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Title: In The Spotlight (the Unicorn Remix)
Author name: Icarus
Author email: email@example.com
Sub Category: Humor
Summary: Ten-plus years of illustrious service in the U.S. Armed Forces -- okay, maybe not so illustrious that last part in Antarctica -- only to be outed by a damned horse.
DISCLAIMER: The characters and universe contained in this story are Copyright MGM, Showtime, Gekko, Double Secret. No infringement on their copyright is implied. Copyright © 2006 All rights reserved. This story may not be reproduced in whole or part without the author's explicit permission. Ask, guys. I'm easy to reach and usually quite generous.
Author notes: Written in a blaze of last-minute panic for Remix Challenge: Remix of Zoe Rayne's Mythical. Thank you to my betas Mad Maudlin and 20th Century Vole who saved this story from a deserved trip to the bin.
John growled. Ten-plus years of illustrious service in the U.S. Armed Forces -- okay, maybe not so illustrious that last part in Antarctica -- only to be outed by a damned horse.
He balanced the laptop on his stomach where he sprawled on his bed, scowling at the report that was going to doom his military career should they ever contact Earth again. The laptop wobbled as he backspaced over the entire report and tried again, catching it in annoyance. He crossed his ankles. He normally did this stuff in his office because, as he'd just discovered, laptops were clearly misnamed and really not meant for laps.
John wasn't "hiding" exactly. More like he was "strategically unavailable." Because if he heard one more sex tip from Rodney McKay he was going to lunge at him with a sternum punch that would puncture a lung -- and, yes, his fantasies were that vivid. Given they were backed by the kind of training that could make them a reality, he thought it was best for all concerned if he was locked in here. Especially Doctor "Let Me Tell You How I Get Laid" McKay.
It had started out as such a nice day, too. The planet had lush green rolling hills and looked kinda misty and Irish, with clear blue skies overhead. Seventy degrees out… perfect walking weather. All they'd needed to make it ideal was a ZPM laying abandoned on the ground three steps from the gate, and an appropriately Irish pub to celebrate.
Instead, McKay and Ford had found… John backspaced over the blank in his form and typed… "indigenous wildlife," since there was no way in hell he was putting down for all eternity that he'd seen a unicorn. He was tempted to add "dangerous" indigenous wildlife to that, but then he'd have to explain.
His email box blinked as the other team reports were copied to him. John checked them.
Teyla had called it a "unicorn." Which was brave of her, though she probably didn't get the mythical part of the term. Rodney's report read "native equine with attractive, elongated spiral-shaped horn" -- Rodney liked adjectives. Ford had simply written "horse."
Not one of them mentioned its magical "virgin-sniffing" abilities, thank God, nor its particular reaction to John. He blinked at the ceiling in relief. He should've known he could count on them.
Truthfully, no one would have figured it out if he hadn't broken his policy of "no information" with Ford months ago. Ford had asked point blank about the gay thing. They'd been stuck in a leaky village hut, kept awake by uncomfortable straw mattresses and incredibly loud crickets, with Teyla and Rodney back at the gate. Heck, it had obviously been bothering the guy for a while.
"Not that I have a problem with it," Ford had said hurriedly. "I just need to know, you know, if there's something I need to cover for."
He'd glanced at John in the half-light with the tired, wary look of someone who'd been down this road before. Don't Ask Don't Tell had never functioned at the unit level. "Protect your buddy" was a much stronger military instinct. And Ford, well, he was one of those people you just couldn't lie to.
"There's nothing to cover for," John had told him in a flat, decisive voice. He'd never been bitter about his choice because it was his to make. He'd simply stuck with the plan: you couldn't miss what you'd never had.
"Nothing?" The man looked genuinely surprised.
"Not then, not now, not ever," John repeated firmly.
"Oh." Ford went back to staring at the ceiling, long curled eyelashes blinking. "Wow."
"It's not that hard," John reassured him, rolling onto his back in a useless attempt to get comfortable.
"If you say so, sir."
And that had been that. Although John had started sharing tents with McKay afterward, because it felt a little weird sleeping next to a guy who knew so much about him. McKay had been cheerfully oblivious, and John exchanged amused glances with Ford every time McKay called him "Captain Kirk." It had been fun having one over on Rodney.
Then on what would always be known as the 'Irish planet' in John's mind, he'd sent Rodney to go have his fun chasing energy readings with Ford, while he and Teyla checked out and secured the area around the gate. John had just discovered a pretty little stream he thought would make a nice spot for lunch when his radio had crackled to life.
Ford had seen a unicorn. And Rodney, sounding embarrassed as a scientist, confirmed it.
"A what?" John laughed. "Now this I've got to see."
He'd pulled his sunglasses off the top of his head and aimed himself in the general direction of Ford and Rodney. Though Teyla had beaten him there.
John had never understood the whole teenage girl "unicorn" obsession, until he came over the hill and saw that beautiful white creature nuzzling Rodney's hand like he was its new best friend. It was about shoulder high and its tail flowed nearly to the ground, swishing gently, the mane falling in its eyes like a sheepdog. And yes, it had a long dangerous-looking horn that seemed -- for now anyway -- to be angled away from Rodney. John lowered his weapon and approached down the hill with cautious sideways steps. It seemed pretty harmless.
Then the thing had jolted backward. "Whoa!" Rodney said, stepping away as the horn swung around towards John.
"Major," Rodney said softly, "I think you should back away. Without making any sudden moves, if you don't mind."
Ford and Teyla backed away too, hands in the air. They shot John accusing glances.
"What? I didn't do anything!" John insisted, raising his P-90 and backing up. They continued to glare at him. He prayed he wouldn't have to blow away a creature that for centuries had represented innocence, because that would be just too symbolic, especially for the Pegasus Galaxy.
It was Ford, the man 'in the know,' who'd worked it out. "Aren't unicorns only supposed to let virgins touch them?"
"Virginal women, if I'm not mistaken," Rodney said, raising an eyebrow at Ford. "Of which I am neither."
John had a bad feeling about where this was headed. He glanced from one person to the next defensively.
Ford's eyes were fixed on the unicorn. "I was actually thinking maybe it was more the other way-"
"Lieutenant!" John barked, and Ford came to attention. But he'd stopped this conversation about two minutes too late.
Thanks, Ford. He tried not to look at his team as the truth sank in, but Rodney was the type whose mental processes were exceptionally loud. Out of the corner of his eye, John watched the expression drain out of his face to be replaced by pure surprise.
"Well, it's very pretty and all," John said, conjuring as much sarcasm as he could manage. Unfortunately his voice sort of broke. "But I don't see how a unicorn has a lot to do with our mission, now does it?"
He ordered them back to the gate, and set a pace that could be best described as a fast stalk. John walked beside Ford, apart from the others, saying under his breath as he stared straight ahead, his weapon ready, "Thanks a lot, Lieutenant." Not that they'd seen anything dangerous on this planet, but John felt better with the gun in his hand at the moment.
"I'm not saying I don't appreciate your working out our little mystery back there, but I could do without being outed on a standard recon mission," John said, smiling tightly in case Teyla and Rodney, who were still a ways behind, might be looking.
Ford also looked straight ahead. "I don't think anyone thinks that, sir. Just, um… you know."
John didn't answer. There was a familiar puffing breath as McKay caught up with them.
"Look Major, there's," he panted, "there's nothing to be ashamed of," he began. "It happens to the best of us. I know this may come as a surprise to you, but even I… well, it took me a long time myself."
Ford rolled his eyes. John's back stiffened.
"Have you considered going after people more 'attainable' than the Chaya-type?" Rodney made air quotes, stumbling behind John who resolutely tried to ignore him. "I mean, I used to get crushes on cheerleaders all the time, but there's nothing quite like the person right next to you." Rodney beamed. Who knew McKay could be such a busybody?
His helpful advice had kept up in a steady stream all the way to the gate. He offered to fix John up with some Marine who was "definitely easy, you can tell by how she walks" which earned him a stern look from Teyla, one that he didn't seem to notice. Then he'd gone on about sex-lines and internet porn, which, setting aside these things didn't exist in the Pegasus galaxy, was getting a little personal.
"I realize that half of Atlantis is under your command and ninety percent of the personnel here is male, but surely a little 'sexual experimentation' wouldn't go amiss?" Rodney had urged him.
"I'll take that under advisement," John had said, squinting ahead and hoping to stem the tide.
He prayed that Ford and Teyla didn't follow what Rodney was suggesting, because Rodney was anything but subtle. John held his head high through the torment. Though he'd never been so happy to see the gate in his life.
Once back in Atlantis, Weir had given them a funny look when John had announced in his most clipped military voice, "Nothing to report."
His team glanced around at their feet, the gateroom, at everything but John. Then, basically, he'd run.
Well. Walked. At a fast trot, straight to his quarters. He'd stood in the shower for about twenty minutes, not using the soap and thinking of every possible worst-case scenario. Most of which had been erased by his team's sanitized reports.
Finally, stretched out on his bed in his favorite jeans, he decided it wasn't like he was embarrassed or anything. It just… wasn't anyone's business. And it should never have been Ford's -- what had he been thinking? Other than the fact that Ford had nice eyes, and well now, there was a motive John didn't want to examine too closely.
With a sigh, John set aside the laptop and leaned back on his bed, digging his shoulders comfortably into the blankets. He shut his eyes, shutting out the Johnny Cash poster above him, and the neat line of his stripped weapons on the table beside the door. Shut out the military. And the Pegasus galaxy.
A soft smile touched the corner of John's mouth.
Sure, Rodney could come to his room. Possibly to apologize in that nervous way he had. Rodney wasn't used to apologizing.
"I…" Rodney's contrite voice would be muffled through the door to John's room. "I wanted to, um…."
John swallowed, his breath deepening, his head denting the pillow. He'd get up and come to the door, blocking it open with his foot. Rodney wouldn't have an easy time getting out of this one, oh no, sir. John would fold his arms and lean against the wall, watching Rodney blink at him earnestly, ready to explain.
"I'm listening," John would say, narrowing his eyes. You never knew where a conversation with Rodney would take you.
Rodney would be looking at the ground. "I realize I may have been… somewhat, well, not rude exactly, but operating under some inaccurate and frankly illogical assumptions." He'd fold his hands and rock back on his heels as he started to feel a little more confident. "I've considered some several alternate possibilities, given that you're obviously attractive and don't lack for feminine interest, and-"
"Spit it out, McKay." John would with say with impatience. Sometimes it took Rodney a little while to get to the point. In fact, usually, he'd get more insulting first. John smiled, his hand drifting down to smooth along his stomach.
"It isn't medical, is it?" McKay would ask, his brows raised in concern.
Yeah. That was pretty much the only insulting possibility Rodney hadn't mentioned today.
And once Rodney got an idea in his head, he'd run with it. He'd continue with a sudden burst of his particular brand of hyper-kinetic energy, "Because an uncle of mine had something like that and it can be debilitating, yes, as attested to by the fact that I have no cousins--" Rodney would drift off the point but not long enough for John to actually say anything. "--but they have a variety of treatments for such things these days-"
There was no conceivable way to shut him up long enough to explain. Except for --
And that's when John would lean forward, grip Rodney's jaw, and cut through the bullshit and blather with a solid kiss. Which, you'd think that Rodney would stagger back six steps and bounce of the wall and run, effectively silenced and getting the point at the same time… until Rodney told someone, or filed charges. And that could be a problem.
But instead, Rodney would just stand there stock-still, barely even breathing, his lips still parted.
"Rodney?" John would ask, a little worried about him. Satisfying as it was to see that brain go offline.
Rodney would swallow. You could always see what was going on in his mind. Then he'd look up at John with those big blue eyes full of wonder with the glowing expression of someone who'd just discovered Christmas. John had seen it a thousand times over this or that piece of Ancient hardware, and would give anything to see it aimed in his direction. And Rodney would say, that stunned expression still on his face, "That was my best case scenario."
John's hand slipped under the waistband of his jeans and he gave a soft breathless moan.
Then Rodney would -- there was no other word for it -- lunge. Because he'd never shown any sign of patience, ever.
He'd seize John's shoulder and shove them both through the doorway, where the door would slide shut behind them.
"Interesting technique you have to stay closeted, but," he'd say as he got John's shirt halfway unbuttoned and tried to pull it off, "there are other means that are infinitely preferable," which was going to wreck the shirt, but John would manage to get the bottom ones undone as they stumbled back towards the bed, "not to mention just as effective."
John had his shirt open, pants unbuckled, sweat beading his forehead. His cheek turned to the side as he pictured it.
Rodney's quick hands would make fast work of their belts, which was good because then John would squirm and shove his jeans down underneath Rodney on the bed, their hips sliding together, freeing his heavy, aching cock.
Urgently, John pushed his jeans down to his thighs, and pressed himself back against the covers. He brushed his cock lightly with his forearm, the hair on his arm teasing the head, unwilling to touch it just yet.
And John would push up into smooth cotton, since Rodney wouldn't have managed to get his own underwear down yet. John smiled.
With a crack, John hit his head on something square and plastic. He winced and glanced up. The laptop. He ignored it and shut his eyes to visualize the gleaming intensity of Rodney's expression, stars and galaxies and mad scientist plans reflected in his gaze. Rodney's wide, sweaty palm -- and oh, he had great hands, he worked fast and nimble whether fiddling with some wires or shoving a clip into his gun with a hard slap -- would close around John's cock.
John fisted his reddened cock, his head tipped back on his pillow, chin up. He gave a needy groan.
Rodney of course would still be babbling, "…far, far better options."
"Such as?" John grunted, out loud now, just to keep up his end of the conversation. Even though most of his attention was taken up by the strong, smooth pull on his cock. Biting his lip, John pressed up into Rodney's hand for a better angle, asking for it a little harder. His legs would be pinned and he imagined Rodney's cock would feel firm and warm against his hip, the tip wet with pre-come.
John started stroking harder, faster.
Rodney would say, "Such as regular sex…."
And it was just like Rodney to suggest something so dangerous and stupid, just because he wanted it. Rodney couldn't tell the difference between what he wanted and what he needed.
He'd give John a sweet squeeze, his fingers rolling over the head in a grip that was different than the one John was used to, but John would like it. Then Rodney's other hand would edge underneath them to cup John's ass.
"Sounds like a plan," John said, grunting as his hand sped.
"With someone you trust," Rodney always added.
John breathed a laugh, because he'd spotted the giant flaw in Rodney's great plan. "Yeah… well, that's a problem, 'cause I don't really trust anyone."
He wanted to reach down to grab Rodney's cock, so badly, as he stroked himself. He knew what Rodney's cock looked like too, though Rodney was pretty shy about his body, which was sweet. And John thought he should do something for the guy who make him feel so good, who drove him crazy and made him laugh, and made the trip to the Pegasus galaxy a teenage adventure instead of just a waste of lives and men under his so-called command.
Rodney would brush his hand away and tell him, "No, just go with it." Because Rodney was generous like that, he really was. No one would have believed it of him, but John knew him now, better than anyone.
In a white-out of orgasm, John's teeth clenched, and he came all over his bare stomach, his slick-sliding hand, and probably the blanket too. He hoped he missed the laptop. Because Rodney would kill him for that.
John's hand slowed, milking the last of it. He sighed, smiling. The afterglow would be great with Rodney. They'd lay on John's bed, breathing heavily.
And of course Rodney would comment, obviously impressed, "That was a lot."
"Four days." John smiled in languid bliss. And it had been.
"Do you make a habit of this Spartan-like self-denial? No, no. Never mind," Rodney generally answered himself, "Stupid question. Move over a little, will you?"
Leave it to Rodney to demand to be comfortable. There wasn't much room on John's bed, especially for a guy as big as Rodney. That would be a problem.
John imagined Rodney comfortably alongside him though, filling in the details from their decontamination on M3X-469. He'd learned a lot about Rodney that trip. The alien microbes had proved to be both sentient and toxic, and had taken up residence in the fabric of their packs and clothes. John had been mostly upset about the loss of a good pack.
Meanwhile Rodney had sworn a blue streak that they had to strip before going through the wormhole, "I want ZPM for this! We're not here to protect sentient head lice!" Of course, being Rodney, he'd demanded that the room be cleared on the other side before he'd comply. John had surveyed Rodney's pale, naked body, while the rest of the team quickly disrobed. Surprisingly, Rodney wasn't fat. He was solidly packed, if not exactly muscular, with a thick waist and pretty wide hips for a guy. His mouth-watering cock was thick and darker than the rest of him -- and half-hard, John had noticed. Their eyes had met before John looked away.
John had pretended not to notice Rodney's not very secretive stare. John hadn't shown off, exactly. He'd just… not troubled to cover anything. As for bending over, he'd had something caught between his toes, that's all. Even if sending Rodney through the wormhole at full mast had been pretty funny.
John's radio on the table next to him hissed, and, speak-of-the-devil, Rodney's tinny voice could be heard. Pulling up his pants loosely around his waist, John sat and grabbed the headset, tucking it over his ear. "Sheppard here." He pulled on his shirt, wiping his sticky chest, feeling awkward to be naked right now.
"Ah, Major. We've a little more information about that unicorn." Rodney hesitated. "I think I, uh, we… owe you an apology."
"Yeah?" John hoped his voice didn't sound husky at life imitating fiction as his eyes darkened at the thought.
"You see, um, it turns out Major Lorne wanted to get a picture of the unicorn… something about his little brother not believing it…."
"Get to the point, McKay," John snapped, enjoying this.
"It didn't like Lorne either." Rodney's voice sounded… embarrassed?
"You're kidding? Him too? And this is my business, how?" John said incredulously.
"No, no. It's not what you think. He swears it isn't, though he was very interested in why we thought that-" Rodney interrupted himself. "Though of course don't worry, your secret's safe with us."
"Radio, McKay," John reminded, his voice sharp with panic. Jeeze. Had Rodney really worked for years on top secret projects? It was probably a good thing the Russians weren't much of a threat any more.
"Right, right." John could almost see the careless hand wave. "Anyway, we didn't say anything beyond, you know, the standard mythological associations -- and thank you for that by the way, I sounded like a complete idiot." Rodney finally took a breath. "It was the sunglasses. Lorne had his on."
"The sunglasses. That's what was different about you."
It took a moment for it to sink in. John pulling down his shades. The semi-circle of his team around the unicorn. John buried his face in the blanket and groaned. "I was the only one wearing them…."
"No doubt to the unicorn it looked like you had enormous 'bug-like' eyes." Rodney almost sounded smug for having figured it out. "Not a lot of sunglasses in the wild, I imagine."
"That would be kinda freaky." John almost felt sorry for the poor horse, picturing himself through its eyes, in a universe where they had Wraith-bugs and things like that.
There was a long pause. "Look, I'm sorry…." Rodney began.
"Nah, it's all right," John interrupted him. He really didn't want an apology.
Then he took a chance. "Look… you wanna stop by for a movie? I've got Back To The Future." John couldn't help teasing him.
There was only a moment of hesitation, one that John couldn't quite read. Then Rodney said, "Only if I get to make fun of the 'science.'"
"Well, I have seen it before…." John drawled, folding his arms behind his head as he leaned back on the bed. He checked his watch lazily. "Say, eight o'clock?"
"I've got a bag of caramel popcorn," Rodney offered in a shy voice, sounding like he was about twelve years old.
Rodney? Offering part of his secret stash of food? John's eyebrows raised, and it took him a full moment before he remembered to answer, "Uh yeah, sure. Great. See you then."
He set down the radio on the table with a click. Probably nothing would happen, John told himself as he zipped his pants, grabbed a t-shirt to wipe off his chest, and hurried to straighten up his room. But the results would fuel his fantasies for weeks.