Fandom: Stargate Atlantis
Pairing: John Sheppard/Rodney McKay
Word Count: 500
A/N: For stagesoflove, Elements. Follows Earth in the Balance, The Water is Wide, amd Con Air. Also written for oxoneinsis' Porn Battle
John doesn't like to think about all of the people they've lost on his watch, starting with Colonel Sumner, and probably continuing on forever, thanks to one stupid move with a race of pseudo-vampires no one had even heard of before.
John wants to feel physically like he does emotionally. Make the inside match the outside. That's the only way things could ever hope to balance out.
Rodney understands this. Gets that at times like this, John needs Rodney to fuck him -- hard and unrelentingly -- more than he wants Rodney. Needs him not to be gentle, not to ask "Is this all right?". Needs to feel that welcome burn turn to pleasure, the way it always will.
John understands the concept of a "Trial by Fire" better than anyone. The trouble is, he doesn't know if his experiences have tempered him into something stronger, or reduced him to ashes.
Rodney doesn't treat him like either one. Neither porcelain nor steel, but some innovative amalgam with properties of both, delicate yet unbreakable. Rodney imbues no fragility in the way he touches John, he doesn't acknowledge that John could so easily shatter, that he's only holding himself together with glue and gumption, and his destruction wouldn't be pretty.
Rodney just presses in on John, first with his wide, square fingers, and then with his sturdy cock. He moves into John with absolute surety. The confidence he shows in John is overwhelming and it has nothing to do with his role as military leader. It's just about John and Rodney, and how they fit together.
Face to face, and John's legs are bent back to his shoulders, the stretch there adding to the burn, but he's not complaining,
Rodney sets an explosive pace when he wants to, red-faced and panting, sweat pouring off of him, the intensity of his expression more than a little bit scary. Other times it's a slow, torturous ride, not to make sure John is ready, but because he is. John begs him to go faster, but Rodney laughs and says "Don't be silly. I know what you need." It's true. He always does, even when John himself isn't sure.
Sometimes he'll help John along, his firm grip on John's cock matching the speed of his thrusts, fast or slow, and yes, those are the hands that regularly save Atlantis from ruin.
This is how John finally tunes out the accusations in his head, shuts up the regrets and blame, just for a little while. Call it love, call it stress relief. John doesn't know what to call it yet.
"Stop thinking, Major," Rodney squirms them both into position for the long night ahead. The bed is too small to be comfortable, but they've learned to make it work. John sneaks in one last grateful thought and sleeps.
It isn't until John wakes up in the morning, sated and sore, breathing easier than he has in weeks, that the epiphany hits him. What Rodney offers him is not punishment, but comfort, not recriminations, but absolution.