect on it. He'd thought about leaving- briefly- but he had thought about it. He'd considered quitting his job and wandering off into some other area of Canada, surely Deep Cove wasn't the only place that had mountain climbing and kayaking and stuff. He'd also thought about staying in Deep Cove and staying at the clinic, but telling Rodney that he couldn't go with him to Washington. He sighed inwardly and shook his head, if he had made any decisions differently, he wouldn't be this happy right now. He'd still be on the air mattress in the dusty little shack.

"You alright?" Rodney asked around a mouthful of hamburger.

John looked up at him and smiled. "I am," he said and reached out to touch Rodney's hand. "Just very happy."

Rodney smiled back at him and nodded. "Me too," he said and took another bite of his burger.

John smiled at the groaning sex noise Rodney made as he chewed the meat. "Good?" he asked.

"Oh dear lord," Rodney moaned. "This is the best damn burger I've ever had!"

"I told you I can cook, as long as it's outside. Give me a pan and I'm useless, give me a grill and I'm a genius."

"I have a feeling we'll be using that grill more often," Rodney said and took another big bite.

John chuckled and took a bite of his burger too. Watching Rodney eat... and listening to him eat certain things... had quickly become one of John's favorite sports. He was compiling a list of moan worthy foods in his head as they ate.


Rodney grumbled when the alarm clock went off, and John leaned down and kissed him on the forehead. "Morning sunshine," he said happily and watched as Rodney cracked his eyelids open.

"Why are you dressed already?" Rodney asked sleepily.

"I've been dressed for ages, got up early, went for a run and took a shower," John answered.

Rodney mumbled something that sounded like 'damn morning people,' and turned over, pulling the blanket over his head.

John chuckled and lay behind Rodney again. He snaked his hand under the blanket, over Rodney's hip and laughed lightly at the curse that spilled out of Rodney's mouth when John gripped his morning erection.

"As much as I would love to, Rodney," John said as he lazily stroked Rodney's cock. "We can't stay in bed all day."

Rodney sighed. "I don't see... why not. Bed is the only place... I want to be right now."

John tightened his grip and nuzzled his face into Rodney's blanket covered head.

"Because," John said into what he thought was Rodney's ear. "You have to check on Buddy and make sure he's able to come home today."

"I'm sure he is," Rodney said, his breath hitching in the middle of the sentence. "Radek is a very competent vet."

John pulled harder on Rodney's dick. "Come on, Rodney," he coaxed and Rodney's hips bucked forward.

"Oh god, John. This is a good way to give a person a heart attack first thing in the morning," Rodney grunted.

"Ah yes, but it's a good way to go."

"Maybe, but I'd... like to live and... enjoy more sex... rather than die... from a morning jerk off. Jesus, John, you're killing me."

John laughed and ran his thumb over the head of Rodney's dick.

Rodney's hips bucked forward and he grunted John's name as he came.

John released Rodney's dick and pulled his hand out from under the blanket. "Messy," John said. "You'd think you hadn't had sex three times yesterday."

Rodney sat up and threw the blanket off of him. "Damn," he growled. "Do you know how long it's been since I had to have this blanket at the laundry? It's huge, it's very hard to transport." John lowered his head and blushed lightly.

"What?" Rodney asked.

"Um- actually... the blanket was washed last weekend," John told him.


"Yeah," John spoke shyly. "That night, when you called and you were eating chocolate..."

Realization dawned on Rodney's face. "You didn't..." he asked.

John nodded. "Yeah... but it's not like it was my fault."

Rodney chuckled and bit his lip. "So, when you "bumped your foot on the coffee table"...?"

"Yeah, I was in the bed... that's when I came."

"You totally jerked off in my bed you pervert," he laughed.

"Hey," John protested. "Who calls people and makes insanely hot sex noises and expects them not to come all over the place."

"But you were in my bed..." Rodney said as if the idea would have bothered him if he'd known.

"Yeah, well I had been sleeping on an air mattress and I didn't know you had a guest room at the time. I was fully taking advantage of a weekend on a normal bed."

"You slept on the couch on Saturday night."

"I passed out from exhaustion on the couch, not to mention, I had jerked off in your bed the night before. I was a little freaked out."

"Aww," Rodney joked. "You're so sweet,"

"Shut up," John insisted and kissed him.

John thought it was a wonder that Rodney ever got to work on time without him there to give him a push every ten minutes. Rodney had managed to stay in bed for another five minutes after John's impromptu hand job, and when he finally did manage to get up, he walked naked into the kitchen, which John didn't protest in the least. He guzzled down the first cup of coffee, then poured another and leaned against the counter sipping it while he did the crossword in the morning paper. John had brought it in, after having had a talk with the paper boy about getting the paper on the porch. John leaned his butt against the edge of the counter and watched Rodney do the crossword. He wasn't exactly interested in the puzzle, but Rodney was leaning a hip against the counter with a coffee cup in one hand and a pencil in the other. He was still naked and didn't seem to be the least bit conscious about it, not that he should be. If John had his way, he and Rodney would walk around the house naked all day.

Rodney finished the puzzle faster than John had ever seen it done, and then he spent half an hour in the bathroom before the water even came on in the shower.

It was exactly six am when they walked through the door at the clinic, and John realized that he was going to need to get his own car or ride his bike to work. He hated getting to work and having to start working right away. He liked to get acclimated to his environment before jumping in head first to start the day.

"Hey Buddy," John said as he took Buddy out of his kennel for his morning walk in the yard. "You ready to come home today?" He asked as he clipped the leash to his collar and led him out the door.

He walked Buddy in the warm morning sun for ten minutes before taking him back inside and writing in his chart that Buddy was in the yard for ten minutes at six am, he urinated a lot and had a solid bowel movement.

He cleaned the exam rooms, restocked the gloves and treats and sterilized the OR for the only surgery they had scheduled for the day.

His job was done by eight that morning.


John, Markham and Radek each sat on exam stools around the exam table in the back room. Each man had various sized piles of needles in front of them. Each gauge needle had a different colored cap, and each cap held a different value. The green cap was 50, the pink cap was 100, the blue cap was 500 and the yellow cap was 1,000. "Okay gentlemen," John said and chomped the chewing gum he'd gotten from Markham. "The game is five card draw, you know the rules. It's a green cap to get in."

Markham was the first to throw in a green capped needle, then Radek did the same and John was the last.

John dealt each player five cards. "Alright, pick 'em up," John ordered and looked at his cards. Damn, shit hand, he thought as he pulled two cards out of his hand and threw them face down on the discard pile. "Dealer takes two," he said. He dealt Radek one card and Markham three. At least he didn't have the worst hand.

That's more like it, he thought, making sure to keep his face completely neutral when he saw his new cards.

"Radek's on the button," John said and watched as Radek stared at his hand, deep in thought. After a moment, he picked up a pink capped needle and threw it into the pile.

"Hundred to me," Markham said and laid his cards down. He picked up a pink needle and a green one and threw them on the pile.

"One fifty to the dealer," John said and looked at his cards again. He had a good hand, it wasn't the best, and he had no way of knowing if Markham was bluffing of if he really had a good hand. He decided to just go with it, and he put in a pink, a green, and a blue.

The betting went around the table twice more and the pot of needles in the center of the table was growing rather large. Finally, everyone checked and it was time to show their cards.

Radek laid down three fives, a deuce and an ace.

Markham had three tens and a seven and four.

John smiled, "Read 'em and weep boys," he said and laid down his full house. Three eights and two kings. John cackled amidst the groans of defeat and reached out to grab his pile of winnings.

"What the hell are you guys doing?"

John looked up and smiled at Rodney who was standing in the double doors like he was in a western movie stepping into a saloon. "Playing poker," John told him simply.

"On the clock?" Rodney asked.

"No one's here, Rodney," John said.

"So you decided to play poker... with needles?"

John looked from Rodney to the pile and back again. "They haven't been opened so they're still sterile."

"We're going to put them back in the box when we're done," Markham chimed in.

Rodney shook his head and finally came into the room. "Radek, I can't believe you're a part of this," Rodney said.

"Hey, you are boss and he is your boyfriend," Radek defended.

"Really?" Markham asked and looked over at John. "Congratulations," he looked over at Rodney and then back to John. "I think."

"John, isn't there something you should be cleaning?" Rodney asked and tipped his head to the side slightly.

John's face went slack for a moment. "Oh, right, I forgot I was supposed to organize your filing cabinet today," he said.

"Oh please, Rodney you are not fooling anyone," Radek said. "Just go, I will deal with any customers that come in."

John followed Rodney into the office, and as soon as the door closed behind him, he pounced on Rodney and attacked his mouth. John backed Rodney toward the desk, unbuttoning his pants as he went. He moved Rodney's pants down to his knees, and pushed Rodney down into the chair.

As John sank to the floor, he heard Rodney growl, and then Rodney's hands were on his shoulders. John leaned forward and ran his tongue along the slit in Rodney's dick, and then he opened his mouth and lowered himself, taking Rodney into his mouth until he felt the head brushing the back of his throat.

"Oh yeah," Rodney said and rolled his hips up a little.

John moaned when he felt Rodney's fingers on the back of his head, twisting into his hair. He sucked hard and pulled back, grazing his teeth lightly under the head.

"Fuck," Rodney squeaked and pushed against the back of John's head.

John's eyes rolled back and he went down again, sucking Rodney in. His lips were tight as they stroked down Rodney's cock, his tongue running smoothly along the underside.

Rodney groaned and his hips were rolling forward and back, pushing and pulling in John's mouth. He had one hand wound tight in John's hair while the other was kneading the muscle of his shoulder.

"Oh... oh god, John," Rodney groaned.

John was running his hands up and down Rodney's thighs and he felt the muscles go tight under his fingers. He pulled back and sucked hard on the head of Rodney's dick, his right hand sliding around to rub Rodney's balls.

Rodney bucked hard, lifting his ass off the chair and John swallowed spurt after spurt as Rodney came. John moaned as the hot fluid splashed against the back of his mouth and ran down his throat.

Rodney panted as he eased himself back into the chair and loosened his grip on John's hair. John licked Rodney clean before leaning up.

"God, you're beautiful, John," Rodney said and leaned forward.

John purred when Rodney cupped his head and leaned in to kiss him.

When the kiss broke, Rodney leaned back in his chair and John rested his head on Rodney's stomach, loving the feel of Rodney's hand petting over his hair. He slid his hands around and curled his fingers around Rodney's hips. "Mmm," he hummed. "You have a surgery to do."

"Oh damn," Rodney replied, but he didn't move.

It wasn't long after that, when John felt Rodney's body relax. He tapped Rodney on the thigh. "Rodney," he said and leaned up. "No time for sleeping."

Rodney grumbled and stood up once John was off the floor. He pulled Rodney's pants up and buttoned them, then he was in Rodney's arms and moaning into a kiss.

Rodney broke the kiss and sighed as he walked toward the door.

"Right," Rodney said when he stepped out of the office. He clapped his hands and rubbed them together quickly. "Let's get this surgery over with."

John stifled a chuckle when Radek rolled his eyes and turned away, saying something in Czech.


John was flipping through a dog training magazine when Markham came out into the lobby and sat across the table from him.

"Hey," Markham said as he picked up a magazine about cats.

"Hey," John replied and turned the page.

"So, you and Dr. McKay are together now?" Markham asked.

"Yep," John replied.

"How's that working out?"

John looked up from the magazine and furrowed his brow at Markham. "Fine so far, we've only been together for a couple of days."

Markham laughed. "I figured that much," he said. "I remember when Nate and I couldn't keep our hands off one another." He tilted his head and looked up at the ceiling, and then he shook his head. "Never mind, that still applies to us."

John laughed and tossed the magazine on the table, he could never concentrate on anything when he was talking to Markham.

"You guys weren't in there for very long," Markham said and nodded toward the office door.

"Well, it didn't take very long," John told him.

"What's it like?" Markham asked. "You know, fucking him. Does he order you around in bed?"

John chuckled and shook his head. "Of course not, but then, usually when I'm fucking him all he can say is oh god, fuck, and John."

Markham's laugh was loud and bellowing. "I can believe that, after having been with the mega-bitch for so long."

"Are you saying I'm a lousy lay?" John asked jokingly.

"Well I wouldn't know, but it looks like Rodney got his and left you with a tent in your jeans. So not cool."

"Oh trust me, I'll get mine. It's worth the wait."

Markham shuddered and closed his eyes. "Didn't need to know that dude."

"You brought it up."

"Okay, well now I'm letting it drop, let's talk about something else," Markham suggested.

"Alright," John said. "Markham and Stackhouse?"

Markham looked confused. "Yeah, what about it?"

"You go by your last names. Do you do that at home too?"

Markham chuckled and shook his head. "No, I'm Jason to him and he's Nate to me. But to everyone else, we prefer Markham and Stackhouse."

"Why is that?"

"You were in the military, right?"

"Yeah, twenty years."

"So what were you called for the last twenty years?"

"Sheppard," John answered.

"There you go," Markham said with a shrug.

"You were in the military?"

"Used to be."

"The American Military?"

"Yep, both of us. We actually met at Leonard Wood," Markham said, a huge grin splitting his face.

John's eyes went wide. "Damn," he said. "You guys met in basic training?"

Markham quirked a smile and nodded, "Yep," he said proudly.

"That's a hell of a track record," John told him.

"We've been together for a long time and still going strong."

"That must have been hard. I mean, I assume you guys joined before DADT even existed."

"Yeah, but if you don't act gay, no one knows you are."

"How'd you know Stackhouse was gay then?"

"You just know. When you meet that person you're supposed to spend the rest of your life with, you can feel it."

John nodded, he knew that feeling.

"So I guess you guys came up here to get married?" John asked.

"Not to get married, but to be together. Since we had to hide for our entire relationship, when we retired we wanted to go somewhere that we wouldn't have to."

John chuckled again. "Seems like all the American Military officers are retiring and moving to Canada."

Markham laughed. "Can you blame them?"

John smirked and shook his head.


John glared at the cat as she sat in the hallway staring at him.

"What's the matter with you?" he asked and waved his arms between the cat and the bowl of food. "I said Zde je si veceri, Matka."

"You have appalling accent," Radek said as he leaned against the door frame of exam room one. "Zde je si vereci, Matka," Radek said and the cat pranced over to her bowl and began eating. "It is no wonder she has lost weight."

"Hey, that's your fault," John told him. "How can you teach a cat Czech and then expect someone who doesn't even know that language to give her commands?"

Radek chuckled and clapped John on the shoulder. "It is not your fault, John," he said. "You have not been here long, and you have been distracted. You will learn to speak with the proper inflections as times passes."

John nodded and looked past Radek when he caught sight of the large kennel in exam one. "Is that in there for a reason?" John asked and nodded toward the door.

"Ah yes," Radek said. "I would like you to disinfect that kennel. We are expecting Great Dane with Parvo Virus and he will need to be quarantined."

"No problem," John said and got the disinfectant and gloves out of the closet.

John had his entire front half stuck in the large kennel and was wiping the floor with a wad of paper towels. He turned back as much as possible when he heard footsteps enter the room, and recognized the shoes as Rodney's. He arched his back and wiggled his ass more than necessary as he stretched to clean the back corners of the kennel.

"You're driving me crazy. You do know that, Right?" Rodney asked and pressed the toe of his shoe against John's ass, almost making him lose his balance and tip forward.

John laughed and wiggled his ass a bit more. "That was the desired effect, yes."

"When you're done there, I need to see you in my office," Rodney said sternly.

"Yes sir," John replied jokingly and resumed cleaning the floor of the kennel.

It was another half hour before John was satisfied with his work, then he knocked on Rodney's office door and walked in when Rodney told him to.

"Come here," Rodney said once John had closed the door, and John went over to him.

The kiss was slow and hot. John's hands rested on Rodney's hips as Rodney's fingers pressed against the sides of John's back.

Rodney's mouth left John's and moved to his cheek, then his neck. He circled around John and stood behind him, kissing the back of John's neck as he turned him toward the desk.

John licked his lips when Rodney's arms encircled him and began unbuttoning his pants.

Sex in Rodney's office, John thought as Rodney's hands moved over the buttons of John's fly. They were on the clock and Radek and Markham weren't far away. It had only been a few days ago that Rodney had insisted that they couldn't have sex because he was John's boss, and now they were having sex in the office. It was hot, and that was strange because this was the kind of thing John thought he'd never be interested in. He supposed he was rather traditional when it came to sex, but everything was better with Rodney. John had no limitations where Rodney was concerned, things he was previously opposed to were possibilities now.

John hissed in a breath when Rodney's hand gripped his cock. He wanted Rodney in front of him, wanted to see his face, kiss him, taste him, but he wanted to let Rodney have his way with him. Whatever Rodney wanted to do was perfectly alright with John.

"I want you to tell me when you're about to come, John," Rodney whispered huskily, the movement of his lips tickling as they brushed against John's ear. John nodded and then Rodney removed his hand and pushed John's pants down. John's stomach fluttered with anticipation as Rodney bent him over the desk.

Rodney leaned down over him and John felt Rodney's erection pressing against his ass. Rodney still had his pants on, John could feel the coolness of his khaki's on his bare skin. Then Rodney's lips were tickling lightly at his ear again. "When you're close, don't question, just do as I say. Understand?"

John folded his arms and rested his head on them then nodded. "Yeah," he said.

Rodney kissed the back of John's neck again, then between his shoulder blades and all the way down his spine. John gasped when Rodney ran his tongue along the crack of John's ass. The muscles in his arms tightened and he sighed when Rodney spread him apart and flicked his tongue over his hole.

"Oh," John drew the single syllable out in a long sigh and pressed back against Rodney's face, looking for more of that wondrous sensation.

Rodney pressed forward, pushing his tongue into John, and John's hips bucked a bit. His cock had ranged from semi-hard to fully hard since he'd given Rodney that blow job. Now his cock was so hard it was aching, and he knew he wasn't going to be able to take much more before he had to tell Rodney he was going to come. But he wanted to hold off as long as possible, he wanted to feel Rodney's hot wet tongue sliding into him again and again, he never wanted that feeling to stop, not even for a moment.

He whined when Rodney pulled his tongue most of the way out and began winding it against the tight ring of muscle. "Oh, Rodney," John moaned. His arms unfolded and he gripped the other side of the desk needing something to anchor him to reality.

Rodney's tongue slid back in and John groaned out his name again. He was on fire with the sensations Rodney was putting into him, and the situation made it that much hotter. When John had blown Rodney, they had the desk to separate them from anyone who happened to walk into the office. If anyone walked in at that moment, they'd get an eyeful of Rodney with his tongue shoved deep into John's ass. John was not only okay with that, it was making him hot. "Rodney," he panted brokenly, and Rodney's tongue came out of him quickly, his hands went to John's hips and he uttered one word.


And John did. He pushed up off the desk and turned around, leaning his ass against the edge of the desk and his dick disappeared into Rodney's mouth. John sucked in a tight breath and put one hand on the back of Rodney's head. He rocked his hips forward gently and he felt his dick slide down Rodney's throat and Rodney swallowed him down.

"Shit," John cursed softly when he felt Rodney's throat tighten around him, and then he was coming. Rodney swallowed again, causing John's dick to spasm at the pressure, then he pulled back and milked John with his lips. John was panting when Rodney pulled off of him, that was the shortest blow job he'd ever had, but by far the hottest.

John eventually caught his breath, and after his pants were back up and fastened, he flopped down in one of Rodney's overstuffed chairs and let his head drop back. He was completely relaxed and sated and at the moment, didn't care if he had to sleep in that chair, he couldn't imagine himself moving for at least an hour.

"Hey," Rodney said from behind John and petted his hair. "Get your PM jobs done and we can take Buddy home."

John sighed and nodded but it was a full minute later when he finally got out of the chair and walked toward the door with Rodney in tow.

"Honestly," Radek said. John looked over at him and found the man sitting in Novak's chair and smiling over at him and Rodney. "You two are off the clock in ten minutes, you could not wait until you got home?"

John smiled a little shyly and shrugged before heading out to the lobby to pick up the carpets.


John carried Buddy on his lap as Rodney drove them home. He was stroking Buddy's back with one hand and gently scratching behind the pup's ear with the other.

"You're going to spoil him," Rodney said lightly, and reached over and rubbed the other ear.

"He's just had major surgery," John fake whined. "He deserves a little spoiling."

"Just remember, John, he's just like a kid, if you spoil him too much in the beginning, he'll expect the same treatment for the rest of his life."

"Aww," John said and hugged the puppy a little closer to his stomach. "He's had a rough life. I won't spoil him too much, but he needs a little TLC right now. Besides, who are you to talk about spoiling animals, Ickie and Attie think they're gods amongst cats."

"Icarus and Atlantis," Rodney corrected.

"Whatever, they're spoiled rotten."

"For healthy things like fur ball medication and fresh water, yeah, they are."

"Speaking of fresh water," John said. "We're going to need a bigger fountain, Buddy is a dog."

"Oh no, the cats food and water is being moved up onto the counter in the laundry room, I don't want Buddy being able to eat and drink any time he wants to and then messing all over the house."

"Oh how unfair," John joked.

"Hey, I'm a cat person, what can I say?"

"And yet you asked me to move in even though I had Buddy."

"Yeah, well apparently I'm a John Sheppard person too."

John chuckled and opened the door after the car was parked in the driveway. "Aw, I like you too," he said lightly.

Rodney unlocked the door and John walked into the house carrying Buddy in his arms.

"Welcome home, Bud," he said and put him on the floor.

The cats came through the dining room doorway and pranced toward Rodney, meowing loudly all the way. Buddy dropped his front legs to the floor and barked playfully before breaking into a run. He chased the cats back through the dining room door, bumping into an end table along the way, causing a small framed picture to fall flat.

"Buddy," John called. "Don't eat the cats."

Rodney stepped in front of John and glared at him. "You are so getting that dog obedience training," he said and ran out of the room when one of the cats yowled loudly from somewhere in the direction of the laundry room.


Rodney had gone to the bedroom early because he had a major surgery first thing in the morning and he needed to relax before bed. John spent the evening with Buddy. He showed him to the nursery and put him on his bed and showed him where his toys were. He played lightly with one of Buddy's tug toys. He didn't want to play rough because Rodney and Radek had both warned him that Buddy could have some pretty severe setbacks if he got too active before he finished the medication.

Buddy seemed to take to his new situation quickly, as if it were a huge relief to be out the terrible life he'd had before. Of course, John didn't know exactly what kind of life he'd had, but considering that he was five months old and had over eighty adult heart worms, he could guess.

And the dog was smart. John had shown him the back door not long after they got home and said "outside" before clipping the leash to his collar and taking him out to pee. A couple of hours later, Rodney had gone into the kitchen for another beer and had told John that Buddy was staring at the back door. John took him out, and he used the bathroom.

After their gentle game of tug of war, which John let Buddy win, Buddy crawled up on John's lap and John began scratching his ear again. Now the puppy was yawning and he stepped off John's legs and went over to his bed. John gave Buddy another welcome home pet before getting off the floor and going into the bedroom.

Rodney was asleep when John got into the bedroom, but John had known he would be, so he wasn't surprised. The lamp was still on and Rodney had a book open and lying across his chest. The blanket was folded down and Rodney's feet were on top of it, crossed at the ankles. One hand was resting on the back cover of the book while the other hand was lying on his hip. He was wearing green cotton boxers and a grey tee shirt with socks still covering his feet.

John took in the image and felt completely content with his life. He felt his heart swell with total happiness, something he'd always been told he couldn't have as a gay man.

Smiling, John walked over to the bed and gently lifted Rodney's hand off the book, marked his place and set it in the nightstand. Then he moved down the bed and removed Rodney's socks before lifting his feet and putting them under the blanket. He pulled the blanket over Rodney before slipping into bed beside him. Rather than turning the light off and going to sleep, John leaned up on one elbow and looked at Rodney, his closed eyes and his beautiful mouth, his slightly thinning brown hair and the rise and fall of his chest as he breathed.

Suddenly, John remembered his conversation with Markham earlier that day, he and Stackhouse had been together for years. John admired that in a couple, because Markham and Stackhouse had to have had their fair share of arguments over those years, but instead of tucking tail and running away when things started to get a little rough, they stuck it out and worked through things. John could tell, even though he'd never met Nathan Stackhouse, that the two of them had a strong relationship.

John smiled and tried to picture himself with Rodney when he was seventy and it was surprisingly easy to do. Normally, not that he usually tried, John couldn't manage to see himself old, but now he did. He saw himself with silver hair and wrinkles around his eyes from a lifetime of smiles, lying in bed with Rodney, whose hair had turned a dusty color. Both their faces had more wrinkles, and their hair had changed color, but in John's mind, they were in their seventies and still holding on to whatever it was that had drawn them together in the first place.

Since his mind was on these sappy thoughts anyway, he allowed himself to wonder if Rodney was the unknown factor behind his decision to move to Deep Cove. Because, honestly, who made the decision to become a citizen of another country just because a certain area has some descent outdoor activities?

He shook his head and leaned over Rodney and pulled the chain on the lamp. "Night, Rodney," He whispered and kissed Rodney's forehead. He knew that if he didn't stop his mind, it could go on forever, and he needed to get at least a little sleep before work in the morning. John scooted in close to Rodney and rested his head on Rodney's shoulder. He gently twisted one leg between both of Rodney's.

Rodney grumbled momentarily before turning slightly and moving his arm so John could sleep more comfortably. "Night," he groaned sleepily and John smiled at the thickness in Rodney's voice.

"Good night, Rodney," John said softly and closed his eyes.


John woke up to the smell of bacon and coffee and thought that living with Rodney was fantastic in more than one way. Never in his life had he had as much great sex as he had for the past week, but for the last twenty years, aside from leave, John had woken up to military rations and they held nothing to Rodney's breakfasts.

Stretching, John rolled over and swung his legs off the edge of the bed. "Hey, Buddy," John said when the warm wet tongue came out and licked his foot. Buddy had been brought home three days ago, and John had noticed that first night that he'd spend the first while in the nursery on his bed, but he was always curled on the floor beside John in the morning.

John bent down and stroked his hand over Buddy's head before getting off the bed, pulling on a pair of boxers and walking out of the bedroom.

"Afternoon sleepyhead," Rodney said as he turned away from the stove and kissed John.

"Mmm," John hummed as he returned the kiss hungrily. He smacked his lips when the kiss broke, obviously Rodney had been tasting the bacon. He looked at the clock on the microwave and couldn't believe he'd slept so late. "Eleven thirty!" John said tightly. "Why didn't you wake me?"

Rodney shrugged and turned back to the stove and started removing the bacon from the grease. "There's no reason to get up today," he said. "It's Saturday."

"Yeah, but I don't like sleeping away my days off," John told him.

"Well, you had a bit of a busy night last night." Rodney wiggled his ass as he walked into the dining room.

John followed him and smacked the ass in question. "As I recall," he commented. "You were just as busy."

"And yet, you're the one who slept until almost noon."

"It's not like I was tired when we finished, I could have still been going this morning. The only reason I slept so long was because I didn't have you snoring in my ear," John joked.

"Ha," Rodney spat and turned toward John. "That's why you all but passed out before you collapsed onto the bed."

John felt his lungs burning to betray him with a yawn and he fought to hold it in, but when his eyes started watering, he gave in and the yawn to end all yawns came forth, nearly busting John's jaw.

"Uh huh," Rodney said and poked his finger into John's side. "Not tired huh?"

"Oh hush," John said and sat down, "I'm hungry." He began pulling pieces of bacon off the plate and putting them on his own. He grabbed a piece of toast off the stack and took a bite making a yummy noise as he looked up at Rodney who still hadn't sat down.


"Roll over," John said and rolled his hand to indicate the action he expected.

He'd gone into the backyard with Buddy when Rodney insisted he get out of the way while Rodney did the dishes. He'd walked Buddy out to the back corner of the yard where he was training Buddy to use the bathroom. Buddy relieved himself and then John took him closer to the house and began trying to teach him some tricks.

"Roll over," he said again.

"What are you doing?"

John looked up and found Rodney sitting on the steps of the back porch clutching a mug in his hands. John furrowed his brow. "Teaching him tricks," John said matter of factly.

Rodney scoffed and took a sip from the mug. "You have to start with the basics, John. When you joined the military, they didn't just hand you a gun and send you off to kill people, they taught you how."

John shook his head and stared at Rodney. "What?" He asked confused.

"He has to learn to sit before you teach him to lie down," Rodney told him.


"Yeah, I'm a vet, I know these things."

"Alright," John said and held out the hand that held the small dog treat. "You're so good, come show me how it's done."

"Fine," Rodney said. He took another sip and then sat the cup aside. "Watch the master," he said as he strode toward John.

Rodney took the treat and John stepped to the side and watched as Rodney hid the treat in his palm and looked down at the dog. Buddy was standing in front of Rodney, waiting for the treat and wagging his tail so hard his entire back half was wiggling.

"Sit," Rodney said firmly.

No sooner than the word was out, Buddy turned around and ran away from Rodney, making a wide circle around the yard.

John laughed until he doubled over, resting his hands on his knees. "Oh yeah..." John gasped between fit of laughter. "The master... at least... he was standing still... for me." He was laughing so hard he could barely get the words out.

"Well," Rodney said and went back to the porch. "We're getting him signed up for those obedience classes while we're out today. Now, since that dog only wants to listen to you, why don't you get him to stop running? You know he's not supposed to be getting that much physical exertion."

"Oh, right," John hissed and stuck his fingers into his mouth, letting loose an ear shattering whistle. "Here Buddy," he said and the dog ran over and sat beside John's leg, panting.


John held the leash loosely in his hand as he and Rodney walked down the street. Rodney had suggested that they take Buddy for a walk and get their errands done at the same time.

The giant cat scratch post play land was now bought and set for delivery later that evening. Rodney was holding a bag from the pet supply store that contained a few cat toys and a couple new things for Buddy, and they'd signed Buddy up for his obedience training, his classes started next Saturday. Stuffed in John's back pocket was a package of screws that he planned on using to fix the double doored medicine cabinet in the bathroom. It apparently had never bothered Rodney that the left mirror hung over the right, but John spent a fair amount of time looking at himself, considering that he had to shave every three and a half minutes, and the crooked mirrors were getting on his nerves.

"Hey," Rodney said and stopped walking. "How about lunch?" He hooked his thumb over his shoulder toward a small café.

"No," John said. "We have Buddy and I'm not tying him out here on the sidewalk."

Rodney cocked his head and screwed up his mouth. "I'd never let you tie him out here," Rodney told him. "But you don't have to, this place allows pets inside."

"Really?" John asked.

"Yep." Rodney smiled and backed toward the door. "Come on, let's get lunch."

John chuckled and followed Rodney into the café with Buddy tugging slightly on the leash as he tried to nip at Rodney's heels.

John and Rodney sat at one of the tables in the corner and Buddy's leash was looped over a small hook on the underside, the dog was lying under the table with his chin resting on John's foot.

"He is such a well behaved puppy," their server commented after he'd taken their order.

"Thank you," John replied. "He has a calm nature."

The man nodded, promising to have their lunch ready in a few minutes, and walked away.

"Huh," Rodney huffed. "Calm nature," he mocked.

"He is," John retorted. "Look at him."

"First, he's just gotten over a major surgery, it'll take him awhile to get back to normal so don't get too used to the calm puppy act. Second, did you see the way he was running around like a lunatic this morning? That was anything but calm."

John laughed and shook his head. "You said something that upset him."

"I said sit," Rodney told him and John felt Buddy's head lift off his foot.

"Shh," John warned and flapped a hand close to the table. "Don't say it again. He obviously has issues with that word."

"Right," Rodney scoffed, "Issues with sit?"

Then a low growling sound began emanating from under the table and both John and Rodney's eyes went wide.

Rodney cleared his throat. "Well, it is possible that his previous owners tried to teach him to s.... that command, and when he didn't get it they punished him."

"I wonder how hard it is to say... that... in Czech."

"No, John. I've dealt with Matka and her Czech for too many years, we are not teaching Buddy Czech."

"Well we have to have an alternate word for that command so he can learn to do it."

"Hmm," Rodney hummed as he thought. "We'll think of something."

The server came out then. He placed the sandwiches on the table and stooped to put a bowl of water on the floor for Buddy. "Enjoy your meal," he said and walked away.


John shook the ache out of his arm. If he'd known the job was going to be that difficult he'd have bought a drill. He had the medicine cabinet door open, he'd already removed the old screws, but since the holes were stripped, he had to push the little plastic things into the holes so the new screws would hold tightly. The problem with that was that screwing the new screws into the little plastic things was almost as hard as screwing a screw into a piece of wood, and since he was fixing the top hinge, his arm was tired and achy now.

"I got it," Rodney called out when the house phone began ringing.

John leaned as close to the bathroom door as possible without letting go of the mirrored door, but he still only caught a few of Rodney's words. He gave up after a moment and went back to fixing the medicine cabinet.

"Radek invited us over for dinner tonight," Rodney said when he appeared in the doorway.

"Yeah?" John asked, knowing that Rodney didn't like going to other people's houses any more than he liked other people to come to his.

"Yeah," Rodney confirmed.

Finally, finally, after a good fifteen minutes of screwing, the first screw was in and John could let go of the door. He let his arm drop to his side and felt the warm rush of blood as the flow became easier.

"Well, we do kind of owe him," John said as he leaned his hip against the sink.

"I know," Rodney said and dipped his head. "I told him we'd be there."

"Excellent, what time?"


"Wow, that soon huh?"

"Yeah, apparently Carson has dinner almost ready."

"Okay, let me finish this damn cabinet door, and then we can grab a shower and head out."

"Okay," Rodney said and left the room.

John put the second screw up to the hole and began twisting it in.

"Oh, and, John," Rodney said and poked his head back into the bathroom.

"Yeah?" John didn't dare stop screwing for fear of not being able to start a fourth time.

"Radek and Carson have cats, I'm not sure they'd be too happy about Buddy chasing them all over the house. So we should probably leave him here."

Now John did stop. He put the screwdriver on the sink and turned toward Rodney. "He's just a baby," he protested.

"I know, and I know you don't like leaving him, but he's not well behaved around cats and until he is you won't be able to take him places that have cats. Not to mention, you have to let him get used to being alone from time to time starting now, when he's young. Remember when I said if you spoil him he'll expect it forever?"

"I remember, but he's just a baby."

"He'll be fine John, the kennel will be delivered by then and we can put him inside with his toys and a blanket so he won't be lonely."

John stuck out his lip and turned back to the mirror.

"Don't start that," Rodney sighed.

John picked up the screwdriver and resumed twisting the screw into the wood.

"Alright, pout if you must, but Buddy is staying home tonight," Rodney insisted and walked out of the bathroom.

John turned toward the door and once he was satisfied he was alone, he smirked and laughed lightly. He really didn't want to leave Buddy alone, but he understood why he had to. He just liked keeping Rodney on his toes as far as life with John went.


"John!" Rodney's aggravated voice called from the living room. "Come on!"

John admired himself in the mirror for a moment longer before heading out to the living room.

"Jeeze, John," Rodney sighed and shook his head. "It's about time."

"Rodney, this is our first time being invited to a friend's house, as a couple. I think it's best to make a good impression."

"It's Radek and Carson," Rodney told him.

"It doesn't matter, they invited "us" not you or me, but us."

Rodney seemed to grasp the sentiment in John's voice because his face softened. "Well, you look amazing," he said genuinely. "I love you in those blue jeans, they accentuate your ass."

John smirked and turned away from Rodney, he swayed his hips from side to side as he walked toward the door. "Coming, Rodney?" he asked.

"I'm sure I will be before the night's over," Rodney joked and waggled his eyebrows as he walked past John.

John spit out a laugh and rolled his eyes. "Ridiculous," he said.


"Welcome," Radek said after the door was open.

"Thank you for inviting us," John said politely.

Radek moved back from the door and John followed Rodney into the house. Radek's house was nice. Big, with a second story, and it seemed more like a home than Rodney's house did before John moved in. There were pictures on the walls, not just diplomas, and little porcelain figurines of clowns which just made John cringe.

"Come into the den," Radek said and led them out of the foyer. "Dinner is not quite ready yet."

"Nice place, Radek," John said as he followed Radek down a wide hallway.

"Thank you," Radek replied.

John felt a little more at ease when he felt Rodney's warm hand on the small of his back, gently guiding him in the direction Radek had gone. John liked Radek, and he owed Radek for getting him and Rodney together, but he didn't really know Radek, not the way Rodney did, and Rodney's presence was a comfort.

"Have a seat," Radek offered and Rodney sat down on a large leather sofa and pulled John down beside him.

"Damn," John whispered when he leaned closer to Rodney. "Radek's loaded."

Rodney nodded. "Between him and Carson, yeah," Rodney whispered back. "Radek led a very impoverished childhood and swore that when he was an adult he wouldn't want for anything."

"At least he's not a snob," John said.

"No, he's anything but that."

Radek turned away from the bar with three brandy glasses, and handed one to each of his guests.

"Thanks," John said.

"You are welcome, John. I am very happy that you and Rodney were able to make it tonight. Carson has mentioned how much he liked meeting you, and I thought this was good time for each of us to get to know one another better. I would very much like to see how you act, outside the clinic."

John nodded and slung his arm over the back of the couch behind Rodney's head. "Yeah, Carson seemed like a pretty decent guy himself. I'm glad you asked us to come."

"Dinner's ready, love," Carson said when he came into the den through a separate door. He looked over at the couch and smiled. "Oh good, you're here."

"Hey, Carson," John said and stood up when Rodney pulled lightly on his wrist.

"Shall we?" Radek asked and motioned them out the door.

John and Rodney were seated on one side of the big table and Radek and Carson were on the other. Between the two couples was a pan of some sort of cheesy noodle dish, a bowl of beets, fruit cocktail, which John was happy to see had lots of cherries in it, and a basket of soft buttery rolls.

"Looks good, Carson," Rodney commented as he unfolded his napkin on his lap.

"Thank you, Rodney," Carson replied and began dipping out helpings of the noodle dish. "I rarely get the chance to cook for more than Radek and myself, and I do so love cooking large meals."

Radek reached out his hand and stroked it gently over Carson's shoulder. "He is a wonderful cook," he said dreamily.

John smiled and looked over at Rodney. "Yeah, Rodney's pretty good himself."

Rodney looked at John and John could swear he saw a slight blush creep into his lover's cheeks.

"Yes," Radek spoke. "I know, the difference between Rodney and Carson, however, is that not every meal consists of meat."

"Hey," Rodney protested and grabbed a roll out of the basket. "I happen to like meat."

"Mmm, me too," John agreed.

"Well, dig in everyone, this food won't serve itself," Carson said once all four plates had some noodles on them.

John looked down at his plate and realized that the cheesy noodle dish looked quite a lot like lasagna, only without tomato sauce or hamburger. Okay, so he supposed the only similarity to lasagna the dish carried was its noodles.

Reaching in front of him, John grabbed the bowl of fruit cocktail, he scooped out a good sized spoonful and tried to drain at least most of the juice before dumping it onto his plate. He made a yummy noise at all the cherries he'd scooped up, he loved cherries. Then he scooped out another, smaller, spoonful and dumped it on Rodney's plate before handing the bowl across the table to Radek.

"Mmm," Rodney said from beside John. "This is good, Carson."

John looked over and saw that most of the noodle dish was gone from Rodney's plate.

"Slow down there, buddy," John said and gently patted Rodney on the back.

"What have you two done all day?" Carson asked conversationally after a moment.

Radek nearly aspirated beet juice at the question. "Oh do not ask that," he coughed.

John laughed and shook his head. "We had breakfast, played with Buddy, ran some errands, ate lunch at a nice little pet friendly café, I fixed the bathroom cabinet, we took a shower and we eventually came here," John reported.

Carson chuckled and took a sip of his wine. "Radek's mentioned the recent goings on at the clinic." He raised his eyebrows and wiggled then slightly.

"How is Buddy?" Radek asked, diverting the conversation.

"He's good," John told him. "He's taking to his new surroundings quite nicely."

"Yeah, except that he chases Icarus and Atlantis all over the house," Rodney added.

"We're getting him obedience training though, so that won't last too long," John told Radek.

"And he needs it," Rodney said and looked at Radek. "That dog ran around the yard like a lunatic this morning."

"That's because you said sit," John told him, then looked at Radek and Carson. "He has issues with that word."

"Issues with the word sit?" Carson asked.

"Apparently," Rodney said.

"Hey, Radek, how to you say sit in Czech?" John asked.

"John, I told you no!" Rodney said firmly. "We're not teaching him Czech."

"Fine, I'll learn how to say it in Spanish then."

"Why can't we just come up with an English word for the command? Something like down?"

"Because down means lay down," John told him.

"Are we seriously having this conversation over dinner at our friend's house?" Rodney asked him.

"Hey, you started it."

"Did not."

"Did too."

"So," Radek interrupted. "He ran around the yard?"

"Oh," John said and turned toward him. "Yeah, I was trying to teach him to roll over and Rodney told me he had to learn the basics first. So he tried to get him to sit and Buddy went nuts."

Radek laughed. "You do know that Rodney has never owned a dog in his life, don't you, John?"

"I have too, I had a dog when I was a kid," Rodney corrected.

"Yes, but he ran away."

Rodney lowered his head and shook it gently. "Cats are better company anyway," he said pitifully.

John felt something in his chest ping at the look on Rodney's face. The loss of his childhood dog was obviously something that had hurt him, and John didn't like that Radek had said something that he had to have known would hurt Rodney.

He put his arm around Rodney and stroked his shoulder. "It's alright, Rodney, we won't let Buddy run away. He'll be with us for many years to come." He smiled when Rodney's face brightened a little and he took another bite of his noodle dish.

After that, the rest of the meal was fairly quiet. John asked about Carson's job and what hospital he worked at, and how he and Radek met.

He and Rodney kept touching each other. Rodney would reach over and rub his back between his shoulder blades, and John would pat Rodney's knee under the table. Once, Rodney leaned over and slapped a wet kiss on John's jaw bone and John ruffled Rodney's hair.

John felt Radek's eyes on him for most of the evening. It felt like Radek was sizing him up. Maybe he was jealous, but then, why would he push John and Rodney to get together if he still had feelings for Rodney? He guessed it was possible that Radek hadn't realized how much he still cared for Rodney until Rodney was with someone, and happy. Whatever the reason, John kind of felt like he was meeting Rodney's father.

"So," Carson said and the sharpness of it startled John out of his recent thoughts. "Who wants dessert?"

John's eyes went wide and he smiled. "It's not chocolate is it?" he asked.

Radek laughed, "No, I told Carson not to make chocolate."

"Ah, so you know about Rodney's orgasmic chocolate noises?"

"Oh yes, I am all too familiar with those noises."

"Look," Rodney said roughly. "I appreciate chocolate. I have a very delicate palate and therefore cannot be expected to sit quietly as my taste buds are assaulted with sweetness. That is no reason for me to become the butt of a joke between the three of you."

John patted Rodney's knee again. "Calm down, Rodney. You're not the butt of any jokes. I happen to have a very fond appreciation for those noises you make."

"And they aren't orgasmic," Rodney insisted.

"Trust me, Rodney," John said. "They are."

"Yes," Radek chimed in. "They very closely resemble sounds made during... bedroom activities."

Rodney rolled his eyes and it took all John had to keep from laughing as Rodney huffed out a breath. "Oh just say it, Radek. You're talking about orgasmic noises, just go the extra step and say sex. But I still don't think they do."

"Listen to yourself next time," John suggested.

Carson chuckled and the sound of it made John realize that Radek might not have mentioned Rodney's dessert noises to Carson. But then why would he? It wasn't like things like that came up in conversation.

John watched as Carson walked out of the dining room, then he looked over at Radek and smiled. "This should be interesting," he said slyly.

"You know what?" Rodney asked. "Just for that, I refuse to even say yum over whatever Carson made for dessert." He looked over at Radek and cocked his head. "So when your lovely fiancée is heartbroken and sobbing tonight, you'll be the one to blame."

John laughed, he knew that even though Rodney's words were rough he was joking... or at least he hoped he was.

A moment later, Carson came back with a tray that held four plates of dessert.

John looked down when Carson sat one of the small plates in front of him. His mouth immediately started watering when he saw the steaming slice of apple pie with vanilla ice cream dipped on top and drizzled with caramel. He thought that there was every chance that it could be him making the orgasmic dessert sounds tonight.

"Enjoy," Carson said and dug his fork into his own slice of pie.

John was about to take a bite himself when he heard the moan from beside him and he smiled and shook his head.

"Mmm," Rodney moaned. "Mm, oh, Carson... oh, god... Carson this is... mmm this is heaven."

John and Radek were both looking at Carson now, their own slices of pie forgotten on their plates. Carson was staring, wide eyed, at Rodney who was making noises that would make anyone think that he and Carson were having sex. Carson's cheeks were steadily turning darker and darker shades of red.

John had to stifle a laugh when Radek leaned over and whispered something into Carson's ear that turned the man almost purple with blush.

"Yeah, it's a Rodney thing," John said and finally took a bite of his pie. "You never really get used to it, but it does eventually stop taking you by surprise." He reached over and massaged the back of Rodney's neck.

Radek smiled at John and nodded. "Yes, and the reactions to it eventually wear off as well."

John looked down at his lap and shook his head. "I'm not there yet," he said and scooted a little closer to the table.

"Oh dear lord," Carson spat and ate another bite.

They retired to the den after dessert, and now Rodney was napping on the large leather sofa with his head in John's lap. John was petting Rodney's hair with one hand while the other hand rested on Rodney's stomach.

Radek and Carson were sitting on the other couch, although not quite as lounged as Rodney. They were whispering back and forth and sharing intimate little looks.

John looked down at Rodney and smiled. He'd forgotten what it was like to have someone, and he looked forward to life with Rodney. He had a feeling that as long as he was with Rodney, he'd never be bored.


John looked up at Radek when he spoke, he'd been staring down at Rodney for a while, and he hadn't even heard Radek get off the couch. Radek was now standing in front of him. "Yeah?" he asked.

"I am very happy that you were able to come to dinner tonight," Radek said.

John smirked. "You can stop saying that, Radek, it's not like it was a chore. I actually had a good time." John was glad that he didn't feel like he was being silently interrogated anymore. That had passed around the time dessert came out. Radek had stopped looking at John like he was looking for something, and started looking at him like a friend again.

"Yes, but I say that because, I must make confession to you."

John looked from Radek to Carson, who was still sitting on the other couch, and back again. "Okay, um- what is it?"

"I had an ulterior motive in inviting you to dinner. I am sorry, but it was clear that you and Rodney were getting serious in your relationship."

"Okay?" John said confused.

"I care deeply for Rodney, John. And although it is not the same kind of love I once had for him, I do still love him. Given the way the two of you have been at the clinic this week, I needed to see how you acted in a different setting. I wanted to make sure that you were not simply using Rodney for sex. I do not want him hurt."

John nodded. "I'd never hurt him, Radek," he admitted. He looked down at the sleeping man and rested his hand gently under Rodney's chin. Rodney grumbled and opened his eyes for only a moment before letting them slide closed again.

Radek smiled and put a hand on John's shoulder. "I can see that, John. I was very pleased with the way you were with him tonight, the touches, the exchanged looks, those were not the actions of a man looking for sex toy."

"No," Carson said from the couch. "They were those of a man in love."

John nodded. "No worries, Radek. You can stop worrying about him. He's in good hands now."

Radek chuckled. "I do believe he is," he returned.

John woke Rodney a few minutes after his conversation with Radek. He helped him out to the car, folded him into the passenger seat and drove him home. John practically carried Rodney inside, stripped him to his boxers, and covered him. John undressed himself and lay down beside Rodney, just looking at him. He reached out and ran his finger over the line of Rodney's jaw. He could hardly believe the path his life had taken. He'd led such a strict life, a military life. He'd been told countless times that gay men would never be happy and after failed relationship after failed relationship, he resigned himself to the fact. He joined the Air Force and fell in love with flying. He'd married Nancy and divorced her, the Military was still there, his planes were still there. He'd rescued men from behind enemy lines and lost men to those enemies. He'd disobeyed direct orders and barely averted being court marshaled. There had been high points in his life, most of those came with being behind the controls of an air craft, but for the majority of his forty-three years, he just existed.

He guessed he was pretty low on the list of people who deserved much in the way of happiness, which was why when he made that list of things to do after retirement, 'not a requirement' was written after falling in love. He'd never thought it would happen.

And yet, here he was, lying in bed beside the man he loved, the man who loved him. John was happy, genuinely happy, and it hadn't happened until after he turned his back on the military. He'd had to give up the sky, but looking at Rodney now, he knew he'd make the same decision again if he had to. It was a fair trade after all, because when he was with Rodney, it felt like he was flying.

John leaned down and kissed Rodney's slightly parted lips. "I love you, Rodney," he whispered before turning out the light and following Rodney into sleep.


John thought this was the happiest he'd ever been, including the year and a half that he and Rodney had spent together so far.

It was Christmas Eve, Buddy was lying on the rug in front of the fireplace and Icarus and Atlantis were snuggled against his belly, Buddy's long legs were making a protective circle around his feline brothers.

It was their second Christmas together, John and Rodney had been a couple for eighteen months now and they were celebrating with a cuddle session on the couch in front of the fire.

John was leaning against the arm of the couch and Rodney was sitting between his knees. John had his arms tucked under Rodney's arms and wrapped around his waist. Rodney had his head leaned back against John's chest and the fingers of both hands were interlocked with John's. They were covered with a fleece blanket as they listened to the fire crackling and watched the snow fall outside the window.

The past eighteen months had been good ones, the best of his life. Not only did he have Rodney, who he loved with his entire heart and soul, but he had made friends, real friends. People he knew he could trust when the chips were down. Radek had proven to be as loyal to John as he was to Rodney. He'd welcomed John into his sheltered circle of friendship that night at dinner.

Carson was an amazing man. He was funny and smart and played one hell of a poker game. John couldn't even count the number of needle caps he'd lost to Carson over the last year.

Novak had stopped being so weird once the baby had been born, it was a boy and she'd named him Charles, after his father who everyone called Chuck.

Then there was Markham, he'd quickly become one of the best friends John had ever had. Granted, he still hadn't met Stackhouse, which he thought was kind of weird, but he brushed it off. It was Markham that John spent time with. Whenever John wasn't with Rodney, you could usually find him with Markham.

"Hey," Rodney said and twisted his neck to look up at John.

John smiled at the fact that he'd been so deep in thought about the last year and a half that Rodney's soft voice had startled him. "Hey," he returned.

"Why don't you marry me?" Rodney asked casually, as if he were asking John if he liked the color blue.

John smiled and nodded. "Sure," he answered in a similar casual tone. "Why not?"

"Excellent," Rodney said and turned his body so he was on his knees, his top half resting on John, and kissed him. John kissed back, running his hands up Rodney's back under his shirt.

Rodney pulled away from the kiss when his watch beeped. "Oh crap, we have the Christmas party in fifteen minutes. We better get dressed and head out."

"Damn," John cursed lightly. "Just when things were starting to heat up."


The clinic looked amazing. Rodney had given Novak his credit card and told her to do it up right, within reason of course, and the woman had done her job well. The waiting room was decorated with lighted green garland strung in large looping waves around the walls. There was shiny foil confetti Christmas trees and snow men strewn about on the coffee table with a large laughing Santa sitting in the center. The Santa gave John and Rodney both the creeps, it looked evil. There were flickering fake candles in the windows and the big white Christmas tree sitting in front of one of the big picture windows, with blue garland and red and green Christmas balls hanging from it. There were holly wreaths hanging on the walls in seemingly random places and a big sprig of mistletoe hanging in the center of the room, and another sprig, this one smaller and more discreet, hanging in the pathway that lead from the lobby to the area behind the desk.

In the lobby, just in front of Novak's desk, a table had been set up with refreshments. Coffee, tea, water and punch and of course, several different brands of alcohol. Christmas cookies, brownies, vegetables and lunch meats. Chicken and pizza had been ordered and would arrive shortly. The chairs that usually sat against one of the walls had been moved, and another table was sitting there, this one had plates stacked on it and chairs sitting around it.

John and Rodney had been the first there, besides Novak of course. Chuck, Novak's husband, was taking Charlie to his mother's and would be along soon. Radek and Carson were the next to arrive, each carrying a large bag of gifts that they deposited under the tree.

Then Markham came through the door. Behind him, John saw a stranger being led in by the hand. "Hey, John," Markham said and waved a hand in the direction of the stranger. "Meet Nate."

"Stackhouse," John said, unable to believe that he was finally meeting the man he'd heard about for the last eighteen months. He held out his hand and Stackhouse took it. "It's nice to finally meet you."

"Yeah," Stackhouse said and shook John's hand. "Jason talks about you a lot."

John chuckled. "He talks about you quite a bit too." John could swear that he saw Stackhouse's face turn a light shade of pink at the prospect of his beloved husband telling their bedroom secrets to a complete stranger.

"Oh my," Rodney said as he walked over and handed John a beer. "Is this the fabled Stackhouse?"

"It is," John confirmed and took a long pull from his beer.

"Wow, I was beginning to believe that Stackhouse was just an excuse to call off work."

"Nope," Stackhouse said. "I'm a real person."

"Well welcome to existence, Stackhouse, I'm Dr. Rodney McKay."

"Hey doc," Stackhouse greeted and John smiled at the almost identical way John had greeted Rodney the first time they met.

"There he is," Markham said happily, and John turned around to see Buddy finally making the rounds. He'd been coming to work with John and Rodney since he'd graduated obedience school. He had a bed in Rodney's office and had become a much loved member of the Deep Cove veterinary clinic.

"Holy shit," Stackhouse cursed. "That dog is huge."

John chuckled. Buddy was a big dog and his little black collar with white bones had been replaced with a large red collar that stood out beautifully against the black fur.

"Oh he won't hurt you, as long as you're nice to his friends," John said and called Buddy over. "Hey, Bud," he said and scratched the dog behind his big ears.

Fifteen minutes after everyone had gotten comfortable and started drinking and mingling, Novak's cell phone began singing and she went over to the door. A moment later, a man with thick brown hair walked in and kissed her. He was introduced as Chuck Campbell, AKA Mr. Novak.

The man looked eternally uncomfortable and John watched as his eyes shifted to each of the men in the room and back around again. After a moment John heard Novak talking in a low voice. "Relax, Chuck. I work with these men, they're fine. You're alright, now calm down or you can go home."

She had told John once that Chuck was completely homophobic and that's why she'd never brought him to the clinic. But he'd decided he wanted to meet the people his wife worked with since she was the only female there. Not that it mattered one way or the other. Novak may be the only female in the clinic, but all the men working there were gay, so she was probably safer there than any other place she could have been working. John thought Chuck should be greatful.

Rodney had called the pizza company twice and each time they said there was a mix up with the drivers and that their food would be free, and they were sending fresh pizza and chicken straight over. They still weren't eating, but that wasn't bothering any of the guests, there were cookies and brownies and alcohol. The Christmas party was the only time alcohol was allowed in the clinic, and all the employees were taking advantage of that.

"Hey," John whispered and tapped Markham on the shoulder. "Look," he nodded toward where Stackhouse was standing talking to Carson. Stackhouse was standing directly below the large sprig of mistletoe.

"Oh good eye, John," Markham said and walked away. John pulled Rodney away from the deli trays and put his arm around his waist and watched.

"Excuse me doc," John heard Markham say, and then Markham had Stackhouse locked in a sloppy wet kiss, and everything Markham had said about Stackhouse was proved as true when the man began kissing back without missing a beat.

John chuckled when he saw Novak roll her eyes at Chuck's reaction. He'd turned around and began fiddling with the leaves on the nearby holly wreath.

John walked over to Chuck and leaned on the wall beside him. He did kind of feel sorry for the man. He must have felt like a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs at that point. "Hey, Chuck," John greeted. "You know, there's nothing for you to worry about."

Chuck turned toward him and John could see that he was carefully keeping his eyes trained on John's. "I'm not worried," he said quickly. "Why would you think I'm worried?"

John shrugged, "you just seem a little uncomfortable, that's all."

"No, I'm fine."

John smiled, he knew that was a lie, but he'd let the man keep his semblance of pride. He looked up and pointed to the ceiling above Chuck's head. Chuck looked up and John almost burst into fits of hysterical laughter at how quickly the man ran away from the smaller sprig of Mistletoe.

"John Sheppard," Novak hissed, but John could tell that she was at least slightly amused by the way she could barely keep the smile off her face. "You be nice to my husband."

John did laugh now. "I was only being friendly," he told her.


John had stood behind Rodney in the office as he called the pizza company again. His lips were teasing tiny warm kisses along Rodney's neck and shoulders as Buddy lay quietly on his bed.

The party was in full swing, and the guests were more than a little buzzed, when the pizza and chicken finally arrived.

Stackhouse was a little more drunk than everyone else, and Markham had threatened to put Buddy's collar and leash on him if he didn't behave. John found that image rather disturbing, but utterly hilarious at the same time.

Rodney insisted on giving everyone their gifts before they were allowed to eat, and he walked around the room giving each person a fifty dollar gift certificate redeemable at any store.

"Damn," John heard Stackhouse say. He undoubtedly thought he was being quiet. "John's done good things for your boss. I remember a couple of years ago you brought home a fruitcake from the Christmas party. Actually, it was more like a fruit cupcake."

John had to chuckle. Was it even possible that Rodney had changed that much? John had never even seen the side of Rodney that Novak and Markham had warned him about.

The soft hum that had been filling the clinic since the beginning of the party got even louder as the entire party swarmed the table with plates and came away with pizza, chicken and brownies.

John and Stackhouse ended up being the only two people to sit at the table. Chuck was in the corner with Novak, Radek and Carson were standing near the tree and Markham was refilling a glass with wine. Rodney was standing at the head of the table and now he had an empty glass in his hand and was pecking on it with a plastic fork. John chuckled and leaned close. "That's not going to work buddy," he said and stuck his fingers in his mouth.

"N--" was all Rodney was able to get out before John let out one of those ear piercing whistles that had Buddy out of the office and by John's side in three seconds. It also had the room silent.

Markham quietly made his way over and sat beside Stackhouse before Rodney began talking.

"I'd like to make a toast," Rodney said.

"Ooh, I love toast!" Stackhouse said excitedly and everyone in the room began chuckling.

Rodney looked at Markham, who had one hand covering his face as he gently shook his head. "This is why I can't take you anywhere, dear," Markham mumbled, but John could see he was smiling in spite of himself.

"You married a moron," Rodney said sternly.

"I don't know, Rodney," John said seriously. "I love toast too."

Rodney glared at John for a moment, and just as he was opening his mouth to say something, Carson spoke.

"Your toast?" he asked, and Rodney's face lit up.

"Right, my toast," he said. "Eighteen months ago, a drifter walked into the clinic and my life changed. It took a complete turn around and started not sucking. I'm happy to have each and every one of you in my life as I announce that John and I are engaged." He turned toward Radek and raised his bottle of beer. "And it's all your fault, Radek, you meddling bastard," he took a deep drink, and sat the bottle on the table where John had to grab it before it fell over. Rodney walked over and pulled Radek into his arms and kissed him deeply.

"Hey!" Carson protested jokingly.

John stood up and walked over to him. "No reason for us to be left out big guy," he said and planted a lip lock of his own on Carson, who didn't do much to struggle away. John only kissed Carson for a moment before pulling back and clapping him on the arms firmly.

When John turned around, Markham and Stackhouse were kissing as well, and Buddy was even licking Matka.

"Congratulations!" Radek said and pulled John into a hug.

"Thanks, Radek," John said when Radek let him go. "But you do know that I'm going to have to wipe that kiss off of him tonight, right?"

"John," Rodney said. "You're an ass," he smacked John on the hip as he said it.

"Really? I thought I was a fallen fucking angel."

Rodney rolled his eyes. "I'm never going to live that down, am I?"

"Nope," John chuckled. "But considering that that moment led to this moment, I don't think you really want to live it down."

Rodney tilted his head and nodded. "You know what? You're right, I don't want to." He leaned in and put his arms around John and John found himself being pulled toward the center of the room.

"Come here angel," Rodney said and then they were kissing. A hot, slow, wet kiss that made everyone else in the room disappear.

John had to revise his thought from earlier that evening. As he stood under the mistletoe with Rodney kissing him senseless, the clock struck midnight, Christmas day. John knew now, this was, beyond shadow of doubt, the happiest he'd ever been.

The End

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