Main fanfic page

Can't Have One Without The Other
by shalott

"Okay," John said, as soon as they were safely out of the ceremonial hall. "This does not go in the mission reports. We clear?"

"Oh, please. What are you planning to tell Elizabeth, we found a ZPM under a rock?" Rodney said, never looking up. Teyla put a hand out to his elbow to guide him around the tree he was about to walk into. "Relax, I'm sure it's not legally binding."

"Who cares about legally binding!" John said. "I don't feel like being subjected to bad practical jokes for the rest of my life." He looked at Ford hard. Ford only blinked back innocently.

So John wasn't really surprised when he walked into the mess hall that night to a synthesized wedding march and a blizzard of shredded-paper confetti, just annoyed in a resigned way: this was never going to go away. Then the music swung into a familiar section. "Wait a second," he said to Ford indignantly. "I get Here Comes The Bride?"

Ford shrugged apologetically. "Sorry, sir. Dr. McKay got here first."

The ZPM was about ten percent full: no trips home, but a solid five years of shield power at continuous operation, Rodney had estimated. So everybody was looking for a party anyway; that this one came with an excuse for the Marines to rag on their Army-officer CO by solemnly offering congratulations was just a bonus. John escaped from them and sneaked along the wall until he bumped into Rodney cheerfully working through the buffet. "This isn't getting to you at all?"

"Are you kidding?" Rodney said, around a skewer of barbeque.

"We're going to be getting happy anniversary cards for the rest of our lives, you understand this, right?"

Rodney rolled his eyes. "You're missing the far more important point here."

"Which is?"

"There's got to be a cake coming."

"Where would they get cake?" John demanded. "We ran out of flour five months ago."

"How should I know?" Rodney said. "But I have faith in the problem-solving abilities of our people, given sufficient motivation."

"Huh," John said.

"And we get to cut our own pieces." The gleam in Rodney's eye suggested there wasn't going to be much left for anyone else.

"They're also going to try to make us feed it to each other," John said.

"Please; if it's chocolate, I'd eat it off your chest," Rodney said. "Which, when you think about it, would probably scar them all for life and be just what they deserve."

"I'm scarred for life already by the image, and I don't deserve it," John said.

The cake was chocolate, and unbelievably good, if dense and sticky; John rolled his eyes and ate a bite off Rodney's fingers to what was already pretty drunken cheering, then warily held out one at arm's-length to Rodney, who licked his fingers clean much more thoroughly than was absolutely necessary before diving into the rest of his gargantuan slice.

"Don't even go there," John said, when Ford came to the table; the center of the room was being cleared out for dancing.

"But -- " Ford said.

"You're pushing it, Lieutenant," John said pleasantly, and Ford backed away, looking a little nervous, and went to hold a hurried consultation with Bates, Zelenka, and a handful of other people. John marked them all carefully and prodded Rodney in the side. "We need some serious revenge plans here."

"Living well works for me," Rodney said, still ecstatically lost in cake. John eyed him in disgust. "Oh, fine. I'll set the hot water in their quarters to go off tomorrow morning three minutes after the flow starts, how's that?"

"You've got to be kidding me," John said. "This is a work of art and you're talking kid stuff like cold showers?"

"Sorry, I like to focus on the positive," Rodney said.

The band of conspirators apparently decided discretion beat valor for once and just opened the floor up to everyone. But about half an hour in, Elizabeth came by with her mouth twitching and her eyes crinkling up to offer her own congratulations. "Et tu?" John said, reproachfully.

"Sorry, Major," she said. "I've just had it pointed out to me that the two of you deserve some time off for a honeymoon."

"Yeah, by people who are going to be wishing they had time off when I'm through with them," John muttered.

Elizabeth laughed. "Well, I don't know if we can spare you both on short notice for the traditional two weeks, but maybe a couple of days -- "

"Two days off?" Rodney said. "I don't think I've ever taken one since we got here. You?" he asked John.

"A whole day? Maybe not," John said, trying to think if he had.

"In that case, it sounds to me like a little R&R is overdue," Elizabeth said. "Consider it an order." Her mouth twitched again around her smile.

"Hey," John said suddenly, inspiration striking, "can I take a jumper?"

"Oh, me too," Rodney said, sitting up.

"I don't see why not," Elizabeth said. "Just make sure to follow standard check-in protocols."

Of course, the next morning mysteriously all the jumpers except for one were out of commission for some urgently needed maintenance. Zelenka put on an air of apology. "You're not fooling anyone," John said, icily. He looked at Rodney. "You can fix another one of these, right?"

"Of course I can," Rodney said. "But if he was even remotely creative, it'll take me at least ten hours to figure it out, and I'm not wasting a day off on jumper repair."

"I don't suppose you like to surf?" John said.

"You were going to go swimming in a strange ocean alone?" Rodney said. "Are you nuts?"

"I've been surfing alone plenty," John said. "What's somebody else going to do? Drown with me?"

"When you put it that way, it certainly sounds appealing," Rodney said.

"Come on," John wheedled. "I found this great beach, sensors say it's eighty-four degrees, not a cloud in sight for the next two days -- "

"Yes, but you see, I found this spot in the mountain range along the western coast that just got two feet of fresh powder," Rodney said.

"You want to go skiing?" John said, dubious.

"No, I was just going to build a really giant snowman," Rodney said.

John glared at him. "And you're yelling at me for swimming alone?"

"If you break a leg skiing, you lie in the cold for a while in your thermal gear and then you get rescued," Rodney said. "There's a little more time pressure with drowning."

"Unless you fall down half the mountain and end up with internal bleeding," John said. "Anyway it isn't really skiing unless there's a chalet with a jacuzzi and hot chocolate for after."

"Well, I can't vouch for the jacuzzi or the hot chocolate, but there is some kind of outpost right in the area. I wanted to check it out, anyway; I think it's the source of most of our weather data for the continent," Rodney said.

That sounded reasonably cool on its own, actually. "Okay," John said. "A day of skiing, then a day on the beach."

The skis had come from the Materials Research department, which was made up of a bunch of Swedish and German scientists; they'd made them while playing with some kind of weird pressure-extrusion plastics device. John was a little dubious about just clamping them onto his ordinary work boots, but Rodney blithely assured him they'd be fine, something about friction-generation devices.

They did cross-country over to the outpost to get used to them, through a pine forest just below the tree-line: weirdly quiet, just the soft shhshh-ing sound of the skis moving through the powdery snow, pleasant burn in his thigh muscles and shoulders. There were some animals: funny-looking shaggy goat things, completely unafraid: they just stood chewing thoughtfully on pine needles as John and Rodney went by.

"There wouldn't be bears or anything, though, would there?" Rodney said uneasily, eyeing them.

"The forest doesn't exactly look overrun," John said. "Probably means there are some kind of predators around."

"That's comforting," Rodney said. "You, uh, do have your gun, right?"

"Yes, Rodney, I brought my sidearm for skiing," John said. "Of course not. If we see a bear, we'll just lie down and play dead."

"Thanks for the tip, Smokey," Rodney said. "You do know that's a really good way to end up dead, if the bear's just hungry?"

"So then he'll eat me and you can get away," John said. "Think positive, Rodney."

"Please. Any discerning bear is going to go for me first," Rodney said. "Anyway -- " He stopped, and John crunched up the last few feet to the top of the hill and stood next to him in silence. They were on the edge of a slope too steep for trees; the outpost was a tiny dome-shaped building in the valley below, on a ledge overlooking a lake that was literally boiling over, bubbling quietly, and above the white clouds of steam they could see the tops of ridiculously tall mountains, jagged as the edge of a knife, pale blue and pink and yellow in the morning sunlight.

He'd gotten used to seeing a thousand amazing things before breakfast, but he didn't usually have time to stand there and enjoy them. Next to him, Rodney said, quiet and oddly wistful, "You know, I haven't been back to Canada in eight years."

After another minute John bumped shoulders with him and broke the mood. "Not that I haven't always wanted to get in touch with my inner lobster, but are we going to go sailing into that lake if we try going down this thing?" he asked, jerking his chin at the slope.

"Maybe you are," Rodney said, with smug superiority, and tipped himself over the hill; he skidded to a halt showily just at the water's edge, sending a wave of snow into the steaming lake, and waved a hand. "Come on, I'll catch you if you screw up," he yelled.

Okay, so he was just asking for it. John made his own turn more cautiously at the bottom of the hill, but aimed it so his wave of snow went smacking right over Rodney. "Hey, thanks," he said insincerely, while Rodney spluttered and wiped snow off his face. "I can't tell you how much better I felt, knowing you were here to save me."

"Just for that, we're going to do the real slope, instead of the easy one I was going to start you on," Rodney said.

"You have figured out a way for us to get up there, right?" John said. "Because I'm not hiking two miles up a snow-covered mountain just to come down again."

"Don't be such a baby," Rodney said. "However, I do have some thoughts. Let's go see if we can get inside."

The door opened at John's touch, and the lights came on instantly, though they weren't really necessary: the curving surface of the building was transparent from the inside, like one-way glass. The whole thing was just a single room, built around a central column: almost featureless, except for a control console at the back, away from the lake view.

Rodney shrugged off his pack and went for the console and fiddled. "Hah!" He touched a button, and a small square platform raised up out of the ground a short distance away. "Transporter, straight to the top."

"You have to wonder why they bothered, though," he said, once they were at the top looking around. Or anyway, Rodney was looking around; John was busy looking straight down at the tiny little dot that was the lake, and wondering whether two ski trips in college and some off-hours snowboarding in Antarctica really qualified him for Sudden Death Mountain. "I mean, the sensor up here has been working for 10,000 years without maintenance, so it's not like they'd have to come up here that regularly. Maybe they were doing some kind of climate research?"

"Maybe they just liked to ski. Or die horribly by falling down a mountain, whichever," John said, still staring. There was a lump that looked kind of like the corpse of one of the goat-things. If a mountain goat couldn't make it --

"What, a little baby slope like this? Please," Rodney said. "I just don't really see the Ancients as fun-loving types, do you? They seemed to be pretty much all about the research and the science and the mucking around with creating inferior copies of themselves."

"Oh, come on, what about the shower attachments?" John said.

"Shower attachments?" Rodney said. "What shower attachments?"

"Um," John said. "See you at the bottom," because there were degrees of nameless terror. Most of which he discovered on the way down, screaming his head off at a hundred miles an hour, until after about ten seconds he realized holy shit, he was going a hundred miles an hour without any machinery involved at all, and it was the best fucking rush ever.

And then Rodney fucking passed him! John crouched down to pick up more speed, which seemed like a great idea when it got him past Rodney again, and less so when he realized that they were getting really close to the bottom of the mountain and Rodney was yelling, "Pull up! Pull up!" and John wound up headfirst in a heap of snow after about six somersaults in a row.

"That was fantastic," he panted, flailing for Rodney's hand, and got himself upright by basically climbing up Rodney.

Rodney was clutching at him and panting also. "Again?"

"Fuck yes," John said.

With the transporter instead of a ski lift, there was no built-in rest period, and by the seventh run, they were starting to get loopy and their legs rubbery with exhaustion. They ended up on their backs in the snow giggling hysterically because they couldn't get up again. Rodney finally managed to get his skis to pop off, and then crawled over to John and got his off, so they could prop themselves on the skis and creep back into the outpost.

They sprawled out on the floor panting once they were inside, until the snow on their clothes started to melt and soak through. "See," John said mournfully, as he struggled out of his coat and pants. "No jacuzzi. This honeymoon sucks."

"Oh, shut up -- " Rodney started. A rumbling click interrupted him, as part of the floor seemed almost to flow and melt, sinking down, and a low gurgling rush of water started. They leaned over to look at the newly formed tub. "Huh." Rodney looked around. "Fireplace?"

Nothing happened.

"Oh well," John said. "Hot chocolate?"

The room didn't do anything, but Rodney crawled over to his pack and pulled out a couple packets of Swiss Miss. "I made Radek give them to me as a wedding present," he said smugly.

"Nice," John said, approving.

With the motivation of sugar and caffeine and jacuzzi they managed to get back on their feet. The column obligingly provided mugs and boiling water when John asked it nicely, and they stripped down and sank into the tub with their hot chocolate. "Oh, yeah," Rodney said, sighing. "Sometimes my genius astounds even me."

John tipped his head back against the lip of the tub, which was weirdly cushiony even though it seemed solid enough. Blissfully hot water, with a tang in it, maybe something from the hot springs or the pine trees or both; his whole body was practically singing, and he couldn't even muster up a snappy remark for Rodney, because this had been a great idea. And he maybe even owed Zelenka a thank-you, because otherwise right now he'd have been watching the stars come out on a beach, alone, instead of coming down off one of the best adrenaline highs of his life with --

-- with his best friend, as weird as it was to apply that label to the geek with the brain the size of a planet sitting next to him. John looked at Rodney, hair askew and wispy in front, licking the last drops of hot chocolate off the rim of his mug, and felt an absurd rush of affection, of something that felt crazily like belonging.

"It's just too bad you're not an incredibly hot blonde," Rodney said regretfully.

"Hey!" John said, really annoyed for half a moment, and then he shook his head and laughed at himself. "Just for that, I'm not going to tell you what I was just thinking about you," he said to Rodney, still grinning.

"What?" Rodney said, confused. "You were thinking something about me?" He kept frowning for a few seconds, and then John started laughing even harder as he saw Rodney's mouth turn into a perfect O as he got the completely wrong idea; and then Rodney leaned over and kissed him.

And okay, maybe it wasn't a completely wrong idea; more like a completely crazy idea, or maybe even, John thought, as Rodney moved over him in the water, heavy thighs sliding between his own, mouth licking and sucking at his, maybe it was a completely brilliant idea, and, on second thought, forget the maybe.

He hooked an arm around Rodney's neck for support, and wrapped his legs around Rodney's waist. At his back, the wall of the tub gave a little shudder and flowed -- abruptly there was a surface underneath him, supporting their weight. The water was still frothing around them, but cooling just to body temperature, and suddenly it was feeling slick, clinging. Rodney's dick was nudging at him, and John said thickly, "Yeah, yeah, Rodney -- " and tilted his hips and pushed back, while Rodney moaned and said, "Oh, god, John," and slid into him.

A low humming vibration ran through the almost-bench underneath them while Rodney fucked him, and John let his head fall back: the water came up only far enough to cover his ears, to give everything that deep echoing underwater sound, so his own gasps sounded even more desperate to him. Rodney leaned forward, bending John's legs back against his chest, and kissed him over and over, hips moving the whole time, and put a hand around John's dick and stroked him until he came, spurting hot and sticky over his own belly until the bubbling water washed it away, while Rodney gasped and pushed into him hard for one last long quivering moment.

The water went through some kind of recycling, or came in fresh; it was clean and hot again in moments. They washed off together, hands spreading lather over each other's skin, touching softly with drowsy, heavy eyes, kissing rinsed-clean skin at jaw and neck and shoulder, pressing up together, both of them half-hard again already.

They stepped out of the tub at last, skin steaming, and hot air blew up over them from the ground until they were dry. A bed platform slid out of the wall, pillow-soft, and they curled up underneath their sleeping bags, warm instantly in each other's arms. "You're going to love surfing," John said sleepily, stroking the back of Rodney's neck with his fingers.

"Mm, hydrodynamics," Rodney said.

= end =

All feedback much appreciated!
read comments - post comment