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Gifts Worth Giving

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Rodney woke the moment his door slid open, and relaxed only when he recognized the silhouette filling the doorway. John had permission to come and go from Rodney’s room for a while, but exhausted and half-asleep as he was, Rodney really wished his door had kept John out; he isn’t ready for this conversation. He’d prefer to have it while fully awake, caffeinated, and ready to implement his escape plan, if necessary.

Of course John would ruin Rodney’s carefully laid plans by showing up now .

He didn’t say anything, just approached Rodney’s bed silently. Rodney scooched over to make room for him, and was pleased when John sat close enough for his back to press against Rodney’s bent knees. Nerves were upsetting Rodney’s stomach, twisting his insides until  spared a moment’s contemplation to the symptoms of stress ulcers. When he could take the silence no more he nudged John with his knee to encourage him to speak up. Was John upset? Pleased? Still completely oblivious but unwilling to let Rodney continue?

He didn’t know , and he didn’t want to say anything until he knew for sure.

“Coffee,” John said finally, and held up the cup Rodney had left in his room only a half hour before. It had been piping hot then, almost unbearable to touch. Rodney had figured by the time John returned to his room, after his run with Ronon, it’d be the perfect temperature. He’d checked the camera logs to average out the time between John leaving his room and returning to it every morning. Rodney had timed how long it took a cup of coffee to go lukewarm, at which time John would wrinkle his nose at it and set it aside. He’d worked out the best time to leave the coffee on John’s nightstand, and before he realized it, Rodney figured he had put more effort into this than anything he had done for Katie. He hoped John appreciated it.

“Coffee,” Rodney agreed, nodding.

“I’m don’t know - I’m not sure…” John mumbled. He rubbed the back of his neck with his hand, which Rodney knew was a nervous gesture. Rodney wanted to reach out and touch John, but wasn’t certain his touch would be welcomed. Not yet.

“Yes?” Rodney asked, worriedly. A ball of ice formed in his chest as he waited for John to continue.

John took a deep breath, lowered his head until his chin was nearly touching his chest, and blurted far too loudly, “Is this your way of hitting on me?”

“Uh,” Rodney whispered, so quietly even he’s not sure he’s saying it out loud. “Yes?”

John stared at him, wide eyes. “Oh.”

“Is...that a problem?” Rodney asked, heart pounding. DADT had been repealed a while back, and while John wasn’t openly hitting on anybody, he’d made comments that indicated a past history of less-than-platonic relationships with men. It’d given Rodney hope, had motivated him to consider making a move. If John weren’t interested, Rodney was certain it’d be awkward for only a while; they’d been through too much, had too strong a bond, to let something like this ruin everything.

“No, I - it’s good,” John said quickly. Rodney sat up, a smile curling his lips. He leaned toward John.

“Really? You...like the coffee?” Rodney didn’t know what to say. John’s unpredictability was a boon in the field, but it made it difficult to plan how to respond to John’s reaction.

“Good coffee,” John nodded, smiling. He tilted his head, looked at Rodney through his eyelashes. Rodney beamed back, relieved and pleased, and so excited for what the future held.

“I wasn’t sure,” Rodney admitted, nudging John with his leg. “You never really indicated an interest in, well, me. But I had to try. I thought...well, you know how much coffee is vital to my continued work here on Atlantis, and sharing it with you seemed a good way to show how I felt. Teyla is always talking about the meaning of sharing precious commodities. It certainly took you long enough to figure it out. I had to keep thinking of ways to get coffee to you without interrupting my important work schedule.”

“Hey,” John said, sounding offended, though the amusement in his eyes betrayed the tone. “To be fair, you weren’t all that clear about what you were doing.”

“Sharing. Coffee.” Rodney repeated.

“Showing up in my office to shove a cup of coffee at me, babble, and then bolt,” John countered, shifting closer. He looked fond and soft in a way Rodney wasn’t used to seeing, though he wasn’t sure if it was the situation or the early hour. Rodney leaned in, worries about morning breath making him hesitate but John had no such problem. He leaned in and firmly pressed his lips against Rodney’s, and pulled back slightly to touch the center of Rodney’s bottom lip with his tongue, which caused Rodney to shiver. John smiled, pleased, and pressed another kiss against Rodney’s lips, deepening this one until Rodney felt swept away, until all he could think about is John’s taste and John’s warmth.

“I never see this coming,” John said quietly, when they finally broke apart.

“Good thing I seduced you with my coffee,” Rodney replied, smug. John snorted and opened his mouth to respond, but a yawn interrupted. His yawn had Rodney fighting one. Fatigue tugged at Rodney’s body, and it made curling up in bed sound like another one of Rodney’s genius ideas. He pawed at John when he went to stand, and tugged on him hard enough to pull him back onto the bed.

“No,” Rodney said. “Stay.”

“You sure?” John asked, uncertain. “I haven’t showered yet.”

“Sleeeep,” Rodney wheedled.

“Hard to say no to that compelling argument,” John said sardonically, even as he kicked off off his shoes and socks. Rodney turned over to lay on his stomach, stretched out on the bed while John climbed under the covers. He curled against Rodney, one arm thrown over his back, pulling him a little closer, which caused Rodney to hide his smile in his pillow.

“I wouldn’t have taken you for a cuddler,” Rodney admitted, his voice muffled.

“I’m a man of many facets,” John mumbled. He nuzzled at the back of Rodney’s neck, then surprised him with a brief, sharp bite.

“Hey! Jerk.” Rodney grumbled. John huffed a laugh, his breath tickling. Rodney grumbled some more, trying to twist away from the feeling, but John had a hold on him, so he couldn’t get far. Rodney settled when John squeezed Rodney and relaxed against him, face pressed to Rodney’s shoulder.

“Sleep, Rodney.”

Which he did, to the weight of John beside him, the warm press of his skin. And with the knowledge that John was his, and Rodney was going to get his own surprise bite in tomorrow.