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Mostly Harmless
by shalott

John had gotten kind of blasé about offworld travel, what with all the repetition -- trees, mountains, blue sky, green grass, and every once in a while just for kicks you might get some weird-looking flowers or a purple-haired goat or some powerbar-eating fireflies. Even the people were all pretty much the same; some friendlier than others, some weirder than others, but they all made sense, and they all had arms and legs and faces, and John hadn't realized just how much he'd been taking all of that for granted until the second sun came up on M94-RX5 and the aliens started bursting out of their nests like microwave popcorn.

At first it was just another of those little differences, more exciting than most. "Oh, cool," Rodney said, ecstatically, and started running from one little floaty critter to another as they drifted up and down out of scanner range. They didn't pay any attention to Rodney, apparently a lot more interested in eating the weird-looking flowers that had almost simultaneously started blooming on the trees, which up until now had looked perfectly standard.

The aliens were strangely amorphous in shape, with round puffy bodies and lots of long delicate legs or feelers that seemed to all work together to pull in the purple and green and yellow flowers. They didn't look even remotely like anything John had ever seen, on Earth or any other planet, and he felt vaguely betrayed by that.

John kept a hand on his gun, an eye on them, and said, "Don't get too close," about the first ten times Rodney got into what looked like the aliens' touching range. After that, when they still hadn't done anything threatening -- or interesting -- he gave up and let Rodney run wild. In the meantime, he and Ford and Teyla rigged an awning off the side of the jumper and sat down to teach her how to play poker.

Rodney came staggering back after a good two hours of scanning with an almost feverish gleam in his eyes and mild sunburn all over the rest of his face. He sat down and stole John's water bottle and gulped it dry, already waving his free hand and making garbled noises. John was grateful for the interruption; he'd been about to lose his last bar of chocolate and his swiss army knife, and Ford was headed straight for strip-poker territory.

" -- completely adapted for life only in this spectrum!" Rodney said, finally putting down the empty bottle and becoming comprehensible outside his own head. "Their metabolism uses a kind of partial photosynthesis dependent on the higher-frequency UV radiation from the second sun -- "

"Can we go now?" John interrupted.

"What?" Rodney said. "Are you kidding?"

"You wanted to see the effects of this weird second sun on the planet," John said. "Done. What else are you going to get here, other than heatstroke?"

"The second sun isn't going to go down for another seven hours," Rodney said. "I want to observe the rest of the alien life cycle -- the second sun only rises once every ten days, so I'm betting they hibernate or else they're like mayflies, they just reproduce and die, or maybe they metamorphose into some other shape -- "

"And this matters to us because?" John said.

"Because these are aliens?" Rodney said. "As in, fascinating unknown life forms unlike anything we've ever seen before?"

John sighed and pointed at one of the aliens, which had drifted over from the trees towards them. "Rodney, they're floating puffballs."

"Hello," said the floating puffball.

John prided himself that no one could tell just how freaked out he himself was, but in honesty that was probably because Rodney was freaking out so noisily and enthusiastically that it drowned out everything else. A whole lot more of the puffballs were floating over: the trees had mostly been stripped of the flowers by now, so John figured they had just been too busy eating to talk before. They also looked a little different now: they all seemed to have grown, and changed colors.

"Hello," said one pink-and-blue one, bobbing up and down.

"Hi," Rodney said, staring pop-eyed. "Um, it's nice to meet you. We're peaceful explorers -- "

The pink-and-blue one floated away.

"Hello," said a shiny mottled green one.

"We're from Atlantis," Rodney said. "I'm Dr. McKay -- "

Shiny Green floated away.

"Hello," said Purple-With-Red-Stripes, and floated away while Rodney was still opening his mouth.

"Rodney, give up," John said, after Rodney's next five attempts to get more out of the aliens ended the same way. "They're not talking to you. Either they all have ADD or really good taste."

"Okay, first of all, there is no reason to think they perceive time and space the same way we do," Rodney snapped, breathing hard: he'd been running around after them. Considering they just seemed to amble floatily along, they were pretty fast.

"Then why are they saying hi to us in the first place?" Ford said.

"Yes, if I knew that, I could figure out how to make them say something else," Rodney said, disgruntled.

"A greeting is the most basic form of all communication," Teyla said thoughtfully.

"Hm." Rodney frowned. "Well, we know the Stargate does something to our language centers when we come out onto a new planet, that's why we can speak with the natives. These things may be too alien for it to work on them on any meaningful level."

"Or maybe they're just not interested," John said brightly.

Rodney didn't dignify that with a response, just a glare.

"Maybe we could try offering them some food," Ford said, and bent down to take a chocolate bar out of the pile of Teyla's winnings.

"Right, because aliens who eat flowers are going to get excited about chocolate," Rodney said, as Ford ripped open the wrapper. "These aren't ten-year-old kids, Lieutenant -- "

The nearby puffballs zoomed back over and started hovering near Ford, feelers waving. "Hello," one said. "Hello!" said another. "Hello." "Hello." "Hello."

Ford grinned triumphantly and held out the chocolate bar. "See? Works every time."

"Wait a second," Rodney said. "That might not be such a good idea -- "

"Just -- for the -- record," Rodney panted, stumbling as John shoved him along, "this is -- so not -- my fault -- "

"Shut up and run," John said, risking a glance over his shoulder: the puffballs were coming over the hill behind them, chorusing, "Hello!" in joyful tones, and still gaining. John unhooked his P-90 and let it drop; the puffballs turned out to be so stretchy that bullets just trampolined off them. He really hoped Ford and Teyla had gotten away and were circling back around to the jumper now.

"Oh god, we are so screwed," Rodney said, and John looked back around: another thirty puffballs had just appeared out of the trees in front of them, and were converging.

"Fuck," John said, and dragged Rodney sideways.

The puffballs caught them ten minutes later, feelers curling around their legs and arms, and hoisted them kicking into the air. "Hello!" said a big yellow one earnestly to John, while its feelers ruffled through his hair and stroked over his face.

"No! Not hello! Goodbye!" John yelled, struggling uselessly: the feelers had enough give to them that he could actually move a lot, but it didn't do any good except to bounce around the half-dozen puffballs holding him. But they weren't doing anything painful at all, just clinging on to him, and after ten minutes of thrashing, John quit and hung panting in their grip.

"Okay, so, not being torn limb from limb," Rodney said, dangling in mid-air next to him. "This is good." He sounded uncertain.

"This is not good!" John struggled again briefly. "What the hell do they want, if they aren't pissed off?" he demanded.

"How should I knowww -- " Rodney said, voice going high abruptly at the end, not with pain, and John jumped as the big yellow puffball started poking its feelers into his open pockets. It came out with his pack of tic-tacs after a moment, and the hovering puffballs worked on that for a couple of minutes until they managed to get it open and spill them out all over John's chest. They sucked the little white pellets up like hoovers, and almost immediately started smelling pepperminty along with the floral-chocolate.

"Oh shit," Rodney said; a shimmery indigo puffball was triumphantly waving a half-eaten powerbar it had gotten out of his inside jacket pocket. "I think they just figured out zippers -- "

"Oh my god," John said, as his pants got opened and his jacket got unzipped and the feelers started wandering over his bare skin. They felt bizarrely soft, silky and frictionless, and the air was smelling like a kitchen full of baking and flowers, and he was not not not getting turned on by the crazy alien monsters, even a little, no matter how long it had been --

"Oh my god, yes," Rodney said, sounding drugged, blissful.

"Rodney!" John turned his head and stared over at him outraged.

"Oh, shut up, this one's practically giving me a handjob, what do you want from me," Rodney ground out, eyes shut, and shuddered; his cock was jutting out of his boxers, thick and wrapped around with the delicate feelers.

"Hel-lo," said the big yellow one, or maybe the emphasis was just in John's head, and it pushed a feeler inside his mouth: sweet and cool and minty, and seriously disturbing things started going on between his legs; he couldn't see what the puffballs were doing, but it felt like silk-gloved fingers stroking his thighs, rubbing over his briefs.

"You know, I'm pretty sure I've seen movies like this," Rodney said, dazedly, "and, and, and, oh, it, um, never ends well, and -- "

John lost track of what Rodney was saying as one of the feelers managed to work its way under his waistband and curled happily around his dick, like a warm silk ribbon, pulsing faintly. The one in his mouth was playing with his tongue, tasting like chocolate and peppermint together now, and he was absolutely not sucking on it, his mouth was just watering involuntarily.

"Hello, hello, hello," said one of the puffballs, and his briefs were tugged down towards his knees. His cock was getting pumped and stroked, and there were more of the feelers playing with his balls, teasing them, and John jerked helplessly as the first inquisitive tendril poked at him. It nudged, and prodded, and wriggled, and he moaned frantically around the feeler in his mouth as it finally worked its way into him, and then oh fuck, another one squirmed in next to it, and one more after that, and they were stroking him from the inside, exploring, and it was too much, too much sensation, the feelers touching him all over, nipples and cock and every bare scrap of skin, and he groped blindly out and found Rodney's hand with his own and they clung together, fingers locked, as they came and came and came.

He woke up face down in the grass, with his pants around his knees and his jacket around his elbows and his shirt rucked up over his muddy, smeared chest and belly. Rodney groaned feebly next to him, sprawled on his back in shirt and boxers. John heaved himself up and lunged at him and kissed him frantically, already fumbling for Rodney's dick.

Rodney moaned and grabbed back at at him, hands big and hard and human, gasping, "Yes, please, oh god, please, touch me." Together they got Rodney's boxers off and John crawled onto him and between his legs and fucked him, no finesse, just hard steady thrusts, jerking Rodney's dick in his hand, sucking on Rodney's tongue, rubbing his chest all over Rodney's, full-body contact.

They came and crumpled together panting and shivering, and Rodney wrapped his arms almost uncomfortably tight around John's body. John was too busy trying to crawl inside Rodney's skin to complain.

"Okay," Rodney said, gulping. "That was fun."

"Yeah," John said, a little wild-eyed, clinging.

"And let's never ever ever do it again."

"God no," John said. Then he added, "The part with the aliens, anyway."

"Right, yes," Rodney said. "Obviously."

"Just making sure," John said. He shivered again and tried to press himself even closer. Rodney cooperated by squeezing more of the air out of his lungs. The faint twitchy sensation all over his skin began slowly fading away.

Eventually Rodney said, "You think Ford and Teyla -- "

"We'll just have to play it cool," John said. "Let them pretend it didn't happen, that kind of thing."

The second sun finally sank below the horizon about an hour later, and they untangled themselves, reluctantly. Rodney's pants were hanging in a tree above their heads. He looked up at them, looked at John. John sighed and climbed up and got them.

Ford beamed and waved at them when John and Rodney cautiously crept back into the clearing. "We were about to come looking for you, sir. You guys get away from them okay?"

John and Rodney stared at him.

Teyla came out from inside the jumper. "Major, Dr. McKay," she said. "I am glad to see you were able to escape also. Where did you find shelter?"

John looked at Rodney. Rodney stared back.

"In a -- "

"-- cave," John said.

"-- lake," Rodney said.

John glared at Rodney. "A lake inside a cave," Rodney said hastily. "They, uh, don't like crossing over large bodies of water. At least, that's my hypothesis. I could be wrong. Actually, maybe they just don't like the dark, which is why they didn't come into the cave in the first place -- "

"You know what, let's just get out of here," John said, before Rodney could dig them in any deeper.

"I am afraid we did not have the opportunity to see what became of the aliens when the sun went down," Teyla said to Rodney as they collected up the food bar wrappers and the demolished MRE packages. "Perhaps we could return for the next cycle -- "

Rodney dropped the trash bag, and they had to start all over again.

"-- and then we pretty much just ran like hell," John finished.

Elizabeth was doing a reasonably good job of pretending she wasn't laughing her ass off at them underneath, but the telltale lines at the corners of her mouth gave her away. "Well, I'm glad you were able to evade the, um -- "

"Highly dangerous aliens?" Rodney said, glaring.

"You know, some of them were pink," Ford put in, with a straight face.

Teyla said calmly, "Truly, Dr. Weir, they were mostly harmless."

John and Rodney looked at her, then looked at each other.

"Right. Okay, briefing over," Elizabeth said, and ran for her office. John could hear her laughing from behind the door.

Rodney muttered as they walked down the hall. "You know, we could have been torn apart. She wouldn't have been laughing then."

John eyed him. "No, but we would be dead, so that would suck worse."

"I'm just saying!" Rodney said. "I find this belittling of the danger we face in our -- " But by then they'd gotten to Rodney's apartment, strategically located right next to a transporter, and John pushed Rodney up against the wall and interrupted him thoroughly.

"Are you really complaining here?" he said, yanking up Rodney's shirt and pushing him back towards the bed.

"Okay, okay, yes, you have a point," Rodney said, getting John's pants open and pulling him down onto the bed. "God, clothes off, now, now."

"I'm working on it!" John said, struggling to kick his pants and boots off at once. And then finally they were naked and rubbing up all over each other again, and it was just as good, only better, because there was no more of the weird whispering silky touch lingering on his skin, just Rodney's demanding hands and mouth, and the heavy weight of his body, and maybe they might even go back someday, John thought, groaning as Rodney shoved into him, just for an anniversary or something --

= end =

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