There was something about official briefings that made John feel more tired than after a week of hiking across alien planets. Part of it, he knew, was the time difference between Atlantis and Earth, and the lack of sunlight in Cheyenne Mountain, but there was also some sort of undeterminable draining quality that he didn’t feel during even the longest and most boring meetings back home.
John managed a smile as he said goodnight to Sam and the rest of SG-1, and turned down the offer to join them for dinner. He didn’t head to the mess hall himself, either, just started down the corridor to the guest quarters he and Rodney had been assigned.
He just wanted to sleep, but decided he was too tired to try and drag Rodney out of the labs, no matter how much he wanted to curl up with him in their lumpy government-issue bunk. Normally, he slept better when Rodney was with him, but at the moment, he was going for quantity over quality, and hopefully Rodney would join him at some point before John’s next briefing tomorrow morning.
Which was why John was somewhat surprised to find Rodney already in bed when he entered their quarters, sitting up against the headboard with a physics journal and a red pen.
“Hey,” he said, when John had closed the door behind him. “You look terrible.”
John snorted a laugh. “Thanks, McKay.”
“No, really,” said Rodney, setting down the journal. “Are you okay? Can I get you anything? Food? Something from the infirmary?”
“I’m fine. I just need to sleep.”
“Oh,” said Rodney. “Well, I was planning to go over a few more reports tonight, but I can go back to the lab if you want to turn in early.”
He started to slide out of bed, but John caught his shoulder. “No, stay, please,” said John. He’d been prepared to sleep alone, but he wasn’t going to give up the opportunity not to. “You can keep working, I don’t mind, just… stay.”
“Okay,” Rodney agreed, slowly. He settled back against the pillows and watched John get undressed, half interested and half wary.
John threw his clothes in the vague direction of his duffle bag and crawled into bed to slide unabashedly into Rodney’s space, pressing his nose into the skin just above Rodney’s hip where his t-shirt had ridden up, then flinging an arm over his waist, one knee bent over both of Rodney’s. He hadn’t felt cold a moment ago, but the scientist was amazingly warm and John melted against him, already half asleep.
Rodney’s hand landed, lightly, on his shoulder. “I— This helps?” he asked.
“This helps a lot,” said John, slightly muffled by the fabric of Rodney’s pajama pants. He could feel Rodney’s chest expand as he breathed, feel the steady thrum of his heartbeat. “This is perfect.”
“Okay,” said Rodney, with a smile in his voice, and John fell asleep to the scratch of his red pen on science journals.