Coming Home: 8. The Beach


Rodney took care of the debriefing, and then went back to his quarters to take a shower. He felt sweaty and dirty, and a little bit shaky too. The idea of subbing to the Neanderthal who had taken him hostage didn’t appeal in the least – even Bates would have been a preferable option. The warm water washed away the sweat and dirt, and Rodney closed his eyes and leaned under the spray. His mind travelled over the events of the day and he remembered lying under Sheppard’s lean, hard body, and the way the colonel had grinned down at him. His cock hardened at the memory, and Rodney took it in his hand and sighed, delighted to have an erection. He had always been very highly sexed but ever since they’d arrived in Atlantis his libido seemed to have gone into hibernation, and it had been a long time since he’d enjoyed masturbating. Back when Bates had been tormenting him, his cock had remained resolutely flaccid whenever he’d tried to touch it, and eventually he’d given up. Now it seemed to be returning to life, and it felt damn good. Rodney leaned against the shower wall and thought about Sheppard again, wondering what it would be like to feel the colonel’s white teeth nipping his skin, or those hard, elegant fingers working his ass open. He imagined the colonel pinning him against a wall, those moist lips of his claiming his own, demanding that he surrender to him, making him his, and he gasped out loud as he came. He cleaned himself under the shower, but although he was glad to finally get his libido back, he was troubled by his fantasy. Sheppard was, after all, the ultimate in unobtainable. Rodney had a very high opinion of himself in many areas, but he didn’t fool himself that Sheppard would be interested in him as a potential sub. He’d already proved himself to be difficult over the past few months, and he just wasn’t the kind of sub that a top like Sheppard would be interested in. Rodney knew exactly the kinds of subs that the colonel would be attracted to. He could see them in his mind’s eye – gorgeous, lithe, compliant, and, well, *nice*. Sheppard would want one of those socially confident, friendly people – the kind who knew the right things to say at dinner parties and would support the colonel in his career. That was never going to be Rodney, and he knew it. Not that it mattered in any case, he told himself, because he’d made a resolution that he was never taking a military top again, and he was determined to stick to it.


It was nearly ten p.m. by the time Rodney got dressed and wandered along to the mess hall for something to eat. The mess hall was predictably deserted at that late hour, and there wasn’t anything particularly appealing left to eat, either. Rodney didn’t much care – he just wanted to fill his stomach and go to bed. He grabbed some coffee, sandwiches and cake, and then went and sat down by himself. He wasn’t intending to hang around – he was usually able to demolish even the most sizeable meal in under five minutes flat, and he was half way through his second sandwich when he heard a noise at the door, and turned. He froze as he saw Sheppard standing there. Sheppard froze too, and then, with a sigh, he crossed the room to where Rodney was eating.


“I’m nearly done,” Rodney said, stuffing the rest of the sandwich hurriedly into his mouth. “If you, uh, wanted the place to yourself.”


“I don’t. I came here looking for you,” Sheppard said. “Can I sit down?”


“Free country,” Rodney muttered. “Well, city. Whatever.” He shrugged, feeling stupid. Sheppard looked as if he’d just taken a shower as well, the ends of his hair still wet.




“I wanted to apologise,” the colonel said, taking Rodney by surprise.


“Oh. Right. Okay.” Rodney gazed at him uncertainly. “You were behaving really weirdly. Plus, I have a bruise on my arm from where you dragged me off the floor.”


“I’m sorry.” Sheppard looked it. In fact he looked terrible – and sort of grimly determined too.


“Good. Not that I didn’t appreciate the heroic rescue and all that stuff but there is no way you should have spoken to me like that in front of everyone.”


“I agree.” Sheppard nodded.


“Good. Then we’ll say no more about it – or that ludicrous suggestion that we do some kind of anti-hostage training because really, how often am I going to get taken prisoner by sex-starved dominants?” Rodney rolled his eyes.


“We’re still going to do the training,” Sheppard told him firmly.


“Oh you cannot be serious!” Rodney exploded. “There is no way we need to spend hours in the practise room, doing some boring drill, just on the offchance that one day….”


“It might save your life?” Sheppard raised an eyebrow. “That’s exactly what we’re going to do, Rodney.”


Rodney glared at him. “I don’t have time. I’m far too busy. The shooting lessons are bad enough but this!”


“I thought you liked the shooting lessons,” Sheppard said, leaning back.


“Well, at least they’re kind of cool, but that’s it. No more. I’m a scientist, not a soldier!”


“I know, and you’re a brilliant scientist, and extremely important to this expedition. I just want to keep you safe,” Sheppard told him.


“Is that why you keep following me?” Rodney demanded. Sheppard frowned.


“What do you mean?”


“You keep following me. Everywhere I go you’re there! Breakfast, lunch, dinner, my lab, the infirmary – here, now!” Rodney got up, feeling aggrieved. “You can’t keep an eye on me everywhere, Colonel, and it really irritates me that you were demanding I trust you a couple of hours ago but you clearly don’t trust me!”


“You think…” Sheppard paused, looking completely stunned. “You think I’m following you around?”


“You are!” Rodney snapped.


“And you think that’s because I don’t trust you?” Sheppard asked, in a bitter tone of voice.


“Yes. Yes I do.” Rodney stuck out his jaw obstinately. “Now, I know my track record since arriving on Atlantis hasn’t exactly been brilliant, but I’ve had certain…pressures, and if you’ll look at my record before this expedition, you’ll see that I’ve always been a very reliable and exemplary member of the team, to say nothing of an extremely brilliant scientist, which, by the way, I’m glad you’ve noticed. So, perhaps you’d care to stop stalking me!”


“I’m not stalking you, Rodney,” Sheppard said, shaking his head wryly. He hesitated, took a deep breath, and then continued, his hazel eyes watching Rodney intently. “I’m interested in you.”


“What?” Rodney glared at him. “What’s that supposed to mean?”


“My god, do I have to spell it out?” Sheppard ran a hand through his hair, leaving it looking even more artfully tousled than usual. “I’m interested in you, Rodney! You’re a sub, I’m a top, neither of us is seeing anyone. Why does this surprise you?”


Rodney gazed at him for a moment, completely and utterly taken by surprise, and then he thought he’d figured it out. “Oh. Okay. I see. Very clever, Colonel. I upset your men, so you think you’ll have a little fun with me. See how far you can take the joke. Maybe I’m supposed to wake up naked, handcuffed to one of the puddlejumpers or something, hmm? Well it’s not going to work – the answer’s no.” He felt the heat rise to his cheeks, and a familiar, sinking sense of betrayal in his gut. Damnit but he’d *liked* Sheppard, and he thought the man liked him. All that ‘you’re on the team’ stuff…but that was the military for you – you just couldn’t trust any of them. Rodney turned, abruptly, not wanting the colonel to see that he’d got to him, and he hurried quickly towards the door.


He was almost there when he heard Sheppard behind him, and then he was yanked around, and pushed bodily against the wall, and Sheppard was standing there, pressed against him. Rodney’s treacherous body reacted the way it always did when Sheppard got hold of him and went completely still. Sheppard was breathing heavily, gazing at him from under those heavy-lidded hazel eyes.


“It’s not a joke, damnit,” he hissed. “Why the hell would you think that?”


“Because you could have anyone you like,” Rodney replied bitterly. John gave a wry laugh at that.


“Yeah. Right. Anyone I like…you’d think, wouldn’t you?”


“Oh come on. Look at you. Don’t tell me you haven’t worked your way around half the subs on this base already!” Rodney snapped.


“I haven’t taken a sub in over a year,” Sheppard told him.


Rodney’s eyes narrowed. “I don’t believe you.”


“Oh for god’s sake – why would I lie to you? I haven’t taken a sub in a year because nobody has interested me. You’re right – I have had a lot of subs – I admit that, but not for the past year because I wanted to wait for someone special.”


“And that’s me? Oh please,” Rodney snorted.


“Yes it is,” Sheppard told him intently. “It is you, Rodney. I want you. I need you. I’ve got to have you, Rodney. It’s driving me insane.”


Rodney gazed at him, surprised by the raw need in Sheppard’s voice. If this was an act it was a damn good one.


“You still don’t believe me?” Sheppard asked.


“I don’t know,” Rodney murmured.


“Well then maybe this will convince you.” Sheppard took hold of Rodney’s face, and pressed his lips lightly, gently, against Rodney’s mouth. He didn’t dive in for a big kiss – it was a gossamer light touch, but it made every nerve-ending in Rodney’s body fizz and zing into life. He sighed into the kiss, leaning back against the wall. This felt so good, so right – he almost dropped his guard. Then Sheppard drew back and gazed at him, his eyes dark. “Believe me now?” he asked, brushing gentle fingers down the side of Rodney’s cheek. Rodney gazed back at him blindly, unsure what to believe.


“I…it doesn’t matter whether I do or not,” Rodney told him finally, struggling to compose himself. “Because…I’m not interested.” It was a lie, he knew that even as he said it, but he just wanted an escape route out of this confusing situation.


A strange mix of emotions played across Sheppard’s face – shock, despair and a weary kind of resignation. Rodney watched, fascinated by this rare glimpse of the man behind the mask.


“Would you be kind enough to tell me why?” Sheppard asked at last.


“I’ve had enough grief at the hands of you military boys. I made a vow not to sub to one again – I always seem to come out of it hurt, or humiliated, or both, and it’s not worth it.”


“That’s it?” Sheppard looked incredulous. “Rodney, don’t be an idiot. Don’t throw away something that could be potentially so good just because of some stupid vow.”


“It’s not stupid.” Rodney thrust out his jaw angrily. “I’m flattered by your interest, Colonel, but the answer is still no. Now, if you’ll excuse me.” He pushed past Sheppard and walked out into the hallway, only to find, a few seconds later, that his arm had been seized again. He turned, angrily.


“Aren’t you listening to me?” he hissed. “What happened to ‘when a sub says no he means no’? Hmm?”


Sheppard dropped his arm as if stung. “I wouldn’t hassle you,” he said. “I’d never do that. I just wanted to tell you…tomorrow’s Saturday.”


Rodney looked at him as if he’d gone crazy. “What the hell has that got to do with anything?”


“I thought…that is, I think I did this all wrong tonight. Tomorrow, if you want, maybe we could go to that beach I told you about, on the mainland? You could get to know me a bit better before blowing me off. I’d rather you turned me down because you don’t like me than because of my profession.” He made a self-deprecating face. Rodney stared at him blankly. “What do you say? Give me a chance? It’s just one day – on the beach – that’s all I’m asking.”


“You mean…kind of like a date?” Rodney wrinkled up his forehead. Sheppard shrugged.


“Why not? Look, Rodney, I’ve laid all my cards on the table – I don’t have any more left to play. I’m sorry you thought I was stalking you but I just wanted to spend some time with you. I’ve felt this strong attraction to you from the first second I met you. You don’t have to give me an answer now, but I’ll be waiting for you in the mess hall tomorrow morning at ten. If you don’t show then I promise I’ll respect your wishes, and I won’t pursue you again. Okay?”


Rodney just stared at him. Sheppard nodded, too fast. “Okay then. I’ll…well, I’ll go now.” And with that he turned and disappeared quickly up the hallway.


Rodney was barely aware of returning to his quarters – his feet took him there of their own accord and when he got there he sank down on the bed, completely astonished. Sheppard was interested in him? *Sheppard*? Not that he wasn’t flattered but…Sheppard? Sheppard of all people? It wasn’t exactly as if he was going out of his way to attract attention from tops these days, either. Rodney got up and surveyed himself in the mirror, with a grimace. There was no way Sheppard could be interested in him – he looked crumpled and shabby, unshaven and unkempt…why would any top be interested in him looking like this? Rodney felt a little pang of shame – he’d always been fastidious about his personal appearance – he liked to be neat and tidy, and look professional and together.


“Damnit, McKay – what the hell happened to you?” he wondered out loud. He gazed at himself for a long time, not liking what he saw and wondering why Sheppard *had* somehow liked what he saw. What was Sheppard seeing exactly?


Rodney shook his head, and turned away from the mirror. He wasn’t going to do this. He wasn’t going to get excited about some top and then have his life stamped on as it had been so often before. He thought about that intent look in Sheppard’s eyes, and the way his lips had felt pressed lightly against his own. He’d wanted more. His entire body had ached with wanting. He’d wanted to pull Sheppard close, and kiss him properly. He wanted to be claimed, and loved, and topped by that handsome, intriguing man but…it wasn’t worth it. It wouldn’t work, and it would be even worse when it came to an end, as it inevitably would. They’d be stuck out here in the Pegasus Galaxy, in this small city, unable to escape each other. No, it was better not to get involved. Sheppard was military after all, and Rodney hadn’t had any good experiences with military tops. Better to let this drop, pretend it never happened.


Rodney glanced back at the mirror, panic-stricken, as a thought suddenly occurred to him. Supposing this was the one good thing that was ever going to happen to him in his entire life, and he turned it down? Damnit, if he could only know how it was going to turn out before committing himself to the possible heartache of it all. How the hell was he supposed to decide what to do? Everything had been so difficult lately, and he hadn’t made the best choices, he knew that. What was the best choice now? Rodney gazed at himself glumly. Take a chance and hope for the best, or play it safe? Rodney buried his face in his hands and groaned. He honestly had no idea what to do.




John arrived in the mess hall at nine the following morning. He was ridiculously early but he hadn’t got much sleep the previous night and had finally given up trying at six a.m. and gone for a run instead. After that he’d packed the puddle jumper with lunch, and other assorted oddments for a day trip that he didn’t actually believe was going to happen, before finally getting showered and changed, and heading to the mess hall. He hated feeling like this, afraid of rejection, and in thrall to something so big it was eating away at him from the inside out. He was finding it hard to concentrate on anything other than his overwhelming attraction to Rodney, but at the same time he’d never felt more exhilarated in his life. The day seemed full of possibilities – not the momentary gratification of another conquest, but the chance of something bigger, and much more satisfying. He’d never made the first move before, never asked anyone out on a date, never put himself in the position where it could go wrong, and he could fail. Now he thought he understood what all the movies and books were banging on about. His stomach was so jittery he couldn’t face eating the breakfast he’d brought over to the table, and he kept looking up at the door as the minutes ticked by, agonisingly slowly. He wasn’t sure what he was expecting to happen – Rodney had been pretty adamant in his refusal the previous day after all, and yet…John had seen the look in the scientist’s eyes after he’d kissed him, and that gave him a kind of hope. He was expecting the worst, but there was an enjoyable kind of agony to be had from hoping for the best. He’d dressed with care that morning, deciding to forego his leather pants (too hot) in favour of jeans and a loose black shirt, two long, elegant, black leather wristbands, and a black and silver earring that hung like a twisted thunderbolt from his right ear. He hoped he struck a suitable middle ground between toppy and casual.


He hadn’t entirely decided what to do if Rodney didn’t show, although he suspected that taking the puddle jumper out to some remote spot and then going for an extremely long run might feature. He knew he’d want to crawl away and lick his wounds somewhere in private.


John glanced at his watch impatiently. 9.58. He was starting to wonder why anyone would fall in love – it was total agony. His stomach was constantly churning, and every second felt like an hour. He was trying to keep his usual casual mask in place, but already Lorne had joined him at the table and then left soon after when he realised how completely distracted John was. John hadn’t explained – it wasn’t anybody’s business but his own – and he was far too wound up to be able to manage his usual mask of laidback cool.


9.59. John got up and paced around his table. There were only a handful of people in the mess hall, and although he got a couple of strange looks he really couldn’t have cared less.


10.00. John looked hopefully towards the door and stayed looking at it for one whole minute, his entire body frozen as he waited, but nobody walked through it. At 10.01 John sat down again and curled his hands around the mug of cold coffee in front of him, gazing into its brown depths despondently.


At 10.02 there was a clatter of noise at the door and John jerked his head up, eagerly, but it was just a party of botanists, in relaxed weekend clothing, chattering excitedly about something. John watched them for a few minutes, hoping he didn’t look as self-conscious as he felt, sitting here, waiting for something that was looking less and less likely to happen.


By 10.08 it was clear that Rodney wasn’t coming. John sank his hands into his hair and gazed back into his coffee mug again, trying to collect himself. He’d tried not to think about this moment, but, now that it had happened, he felt a little black hole of devastation open up in the pit of his stomach. He thought he’d need to speak to Carson at some point, but first…first he needed to run very fast and very far, and then find himself a bottle of some very potent alcohol to drown out these emotions. Perhaps after a week or two of that kind of behaviour he’d feel better – although somehow he doubted it.


He was in the middle of that thought when the botanists fell strangely silent, and a small but distinct gasp was heard from one of them. Frowning, John glanced up…and his jaw dropped. Rodney was walking towards him – only it wasn’t a Rodney he’d ever seen before. Gone was the slightly dishevelled, shabby, mad scientist, and in his place was an extremely attractive and very well presented sub. Rodney’s hair was no longer a matted mess, and it looked as if he’d had a good couple of inches lopped off the ends. It was still long enough to be endearingly curly though, and it was gleaming slightly from judicious application of gel. Rodney’s chin was clean shaven, giving him a sharper, cleaner appearance, and there was a small but entirely tasteful silver and blue earring dangling from his right ear. His clothes were even more of a revelation, and John couldn’t stop his gaze travelling up and down over Rodney’s body in a way that was frankly admiring. Rodney was wearing a pair of snug fitting, stone-coloured cargo pants that clung to his ass as he walked, and a tight black sleeveless tee shirt revealing a set of broad shoulders and surprisingly toned biceps. The shirt also had a small slit down the front through which peeped a thatch of chest hair. John’s gaze travelled back up Rodney’s body and came to settle on Rodney’s face. There was something about his eyes – they seemed a more intense shade of blue than ever, and there was an odd kind of light in them.


“So.” Rodney crossed his arms over his chest, and stood there, looking defiant and faintly embarrassed. “Are we going to the beach or what?”


John cleared his throat, hoping he didn’t look like a total idiot. Several of the botanists were now giving him frankly envious looks and he didn’t blame them. True, Rodney could hardly be classed as classically handsome, but what he was, and what John had never expected him to be, was *hot*.


“Sure…I…the puddle jumper is…this way,” John said, and then he berated himself furiously because Rodney knew where the damn jumpers were. Rodney turned and started walking out of the mess hall and John hesitated, but only because the sight of Rodney’s ass filling out all that tight fabric, plump and perfectly round, completely took his breath away. He fought down a moan, and tried not to imagine how it might feel to yank those pants down and slide his hands over that fantastic ass. John took a deep breath and then trotted after Rodney, trying to keep as cool as he knew how. He felt nervous but exhilarated at one and the same time. Rodney was *here*. He’d shown up – and he’d shown up looking like *this*! John caught up with Rodney and put a hand on his shoulder, and Rodney glanced around and gave him a little half-smile. John could have sworn that Rodney leaned in a little, and their footsteps altered so that they were walking in time with each other, which caused a little wave of euphoria to dance around inside John’s belly.


It was a typically beautiful Atlantean summer day. John parked the jumper on a patch of wild grass leading down towards the beach, and then grabbed a bag containing some blankets and drinks and slung it over his shoulder.


“Is this it?” Rodney paused when they got to the beach, and gazed out at the little bay John had brought them to. The sand was a shade of pure white gold, and the sea lapped in azure blue waves against the shore.


“Yes. Beautiful isn’t it?” John grinned at him.


“It’s pretty, yes, but the thing is, I’ve never understood what you’re supposed to do on a beach,” Rodney muttered. “I mean – do we just sit here all day?”


“Kind of.” John rolled his eyes.


“Sounds boring,” Rodney commented.


“Quit whining and get your ass down here,” John grinned at him. Rodney made a face at him but John noticed that there was a little smile tugging at the corners of his crooked mouth.


John threw a couple of blankets onto the sand and lay down on them, stretching out his body and soaking up the sun. Rodney sat down stiffly beside him, looking as if this was one step removed from total torture for him.


“I could be working you know,” he said.


“It’ll do you good to take a day off. You’re always working,” John told him.


“There’s so much to do. So much about this place we don’t know yet. And we’re so exposed. The Wraith could turn up at any moment and….”


“I know,” John interrupted him. “I worry about it too but that’s all the more reason to take some time and live, rather than just work yourself into the ground, Rodney.”


Rodney put his arms around his knees and stared at the sea glumly.


“You’re not very good at enjoying yourself are you?” John sighed. Rodney shrugged.


“The best times I’ve ever had have been when I’m working,” he replied, and there was just something about the way he said it that made John feel a little sad.


“Did your folks seriously never take you to the beach as a kid?” he asked. Rodney shook his head.


“Nope. I did try and take Jeannie once, after they died,” he said. “She was studying really hard for some exams and I thought it would do her good to take a break. I think I was probably just trying to copy what I thought normal families do but it was a disaster.”


“What happened?”


“I thought she was swimming in the sea, and I’d brought along my books so I could work on a paper I was writing, and next thing I knew it was getting late and she’d been gone for a couple of hours – so I went looking for her and found her making out with some Amazonian woman at least ten years older than her some way down the beach.”


John winced. “Ouch,” he muttered.


“Yeah.” Rodney made a face. “At least it was clear she’d figured out her orientation if nothing else, and once I told this top how old Jeannie was she did at least have the grace to apologise and leave. Jeannie was mad at me though and sulked all the way home.”


“Sounds like she was just trying to get your attention,” John said. “I mean – you did bring your books to the beach and kind of leave her to it.”


“Thank you, Colonel. I’m very well aware of my failings as both a big brother and a guardian,” Rodney snapped.


“Can’t have been easy though,” John soothed. “I mean, how old were you when your parents died?”




“You were just a kid yourself – and you had to take care of Jeannie. That must have been hard.”


There was silence for a moment. Rodney continued gazing at the sea, looking kind of hunched and miserable, clearly uncomfortable talking about this subject.


“My parents died when I was twenty-one,” John said softly. He never told anyone about his parents, but he wanted to tell Rodney. Rodney’s head swivelled around and those blue eyes of his had that familiar, horrified gaze that John had seen once or twice before, when someone on the expedition had been injured, or had died.


“I’m so sorry,” he said. “They both died? Was it a car accident?”


“Nope. They were both in the military and they were life-bonded so…” John shrugged. “A mission went wrong, one of them was badly injured, and when he died….”


“Your parents were life-bonded?” Rodney was gazing at him intently. “I’ve never understood life-bonding. How does that work? How can two people be so *sure* something is going to be forever that they want to take the risk? Suppose you do it and ten years later you split up?”


“You must have to be very sure,” John replied. “My dads were sure.”


“Have you ever been tempted to life-bond?” Rodney asked, his fingers digging into the sand beside the blanket.


“No.” John shook his head firmly. “Never.”


“Me neither. My parents weren’t exactly poster children for matrimony, let alone life-bonding. Do you have brothers and sisters?”


“No. No living relatives, either. After my folks died I was all alone.” Rodney gazed at him and John gazed back, feeling something of a connection forming between them. John wasn’t sure who’d had the hardest time of it – Rodney, having to take responsibility for his younger sister when he was still not much more than a kid himself, or John, just a few years older when his parents died, finding himself all alone in the world. “You and Jeannie must be close,” John said, envying him that.


“You’d think,” Rodney sighed. “We fell out and I haven’t spoken to her for awhile.”


“What happened?”


Rodney shook his head, his face scrunching up, angrily. “She’s smart, Colonel – I mean, really *smart*. Maybe even as smart as me, and that’s saying something.” John laughed – he loved Rodney’s casual, everyday arrogance. Rodney squinted at him, the sun making a halo around his wavy hair. “Well she *is*. I had such high hopes for her – I figured that if I didn’t win a Nobel prize then at least she would – there was definitely a Nobel prize with the McKay name on it somewhere out there. Then…she just upped and threw it all away. Fell in love with some top and ran off with her. Abandoned her work and wanted to stay at home all day and be a house-slave. I can’t stand subs who do that – think that somehow they’ve discovered the meaning of life just because they’ve had some hot sex and then all they want to do is wait on some stupid dumb top hand and foot. No offence.”


“None taken,” John grinned. “I’m not the kind of top who’d find that kind of devotion remotely appealing in any case. But…that was Jeannie’s choice.”


“It was the wrong choice!” Rodney growled.


“But still, her choice all the same.”


Rodney’s fingers dug more deeply into the sand beside him.


“She doesn’t even know I’m here…what I’m doing. Sometimes I see things that would excite the scientist in her so much and it hurts that I can’t tell her, or show her. I hadn’t expected that when we came here. Missing her so much took me by surprise.”


John gazed at him, suddenly understanding how so many flashpoints had ignited at the same time to make Rodney go so spectacularly off the rails upon their arrival in Atlantis.


“You know,” he said, “the thing about beaches is that they’re all about having fun – and I don’t think you’re very good at that, Rodney. So – it’s time to get our feet wet.”


“I have loads of fun!” Rodney bristled. “Just last week when Radek was uncoupling the naquada generator on level four, and…wait a minute – what do you mean get our feet wet?”


“Paddling – in the water.” John pointed at the sea.


“It’s a completely alien world, Colonel! There could be all kinds of deadly things in there!” Rodney protested.


“There aren’t,” John told him. “And you’ve gotta stop calling me colonel, Rodney. This is a date remember?”


Rodney actually flushed slightly at that, which was kind of adorable John decided. “Come on, Rodney – shoes off, and roll up your pants,” John instructed, kicking off his own boots and starting work on his jeans. Rodney gazed at him suspiciously. “Or I could do it for you,” John said, poised to lunge in the direction of Rodney’s feet. Rodney batted him away and, grudgingly, removed his boots and socks to reveal two rather pleasant-looking feet. He rolled up his pants and followed John down to the water’s edge, complaining all the way.


“The sand is really hot – and it feels gritty between my toes. I really can’t see how anyone would class this as fun.”


“Shut up and come here.” John reached out a hand, grabbed Rodney’s arm, and pulled him into the clear blue water.


“Ow! That’s freezing!” Rodney complained, the water barely covering the tops of his toes.


“Well you were just complaining about the sand being too hot – so this is the perfect way to cool down,” John told him. Rodney glared at him but John could see a light starting to shine in those blue eyes. John dragged him a little bit further in, so they were both ankle deep, and then he took a deep breath, loving the way the gentle breeze rifled through his hair, and the sun bathed his shoulders. It felt so good to be out here, relaxing, with Rodney by his side. He glanced sideways to see that Rodney was doing some relaxing of his own. Those broad shoulders of his seemed to be gradually unwinding, and John thought he could see just a glimpse of the man behind the troubled scientist – and maybe, just maybe, a glimmer of the lonely kid who’d had to grow up too soon – the same kid who had spent his recesses under the bleachers to avoid the school bullies. John decided that Rodney definitely hadn’t had enough fun in his life – and he also decided that that was about to change. He bent down, trailed his fingers through the water, and then, very deliberately, flicked some at Rodney.


“Thank you very much! Now I’m soaked!” Rodney complained, gazing down at his water-spattered shirt. John grinned, and wondered when it would be appropriate to kiss Rodney. He didn’t want to move too fast, too soon, but god it was agony being this close to him, with Rodney wearing those damn tight-fitting pants, and looking good enough to eat, and John having to go slow in case he frightened him off. John was so wrapped up in this train of thought that he didn’t notice the cascade of water flying his way until it was too late, and his black shirt was drenched and sticking to his skin. He turned, to find Rodney looking at him with eyes that were far too innocent.


“Oh, you’re *so* gonna have to pay for that,” John said, wading forwards and scooping up a big handful of water.


Rodney’s eyes widened, and he turned tail and hotfooted it out of the sea and back towards the safety of the blankets. John forgot about the water and chased after him, reaching him just before he got to the blankets. He threw himself at Rodney, wrestling him to the ground, and Rodney landed with a soft thwump on the sand, turning to fend John off with his hands. John jumped on top of him and managed to get his legs astride the wriggling, protesting, gasping scientist, and then John watched, in delighted disbelief, as Rodney’s face suddenly convulsed, and a low, deep, gurgling sound started to emanate from his throat. Rodney was *giggling*. If he hadn’t been sitting here, on top of the man, watching it, he would never have believed that the arrogant and irascible Dr McKay was actually capable of such a sound but here he was, twisting and turning and gurgling beneath him, his hair covered in tiny droplets of sea water and a fair smattering of golden sand. The sound was so infectious that John found himself laughing out loud too, uncontrollably, throwing back his head and roaring with laughter until his belly started to ache. Then, suddenly, they both stopped laughing and everything changed. The atmosphere became electric, charged with emotion, and Rodney went completely still beneath John’s thighs. They locked gazes, Rodney’s blue eyes growing dark and intense, and they stayed locked like that, completely lost in that moment. Then John reached down, took hold of Rodney’s wrists in his hands, and pushed them over Rodney’s head, keeping them pinned there, in the warm sand. Rodney didn’t say a word – he just gazed up at John, his entire body limp and acquiescent under John’s touch.


John leaned forward, slowly, oh so slowly, keeping Rodney’s hands pressed into the sand above his head. Now there was no distance between them, and John’s lips were on Rodney’s, and he was opening Rodney’s mouth with his tongue, plunging in deep. Rodney didn’t taste of coffee, or anything else for that matter – he just tasted *good*, and John devoured him hungrily, like a starving man finally tasting a meal after a long famine. Rodney welcomed him in just as eagerly, exploring John’s mouth with his own tongue, and John felt as if white lights were exploding throughout his brain, fizzing and sparkling. This felt unreal. It was what he had wanted to do for so long and now it was actually happening, and it was a million times better than he’d even fantasised.


He was sitting astride Rodney McKay, holding him down in the sand and kissing him wildly, their mouths locked. Rodney’s body was trembling beneath him, and John felt as if something absolutely crucial to his entire existence had just slotted into place. Kissing had never felt like this before. Kissing had never made every single nerve-ending in his body tingle, had never made him feel like he was losing himself in the person he was with, or as if he could think about nothing else but the sub beneath him. He didn’t want to stop kissing Rodney. He wanted to stay kissing him for the rest of his life. Rodney was moaning softly, and John pushed his hands deeper into the sand, asserting a little dominance, wanting Rodney to understand that he was *his* now, that John was claiming him, right here on this beach, demanding Rodney’s submission. Rodney seemed to get the message because he relaxed even more, and his body quivered in surrender. John finally came up for breath, and gazed down on Rodney who was gazing back at him with a faintly astonished look in his eyes. John released one of Rodney’s wrists but only so that he could gently run his hand down the side of Rodney’s face.


“Oh god,” he whispered. “I’ve wanted to do that for so long.”


“Then do it again,” Rodney said, craning his neck upwards eagerly. John grinned, and, taking hold of Rodney’s face in both his hands, went back in for another deep, claiming kiss. They kissed for what felt like hours, out there on the white sand, beneath the blue sky, Rodney lying on his back in the sand, John sitting astride his waist. They stopped and started again, as if in the grip of something utterly outside their control, and, every time they finished kissing, John tried to release his grip on Rodney, only to find that he couldn’t, and he had to kiss him again, and again. Finally, reluctantly, John allowed Rodney to sit up, and they staggered the few feet back to the blankets together. They lay down next to each other, face to face, and just rested there, gazing at each other. Rodney looked completely stupefied and John reached out and traced his fingers over the line of Rodney’s thigh, then allowed his hand to slide over Rodney’s ass and rest there, on top of the tight cotton fabric. He could feel the round contours of Rodney’s firm, plump ass beneath his fingers and it caused his cock to stir, hungrily, in his pants.


“God I love your ass,” he muttered.


“Really?” Rodney looked surprised.


“Really.” John pulled him in close, and devoured his lips with another kiss. He couldn’t get enough of kissing Rodney, and now he’d started he never, ever wanted to stop.


They lay there for a long time, just kissing, with John stroking Rodney’s ass insistently with his hand the entire time. Finally, hunger drove them to get up and return to the puddle jumper for some food. It was a ten minute journey but somehow it took them over half an hour, as John stopped every few steps to pull Rodney in close for another kiss, unable to keep his hands off him. He had never, ever felt this way about a sub before, had never wanted a sub so much before. He had also never felt such toppy surges before – he was a good top, but it had always been a carefully played game to him before, something to bring pleasure to both him and his sub, but this…this felt real.


“Hey – this is all good stuff!” Rodney said, as they unpacked the food John had brought with them. “You got those meat roll things I like!”


“Yeah.” John shrugged.


“This is all the food I like best!” Rodney exclaimed, as he examined the contents of the basket with inquiring fingers. John shrugged.


“Well, like you said, I’ve been sitting with you at meals for a few weeks now. I know what you like.”


“You were taking note of the things I like to eat?” Rodney frowned and John wondered if he’d done something wrong but then he noticed the slightly amazed look in Rodney’s eyes. “Nobody ever wanted to get me into bed *that* much before,” he murmured.


“This isn’t about getting you into bed, Rodney,” John said sharply. “This is a whole lot more for me. You do know I’m not playing here, right?”


Rodney glanced up, clearly startled by the serious tone of John’s voice. “I think I’m starting to see that, yes,” he replied, in a quiet tone.


“No pressure. I just wanted you to know that it’s not a game. It’s for real,” John told him firmly, because he wanted Rodney to be clear about this from the start. Rodney still looked startled but he nodded, biting his lip slightly, clearly a little confused. John guessed that nobody had ever spoken to him like this before, and he was pleased about that because he didn’t want to have to handle the jealousy of knowing that Rodney had had this kind of conversation with any of his previous tops.


They ate together, talking quietly, stealing little glances at each other as they did so. After lunch they took a long walk along the seashore, hand in hand, while Rodney held forth on every subject under the sun, going from one subject to another, a study in animated enthusiasm, barely seeming to draw breath, his free hand gesticulating wildly the entire time. John liked listening to Rodney talk, and he only interrupted him in order to draw him in close for a kiss every few sentences, and then afterwards, when he was released, Rodney would take up talking where he’d left off, and John would run his thumb over the back of Rodney’s hand, and smile to himself.


Every now and then he’d glance at Rodney, and as he did so he realised that slowly, bit by bit, Rodney was starting to let his guard down. John knew it would be a slow process – he wasn’t expecting all of Rodney’s well constructed walls to come crumbling down at once, but he did think that maybe he’d made a small dent in those carefully guarded defences. Rodney looked different – his lips were slightly swollen from all the kissing, and the sun revealed some golden highlights in his wavy brown hair, but mostly he just looked like he was unwinding after being locked up in a very small cage for a very long time. John liked this little glimpse he was getting of the real Rodney, the one who hid behind the sarcasm. This Rodney, he sensed, was a pretty nice person, still smart and still clueless, but kinder and braver than John guessed he usually allowed anyone to see.


“I like seeing this side of you,” John interrupted suddenly.


“What do you mean?” Rodney frowned.


“I mean, I like seeing a glimpse of the real you – the man behind the mask,” John told him. Rodney shook his head.


“You’re the one who wears a mask, John,” he replied. It was John’s turn to frown. “You pretend not to care about anything – so laidback, so cool. Everyone thinks they know you but you never let them see beneath the surface,” Rodney explained. “You’re a little darker than people suspect, I think.”


“And you’re a little lighter, I think,” John told him. They gazed at each other for a moment, each of them trying to get the measure of the other, and then John ran his thumb over Rodney’s swollen lower lip. “I’m taking you as my sub,” he said firmly.


“Yes,” Rodney replied simply, bowing his head slightly.


“And you’re happy to be taken?” John asked, with a little grin, well aware of the double meaning in the question.


“Judging by all this kissing we’ve been doing…I guess I am, yes,” Rodney replied, looking a little bit surprised by that fact. He glanced at John with a question in his eyes, seeking permission to touch him, and John nodded. Rodney put his hand on John’s chest, and rested it there. “You’re my top now,” he said softly. “You have my freely given submission.”


They were traditional words, often said to mark the required consenting and cementing of a new relationship, but they’d never made John like this before. He felt a strong wave of possessiveness sweep through him, and he put his hand over Rodney’s, where it rested on his chest, and pulled Rodney in close with his other hand for another deep kiss. Rodney was his sub. Rodney was *his* sub. True, he wasn’t collared – yet – and they weren’t sharing a plate, but it was a start, and, more than that, John knew it was the start of the most important thing in his life.


Reluctant to let the day go, they built a makeshift fire on the beach and sat together, wrapped up in a blanket, watching the sun go down. John had one arm clasped tightly, possessively, around Rodney, and after awhile they stopped talking, and Rodney rested his head on John’s shoulder, and they just sat there, gazing at the hazy, glowing sky, until long after the sun had set. Only when it was completely dark did they get up and walk back to the puddle jumper, hand in hand.


“So, still think the beach is boring?” John asked. Rodney gave a little giggle, and it was a sound that John realised he wanted to hear – a lot – from now on.


“It was okay,” Rodney replied, and John growled at him for this lukewarm response, and pinched that firm, enticing ass in retaliation. Rodney giggled again and twisted away from him, and John pulled him back and kissed him, hard, to make a point. “All right, better than okay,” Rodney conceded when John let him up for air. “Pretty damn good actually,” he said, pulling John back in for another kiss.


It felt strange to be back under the harsh lights of the city after such a magical day, and they walked in silence through the hallways. John had his arm around Rodney’s waist, and he wondered, for the first time ever, how it would feel to put a leash on a sub. He wondered how Rodney would feel about that, and if it was something he’d want too. They came to a halt outside Rodney’s quarters, and the scientist looked at him, uncertainly.


“Um…so…thanks. And….” He hesitated, and gazed at his feet, then looked up again. “Did you want to come in?” he asked.


John shook his head. “No,” he said, and then amended that hastily when he saw a worried look flash into Rodney’s eyes. “That is – I’d love to, but not tonight. I was thinking though…why don’t you come to my quarters tomorrow evening? For dinner. I’ll cook.”


“You cook?” Rodney raised an eyebrow.


“Yeah. Pretty well. You?”


“Crap at it.” Rodney shook his head. “I *eat* well though,” he grinned.


“I’d noticed!” John rolled his eyes. “Come early – around six. So we have plenty of time because once we’ve got the eating out of the way, I’d like to explore my new sub’s body.”


Rodney shivered a little at that, and John smiled to himself. He was looking forward to unpeeling some more layers from Rodney’s defences, and, most of all, he was *really* looking forward to finally getting his hands on that luscious ass.


“Okay. Good,” Rodney said, and his voice sounded a little squeaky. John grinned, and leaned in for one final kiss, expertly claiming Rodney’s mouth with his own, forceful and demanding, before, reluctantly, forcing himself to release his grip on his new sub, and take a step backwards.


“Good night, Rodney,” he said softly.


Rodney didn’t reply. He just stood there, in the doorway, looking completely and utterly dazed.


John walked back to his quarters feeling like he was walking on air. The day couldn’t have gone better, and after all the long weeks of yearning he felt as if a weight had been lifted from his shoulders. He cruised into his quarters, replaying the sensation of that first kiss and the eager press of Rodney’s mouth against his own, over and over again. He took a shower and slid his hands over his cock, imagining how it would feel to feed it between Rodney’s lips, to slowly slide into his warm mouth, his hands wrapped in Rodney’s wavy hair. He came with a murmur of pleasure, knowing that soon it wouldn’t be a fantasy, that soon he’d take his new sub to his bed, and give them both a night they’d never forget.


John got out of the shower and dried himself, and then walked back into his room. He gazed at the empty bed and felt a sudden pang of wanting Rodney here, now. He’d had him within touching distance – within *kissing* distance – all day, and now he found he missed him. He’d honestly never felt this way about a sub before, and the highs and lows were new to him. He wasn’t sure that Rodney was in love with him – at least not yet – although he hoped that his new sub was well on his way there. He was certainly willing enough, and surely even Rodney couldn’t deny that their kisses on the beach had been electric. As for himself, John knew that he was hopelessly, irrevocably, head over heels in love with Rodney. He had been for some time, as Carson had so accurately pointed out, but knowing it and having tangible proof of it, as he had today, were two entirely different things. Before today he hadn’t known what it was like to kiss Rodney, to touch Rodney, to hold him, and to claim him, but now he did, and it was so intoxicating that he could think of little else.


John sat down on the bed and his gaze caught the little box on the nightstand. He opened it up and looked at the collar inside, stroking the shiny metal. He knew that he wanted to put this on Rodney – one day, when the time was right. He was mindful of the fact that Bates had wanted to put a collar on Rodney though, and he didn’t want to rush the moment, in case he screwed it up and his skittish scientist backed off, frightened by the pace. John closed the case and put the collar regretfully back on the nightstand.


A thought occurred to him, and he went over to his closet and rummaged around in one of the drawers until he found a silver-framed photograph, and drew it out. The picture showed two men – one dark, one fair – with a small, seven year old kid standing between them, his freckled face screwed up in the sunlight. John carried the photo with him wherever he went but he never put it on display – it was always at the back of a cupboard somewhere, or the bottom of a bag. The loss of his fathers hurt too much; he’d walled off that pain a long time ago and didn’t want any reminders of it. He knew that they had loved him, but their deaths had felt like an abandonment and he’d never forgiven them for that. Now though…now he thought he understood them a little better. He knew they’d be happy for him if they were here right now – and he wondered what they’d make of Rodney. Adam would tease the scientist unmercifully he suspected, while Gil would take some time to sit quietly with Rodney, and get to know the real person, to be sure that he was the right sub for his only son. John put the picture on his nightstand, next to the collar. It had been almost twenty years since they’d died, but now, for the first time, he thought he might almost be ready to forgive them.




End of Part Eight



~ I love receiving friendly feedback! If you enjoyed this story, please leave a comment below. ~

Submit a Comment

2 Comments on Coming Home: 8. The Beach


Buy Xanthe's original character BDSM slash novel, Ricochet now!

Paperback on Amazon

E-book on Amazon

Smashwords in various formats

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons