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[ heads or tails ]
by kHo







John squeezed his eyes shut, fists clenching beside him.  "God damnit."

"Besides, it's not even football."

He opened his eyes in slits and glared at Rodney.  "What," he asked, in his most menacing voice.

"That's just so typically American.  Self-obsessed and completely obtuse--"

"Rod-ney," John said, his voice raising on that warning tone.

"Everywhere else in the world football is what you people," he said, tone derisive as he pointed vaguely at John, "call soccer.  And then, you make up a game-- which was,  by the way, already invented, and called rugby-- and steal the name for yourselves!"

John's arms flew out.  "I didn't invent it!  I didn't name it!  I just watch it!"

"Yes, but you perpetuate--"


Rodney shrugged, reaching over and stealing the popcorn bowl out of John's lap.  "I'm just saying, hockey's more of a man's sport any day of the week by virtue of the fact that it didn't have to steal its name."

John watched him for a full minute, trying to control his breathing.  "You drive me nuts, Mckay."

Rodney smiled, still watching the television.  "Yes well, that's nothing new."

"No,"  John said, leaning forward slightly to look at him.  "I mean.  You drive me nuts."

Rodney looked at him out of the corner of his eye and his hand froze, right in the middle of popping a kernel of popcorn in his mouth.  "Uh.  I know?"

"You drive me nuts," John said, still breathing heavily, leaning more towards Rodney, his hands reaching out and grabbing his shoulders.  "You argue, and you argue, and you argue, and there's so many times you're wrong and you know you're wrong and you just… you god… you keep arguing."

Rodney's eyes widened slightly.  "Uh, Colonel, you might wanna sit back… you're kind of breathing weird."

"You drive me nuts," John whispered, and then he was grabbing at Rodney's shirt,  yanking him forward, nose inches from his.  "Absolutely fucking nuts."

Rodney's hands fell to the side, the popcorn bowl listing to the side and spilling all over the couch.  John's eyes were staring straight into his and suddenly it wasn't easy for him to breath easily either.  "Colonel?"

"You just…  I don't…"  John leaned forward, breathing Rodney's air, sucking it right out of his lungs and into his own and not giving any of it back.  "You… God."

Rodney's hands lifted to grasp onto John's forearms, trying to tug them down, because he didn't know where this was going but he was pretty sure it was somewhere that wasn't good.  "Maybe I should go--"

"You keep distracting me," John hissed, taking a deep breath in, eyes shutting for a moment.  "I'm supposed to be doing something and you just, you keep making me forget what I'm supposed to be doing and you make me feel like I'm going insane!"

Rodney's eyebrow rose slightly.  "All we're doing is watching a football game."

John's eyes opened and he shook his head.  "No, no, Rodney, not right now, not just right now, all the time, every time I turn around, every time you're near me, you keep distracting me, you keep making me forget what I'm supposed to be doing, you keep arguing with me."

Rodney tried to pull back but couldn't, John's fingers mashing into his shirt and pulling him so tight up against him he couldn't even breath without feeling it bounce off of John's face right back onto his own.  "Colonel."

"Like that," John said, fingers winding even tighter into Rodney's shirt.  "That, right there, you calling me Colonel.  I don't want you to call me that, I want you to call me John.  I want you to call me John, except you're not supposed to, you're supposed to call me Colonel, it's your job to call me Colonel, it's my job to be Colonel, except every time  you call me that I want to yell at you John, Rodney, it's John!"

Rodney's face screwed up in confusion.  "Okay… John."

"No," John said, his head ducking, hair tickling at Rodney's throat as his forehead rested on his shoulder.  "You don't get it Rodney, you don't get it."

Rodney blinked, trying to wrap his head around John's apparent mental breakdown that came out of popcorn and maybe two too many beers.  "All due respect, Colonel, but what exactly am I supposed to be getting?"

John's breath ghosted over his neck and Rodney shivered under it.  "God, Rodney.  This isn't supposed to happen.  This isn't supposed to happen to me, I'm supposed to be able to control it."

Rodney's fingers shifted over John's sleeves, trying to pull his hands away.  "Control what?"

"If you weren't on my team, if you just weren't on my god damned team…"

Rodney felt his heart sinking.  "Are you saying you want me to quit?  You want me off of your team?"

"No," John said, a whisper in the crook of his neck, nose bumping up against his ear.  "No, we need you.  We need you.  I just wish we didn't."

Rodney shifted, tried to put his hands on John's chest and push him back, needed to see his face.  John's hands just tightened on his shirt, nose pressing into the pulse of his neck hard enough to almost hurt.  "I don't--"

"God you smell good," John said, and Rodney froze at the tone in his voice, the way John's breath was hitching, felt it tingle all the way down his body.  

"I smell good?  I've been in the lab all day hunched over my computer, I can't possibly--"

"You smell like you," John said, and then breathed deeply against Rodney's skin, fingers flexing and then flattening on Rodney's chest.  "Like the lab, like computers, like coffee… you smell like you."

Rodney closed his eyes.  "John--"

"God, you still don't get it," John said, pushing away abruptly, sounding angry again.  His hands lifted and grabbed at Rodney's face, forcing Rodney to look at him.  "I want you, Rodney.  I've wanted you for months.  And every time… you argue with me, you distract me, you make me go fucking crazy with it.  It's all I can do to not…"  John shook his head, eyes a little wild, unfocused.

Rodney thinks maybe it was more like four beers too much now that he can see the seven on the coffee table beside them.  "You… want me?"

"I want you so bad it hurts, Rodney.   I can taste it," John said, surging forward, and Rodney can feel it, can feel his lips on his even when they're not.  Even when they're hovering centimeters away, he can feel the heat of his lips ghosting over his even as John pulls himself up short.  "Every time I smell you, I can taste it, and you drive me nuts, Rodney, you drive me nuts because I want you and I can't have you and you just make me want you more and more and more and I'm going insane!"

Rodney blinked at him, and he can feel the tickle of John's eyelashes against his they're so close.  "I think maybe you've had too much to drink."

John laughed suddenly, a burst of a laugh that made Rodney jerk away, but John's hands held onto his face steadfast, didn't let him get even an inch away.  "Of course I've had too much to drink, Rodney.  You're sitting here, right next to me, and all I want to do is reach over and touch you, kiss you, and I can't, and I know I can't, because you call me Colonel and I want you call me John, and don't ask don't tell, and I can't have this, but I still want this, so yeah, yeah, I had too much to drink."

Rodney looked at him and feels like he's holding his breath.  "You really want me?"

"Yes, Rodney," John said, a soft affectionate smile crossing over his face briefly.   "I do.  I want you."

Rodney could feel his heart starting to hammer in his chest.  "Really?"

John's smile fell, replaced by a helpless look Rodney's never ever seen before, not on John's face.  "Tell me I can't, Rodney.  Tell me you don't want me back.  Tell me it's one sided.  It'll be easier then.  It would be so much easier to know I can't have it anyway.  Please."

Rodney gulped for breath, feeling like there was something inside of him shattering.  "I can't," he whispered, shaking his head.  "I can't tell you that."

"Oh, god," John said, and then he was surging forward, lips crushing against Rodney's, tongue darting out before Rodney's expecting it, making him gasp into it, knock his nose against John's because he's moving and he doesn't know where he's going but he wants to be closer, closer to the heat John's radiating, closer to that tongue.  

And then John was pulling back, his eyes wide, and Rodney was reaching out to touch John's face, because he feels like he has to, feels like if he doesn't right now he might never be able to, and he hadn't even known he wanted to until he realized he could, just once, just in this moment.  He brushed his thumb over John's lips and reveled in the feel of John's sharp intake of breath.  

"You're killing me Rodney, you're making me go insane," John said, his voice shaking as his fingers tightened on Rodney's ears.  "This wasn't supposed to happen.  I told myself I wouldn't let this happen."

"Why," Rodney asked, shaking his head.  "Why, because you're military?  Because you're a Colonel?  Because you're John Sheppard, man in charge?  That's bullshit!"

John's eyes widen slightly and he shook his head.  "Rodney--"

"Are you stupid?  Because I'd finally started thinking you weren't," Rodney said, feeling stronger, braver than he had in a long while.  "Because if you really thought the solution to having unwanted feelings was to get plastered on shitty American beer, then you are, seriously, missing quite a few IQ points."

John's lips turned out in a pout.  "American beer isn't shitty."

Rodney rolled his eyes.  "That's because it's all you've had."

"Not true," John shouted, eyebrows shooting up.  "I've had every kind of beer imaginable!"

Rodney's eyes rolled even harder.  "Then you have really abhorrent taste."

"Obviously," John muttered, eyes narrowing.  "I'm interested in you."

"So you thought, hey, there's this thing I want, and I can't have it, for whatever asinine reason you think you can't have it for, and so what I'm gonna do, is get completely drunk while it's sitting right in front of me like a big piece of chocolate cake."

John's eyebrow rose.  "Did you just compare yourself to chocolate cake?  Because I want you, but… you really think you're on the same level as chocolate cake?"

Rodney's eyes narrowed.  "I think you're missing the point?"

John shook his head.  "Rodney."

Rodney lifted his head and looked at him, challenge in his eyes.  "Kiss me."

John took in a shuddering breath.  "No."

Rodney shook his head, his fingers wrapping around the back of John's neck.  "Kiss me."

John closed his eyes, head bending forward.  "Rodney, please."

"Kiss me!"

"I can't," John shouted, eyes flying open, looking desperate.  "Don't you get that?!  I can't kiss you!"

"Why not?!  You just did!"

"Because if I kiss you, again, I won't be able to stop, Rodney," John said, his voice a moan, listing forward even as he's still resisting.  "If I kiss you I won't be able to stop and that can't happen."

Rodney leaned forward until he was right there, two more centimeters and he'd be kissing John.  "Why not," he whispered.

"Because," John whispered back, eyes locking on his.  "Because you're on my team, and we need you, and it's a bad idea, Rodney.  It can't happen."


"Because it's a bad idea."

Rodney snorted.  "Yes, well, some people said it was a bad idea to walk through the Stargate that first time when we came here without knowing if we'd ever come back."  He squeezed John's shoulder until John looked at him.  "Even knowing what we know now, do you think that was a bad idea?"

John took a deep breath.  "I flipped a coin, ya know.  When I was deciding whether or not to come.  I flipped a coin.  Heads I stay, tails I go."

Rodney quirked an eyebrow.  "Ever wish it had been heads?"

John shook his head.  "The funny thing is, whenever I make a decision like that?  I never question it.  It always winds up being what I think I wanted to begin with."

Rodney nodded and then dropped his hand from John's neck.  He smiled at John's sharp frown.  "Got a coin?"

John blinked at him.  "What?"

"A coin.  A quarter, a dime.  A penny.  A franc, I don't care.  Something with two discernible sides."

John reached inside his pocket, pulling out a quarter.  "Not much use for money in Atlantis, but I kept this for good luck." He grinned then, raising an eyebrow.  "Not sure how much good luck it's brought, but I guess I'm stupidly superstitious."

Rodney nodded.  "Okay.  Flip it."

John frowned at him.  "For what?"

"Flip the coin to decide if we're going to kiss."

John looked at him. "Rodney."

"Flip it.  I'll call it."

John looked at him dubiously but flipped the coin in the air.  "Call it."

"I did," Rodney said, watching it fall back into John's hand.  He grinned and looked at him.  "Heads was you kiss me, tails was I kiss you."

John frowned at him.   "Rodney, that's cheating."

Rodney shook his head.  "No it's not.  That's a very important decision to make."

John's frown slowly turned into a smile.   "It's still a bad idea."

"Oh, fine," Rodney said, and then grabbed John's shirt, yanking him forward and kissing him, stretching his fingers up and into his hair, pulling John closer until John moaned into his mouth and Rodney slipped his tongue past John's lips.  

John's fingers tightened on his shoulders and then began shoving Rodney back.  "Cheating," he said breathlessly.  "That's definitely cheating, Rodney."

Rodney rolled his eyes.  "Oh, for God's sake, John--"

John grinned, lightening quick and bright, and then his lips were back on Rodney's, arms wrapping around his body and leg hooking up and over Rodney's, fitting them together.  "It was heads," he mumbled into Rodney's mouth.  "That means I get to kiss you."

Rodney's laugh got lost on John's tongue.

All feedback much appreciated!
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