Rating: Uh. A tame PG-13? Ish?
Word Count: about 1,300.
Summary: For once, a mission doesn't go pear-shaped.
Notes: Written for mcsmooch and everyone who's had a rough week (which seems to be pretty much everyone).
"I'm sorry," the High Priest said, eyeing Rodney's hairline and John's unruly mop distrustfully, "but we do not allow those who are ...insufficiently virile... into the Chamber of Commerce. Those who are to partake in our cultural growth must first attend to their own," another flick of the eyes towards Rodney's forehead, "personal growth."
"Oh, what, is this the Pegasus version of Hair Club for Men?" Rodney said, his voice rising incredulously. "I'll have you know I'm plenty virile! I'm practically lousy with virility! And also, Chamber of Commerce? Really?" He snorted.
"McKay," Sheppard said out of the side of his mouth, grabbing Rodney's arm warningly. "We need those potato-y things and these nice people are willing to trade, so just shut it, okay?" To the priest guy (who looked disturbingly like Fabio, despite his pink robes and rather large headdress - obviously he was compensating for something) he smiled and said, "of course we understand. We'll just be," he jerked his thumb over one shoulder, "over there. Away from your Chambers." He smiled in a charming way. Rodney snorted again.
Headdress frowned but nodded, and John turned to Ronon and Teyla. "You guys'll be okay, right?"
Ronon flashed a grin that was mostly teeth, while Teyla merely nodded serenely, one eyebrow raised (to her virile hairline, Rodney couldn't help thinking bitterly) and said, "Of course, John. We will be fine. Ronon and I will radio if we should need assistance, although I am sure no help will be required. My people have often traded with those of this planet, and we have found them to be both fair and peaceable." She inclined her head towards Headdress, whose frown lifted slightly.
John nodded at that - one of the things that had endeared MXP-424 to both John and Rodney at the mission briefing that morning had been Teyla's reassurances that the Shandi people were both extremely non-violent and willing to trade. She had left out their rather vehement insistence that everyone wear their hair long, however.
Ronon, unfazed by their follicular fixation, hefted his pistol. "And they let us keep our guns."
John shared a quick grin with Teyla. "You know our number; check in every half hour," he said, using the grip he still had on Rodney's arm to lead him out of the main square, back in the direction of the Stargate.
"Are you sure this is a good idea, Sheppard?" Rodney asked once they were out of earshot of Fabio. Belatedly he realized he should probably be protesting Sheppard's guiding hand on his arm; he pulled away, fumbling with the straps on his pack to hide the abruptness of the movement. "What if they wanted to get rid of us just so they could do something terrible to Ronon and Teyla, did you think of that? What if they're cannibals?" He snapped his fingers triumphantly, pointing at Sheppard to emphasize his theory. Really, you never knew when an entire tribe just wanted to gnaw on Ronon's thighs, and Rodney did not mean that the way it sounded, he really didn't.
"Relax, McKay," Sheppard said, rolling his eyes. Rodney couldn't see his eyes behind his shades, but he just knew Sheppard was rolling them. "They didn't have any weapons, and I'm pretty sure Ronon and Teyla can take care of themselves in hand-to-hand," which, okay, Rodney had to concede the point. Teyla could kick Headdress guy's ass, no question. "And anyway," Sheppard added, veering off the path into the knee-high grass beside it; Rodney sighed and followed him. "It's not like we're going that far. We're barely half a klick from the village. If anything happens, we'll be there in less than five minutes. Now sit down and enjoy the damn sunshine."
They had reached the edge of a small, clear stream, which Sheppard proceeded to sprawl bonelessly by. He shouldered off his pack and, using it as a pillow, lay down fully in the grass, spreading his thighs comfortably. Rodney had to look away.
He took off his own pack and sat next to Sheppard, bringing out his data tablet. If he was going to be sitting around all day, he might as well be productive, he reasoned.
He started out well, making headway on the calculations for Radek's atmospheric shielding idea, but thirty minutes later, a little while after Teyla and Ronon's first check in, Rodney found himself staring at Sheppard instead of his computer screen. He had pulled up a particularly long piece of grass and stuck it in his mouth; it was ridiculously unsanitary and completely distracting. His eyes were still hidden behind his glasses, but the heat of the sun had slicked the hollow of his throat with a sheen of sweat. His shirt had ridden up a few inches. Rodney licked his lips.
"Rodney," Sheppard said softly, startling him out of his navel-gazing. "I can hear the lack of typing. Put the computer away and lie down, will you? It's nice out." A breeze ruffled through John's - Sheppard's - sweat-darkened hair, as if to reinforce the statement's veracity.
"Yeah," Rodney said, his voice hoarse. He cleared his throat. "Yeah, okay." He mimicked Sheppard's position, placing his own pack behind his head and stretching his legs out in front of him. It was mildly uncomfortable, but still better than hunching over his tablet and staring at numbers that had ceased to make any kind of sense.
They lay like that, quietly listening to the sound of the stream running over rocks, Rodney drowsing contentedly next to Sheppard. The sleepy haze drifting over Rodney was only slightly disturbed by the sound of John murmuring into his headset some time later, checking on Teyla and Ronon's negotiations. "Hey," Sheppard said, after clicking off his radio. He leaned over Rodney, propped up on one elbow; he was blocking out most of the sun's rays. "Hey Rodney," he said again, softer, "you awake?"
"Mmmm," Rodney mumbled, half opening his eyes to look at Sheppard. He still had that ridiculous piece of grass in his mouth, but he'd ditched the sunglasses. His eyes were very green.
"Rodney," Sheppard said. He took the grass from his mouth and leaned down; Rodney could feel his breath fanning against his cheek. "Time to go," he said, even as he leaned down further. Rodney could smell him now: green grass and aftershave, and just a hint of salt.
Rodney made some sort of noise - of protest or agreement, he wasn't sure - and leaned up, meeting Sheppard halfway on his slow descent. For just a minute he thought he'd read the situation wrong, read Sheppard wrong, the unmoving lips above his own waking him more fully from his half-sleep; but then Sheppard sighed into Rodney's mouth and tilted his head a fraction, pressing their lips together more firmly than Rodney had dared.
Rodney brought his hand up, twining it in Sheppard's thick, sun-warmed hair, and pulled him down so he was lying half on top of his chest. Sheppard cupped his face with one hand and deepened the kiss, the tip of his tongue delicately tracing over Rodney's upper lip. Rodney sighed and opened more fully to his soft, hot tongue.
John's fingers stroked the stubble on Rodney's jaw, then made their slow way to the hollow of his throat and underneath the neck of his t-shirt. Their lips moved together gently for long moments, slow and sweet like molasses.
Reluctantly they pulled apart, their lips clinging moistly to one another. Rodney took one last lick of Sheppard's lower lip and lay back, fingers still entwined in soft hair.
"Maybe just a few minutes more," John said, and smiled, leaning towards Rodney again.