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Into Time

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The second time that Rodney saw John step through an Ancient doorway and be pulled slowly in, he said, “It’s a time dilation field. Send supplies as soon as you can,” and stepped in after him, without even waiting for Teyla and Ronon to answer.

On the other side, the sun was setting and the cavern was darker than the one Rodney had just left. In the fading light, he could see a line of stones, forming an arrow that pointed to an exit on the far side. Rodney started in that direction, but stopped short when he saw the hunched figure sitting next to the shadowed doorway.


“Rodney?” said John, scrambling to his feet. “What are you doing here?”

He sounded so genuinely confused that Rodney pushed him back into the cave wall and kissed him, hard.

“Ow,” said John, when they broke for air, rubbing the back of his head where it had hit the rock. “What was that for?”

“For being an idiot,” Rodney snapped. “Did you really think I was going to let you stay in here alone? Again?”


“To get seduced by a half-Ascended floozy and nearly killed by a bad thoughts monster.”

“Okay, two,” said John, “it was an invisible bad thoughts monster, and I was doing okay against it. And, one…” He caught both of Rodney’s hands in his own. “…”I will never be seduced by anyone – man, woman or non-corporeal being – who isn’t you, ever again. I made a promise.”

“Yes, you did,” Rodney agreed, with a soft smile, running his thumb over John’s finger where his wedding ring would be, if it hadn’t been sitting beside Rodney’s in the little bowl on their dresser. Then his smile faltered. “Did you really think I wasn’t going to come?”

“I knew you wouldn’t leave me here,” said John. “I never doubted that for a second. But I didn’t figure you’d come in after me.”

“Then why were you still sitting on the floor?” Rodney asked.

John let out a long breath. “I was feeling sorry for myself, okay? I could feel the Ancient tech in the doorway, but I went through it anyway. When I couldn’t reach anyone on the radio, I realized that I recognized that force field-buzz feeling and I’d gotten myself stuck in another time dilation field.”

“But you said you were sure I would get you out,” said Rodney, frowning.

“I did, I do,” John assured him. “But last time, it was six months before you came, and I…”

“You what?” said Rodney when he just trailed off, unconsciously squeezing John’s hand. “Sheppard?”

“I missed you,” he said, softly.

Rodney blinked. “What, just now?”

“No,” said John. “I mean, yeah, a little. But I mean, it was six months last time, and last time, I missed you like hell, every day. So, I knew you’d get me out, and probably not even take that whole time to do it, but that still had me looking at months without you, McKay. So I was sitting here, in the dark, contemplating how much that was going to suck. Because last time, we were just friends. And now, when I’m used to seeing your stupid face every day and hearing your voice whenever I want and having you in my bed when I wake up…”

“Wow,” said Rodney. “Time dilation fields really mess with your brain, huh?”


“Hey, okay, sorry.” The scientist flailed for a moment, physically and verbally, then he cupped John’s face gently in both hands and kissed him, long and deep. “I did, too,” he said. “Last time, it was only a few hours for me, but I still missed you. I always seem to work better when you’re around to make impossible demands and say stupidly brilliant things.”

John smiled. “So, you love me enough to risk months on a planet with no indoor plumbing?”

“Of course I do,” said Rodney, because that was an irrefutable fact. “And we don’t even know for sure that there isn’t any plumbing, because you haven’t left this cave.”

“It doesn’t matter,” John told him. “With you here, we can make plumbing.”

Rodney snorted, “Sweet talker,” and kissed him.