by darsynia

Notes: Title comes from the Dixie Chicks' song Lullaby; the line is: 'So tonight I'll drift in a dream with you.' Written 3/23/08.

John lays on his bed and stares at the ceiling, ears straining to focus on the barely-there sound of the ocean lapping against the city’s piers. Outside the sea is calm, and he finds himself wishing, again, that he could affect the weather with his throwback gene, because what he really wants right now is a good old non-catastrophic thunderstorm. He wants the sound of thunder to drown out Kate’s imagined screams in his head, the flash of lightning straight from sky to earth to lessen the shock of seeing electricity arc through ‘his’ body, bouncing from cell to cell in a parody of the entity’s trip through his team’s dreams. He wants the feel of warm, steady rain on his face to brush away the memory of Rodney’s terror and his doppelganger’s triumph as the cold, unfeeling drops leeched away his friend’s confidence.

He’ll never get to sleep like this.

He gets up, pulls on an old t-shirt and battered pants, and decides to go for a walk. ‘A run,’ he amends silently, rubbing a weary hand over his face as he reluctantly remembers his own nightmare. The last thing he wants to do is stumble through the hallways at night, chasing guilt. When he opens his door, however, he finds Rodney there, all hovering indecision and surprise at being discovered. John feels the urge to reach out like he’d wanted to in the isolation room, but something holds him back. He doesn’t want to be alone right now, though.

“I was going to go out, but it doesn’t seem to have done you any good,” John observes, moving aside in silent invitation. Rodney blinks at him as though John’s done something wholly unexpected (which he supposes he has) before pushing past him and sinking into an ungainly heap on the floor, leaning his head back onto the bed and sighing. John considers turning on the light, but decides against it after he takes a look at the expression on the other man’s face.

“Even my nightmares are selfish,” Rodney says miserably. John stops his progress across the room to frown at both the words themselves and his overprotective instinct to refute them out of hand. Rodney isn’t here to be comforted—or if he is, it isn’t with platitudes. He moves to sit on the bed, then changes his mind and levers himself down on his stomach, supporting his head with one hand as his elbow digs into the mattress a few inches from Rodney’s back.

“You can’t control what you’re afraid of,” John says, hoping he doesn’t sound trite.

“Oh, please, Colonel,” Rodney says, clearly going for caustic and failing. “Forgive me if I take advice about fear with a grain of salt when it comes from someone who is completely missing the ‘flight’ side of the ‘fight or flight’ instinct.”

“Fear of drowning is a perfectly reasonable—”

“You forgot the whole ‘in the belly of a whale’ part,” Rodney reminds him sourly.

“Right,” John says with light sarcasm. “It’s not like you were ever in a position to have that happen to you, or anything.” He looks at Rodney steadily, knowing the other man can feel his gaze even though his eyes are squeezed shut. After a long minute, Rodney opens them and looks over at him, his pupils wide and dark in the moonlight.

“And you saved me,” he says softly. “You saved me, but look what your nightmare is.” John feels his face flush and hopes Rodney can’t see it.

“How did you…” John lets his voice trail off, afraid it’ll give even more away.

“Keller mentioned it,” Rodney says, his eyes sliding shut again. “She thought I already knew, after being in your head and all that.” He seems to curl in on himself, his knees drawing up, arms folding tight against his chest. “Lorne dreams of protecting Atlantis from Replicators, Jennifer has nightmares about losing patients, you…” He takes a ragged breath and stares fixedly at the floor. “And I dream about—”

“Losing control,” John cuts in. “Being cut off and alone. Trying to get back to Atlantis against impossible odds.” He stretches out his free arm and grips Rodney’s far shoulder tightly, surprised to feel him tremble. “Come on, Rodney, I was there. You’re not completely selfish,” John adds, instinctively allowing the tinge of irony in his voice that makes the statement believable.

“Yes, I am, John.” His voice is quiet and utterly sincere, and despite the conversation, there’s something shockingly intimate about touching Rodney as he says John’s name, especially when he feels Rodney’s heart rate jump wildly at the word while the rest of his body stills. Finally, Rodney turns his head to look at him, and though John’s hand hasn’t moved, the subtle shift of position presses Rodney’s nape against the back of it, the soft hairs brushing gentle heat against his skin. John’s tired, his defenses are down, and the contact writes itself across his face in indelible ink, too permanent to blink away before they make eye contact. Rodney tips his head to the side as if gathering data—and then shivers when this movement emphasizes the accidental touch. He turns his body toward John’s and reaches out a hand of his own, warm and tight on John’s forearm.

“Very selfish,” Rodney murmurs, his lashes thick against his cheeks as he lifts himself up, staring at his hand on John’s arm. Then he looks directly into John’s eyes, and it’s all there in a flash of blue—insecurity, fragile pride, respect, affection—before Rodney slides his hand up John’s wrist to tangle their fingers together. John holds his breath, knowing that Rodney has to feel the way his pulse is racing just as he’d felt Rodney’s, and he realizes a split second later that this is precisely the reason Rodney’s holding his gaze. That, despite what he’s saying, Rodney is being the opposite of selfish. He’s giving John a choice.

John doesn’t trust himself to say anything. All he knows is that he’s sick of seeing that insecurity in Rodney, and he’ll be damned if he’s the one that puts it there this time. He sends his thumb skidding across Rodney’s palm as he leans forward, putting most of his weight on his other hand as he ghosts to a stop, close enough to taste Rodney’s breath.

“I want you to be selfish,” he whispers slowly, enunciating every single word—and the way Rodney’s eyelids glide shut at the first three words sends shivers of anticipation radiating through John’s body.

“John,” Rodney says softly on an indrawn breath, and then John’s tasting his name on Rodney’s lips, finally, finally breathing him in with soft teasing kisses that deepen into a frantic groan of sliding pleasure. John tugs at Rodney, needing him to be closer, and he doesn’t stop his steady pull at Rodney’s clothing even when the other man is pressed against him, chest to chest, their lips meeting hungrily. John gets his hand underneath Rodney’s shirt, rubbing circles at the small of his back, and then John’s hand swipes under Rodney’s waistband, dragging against his hip with the pads of his fingers. Rodney’s breath stutters, and he buries his head in John’s shoulder, mouthing the cotton of his shirt just over the collarbone.

Rodney’s been bracing himself against John with one hand denting the blanket at his side and the other hand twisted in John’s collar, and now he’s lifting up with that hand, taking John’s shirt with it. John gathers the hem of Rodney’s shirt in his hand as well, and they sit up, pulling them off in tandem, both taking the chance to catch their breath. John looks up at Rodney, his hair all in disarray as he kneels on the bed, sitting back on his feet. He’s smiling his ‘did you just see that!’ smile… his ZPM smile. At John. He grins back—he can’t not—and after a few seconds, Rodney’s eyes trace downwards and then back up, a question in his eyes.

“C’mere,” John says, and Rodney’s eyes go dark as his face turns serious, and Jesus, if John had known what it was like to have all that intensity focused on him with something other than exasperation, he’d have taken this leap years ago. Rodney settles beside him, sliding one hand up against his face, the other lying flat on his chest, pressing until John is completely horizontal. Their kisses shift past exploration into intent, hot and dirty and sloppy, and when Rodney’s fingers brush against his nipple, John hisses, arching up off of the bed in pleasure and surprise. He’d never really viewed his chest as an erogenous zone, and during the few encounters he’d had in the Pegasus galaxy, he’d definitely noticed a taboo there, almost certainly Wraith related. Rodney has no such compunction, however, and John grips Rodney’s shoulder and the blanket with sweat-slick hands as Rodney nudges his nipple with his wide, wet mouth as his hand grips John’s thigh just shy of where he really wants it.

“I need—” John starts to say, and then decides to show Rodney instead, pushing off with a powerful shove and turning his body to slide over Rodney’s, pressing their hips together intimately. The friction makes him nearly frantic—skin against skin, breath against breath, fabric rubbing in counterpoint to the hardness he can feel through their clothing. John groans as he reaches down for the fastenings of Rodney’s pants, the brush of his fingers sending sparks against his own cloth-covered cock.

“Yes, that’s—” Rodney says, his voice lost in a moan as John frees him from his boxers and strokes down. John shifts to the side for better leverage, batting Rodney’s hands away when they scrabble at his buckle. He distracts Rodney by twisting his hand on the other man’s cock just as he licks into his mouth, twisting his tongue against Rodney’s at the same time. Rodney’s hands stop fluttering and grip when John moves his head to lick his own palm, staring into Rodney’s eyes, letting him know exactly what he’s doing.

“Oh, god, I… I never thought you—John!” Rodney gasps when John touches him again, hand gliding tight and wet. Rodney thrusts up, head thrown back, and god, it’s good, Rodney trembling in his arms, his leg rubbing up against John’s cock with every involuntary jerk of his hips. “I should… I’m—” Rodney groans, the hand at John’s back sliding under his pants. He’s close, John can tell, and it feels like he’s trying to hold back. Taking Rodney apart like this is such a power trip that John’s almost as close as Rodney is, so he speeds up and makes his own thrusts against Rodney’s leg more obvious.

“It’s all right, I’ve got you,” he says between breaths, tonguing the cord of muscle that stands out on Rodney’s neck when he tips his head back. “You’re not going anywhere I won’t follow,” John says with a groan, feeling the pull of his oncoming orgasm drawing on all his muscles at once. At this, Rodney’s hips stutter forward and he comes with his eyes open, turning his head to pierce John with the absolute clarity of his emotions until John can’t stand to just look, he has to taste and feel and move with him. He comes with Rodney’s tongue curling lewdly around his, sucking in air when he can as he strokes Rodney through the aftershocks, the other man’s broad hand gripping his ass as John ruts against his leg.

Their bodies slowly still as they share shuddering kisses, soothing each other with lips and teeth and tongue. Finally, John’s back starts to twinge even through the endorphins, and he pulls away reluctantly, one leg still thrown over Rodney as he rests his head on the pillow. They lay like that for a few minutes until Rodney wipes a hand across his face and sits up awkwardly, as John resolutely refuses to relinquish his leg’s claim on Rodney’s body.

“Huh,” Rodney says, and it’s so familiar, so everyday normal, that John can’t stop himself from chuckling. Thankfully, Rodney doesn’t take this as an affront, and explains himself, instead. “It’s just that usually I wake up by now.” John can tell Rodney’s blushing even though the room is lit only by moonlight. He raises an eyebrow and tells his racing heart that he’s not twelve. Rodney’s dreamt about this…

“Do you want to wake up?” John asks, and the casual voice he thought he was using doesn’t sound casual at all. The light but sharp two-finger shove on the side of his head that he gets in reply has him grinning, however. Apparently, John’s not the only one feeling juvenile right now.

“Are you kidding?” Rodney huffs, getting to his feet with some difficulty to retrieve a towel from the bathroom. “Any—and I mean any attempt by alien or domestic means to meddle with my memory of this and every subsequent similar event—”

John gets up at the beginning of this tirade and walks over, dodging the circling hands to press close to Rodney as the other man winds up to the dire consequences he’s busily thinking up. He loves that Rodney’s so focused on retribution that this doesn’t even slow him down until John slides a hand into his hair and kisses his open mouth, thoroughly and seriously. Rodney looks relaxed, happy, and a little stunned when he pulls away a few languorous minutes later.

“Good,” John says firmly. He strips out of his soiled pants and snags a fresh pair of boxers from a drawer before he turns to look at Rodney again, having come to a decision in the middle of a thick yawn. He crawls back into the bed, under the covers this time, and slides over to make room. “And if you are still worried that this is a dream, settle down here and I’ll prove it wasn’t in the morning.” Rodney’s grin is instantaneous, and he slides in beside John almost shyly—and then proceeds to take control of most of the pillow.

“I’ll hold you to that,” he promises, right before they both drift off to sleep.

And so he does.